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Archive for the ‘San Diego’ Category

Yes, I know my title sounds overly dramatic, but I needed to finally finish out our weekend in La Jolla (since it was already more than a week ago!). I promised I’d post about eating in Encinitas (following up my post about eating vegan in La Jolla).

After the race, we cleaned up, checked out, then headed up the coast toward Encinitas. North County San Diego has been our hang out for a long time. I went to high school in Fallbrook, so ‘going to the beach’ meant the Leucadia/Encinitas area. Early in our relationship (which just hit the 15 year mark this month!), Alan and I would spend a couple weekends a month during the summer. We’d run, go to the beach, enjoy the cool weather, then when we started cycling, we’d bring our bikes and ride. I even have a favorite spa that I visit occasionally in Leucadia.

Because we love the area so much, we were very happy when we went vegetarian that there were many ‘veggie-friendly’ restaurants there, like the Roxy, Swami’s, and even my favorite Italian restaurant when I ate meat, Gusto’s. So, when we headed north last weekend, I had a destination in mind, the Lotus Cafe.

Although they serve meat, they are still very veggie/vegan friendly. Their menu explicitly designates what is vegetarian, what is vegan or can be made vegan, or what is vegan with the exception of containing honey. It is a very useful tool.

By the time we arrived, I was really hungry. After running the half marathon, I had nibbled on a banana, but I hadn’t felt very good, so that was all that I ate. Fortunately, I was feeling better and my appetite had returned. Unfortunately, the line (one orders at the counter, then they bring it to your table) was out the front door. We contemplated going somewhere else, but figured we’d spend the same amount of time looking for another place that might be just as busy. We grabbed a couple menus and settled in to wait.

The line moved quickly and we soon made our way to the counter. The young lady who took our order was very friendly and helpful. I wanted food right away, so I ordered the lentil soup that was on special, plus the ‘Tempting Tamale.’ Alan ordered the “Avocado Heaven” sandwich, was was billed as honey vegan because the bread contained honey.

My soup came quickly and I dug in. It came with a slice of whole grain bread, which I verified with our server that was vegan. She assured me that it was. The soup was tasty, but not hot enough. I was way too hungry to wait any longer, so I started eating it anyway. Our entrees were served quickly, before I finished the soup. Usually, that annoys me, but I was hungry enough to just be happy to see more food.

Because our main courses came so quickly, I was able to compare my slice of bread with the bread that Alan’s sandwich was on (I didn’t take a picture). They looked exactly the same! Mine was supposed to be vegan, and his had honey in it. Hmmm. Not being in the mood for that kind of discussion, I just let it go and did not eat the bread.

My tamale was indeed tempting. It was served with rice, beans, a small salad, and a sauce that could have been a little spicier. It was still very good and hit the spot.

Our meal, including the soup, came to about $20. Not cheap, but not too bad for a tasty, healthy lunch. I would recommend the Lotus Cafe, but make sure that you ask questions (just like you would at any non-vegan restaurant) to make sure you are getting what you want. The service was fast and friendly and the food was good. There is a pleasant ambiance and lot of patio seating. I’ll be back.

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During this past weekend in La Jolla, I did do a few things besides running the La Jolla Half Marathon. We had gorgeous weather, especially on Saturday, when it was about 85 degrees (very warm for the coastline in San Diego), sunny and perfect. It was cooler on Sunday, but it was great running weather. Here the rest of our weekend in a (rather larger) nutshell:

The Expo

After sitting through some pretty horrendous traffic (the few miles from the freeway to downtown La Jolla took about 30 minutes) we stopped by the expo, for Alan to check in with the race director, and for me to pick up my race packet. Expo is a rather grand word for this event, which exists of race check-in, packet and t-shirt pick up, along with six or eight vendor booths. After getting our business done, we took about 10 minutes to wander through. Nothing real exciting, although one booth offered some t-shirts with cute running sayings, such as “If you see me collapse, please pause my Garmin,”  “This seemed like a good idea 3 months ago,” and “If found on ground, please drag across the finish line.” My favorites, because they seem so true to me are, “The older I get, the faster I was,” “Toenails are for sissies,” and my favorite, all time cross country shirt, “My sport is your sport’s punishment.”

