The Best Post Ever Written

It's such a relief that I have something better to post about than New Years.  Resolutions and reflections are just fine on March 23rd and August 8th, I'm not buying the hype.  I'm talking about my birthday instead.

I did the obviously best thing one could do on their birthday.

Went on a rain hike!

So all of December has been delightfully perfect, sunny, clear clouds.  Starting a few weeks ago, when the Gentleman asked me what I wanted to do for the Big Day, I said 1) Hike, 2) fancy dinner, 3) Portlandia tour (to be explained later).

We woke up on my birthday, and as we are on long-weekend-vacation mode (which is to say not checking the internet), we assumed it was lovely out just like the rest of December.

Then we stepped onto the trails of Tilden park in Berkeley, and within about 50 yards I was more or less drowning, quicksand style, in thick gloopy mud.

Birthday Yum

We turned around and found a different trail.  I'm so glad we didn't bail due to the mud, which we almost did.  The other trails were great.  We hiked in a thick fog with gentle drizzle, nobody but die-hard dog owners out for a walk in sight.

My legs were wiped by the end.  I'm not in hiking shape apparently.  We whipped home, glammed ourselves up, and did some Glamour Shots so that I will never forget how hot I was the day I turned 28.

Secret: those are thermals, not tights. You're looking at my underwear.


I do this for YOU.  For the BLOG.  Life is hard

For every 3 pictures of the lady, the gentleman gets to have his moment.

Then we headed out to the dreaded city....San Francisco....for dinner at the exceptionally fancy and snobby (in a good way) Boulevard restaurant.

We weren't able to get reservations, which is a common side-affect of having a birthday the day before New Years, so we wanted to get there shortly after they opened at 5:30 to get seats.  Luckily, senior citizen hour worked for us because the hike had worked up an appetite.

Then we ordered a $hit-ton.  3 appetizers, and then 2 more appetizers for my entree (I was kind of trying to create my personalized tasting menu) and one entree for the Gentleman.

I hated this.  It was abalone.  I think I did not know what abalone was. 

Half-eaten scallops.  I love scallops.

This dish killed me.  I still feel like a blimp today.  Truffle risotto with hazelnuts and an enormous pile of burratta cheese.

The Gentleman's pork with kabocha gnocchi and brussel sprouts.

My lobster ravioli

and my crab cake.  I really did my part to ruin the Ocean tonight.

I was loosening my belt as each one came out.  Literally.

looking for extra space to fit my growing stomach.


3:1 ratio.  Don't forget.

We dined in San Francisco because we were going to a show afterwards in San Francisco.  Don't you dare think it was because the East Bay doesn't have awesome food.  East Bay, and especially Oakland, has kickass food.  And unlike San Francisco's restaurants, you usually don't have to sell a liver to secure a reservation.  Or a parking spot.

The show? A tour of Portlandia.  Give me a shout-out if you know and love this sketch comedy show....and if you don't already love it, click on that link.  It should be no secret that I am an SNL groupie.  I love Fred Armisen, and while I'm name dropping, these two guys are pretty cool too.

Me and my GOOD friend Jason Sudeikis.  2009.

My sister and I then tried to seduce Will Forte.  2009.

 Ok.  Back to 2011.  Portlandia.

we waited in line forever....and watched a homeless dude approach line-waiters with a palm full of bud.  The hipsters happily paid for some. 

I decided I look good enough here that it warranted facebook profile status.

we decided this is going to be our new annoying couple thing that we will throw at people instead of peace signs.

Fred Armisen on the left, Carrie Brownstein on the right.  Music + comedy.

In character as feminist bookstore owners

Dana Carvey stopped by.  Choppin Brocco-li.  Oh, you young kids wouldn't get it.

Birthday gifts? The Gentleman got me my favorite racing/running shorts -- the Oiselle distance running short -- in two beautiful colors.  I only had them in black, and could not find any other colors in my size online, so score on the find! 

