Sunday, August 23, 2009

One Last Trip Before I Jump In

The past few weeks of vacation have flown by! Before I officially headed back to school, Ed and I decided to have one last trip together. So, a few days after he returned from back east, we headed up to Marin County.

We went midweek, which had me picturing the sleepy town of Sausalito with just a few people milling around in the afternoon. However, apparently this is a popular place to visit! The streets were teeming with tourists, enjoying the spectacular views and the nice weather. As soon as we parked, we quickly joined them, taking in the amazing San Francisco Skyline just across the bay.

While I could have stayed staring at that view all afternoon, we quickly realized that our hunger was going to need to be addressed, so we started walking down the main street, looking for a restaurant that was not too expensive but still looked tempting. We walked on, and on, and on, until we were getting so hungry that the price no longer became an issue. Finally, we picked a restaurant that was perfect. It had a bay view, good food, and prices that weren't to bad.

We enjoyed a somewhat leisurely meal, before heading off to check into the hotel.

We were staying at Casa Madrona, and had a pleasant surprise waiting for us. We had been upgraded to a room with a bay view!

While we could have relaxed all afternoon, we had bigger plans in mind.
Off we went to go hiking in the Marin Headlands. However, on our way, I convinced Ed to head up to the bluffs above the Golden Gate for some excellent photo opportunities. I hadn't been up there before, and just had to take advantage of the beautiful day! And I was playing tourist, after all :)

Soon, it was time to move onto our main event - a hike starting at Rodeo Beach. We decided to initially follow the start of the PCTR Pirate's Cove race, which means a very steep beginning - stairs and all! What it lacked in ease, it certainly made up for in view! When I did the 30k here it was incredibly foggy, so I loved soaking in this vistas this time around.

It was 4 1/2 miles total, with a sprinkling of running thrown in. I had gone on a very hard 5 1/2 mile hike on Sunday, a 3 mile hike monday, and my normal 'run' on tuesday, so the legs were tired to begin with! It was fun and beautiful though.

After all that exercise, we were ready for a good meal, and headed to the Spinnaker, where we had delicious food and a delicious view. It was the perfect end to our day.

The next morning, what better place to head than Mt Tam! We decided to go down to Muir Woods, since it had been a while since either of us had gone there. What I didn't expect were the hundreds who also felt that it was the perfect morning for a walk in the woods. At 10am it was packed. We also didn't realize how expensive the entrance fee would be. So, instead of our plan to head into the woods for a loop, we decided to start up on the Dipsea Trail and then loop down so we finished through the woods. It worked great, though the steep uphill and heat made for a challenging start.

Luckily, once we left the Dipsea, it was all downhill from there - literally. We had a good mile and a half of cushioned, redwood downhill, which is my absolute favorite kind of running. We ran almost all of this stretch, and it was wonderful!

Once we reached the valley floor, we found the crowds, as well as the old growth redwoods, and we finished with a leisurely walk through these towering giants

With 4.6 miles completed and smiles on our faces, what better place to head than to our future wedding site. We wanted to see it in the summer, since our visit in the spring featured green grasses that will be gone by the wedding day. What we saw made us even more excited for our ceremony. The golden grasses looked amazing, bringing out the deep blue of the ocean and the sky. The view of the San Francisco Skyline was spectacular.

Ed wasn't quite ready to be done with the trails, so after we soaked in the views, I dropped him off for another 6 or 7 miles, while I headed to Mountain Home Inn for a light lunch, a glass of wine, and beautiful views. It was gorgeous and relaxing and I enjoyed a very contented hour with The Age of Innocence. It was the perfect end to a day on Mt Tam. Ed joined me in what seemed like no time at all, and we headed back to the real world.

Now work is about to begin in full force. The classroom is coming together and I even got to meet my wonderful students at a Lemonade Social on Friday! Two more days of hard work and the year officially begins. I'm very excited about what I think will be a wonderful new teaching experience!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

My Wedding Website :)

My Wedding Website

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Without work to keep me busy, I've been working on wedding stuff! I have the invitations almost planned out, the dress, shoes and veil purchased, and chosen 'colors' (though when I 'revealed' the colors to Ed - blue and green, he responded with, "didn't nature decide those colors for us?) :)

I've realized that I don't handle lots of free time well...I need something to keep me busy :)

I am really enjoying being crafty, though. I've learned how to work with vellum, how different stamp inks work, and how to emboss, which will hopefully all come in handy at some point.