The best of all was: “You know you’re a runner when…” (on the front of the shirt) On the back:

  • You can recite the dialogue from chariots of fire.
  • Your vacations are planned around marathons.
  • You lube up to get into your clothes to prevent chafing.
  • Your friends don’t call you anymore to go out on Saturday nights.
  • The majority of t-shirts in your closet have sponsors and race dates on them.
  • You consider gels a food group.
  • You consider a half marathon a good “training” run.
  • You can say fartlek without laughing.
  • You buy advil and Epsom salts in bulk.
  • You can correctly spell plantar fasciitis.

The problem was,  I wanted them all, so in the end I couldn’t decide and bought none. I did get this, though: Mine is pink. I got it to go with my license plate, which is RNINGRL. Perfect, no? All these items were from One More Mile and they had tons more sayings on their shirts–something for everyone!

Old Friends

After the expo, we headed over to the La Jolla Cove Suites to check in. Our plan is always to get to the hotel, park the car, then not use it again until we leave. The traffic along the coast is always pretty bad, and getting from point A to point B is challenging. We dropped off our bags, then walked the few hundred feet to the La Jolla Cove. Even at about 4:00, the day was still so warm no sweater was necessary.

I have some friends that take great self photos, but not me.

We took a stroll along the path, then headed up to town for a little window shopping. We stopped at the La Valencia, which is an old, elegant hotel that looks out over the ocean, for a glass of wine. Does two years in a row make a tradition? If so, that’s what our stop is. This year we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the warm weather.

My Darling Husband

What really made this year special, though, was that I was going to see someone who I hadn’t seen for more than 38 years! My first best friend! Kathi, who I met the first day we moved to Los Alamitos when we were both three years old! She lived on the street behind me and we were inseparable all through elementary school. Birthday parties, swimming (we had the pool and we both were always in it), Disneyland, all the things that young girls share when they are best friends. I was a year ahead of her in school (due to a cut-off date), so unfortunately, we started to grow apart as I got into junior high school. We moved out of Orange County as I was entering my junior year of high school, and I hadn’t seen her since.

We reconnected, not surprisingly, through Facebook. All that had really amounted to, up to this point, though, was some reminiscing on each others’ wall. When I put a call out last week for advice about whether to run the race, Kathi let me know that she would be in La Jolla that very weekend. We exchanged phone numbers and she happened to call while we were at the La Valencia, so we decided to meet there.

We really had a great time. It was so much fun, catching up, meeting Kathi’s husband, Kirk, talking about old times, new times. The time passed way too quickly, especially for two people that needed to wake up at 4:00 the next morning and still had not had dinner (that would be Alan and me). Finally, after too short a time, we said our goodbyes. Hopefully, it won’t be another 38 years before we see each other again.

I have to apologize, though. In this short period of time since I knew I was going to see Kathi again, I haven’t been able to find any old pictures of our childhood together. I’m sure I have them somewhere and I’ll keep looking and post them when I find them, but until then I’ll have to leave you with this very bad photo that Alan took on Saturday. Sorry, Kathi.

With that I’ll end part one of the rest of our weekend in La Jolla. Next post I will talk about eating vegan in La Jolla.

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>I had a hard time deciding a title for this post. Based on my experiences during the San Diego Century on Saturday, there were several that would aptly describe the ride:

Title #1  Would You Like Some (Soy) Cheese (with that Whine)?

It was cold, there was too much climbing. While I was climbing it was too hot (the only time the sun came out all day). They don’t have veggie sandwiches at the lunch stop (they did last year, what happened?). Was there this much climbing on last years ride? (there was) Where the hell did this wind come from? Ouch, my knees (my back, my neck, my “you know what”). How am I ever going to ride two times this distance?

One of the (seems like many) climbs of the day.

Yes, I had a litany of complaints during my ride. However, I kept them to myself until this blogging moment. Basically, that is because I had no one to complain to.  Alan, while he stays close and waits for me during the ride, doesn’t spend a whole lot of time riding side by side. And, I figured if I laid it all out for the random folks that I rode with during the day, they’d either hastily ride away, wither me with a nasty look, or trump me with a serious ailment that they had overcome to accomplish a one hundred mile bike ride. So, in the spirit of  “It’s my blog and I’ll bitch if I want to,” read on (if you want to).

 It wasn’t long before I was looking at Alan’s rear.

