First non-running centric blog in awhile…haha. But, if we’re not getting up at four am to run a race, we might as well get up at four to get in line for beer.  

We’d both heard a lot about Russian River Brewing Company and their limited release beer, Pliney the Younger.  So, for Brian’s birthday, we decided to take a day and go out for the first day of the release.  He did a bunch of research…found out what time we needed to be there, where to go, etc.  Turned out, we’d need to leave the house at 4:30…also turned out it was going to rain.  Awesome…totally like a race day.  

Traffic wasn’t bad (imagine that at 4:30 am), but the rain proved to be a slight challenge.  Since we didn’t know what parking would be like, we decided to take my car…though his probably would’ve been better in the rain.  It wasn’t terrible, and once we got past Novato, it had pretty much stopped raining.  

The brewery was easy to find once we got to Santa Rosa.  Right in the middle of downtown…for some reason, I was expecting it to be in a farm field, why I’m not sure.  At first, we thought the line wasn’t that long, but quickly realized it spanned several blocks as we kept driving.  We found parking in a lot right behind the brewery (though we didn’t realize it at the time).  Wandered around for a bit, and then finally found the line.

We made ourselves comfortable – opened up our chairs, pulled out the coffee, etc.  of course it had started to rain again, but luckily, Gortex is our friend.  We weren’t cold (thank you Everest clothes) or wet…well, eventually I was…not sure what the deal with my water proof pants was…Brian even got interviewed by the morning news.  

As he was getting interviewed, more people fell in line behind us.  That’s when we met Richard and Sean, two guys from Fresno, who’d decided to come up while enjoying a growler from Russian River the night before. 

The rain came and went, and came and went again.  A very smart Girl Scout made her way down the line selling cookies before she went to school.  I’m pretty sure everyone bought some – genius idea.  At some point the security guards started counting people and we were maybe 78(ish) in line. They came back shortly after to stamp our hands, and at that point, we were in the 100’s.  Then they started condensing the line.  It was kind of exciting, even though we knew we still had 90 minutes to wait.  But, since we’d been waiting three hours already, it felt like the end was in site.

With maybe an hour to go, the owners (two cousins, I believe), made their way down the line, thanking everyone for being there…listening to everyone’s stories…offering us breakfast and coffee. After that, one of the owners brought his mother out to meet everyone and say hello.  I was really amazed how nice everyone was, from the people standing in line to the owners, to the employees.  Even as we got close to going in, an employee asked us if we needed anything – water, coffee, etc.  At that point, we were ready for beer.  

As they started taking people in, we decided with the guys behind us that we were either a group of two or four. Whatever made sense. And, it turned out to be a good decision. Not only did we get the last table available for the first seating, but also, we got to enjoy the rest of the day with friends. 

Once you’re inside, you get three Pliny the Younger’s, and three hours inside. We enjoyed our beers, tried some of the other ones, and decided what to take home (along with the merchandise).  Interestingly enough, the guy at the table next to us was from Buffalo and sporting Bills gear…lives out here now, but, small world. 

Overall, it was a great experience. Pliny the Younger was delicious. Was it worth five hours in a rainy line…I’m not sure. What was worth the wait was the hospitality – meeting people in line that morning that became friends by the end of the day, meeting the owners of the bar who took the time to greet everyone (despite the rain), hearing and being part of the toast the owners did with the first group of diners, and being able to cheer as more people were able to come in and have their tastes. 

Such a fun day and definitely something I’d do again.  We’d leave earlier (or stay out there), apparently the rain kept a lot of people away and the line was shorter than it’s been in the past. 

In other news, I’m one month out from Way Too Cool.  Yikes!  Hopefully I can get in shape before then.  Big mileage weeks coming up these next few weeks…I see several double OTF workouts in my future…

Viva Las Vegas

Since Brian had a conference in Las Vegas this past week and we’re heading straight to Bizz Johnson after my conference next week, we decided to sneak in a quick weekend getaway after his conference.

