The race on Saturday was completely epic. However, I did spend Thursday through Monday in San Francisco with Laura and we did some pretty awesome stuff outside of running.
This is what ultrarunners do on vacation.
We arrived on Thursday around 11 and found each other at the airport. I had left Ithaca at 5AM, so getting to San Francisco and finally eating felt really relaxing. Sure, we had to run a little bit on Saturday, but largely, this was a vacation for me. I have only been on a plane one time before, almost 10 years ago as a freshman in college.
Laura and I navigated the airport and bus system and made it to the North Face store downtown to pick up our race bibs. Laura had the brilliant idea to walk to our hotel which was less than two miles away. No big deal right?
Well, San Francisco is essentially steep uphill and downhills everywhere. Once we got out of downtown, we walked through China Town and Little Italy before getting to this really steep incline right before our hotel. This would have been a challenge without 100 pounds of luggage…but you know ultrarunners, we never do anything half-assed.
Well, we made it up the hill and down the next and checked into our hotel. I went on a quick 3 mile jog around the bay before meeting Laura at Whole Foods for dinner. She had another brilliant idea (this time it was actually a good one) to stay as close to our east coast sleep schedules as possible, because of the early race start. After dinner, I went to bed.
On Friday I woke up around 5:30 and took a dark tour of Lombard street (where we were staying) running about 5 miles. I ate breakfast and decided to go back to China Town and explore the city just in case the race went badly and I couldn’t move. Laura had to meet with her crew to plan her racing strategy so I went solo.
The produce in China Town was so cheap! I got a bag of fruit that would probably have cost $8 in New York for $2! There were also a lot of different foods I wanted to try (and actually have in my freezer waiting for me at home) but refrained because of the whole running thing. The day before I left for SF I went to the Asian market in Ithaca for the first time (since I’m moving ya know) and bought steamed buns and rice balls that are now ready for me when I return. This was a good strategy so I didn’t buy so much in China Town. I didn’t have enough room in my bags.
After walking around for the morning, I found a plant based, gluten-free place called Seed + Salt near the Marina and only 0.6 miles from the hotel. This café was amazing! All the options were both delicious and made with ingredients I knew I could trust in my system for the race.
I got loaded toast (#basic). One side was a nut and seed bread topped with almond butter and homemade raspberry chia jam. The other side was a more traditional gluten-free bread topped with dill cashew cream cheese and sprouts. My favorite part was the nut and seed bread. It was so hearty and had a rich depth of flavor. The café itself was really bright and not overpriced. It was modern and definitely a place I could see myself frequently visiting if I lived in town.
I made it back to the hotel, relaxed until Laura got back from her meeting and then went back to Whole Foods with her to get dinner. Laura thinks, and I agree, that having a place where you can get predictable foods is important before the race. We ate and then hit bed early.
Well, I ate a lot of stuff during the race, but that’s boring, so I’ll skip that. If you’re interested, read my race recap or message me directly.
The night of the race, we could barely walk, so we settled on eating at The Plant Café Organic because it was super close to the hotel. The food was fantastic. We both got the Plant Burger which was made with beets, lentils and other good stuff. There were sautéed onions and an aoili dressing also on the sandwich. I asked for a sourdough bun, but they gave me bread. I didn’t care, I just wanted to eat as besides a Clifbar right after the race, I hadn’t eaten yet. It came with a side salad which was good. Fries would have been better but I didn’t want to pay the extra $2.
We walked back to the hotel, I ate another Clifbar, almond butter packet and apple and then got in bed.
I didn’t sleep very well because my body was bruised so each time I moved I could feel some pain.
On Sunday Laura and I got up at 5:30ish to get back on the bus to the starting line of the race (there was a half marathon, 10k and 5k happening) to get my drop bags which I didn’t use at all during the race. I had shoes and socks and other stuff in them, but I didn’t really need them so I didn’t bother asking at the aid stations.
I found out my iPod and wireless headphones were either stolen or fell out of my bag during transport. That sucks. Laurel, I know what I want for Christmas.
We headed back from the start line and walked to Whole Foods (yes, this is what vegans do) for donuts and breakfast. We planned to just get a ton of donuts and eat them, but once we saw the hot foods bar, decided to get both!
After brunch, we found the house from the TV show Full House and of course had to take pictures. I wanted to get closer, but Laura reminded me “uh, Ellie, that is actually someone’s house!” Lucky I had her.
We took the bus to Pier 39 to see the sea lions and then walked around Fisherman’s Warf, which is essentially a tourist trap. I got a few things for Laurel and Gennie but thanked God I didn’t work there. So many people!
We walked back to the hotel and moved Laura into my room for the next night. After all that walking, we were ready for a break so TV and naps it was. Laura introduced me to a show where kids bake off against each other. It was quite adorable and a good thing to snooze to.
A bit later, we decided on dinner at Gracias Madre, coming highly recommended from all our friends. It did not disappoint! Laura got “bowl uno” and I got “bowl dos”. My bowl had peanut sauce, pineapple salsa, sautéed mushrooms and lentils, pico de gallo, avocado, coconut rice and spinach. Oh my Lord anything with peanut sauce makes me swoon!
Monday was a lot of travel. Laura had to catch an 8:00AM flight and I didn’t feel comfortable navigating the buses alone, so although my plane was at 11:50, I went with her. I hung out at the airport eating, people watching and walking around trying not to let my legs tighten.
They confiscated my peanut butter in security, so food was kind of boring. A loaf of bread, some fruit and the rest of my bars uneaten from the race. A lot of travel, a lot of layovers, but I made it home :-
I’m ready for the next one, but first I should move 😉