The weather…was great, actually. I chose to dress fairly light so that I wouldn’t have to haul extra clothing after the weather warmed up.  Since it never really warmed up, I was cold for most of the day. With the exception, of course, of the climbs, where the sun seemed to make a brief appearance, only to hide again when I began my descents. The only clothing change I had to make throughout the day was to pull down my arm warmers from time to time as I climbed, then pull them back up again as soon as I reached the top of the hill. There was some wind has we headed back from Ramona, but it really wasn’t too bad (although the cross wind while riding almost 40 mph on some the descents was, hmmmn, interesting, shall we say?).

 Dang, we’re cute!

I was disappointed that there were no veggie sandwiches available at the lunch stop this year.  When I asked, the (very nice) volunteer said, “No,” then very helpfully pointed at yet another PB&J. I refrained from smacking her, and, yes, ate another peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I swear there seemed to be more climbing this year.  I know that’s not true, but I swear there was more climbing this year.  Total ascent (according to Garmin):  6,546. Unbelievably, it says the total descent was 6,636. So, I actually was going downhill more than uphill.

 Seemed like an awful lot of “up” in this ride

As for my aching body, well, what the hell to you expect when you ride 104 miles?

The serious question for me, though, is that I plan to ride almost twice as far in about a month. As an experienced endurance athlete, I realize that your mindset is as important as your training when you attempt an event such as a double century.  For example, if I was running a half marathon, and completed it, I would have a difficult time heading out and doing another half marathon.  But if my goal was a full marathon, my brain as well as my training would get me there. Does that make sense?  I hope so, because I’m counting on it.

Title #2  I See Dead…Animals

I don’t want to write too much about this, because I love animals and it makes me sad, but I must have seen 15 or more dead, squished carcasses on this ride.  Birds, snakes, rabbits, and many unidentifiable creatures. No, I didn’t take pictures. Just slow down, people!

Title #3 It’s a Beautiful Day for a Bike Ride (the winner!)

With names like the Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove, you would expect the San Diego Century to be a scenic ride. It lived up to expectations this year. With help from the winter rains, the wildflowers were amazing, so many colors enlivening the ride.  I wish that I could stop and photograph all the flowers along the way. Since that wasn’t going to happen, enjoy these:

After all was said, title #3 won out. A combination of the beauty of the scenery, the great people (volunteers and other riders), great support, a change of route, which bypassed the downtown Ramona area and improved the course, and excellent weather, all add up to an outstanding ride. And…this year, guess what I got…?

That’s right, they gave out finisher’s medals this year. I will add it to my collection of running medals, but in the meantime, my bike looks proud to wear it:

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The Future is You is the theme of the 29th annual IHRSA Convention, which I attended last week. The International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, with a membership of over 10,000, is the fitness industry’s only global trade association. With thousands in attendance from 77 countries, educational opportunities, a sensational line-up of speakers and a huge trade show, it is one of the largest conventions aimed at the fitness industry. It was held at the San Diego Convention Center this year, which made it all the more convenient for me to attend.

I drove down Wednesday morning, leaving early enough to make it to the first session that I wanted to attend. Even though I hit some traffic, I arrived and was parked by about 8:45. I hurried in to register and pick up my badge, then rushed over to “Strategic Planning for Department Managers and Club Managers,” led by Brent Darden, owner and general manager of Telos Fitness Center in Dallas, Texas.

The best speakers at these kind of events not only inform, they inspire, energize, and motivate, and Mr. Darden did all of that. His suggestions included financial and marketing plans, and, using his club as an example, offered real solutions and ideas to implement these plans.

It was now noon, and my next session was at 1:30. I decided to find a place for lunch. It can be a challenge for a vegetarian to find a healthy meal in a new area (not counting veggie burgers and pasta marinara). I have an app for my phone, which I downloaded from Happycow.net, an online, veggie eating guide, so I decided to try it out. I didn’t want to take my car out of parking, so I was looking for something within walking distance. The app shows vegetarian, vegan, and veg-friendly restaurants, using the GPS on the phone to give you directions. Users write reviews and rate the various restaurants.