Getting there wasn’t too crazy, until I got in a cab to head to the hotel.  Of course the driver asks me if I want to take the freeway or the strip.  I KNOW one of them is a rip off…I  just couldn’t remember which one.  I ask what’s faster….he says the freeway.  As I watch the meter tick past $20, I knew I made the wrong choice.  But hey, I got to drive past the Delano, which will be my home away from home for my conference next week.

We stayed at Harrah’s…for some reason, something about music, I think, everything in Vegas was super expensive last weekend.  Even Luxor, which is usually our go-to for a decent priced hotel with a decent pool was more than I’ve ever seen it.  Anyway, we stayed at Harrah’s since we could stay there and see a show for the same price as staying at any of the other hotels.  It was…

Well, it was clean, safe, and the door locked.  And was pretty centrally located.  It also had Toby Keith’s bar, which we love.  Other than that, not too much going on.  Overall, it felt pretty dated compared to the other hotels and seemed to have a cult following, I’m guessing those who like to gamble there.  People don’t go there for the pool….it was small and barely in the sun.  But, we were able to rent a cabana of sorts to ensure us some sunshine and a way to hide from it when it got too hot.  It was pretty cheap too….I think only $30 if you met a food and beverage minimum, which was also pretty low.  The room had been recently re-done, but came with feather pillows and sliding bathroom door.  Great, unless you’re us and prefer normal pillows and an actual bathroom door.  The shower was also only covered with half of a glass door….just odd.  All that was missing was the cut-out between the bathroom and the bedroom and I could’ve been in Beijing again….

Bottom line…if you’re going for the gambling, and you like to gamble at Harrah’s, it’s probably a great option for you.  If you’re looking for a pool and to see shows, probably not the best choice.

We saw two shows – Mystere and Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club.  Mystere was Saturday night and Brad Garrett’s was Sunday.

First, Mystere, which is one of the Cirque shows…apparently, it’s the first one, if I remember correctly.  Last time we were there, we saw Ka, which put just about everything else I’ve seen to shame, so that may have influenced my reaction.  There wasn’t much of a story tying the performances together, and I found that I missed that.  However, the performances, when they were happening were very good.  During those times, there was always so much going on, it kept my attention.  But, there were those times that the performances weren’t going on…and the fact that the story tying everything together was pretty loose.  There were two sets of…I don’t even know what to call them…interludes?  Probably the wrong word.  Interruptions?  I like that better.  But two characters engaging with the audience differently at points throughout the show and it just, to me, fell flat.  It interrupted the performances, which almost made them feel like America’s Got Talent instead of Cirque and both of the characters got old….real fast.  It was almost like, ok, this was funny once….Overall….go see Ka.

Sunday, we returned to Brad Garrett’s.  We went there in May, finding ourselves with a free night and no plans and it was in our hotel and cheap.  So we went and enjoyed it.  When we were choosing shows for this trip, Brian saw that Brad Garrett was going to be there, so we thought it would be cool to go again.  Hilarious.  Definitely recommend.  Especially if he’ll be there….he started the show and performed between the other comedians and was just….hilarious.  Didn’t miss a beat and the audience loved him for it.

I also took the opportunity to sport not one, but two Charlotte Russe dresses.  They were actually pretty fun and looked great.  I wish I had remembered my curling iron, but that’s another story.  I mean, you can’t go wrong in Vegas in a cute red dress and heels you can barely walk in.

Day three was pretty low key.  Having learned our lesson with the Harrah’s buffet, we once again ventured over to Denny’s.  During breakfast we talked about when we might come back and where we’d want to stay, which turned into us exploring the nearby casinos and pools to decide.  Cesar’s, Flamingo, and MGM top the list.  With the looming thought of the airport madness ahead of us, we looked up how long it would take to drive and thought that might be an option next time.  We ended the day with a drink at Cesar’s…first time we’ve done that…and for some reason, it took way too long to find a bar….maybe because the place was so big.  haha…

So, since we pretty much decided that we’d try driving for our next trip, avoiding both the airport and the cabs to get to the airport, the great beyond decided that we needed to have a ride to the airport to remember.  Since my adventure from the airport wasn’t enough, apparently….

