Thursday, August 30, 2012

AFC 5K and San Diego Nighttime Zoo

I signed up months ago to run the America's Finest City 5K on August 19th with some co-workers. I was so glad I didn't consider running the half marathon, because it was really hot and humid that day - I would've been miserable!  New rule: Races should not be scheduled in August! 

I was pretty out of shape for this run, since I hurt my foot a couple of months ago and have hardly run since then.  I'm able to handle short distances like this okay, but then my foot hurts for two days afterwards, so I'm still taking time off.

The race scenery was beautiful since we ran 3.1 miles through San Diego's famous Balboa Park, but it was hilly, too.  I had never had too many problems during a 5K before, but the lack of training + hills + humidity really got to me and I had to stop and walk a few times to catch my breath. 

 Dan and I at the start/finish line of the 5K.

 Co-workers and friends

I dragged Dan out of bed at 5:15 am to drive me to this race, so he figured he might as well get a run in while he was up anyway.  I was glad he was beside me since I think I took fewer walking breaks with him there.  Note my superhuman ability to spot the cameras during a race so I can smile for all my pictures. We each have our God-given talents, and I'm just glad mine has such far-reaching benefits for humanity. 

 My co-worker Janeece and I sweating profusely after the race. She's training for a half marathon on Labor Day, so she ran to the 5K site and back home again afterwards for a total 9-mile run!

 We stuck around to watch the half marathon winners cross the finish line.  This man won the race and finished in 1 hour 3 minutes.  That's a sub-5-minute mile for over 13 hilly miles! He didn't even look winded at the end.

 And I got this blurry photo of the first female finisher, whose time was 1 hour 16 minutes. She immediately starting limping and clutching her thigh after she crossed the finish line, so she apparently ran that fast with an injury. I just need to shave an hour off my half marathon time and I'll definitely beat her next year, no big deal.

We stopped for a picture at Balboa Park's pretty fountain before leaving to grab a big post-run breakfast at the Broken Yolk

Another highlight this month was getting to spend an evening at the zoo with our friends, Chris and Judy and their sons Ian and Jon.  Chris leads the Bible study I attend every Monday night, but Dan hardly ever gets to see their family.  The zoo has a nighttime program every summer, so we joined them last Saturday evening to check out the special events. The biggest show was a Chinese acrobat show that featured the most talented children on the planet. They had us all mesmerized for 45 minutes with their flipping/ balancing/ juggling/ flexibility skills.  Chris was recording it, and when their family watched the video later that week, he said they were just as entertained by Dan's enthusiastic commentary as they were by the performers, since he was sitting right next to Chris (and the video camera) shouting "No Way!" "That was Awesome!" "Holy Cow!" when something amazing happened. 

Afterwards, we strolled around the zoo, stopping to watch the smaller nighttime shows as we went.  It was a different perspective for us since we had only gone to see the animals in the past, and we had a lot of fun spending time with our friends. 

Some synchronized kid-juggling

The little kid on top back-flipped off the others and was caught by some of the "spotters" below 

This girl used her legs & feet to balance & spin all kinds of heavy objects.
 Chris and Judy said that Ian and Jon tried to do Chinese acrobat tricks all week after watching the show.

We did not. That would most likely end in an emergency room visit.
 We didn't see too many animals at the zoo that day, but we had a lot of fun hanging out with these two monkeys!  They're growing up so fast!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Four Ladies, One Bathroom, and Dan

My mom, Aunt Jane, and Aunt Margaret had the brilliant idea of coming to San Diego for a girls' vacation this summer. They had a great time and Dan and I loved having them here! While we were working, they explored the beaches, Balboa Park, and Old Town. They loved the daytime temperatures which were in the low 70s, especially since they were escaping 100 degree weather back home in Texas. At the end of each day, we met back at our house for dinner and played games or watched the Olympics. And I didn't have to do dishes all week, which was like a little slice of heaven.

Aunt Jane stayed in our spare bedroom and my mom and Aunt Margaret shared a hotel near our house. This was so Dan wouldn't have to use the bathroom in the backyard all week, since we only have one tiny bathroom in our rental house. But he was out of luck on the weekend mornings when we were all getting ready to go out for the day. Every time he took a step towards the bathroom, the door was slammed in his face again. Good thing he loves us! 

We finally got to spend the whole day together on Saturday.  Dan took us on a driving tour to visit the sights they hadn't already seen.  We stopped at La Jolla Cove, one of the prettiest areas in San Diego where you can usually see lots of marine animals and birds. 
(left to right) Aunt Jane, Aunt Margaret and my mom enjoying the view at La Jolla Cove. We only saw two sea lions because there were so many people swimming and snorkeling that day.
We drove to the Torrey Pines Glider Port, where we watched the paragliders take off and land
My mom and I
We could've paid to take a tandem ride, but we decided to keep our feet on the ground that day. Dan and I may go back for a ride sometime, though!

After the glider port, we visited downtown, Seaport Village, and Coronado Island.

Since Dan had us at his mercy, he made us eat at In-N-Out Burger for lunch. Just kidding, it was on Aunt Jane's "to do" list since she had never eaten at the famous California burger joint.  She gave it two thumbs up.

Speaking of Dan's favorite foods, he changed their lives forever by introducing them to the California Burrito. I debated whether or not to add a picture since the sight might turn you away forever, but trust me - it's amazing. It's a huge burrito filled with carne asada (skirt steak that's been marinated and chopped), french fries, salsa, and cheese. We split some burritos for dinner that night with freshly made chips, salsa, and guacamole. If that's not a good reason to blow off your diet, I don't know what is. 
On Sunday after church, I took my mom and Aunt Jane to tour Balboa Park's International Cottages.  They were having a Lithuanian festival where they showcased the country's music and folk dances.  There are about 20 cottages representing different countries, and they host festivals featuring one country at a time over the course of the summer. Mom and Aunt Jane are posing next to a display at the Sweden Cottage (they're half Swedish).
And on Sunday night, we visited the Crown Jewel of our city - the roller skating rink where Dan plays hockey. If you can imagine somehow stepping inside a 7th grade boy's sweaty gym sneaker, it will give you an idea of the sights and smells we experienced to cheer Dan on. Good thing we love him so much!

On Monday, I got off work early and joined my mom and aunts on a trip to the zoo! We walked the entire park (no minor feat!) to see the animals up close, then ended the day by riding the tour bus around the zoo again. We saw a lot of animals out and about since it wasn't too hot.

The jaguar had two cute new cubs! The other one was playing in a corner where I couldn't get a good picture of it.

This lioness was either roaring at us or had a really bad hairball. It was hard to tell.

We're so glad my mom and aunts decided to come to San Diego for their vacation! It made our month! Now that you know this is where the cool people come, you can plan your trip here, too. :)