I think I am also procrastinating from some heavier thinking, however. At some point I really need to switch back to 'teacher' mode. I'm hoping that starting this Monday I will be able to get into my new classroom. I should really get going with lesson planning, but I'm not sure what curriculum I'm using yet. I also need to (unfortunately) give back my wonderful mac laptop that is owned by the last district. I've been putting this off, both because I really love this computer (my old one is slow and not all that user friendly) and because it seems somewhat symbolic - the last major tie that kept my connected to my last job.

While I hope and believe that this is the best choice for me and my future, it is scary to be starting 'all over' - a new school, new city, new kids, new colleagues, and a new principal. The population of the school is different, and will test me in new and exciting ways. It will be great, though - scary, but great.

Luckily, I have 'running' to keep me calm. 4 weeks down and I'm up to 16 minutes of my 30 minutes spent running. I'm even going to sign up for my first 'race' in years - a 10k at Santa Cruz, by PCTR, in September. Ed is going to do one of the longer distances, and has been encouraging me to sign up. I'll just hike it rather than run, but it'll be nice. I have a gift certificate from volunteering so it will even be technically free. No excuse not to sign up - and it will be a nice celebration of my completion of the running program. My hope is that I can consistently run 3 miles a day 3-4 days a week at the end of it. And we'll see where that leads...

So, here's to exciting new changes : )

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Secret Tag-a-long

My C25k program is going quite well - 3 weeks are officially finished and my leg isn't any worse, which I'm taking as a good sign. I have found that I am very good with schedules. Following my new one reminds me of when I was first training for my marathon. Granted, this schedule is for 3 days a week with 9 minutes of running each day, but still. I am also trying to do something active on both weekend days that does not involve running.

With that in mind, I decided to head off for a hike in Quicksilver, which I remembered as being very pretty and very popular. If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know about my irrational fear of mountain lions, and today was no different. Ed, being the amazing guy he is, has tried to convince me that I am actually more rational that most people - that it makes perfect sense to be scared of mountain lions, but it certainly is frustrating.

The walk started nicely enough, it was a beautiful late afternoon, with a light blue sky and a breeze upon the air. I made it about a tenth of a mile, when I reached the main trailhead and a huge display about the mountain lion population in the silicon valley. As I stood there reading the sign, two runners came past heading to their cars, but it seemed that there was no one else heading out. I stood there nervous and disheartened, and finally decided that I just didn't have the courage to continue.

I started heading back to the car, telling myself that I would head to the Los Gatos Creek Trail (a very popular paved path near my house) but I was frustrated with myself. Then, I saw her, heading my way. A woman walking briskly, wearing bright green pants, a long sleeved shirt, a pink flowery hat, sunglasses, and carrying an umbrella. As she rushed past me, I had an idea. I had done this a few times before, and it seemed like the best option. I would follow this confident fast walking woman. If I have someone in my line of sight, I don't feel panicked and about to be eaten. So, off I went, essentially stalking this unknowing woman.

With her as my guide, I was able to tackle the trails. I was so impressed by this woman! I was having a hugely tough time keeping up with her, and I was so glad to have someone push me and help me feel safe. As soon as I lost her from my sight, the sounds in the bushes became frightening, but once I had caught up, they became the wind and birds once more. I did start to get worried that maybe she would just keep walking forever, since she didn't seem to be losing any steam, but eventually she suddenly turned around and I got to see the face of my hiking inspiration. She was younger than I had thought, probably in her late 30s, and she smiled at me and said hi as she headed back down the trail. I waited about 15 seconds before I too turned around. I wanted to tell her what I was doing, to ask her if she minded that I tagged along and hoped that maybe she enjoyed the company too, but I stayed silent. I kept hoping that maybe I would get more confident on the way back and let her slip ahead, but every time I attempted that, I started getting scared and would run for a few moments until she was back in my sight.

As we got back to the main trail head I finally let her slip away, spending a few moments by myself on the trail and walking that final tenth of a paved mile back to the car.

All in all, it was an hour of good hiking and I was glad that I tagged along. I sincerely hope that that woman didn't mind me walking behind her, but I'm so thankful to her for giving me a way to hike. I am officially done with my summer job and less than 2 weeks from beginning my new job in my new district, which is a little nerve racking. Ed comes back in a week - and I cannot wait. Life is really good right now, and my being active is a definite part of that. I'm still a far cry from how I used to be (and still have my sore tingly leg) but I'm getting there.