We get in the cab just fine, guy isn’t very social, but whatever, it’s fine.  We’re just lounging in the back, dreading the thought of dealing with TSA and airports and everything else, as we head down an access road between two of the casinos.  And I noticed we kind of, sort of, maybe roll through a stop sign.  And maybe we’re going kind of fast.  And then I hear sirens.  No easy feat over the bad 80’s music Mr.Cabbie is blaring.

He pulls over, and I think we were all hoping that the police just needed to get through.  No such luck…he’s pulling us over.  Of course, turning down the music is out of the question, so we can barely hear Mr. Cabbie fight with the officer about how he didn’t run the stop sign before handing over his credentials.  And then we sat…..and sat some more….in awkward silence.  Mr. Cabbie never said a word.  No, I’m so sorry, I’m sure we’ll be on our way in a minute….nothing.  Nor does he turn the music down.  I start thinking about calling Uber from the side of the road…is that a thing?  Can we do that here?  Half an hour later, he has his ticket and his court date, and we’re on our way.  Such fun.  Only when we get to the airport and we’re unloading does he say anything….’you’re not leaving a tip?!’.  Really, dude?  Really?

Oh Vegas…until next time….Viva Las Vegas!

Trip to Vegas, New Injury, and Catching Up on Life

I realized today that its been over a month since I updated this, over a month since finishing Lake Sonoma, and what a month its been.

Coming out of the 50 mile, I managed to take it easy for a couple of days.  Ok, three days before I was going completely stir crazy, four before I was in my first bikram yoga class in years, and five before I was back at Orange Theory.  I was out running again that weekend, interestingly enough, back at Lake Sonoma for a quick seven miler before I picked up wine.  It was 90 degrees and sunny – quite the change from the previous weekend.  I was a little stiff, but overall felt good.

The next week, I was back to my normal routine…four days at the gym and a 10k road race that weekend.  I was still a little stiff, a little achy (especially my left hip), but again, overall, felt good.  I was slightly nervous about running on a road for the first time in over a year, partly due to the last year I spent healing my right knee, and not knowing how it would hold up…and partly due to the stiffness in my left hip.  However, I was excited to see how I would do running such a short distance.

It was so much fun!  My goal was to come in under an hour, which I didn’t think I had done before.  I spent the first two-ish miles trying to hang with my fast friends, but eventually fell back.  Which was fine, I was still moving fast for me.  Miles three and four felt long and I hadn’t gotten into a rhythm yet. I started feeling great somewhere between four and a half and five, and then it was over.  As it turns out, I did well on the fast and flat course….final time: 56:49.  According to Strava, there was an 8:30ish mile in there (its been years since that happened).  9th in my age group out of 51….I don’t think I’ve ever been top 10.  Unless there were less than 10…haha.

The next weekend, Brian and I headed to Vegas on vacation.  No races, no crazy adventures, no nothing….other than vacation.  We stayed at MGM…floated in the lazy river…enjoyed our fair share of terrible pool beer and good dinner wine.  Saw great shows. For anyone heading to Vegas: Ka is amazing.  Go see it.  I really can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t like this show.  It’s a cirque with a story that’s easy to follow, great stunts, and a super intricate stage.  I feel like it was over before it even began.  Just so, so good.  Maybe skip the large, slushy, adult beverage during the show…you won’t want to get up to find a restroom and nothing makes the last fifteen minutes of a show really, really long like needing one.

The third night we had dinner at Tao – probably my favorite Vegas restaurant and it definitely didn’t disappoint.  Then headed over to Cesar’s for Absinthe.  Somehow we were VIP’s, which meant they gave us champagne to enjoy during the show.  Unless you’re me…then you dump half of it all over your purse and having to get creative in drying it off…..anyway, I digress….the show is hilarious.  Very politically incorrect and full of adult humor, but so much fun.  However, if you’re easily offended, this is not the show for you.  Aside from the humor, it’s a variety show with amazing acts.  Dancers and tightrope walkers and aerialists, etc.  So good.