I decided to try Pokez, a Mexican Restaurant, which the app stated “serves meat, vegan options available. Grungy cafe popular with youngsters.” I picked it because it was about .7 miles from the Convention Center, about 15 minutes at a brisk pace. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door, were the tattooed, pierced, nonchalant waiters. The next thing I noticed was that I was definitely the oldest person in the restaurant. Oh well, once I checked the menu I was happy that I had picked Pokez. I ordered a vegan tofu, potato and mushroom burrito, and it was huge and delicious. I could only eat half and not wanting to waste my $6 investment, had the leftovers packed up to go.
The next session I attended was the Women’s Leadership Summit, a first time event for IHRSA. A panel of successful women discussed their accomplishments and their methods for overcoming the challenges women face in starting and running a successful fitness business. After a short break, I attended “Success Through Participation – Create a Dependable Non-Dues Revenue Stream,” led by Thomas Kulp, Executive Director of Universal Athletic Club.

By this time, it was 4:30 and I had one more session to attend. Chris Berman, ESPN Anchor, Host, and Commentator was speaking at 5:00 on the topic of teamwork. collaboration and versatility. Mr. Berman is an interesting and humorous speaker, and while I didn’t quite see the connection with the fitness industry, I enjoyed his presentation.
It was close to 7:00 when I finally checked in to my hotel. Following a long day, which started when I woke up at 4:00 am, I was exhausted, so I unpacked and decided not to attend the opening banquet. Instead, I finished up my lunchtime burrito, took off my shoes, and stretched out on the huge bed.

First up on Thursday morning is Keynote Speaker Malcolm Gladwell. Staff writer for the New Yorker, best selling author of The Tipping Point and Blink, Mr. Gladwell’s presentation was one of the highlights of the entire convention. He spoke about change and the people, the connectors, who spread the word of change. He says that even big changes can happen quickly and that you may need to reframe how you look at things. The fitness industry needs to reframe fitness, so that it is not seen as a necessary evil, but as a social, necessary, and even fun experience.

My next session, Making Group X Personal and Profitable, started out well, with a panel of industry leaders making some excellent general suggestions for increasing profitability of a group exercise program. It was a Supplier’s Seminar, though, sponsored by one of the trade show vendors, in this case Polar, USA. This meant that they had a product to sell, the Polar Cardio GX System. While I can see the need for clubs with a certain population, I didn’t feel that my country club fitness center (average age about 65) would benefit.

Lunchtime again. I learned one thing from my long walk the previous day. That was “wear comfortable shoes!” I knew that if I was going to explore San Diego’s vegetarian options by foot, I’d have to do some walking. Today I planned to visit “La Gran Tapa,” which according to Happy Cow was “an authentic Spanish restaurant that is conscious of vegetarian diet.” The review said that although the restaurant served meat, the menu was marked to denote vegetarian and vegan options.
Unfortunately, in the year or so since the last review, the restaurant apparently changed their menu, and there were no such designations. The only item, aside from a salad, marked “vegetarian” (optional) was the Paella Valenciana, which at $18 (on the lunch menu!), seemed a little high. The server, when I mentioned this, helpfully offered a half order, which I decided to order. It was delicious, and at $9, a reasonable price (and quantity) for lunch.
After lunch, I decided to hit the trade show for a bit. It really is amazing and takes a couple days to completely cover. The trade show utilizes all the halls of the convention center, and offers acres and acres of fitness equipment, fitness tools and toys, flooring options, locker room supplies, and more. All the big equipment suppliers are there and they bring all their “stuff.” They haul in treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight equipment and it is all the newest, shiniest and “hippest” available. They have instructors leading workouts, spinning classes, demonstrating a variety of equipment. At one booth, a young woman ran on a treadmill for about four hours. At another, instructors had volunteers hanging practically by their feet as they learned to use the TRX Suspension Training system. Power Plate vibration training, Jump Sport trampolines, Peak Pilates, Hydromassage, Ab Coaster, Barefoot Training, Positive Player multiplayer dancing, and many, many more, all demonstrating their products. Here is a link to several videos of the trade show.

I love this equipment!

Probably the weirdest exercise equipment that I saw at the trade show

That brings me to Thursday afternoon. When I continue, I will tell the inspirational story of Kristina Ripatti, former LAPD police officer, shot and paralyzed in June, 2006. Of all the speakers and sessions that I attended, Kristina (shown below with her husband, also LAPD), affected me the most. Stay tuned…

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