Some would say that 72 hours is too short of time to travel between the coasts. This is true from a logistical standpoint as it is a lot of flying, however growing up I got used to the 5+ hour drive to Mammoth for just two days of skiing or hiking. Now if you had asked me Monday morning (after arriving back from my redeye flight), I would certainly agree. However, life is short and it’s about doing what you love and loving what you do.
Let’s just say the brainchild or problem started with Facebook. I was following my friend’s November Project thread (thank you Facebook algorithm) and simply saw the words “running for ice cream”. If you don’t know me already, I like to run and I like to eat. I try my darndest to eat healthy but I will not look like Kara Goucher (though I do love her and look up to her). That being said, whether it’s funny or true (both really), I like to have these runventures or #runtoeat adventures.
So back to ice cream. My friend Sarah had been talking with other NP Boston folks about their team for the North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco – a course that I had on my bucket list but wasn’t planning to race until I moved back to California. Their team happened to be named “Will Run for Tacos and Ice Cream” or something of the liking.
Well, once I commented on their thread, Sarah texted me asking if I was serious about running the relay and if I wanted to take their 4th spot. Once I researched flights, I decided to take the plunge. Yolo. I proceeded to encourage/guilt/demand that my sister create a team and fly up to spend the weekend with me and other November Project hooligans. (#notacult)
Spoiler: Meghan’s team won 4th in the entire Marathon Relay!
Thursday evening, I left from work a little too late but made it just in time for the plane to board at 6:20 (Thank you TSA Pre-Check for saving me) and between napping and finishing my Kindle book, the time flew by. It was a quick and cheap Uber pool to the city and I was in bed by 11:30. I have to give a BIG THANK YOU to my host Lindsay from NP_SF as she welcomed not 1, not 2, but 6 November Project folks into her apartment.
Friday morning, four of us met up with the SF “run-gang” en route to the morning workout at Twin Peaks. NP_SF one of the unique tribes that has a group of folks who run together to each workout. It’s based upon who is located close by and who can run there and back – anyway you look at it, it’s neat. As soon as we started, I was immediately winded and humbled by the hills – almost SF’s way of saying, welcome back to reality Kaitlin.
The workout itself was about 30 minutes of running over the hills, attempting to take pictures of the sunrise, tagging of shirts, and one mega-long cheer tunnel. Since a number of folks didn’t have to work until later or had the day off, we all caravanned by car or foot to breakfast nearby where we either thrilled the owner with all of our business or annoyed her to no end by our constant chatter, attempt to help deliver the breakfast plates, and slew of orders.
After breakfast, people dispersed amongst their friends and respective tribes, hoping to soak as much of the special sunshine that graced our presence all weekend. It was one of those glorious weekends where Carl the Fog was NO where to be seen and all you really needed was a light jacket. I picked up my backpack, ran a few more miles through the city and picked up our bibs for Saturday’s North Face marathon relay.
Walking and jogging through town brought back plenty of memories from college – like the time I tried to go to Lovefest (not realizing it was a rave…) or the two times I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, which started in Union Square. I loved wandering through the streets but also found that some areas were not very clean at all and the homeless population was overwhelming at times.
From the bib pickup, I went to meet my college friend Liz for lunch. I had been in Liz’s wedding back in August and it was a treat to be able to steal her away from her busy desk. 😉 We talked for almost two solid hours over the popular soup dumplings, which were delicious, and it felt like no time had passed. In between lunch and dinner, I had met up with some NP_NYC friends for ice cream – best treat of the weekend by far – and walked our way passed the famous Painted Ladies in Alamo Square.
By this time of the day I was feeling a bit gross and headed up to shower before walking the 4-5 miles back to Liz and crew. Yep, luck would have it that I was able to meet her after work, chat for two more hours, and then go to dinner at House of Nanking (located right next to the dumpling shop) with her husband Eddie and college friend Jesus. I don’t think my stomach has hurt so much from laughing in a long time. Overall great night.
Saturday aka RACE DAY! Meghan, who had arrived the night before, and I didn’t have to get to the bus until 8:30 but of course were wide awake at 6:30 or so. We picked up oatmeal at Starbucks and headed over to the school bus that would transport people to Marin. Part of the reason for choosing this race was the fact that I had never been anywhere north of San Francisco (meaning Marin, Sonoma, Napa, etc).
A majority of folks were running the marathon relay, which was 6.5 miles per leg and boy was this course hilly. As evident of how hilly this was, I love hills but my splits looked a little like this >> 7:30, 9:38, 11:02, 9:00, 6:52, 7:22, 7:54 (1/2 mile). Can you imagine that there were ultra-runners on that course too? Though I really don’t think I’ll ever sign up for a 50K or 50- miler, man those runners were inspiring. Basically badass and in such good shape. For now, I’ll stick to my half and full marathons.
It was a bit of a trek to get back to the city, mostly because the traffic had picked up from 8:30am and we had to cross through a one-way tunnel to get to the Golden Gate Bridge. To be honest, for a majority of the day we were out of cell service and it was a glorious feeling – not having to or being able to check anything or respond to anything. We could focus on the people there and soak in the outdoors.
In true November Project fashion there was an after-party however being exhausted is not conducive to mingling so after around about 75 minutes and I was asleep by 10pm. Pure bliss.
Sunday was the last day in the city and with a red-eye flight on the horizon, I was left with plenty of time to explore. Meghan and I set off for Golden Gate Park where we dragged our sore quads through 9 miles of hills and trails. We were able to see the bison pasture AND the ocean AND end with bacon sandwiches so it was all totally worth it.
We cleaned up and then walked down to the Marina district, where we were meeting another one of my college friends for lunch. I had recommended Seed+Salt since I had been salivating over various Instagram blogger photos for months. Who knows if I ordered wrong or vegan food just isn’t very appealing in real life – I was disappointed with the faux cobb. But, we made up for it by walking up to Russian Hill, past the famous Lombard Street, and over to Swenson’s Creamery.
Then back down the hill to the Marina where Alexis (college friend) so nicely drove us back to where we were staying. Meghan caught an uber to the airport and I took one to Tartine where I was meeting a few friends. We had attempted to get into the hip Flour+Water but after assessing the situation – high prices for small amounts of food and potentially long wait – I made a game-time decision to get Thai around the corner. Three of us had flights to catch and were not going to risk missing our flights over a restaurant.
Though I’m not normally a fan, I sweet-talked my way into a table for us and had some of the best curry of my life – Thai was an excellent decision. From there, we jumped into an uber and headed to the airport, maybe a bit too early but better safe than sorry.
It sure was a weekend for the records, could have been longer but I’m glad that I made it happen regardless. Here’s to friends, new experiences, and to future adventures!