I anticipated coming back to my leg being 100% after four days of rest.  But, I’m not that lucky.  By the middle of last week, I finally caved and called a doctor’s office close to my office to deal with whatever the situation is in my hip.  I’ve rolled, I’ve rested, I’ve stretched, and it’s not getting any better.  After doing nothing in Vegas for four days (other than those nights in five inch heels ;)), I got to my second day at the gym and the shooting pain was back.  That’s not normal.  The following week, I got through another two days and while it wasn’t shooting pain, it was definitely achy.  Definitely not normal.

So, of course I go home the night before seeing a doctor and do some searching on the internet about what might be wrong.  The first thing I find that sounds plausible is a stress fracture.  Cue stress at the thought of no running for probably three months.  Really?  When am I going to learn to stay off of internet?

The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that something was really wrong and I was going to be out of running and working out for the foreseeable future.  My suspicions were close to confirmed as I was talking the doctor through everything that was going on, and the first thing he mentioned was a stress fracture….but, once he started his exam, luck seemed to be on my side.  First, I was much stronger during the resistance tests than he thought I would be….second, he found two knotted, locked up, muscles.  Took him an extra 15 minutes to find, but the two highest muscles in my hip – the pectineus and the adductor brevis, were a sore, painful, tight mess.  Apparently having the adductor tight that high isn’t normal….apparently he hasn’t met me….

Cue some super fun ART that surprisingly didn’t bruise.  Unfortunately, the relief didn’t stick for too long either….hopefully that just means I need more sessions.  As much fun as ART is, I like that and strained muscles far more than I like stress fractures.

Before he left, I made sure to ask him if I was still allowed to exercise and if there were any restrictions.  Surprisingly, he told me I could…just asked that I dial it back to 75%.  If I had a class I liked to take, that was fine….just take it easy.  Yup, I can do that.  So I threw on my gym clothes and headed to class.  I mean, why wouldn’t I….last year I had an MRI on my knee and ran a half marathon the next day….

Since then, I actually have been heeding the doctor’s warnings – 22-year old me ran a half marathon with a broken ankle….32-year old me does not need to learn that lesson twice.  I’ve done a couple of Orange Theory classes, but have taken it easy.  I think I’m going to set the record for the most classes with zero splat points.  But, it’s better than being completely side-lined.  I’ve also gotten back into bikram…that’s been a great way to stretch out and relax, not to mention get in a good workout with little impact.

Today, I had the x-ray done.  No one was there to read it (I’m pretty sure the lady taking it was pretty new, as I could clearly hear someone giving her directions), but they did give me a CD to take back to the doctor.  Of course, I took it home this evening and tried to get it to open to read it myself.  I saw what my ankle looked like…I’d think the same would apply to this situation, right?  Sadly, the files wouldn’t open.  But, really, do I need to be trying to read an x-ray?  Probably not.  Just give me something else to stress about….haha.

So, I wait until Wednesday, when hopefully the doctor has the report…or can read the films.  And cross my fingers and toes (and whatever else I can think of) that it’s strained muscles and some more rounds of ART can fix it.  And I can get back to running healthy soon.

Until then…signing off…


Hanging Out Like Normal People

Since I am in taper mode, I had what I would consider a normal weekend.  Saw friends…hung out with my husband…did nothing involving a three or four hour workout.  It was a nice change.  After sleeping in on Saturday morning, I spent the afternoon hiking with my friend, Meg.  Well, after I found her…who knew there were three or four entrances to Windy Hill?  And two roads in close proximity to each other with the same name.  Once we found each other, we had a great time exploring some new trails on a beautiful day.

Saturday night, I went to dinner with Meg and some other friends.  She started a book club, which is great – I love to read and don’t do it nearly enough anymore.  However, time got away from me and I haven’t even gotten the book we were supposed to read, much less read any of it.  As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had gotten behind due to life, and we decided to meet for dinner anyway.

Since the book was about Peru, we decided to have dinner at a Peruvian restaurant down on the Embarcadero, La Mar.  Dinner was delicious, I has some sort of steak dish with fries and other stuff.  I also had several bites of Meg’s food, since that’s what was put in front of me first.  Oops.  What happens when you don’t really understand the food you’re ordering.  Luckily, they brought her a brand new food and all was well.  We enjoyed the food and wine, and chose our next book.  Really looking forward to getting back into reading, especially with friends.