Between these and the two pairs of running shorts I got from Santa, I'm pretty sure I won't have to run in just underwear anymore.  I think they must have been trying to tell me something...

This week in running was a gradual increase from the last few weeks, as I get back in my groove post-marathon.  52 miles.

I'm ending the year with just about 3200 miles.  I get that this is a lot.  But when I crunch the numbers like the mathlete that I am, that's less than 10 miles a day (3650 miles/year.  Math skillz).  3200 miles is an average of 8.7 miles per day.  8 miles is a short run in my book, so my annual mileage doesn't seem absurd at all. 

3 cheers for running!  I have a real giveaway coming up in my next post, so SIT STILL exactly where you are sitting in front of your computer until I post it.  Don't move.  Or you will not win.

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Asia women hot wallpaper

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Asia women hot wallpaper

December 26th is the Saddest Day of the Year

Just like Monday is the worst day of the week.  You are as far away as possible from the best day of the year.   It's a horrible thought.  Luckily for me, I have the dangling carrot of my birthday (December 30) to keep me from being too morose about Christmas being behind me.

Christmas really is an essential time of year for my running-self.

96% of all my running gear is gifted to me at Christmas.  Last year I got my first ever running watch (a Garmin Forerunner 305) which completely changed the way I run (read: faster).  I also received a pair of Saucony Kinvara's after reading other blogger's rave about them (hated them) and the always elusive running shorts with pockets (not a successful pair because the pockets had no zipper or velcro -- I lost $5 the first time I wore them).

This year, the only running-related item on my wishlist was running books.  I requested this with the goal of learning more about training plans, since I am uninformed enough to have just recently learned what the term "tempo" meant.  And also learned that the second-half of my marathons are hurt by my neglect of Tempo runs! 

I received THREE books.  One is Hal Higdon's marathon book, which unfortunately I am finding very dull as it is clearly directed at beginners and primarily for inspiration to new runners.  The first half of the book is testimonials from people regarding their first marathon experience.  Blahhhh.  Since his training plans are for free on the internet, this one will hopefully be returned and exchanged for his book "Run Fast".

Doc's guide to running, and this doc doesn't say "don't run, use the elliptical"

The other two books have potential as they really focus on injury prevention and understanding.  One is full of pages of strength-training moves, which I love. 

The next closest thing to running-related was my request for an Ipad (which I got!), and I will likely use it for blogging and maybe any useful running-related apps.  Recommendations for Apps are now welcome!

Other than that, Santa was clearly peeping on my blog.  Santa knew that a) I was scrappy and wore long socks as arm-warmers at CIM, and b) that I like to wear bright shirts when I race.

bright shirts

arm warmers

to replace my scrappy use of socks

I previously blogged about thinking arm-warmers were a waste of money when long socks cost $2 and can be worn as arm warmers.  I guess my mom (Santa) is hinting at me to stop acting like a bag-lady and use real running gear.

I also got two pairs of successful (so far) running shorts with one large pocket each.

Reebok.  Which apparently is a breed of African antelope, as I learned during a Christmas trivia game.

And now on to the good pictures, which include people instead of just things.

Clutching my prized stocking with the Gentleman's family on Christmas morning

Immediately wearing the cute scarf in my stocking.  Gentleman is wearing the awesome sweater I gifted him.

Thank you to everyone for the happy anniversary wishes last week...we celebrated with something very special that I will share someday soon

Nephew Robert, in the excellent Peruvian sweater we bought him on our trip to Peru.  OK, it was a Peruvian store in Sacramento.

Gift madness at my family's home Christmas afternoon

I'm renaming this blog "fuzzy pictures."  It always happens!

Somehow I think this picture may end up in a "things white people like" book.  "Posing in front of decorated Christmas trees"
There was a point on Christmas day when I was SO full that I waddled over to the Gentleman and said "I'm almost jealous that you have the flu so that you didn't get caught in the gluttony trap."  And then I ate 23 more white-chocolate-peppermint pretzels.

What running-related gifts did you get?