Then it was on to my Uber adventure home.  I’m the first to admit I have a horrible sense of direction, but this guy…this guy was in a league of his own.  As he’s picking me up, another couple hops out of the car…the lady says to me, ‘he picked up the wrong people….’.  That should have been my first clue, as we then proceeded to drive all over the city before we got to the Tavern in Noe Valley.  After my tour of San Francisco – Pac Heights, North Beach, USF, the Castro….and finally to the Tavern where I had planned to meet Brian a half hour earlier.  But, I got there, we got to watch the amazing end of the Warrior’s game, and have a few drinks….all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

And, today, rather than go exercise for four hours, we hung out like normal people.  Haha. We tried a new (to me) place for brunch on the edge of Noe Valley.  Delicious French Toast and mimosas and breakfast potatoes.  Then we went shoe shopping….yay for new running shoes.  Even though I had to order them since they didn’t have my size, but they’re on their way and should be here by the end of the week.  Then we went to get food for the snake….so close to being normal….haha.

And, now on to the countdowns….

Days ’til Way Too Cool – 6

Number of Orange Theory Classes before Way Too Cool – 1

Number of Days at 24-Hour Fitness before Way Too Cool – 2

Weeks ’til Lake Sonoma – 6

Where has the time gone?  On one hand, it feels like this has been the longest month ever…it was still less than one month ago that we bought the new dinning room table.  But, I really can’t believe it’s going to be March next week.  And, with March comes Way Too Cool….a race I’m way more nervous for than I should be….

I’m worried about getting there since I can’t plan to leave work early to miss traffic….hopefully all of the reports that day come in early.  But, regardless, if I end up leaving late, I can pick up dinner from Amici’s and eat before I leave, and just worry about getting to Auburn, rather than finding food along the way or once I get there.  Or, hold out hope that I can leave early enough to pick-up my bib before pick-up closes Friday night and get an extra half hour of sleep the next morning.

I’m worried about the race itself since I didn’t finish any of the races I started in 2015.  Looking at the course and my previous times, I should be fine…but, I’ll feel much better after I actually run it.  And, at this time next week, it will be over.

I keep telling myself it will all work out in the end.  I’ll have an amazing race – feel great, have fun, and get a frog cupcake at the end.  Then sleep ’til noon the next day.  Rest for a week and start gearing up for my next adventure…..

Because, after all of that…there’s still the beast that is Lake Sonoma….


Trying New Things

Before I get to the point of this post, I have to call-out the new site.  I’m learning to use WordPress at work (they also host our public work website), so I wanted to set up a site of my own that I could play with during downtime.  After learning in last week’s training class that I could import multiple blogs, I thought, ‘what a great idea – I can combine the two blogs I have into one site, sweet!’  Then, as an added benefit, my Asia travel blog was already a WordPress site making the combination even easier.  Really though, even importing from Blogger was painless.  I’ve had fun over the past week creating the new site and I’m sure I’ll be playing around with it as I learn more….so many links and widgets and gadgets and such.  Anyway, on to the real stuff….

Yesterday I had one of the best workouts I can remember having in a long time.  My 24-hour Fitness membership expired last week, and after getting over the plague from earlier this week, I decided to check out the gym that opened in the same plaza as my office.  Orange Theory.  I had never heard of it, but read a little bit about it online and popped down during lunch to check it out.

It’s an instructor led, hour workout, generally half cardio and half weights/abs/etc.  They showed me around – very nice looking gym, and signed me up for a free class later that evening.  I was a little concerned that it might not be the best way to train for my lottery of pain later this spring, but I like new things and the concept was pretty interesting.

Before class started, they gave me a little heart monitor and the instructor showed all the new people (two of us) how the machines worked and explained how the class would go.  I liked this – definitely took out the worry of feeling dumb because I was new.

I got to start class on the treadmill, which was nice – I’d much rather start with some cardio to warm up.  I did notice that the other group, who started with some of the weight exercises, did warm up on the rowers first…I think that would have been ok too.  It started out simple enough – get to a pace on the treadmill that you could run for about a half hour.  Then we spent the next six minutes taking that pace up and down and back up again.  Because the speed was constantly changing, the time passed really quickly and it was on to the weights.

Well, the weights and the rowing machine.  The rowing machine and I, well, we’re not friends…it became a joke between the trainer and I, but I’m sure I can learn it over time.  After the rowing, the floor set involved a couple of different weight lifts; curls and flys and stuff.  I haven’t really done weights since bootcamp, so it was a welcome change to my workout routine.  In hindsight, I could probably use heavier weights (channeling my inner Cat ;)).  Something I can definitely change for next time.

Six minutes later, it was back to the treadmill….this time and the next time (there were three treadmill rotations total) were all about hills.  I’ve never set the treadmill at a ten percent grade….until last night.  There were definitely times that I thought I’d slide right of the back of it, but I managed to hold my own.  ‘Running’ up the hills made the one percent grade feel like a downhill.

The other floor sets consisted of TRX (another favorite I haven’t seen since bootcamp) and ab work.  Halfway through…a quarter of the way through….I don’t remember.  I was dripping sweat.  The other new girl and I kept looking at each other in disbelief or something.  What a workout!  It kept changing, so I never got bored and the hour passed so fast.

After class, the instructor took a few minutes to explain the monitors and the results.  Pretty interesting.  And I was in the acceptable ranges, so I did something right.  Haha.  And burned approximately 600 calories.  In an hour.  Crazy.  Ending verdict – I am still sore today and have plans to make this part of my regular routine.

In other news, my present…the purse I ordered last weekend, has arrived.  What a great ending to the week :).

Until next time…

Open Letter to Viansa

Wow…three posts in three days – if I have any blog followers, I’m sure you’re loving this…anyway, the point of writing, we went to Sonoma, we were expecting certain things and they failed.  Big time.  So, my first open letter. 
To long/didn’t read (TLDR): Corner 103 is amazing. Go there.  Avoid Viansa.

Viansa is the second winery off the 121/Arnold Drive.  It’s on several wine bus/wine tours.  Its been fabulous.  I won’t lie…it’s been a huge part of my life, but recently, and not so recently, its been different.  I thought it might get back to ‘the good old days’, but, I realized today that wasn’t the case.  I’ll forever be thankful for the friends I’ve made there, but, as I’ve learned in the recent past, sometimes knowing when to let go is just as important as knowing how long to hold on….     

Below is the email I sent to Viansa – our home away from home for several years…where we met some great friends, and more than that, where we re-discovered ‘us’.  It’s a great email, but a sad email where I canceled my wine club membership after 8+ years….   


I updated my information this afternoon, but would actually like to cancel my membership.  Like most of America, I’m a busy person, but feel compelled to tell you why.   

My husband and I have been members for nearly ten years and for the most part, we’ve enjoyed every minute.  Between us spending time at Viansa to work on our marriage to a surprise 30th birthday party – you’ve been a big part in our lives.

We loved the staff, they always made us feel at home. When Lloyd owned the place, we never felt like anything less than one of his own. Kelly was always amazing…coming to see her was like seeing an old friend. It never mattered if it had been a week or a month, she always treated us as if it was only yesterday.   

Today, I arrived at the winery for the members party and it felt cold and corporate – the very thing I try to escape on the weekends. I entered the tasting room and recognized no one. I asked someone about Kelly, and was told, ‘she don’t work here no more’.  Quoted. Not even proper grammar. 

I don’t fault the employee, it’s not her fault. But, I do fault the winery. It’s become the corporation I wish to escape on the weekends, and while I can’t bring back the old days, I can take my money there.

I’ll look back fondly on my Viansa days, and at the same time realize that we all move on. We’ll move on as well – we’re loyal to Lloyd, Kelly, and the  rest of that crew, but we’re done with Viansa. 

Please let me know if you need additional information from me in order to cancel my membership immediately.

Thank you,