Saturday, January 6, 2018

Tupac (West Coast) vs. Biggie (East Coast)

Like the age old rivalry between L.A.'s Tupac and NYC's Notorious B.I.G., so is the battle between the San Francisco west coast marathon and Baltimore's east coast marathon.

Before the Golden Gate fog
In the Golden Gate fog
As they say, there ain't no party like a West Coast party because a West Coast party don't stop.  And the party started in San Fran with one of the earliest start times I've ever had the displeasure of experiencing with a 5:00 am start at the Bay Bridge. I was able to find Sangeeta who was running the first  half of the marathon course. Thanks Geets for keeping me entertained for the first 10 miles! We did get to run through a cloud together over the Golden Gate bridge (as you can see,
not good for your hair).

My friend Kelly, who joined as a supporter and spectator, was another friendly face on the course. Her hair held up much better, but she pretty much always has good hair.
Obligatory selfie
While the race was hilly, it was not nearly as hilly as one might expect for San Fran. I survived the race and joined fellow runners, Bethany, Gilly (who ran her first half!!) and Sangeeta at the finish line. 
Gillian's excitement is the cutest!
The best part of the San Fran marathon was the post race fun.  Oysters of course! 
Kelly and I took in the Full House house. We also took the required tourist street car ride the day before the race, with  the Rice-a-Roni jingle in our heads the entire time.  But even better was our tour to wine country the next day!
Hey Tannerinos!
Red wine, white wine, bubbles....we tried it all.  We ended our day staying in Bodega Bay, setting of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." Although the town was quaint, our accommodations unfortunately were not. At least we got to see baby goats, which sometimes make everything better. And at least it was only one night. (By the way, no one tell Kelly there was a wolf spider on her shoulder!

The birds are coming! 
After wine country, birds and baby goats, we headed up north to stay in Fort Bragg and see the Avenue of the Giants (i.e., giant redwood trees).  The drive up the coast is not for the faint of stomach! Winding roads had all of us feeling queasy and ready for a straight stretch of highway.  But it certainly was scenic! 

Yep, we drove through this.

In the Avenue of the Giants

Gone 'Squatchin!
Our album cover (if we could sing and had a band)
 There were lots of memories made, wine drank, food eaten. Debates over whether these fat rodents were squirrels, naming the seagull who stared at us during our picnic on the Glass Beach, August.

Sangeeta riding to the Glass Beach
And with that, we bid adieu to Northern California. 

So 3 months later, with not a lot of training, aside from running a marathon in San Francisco, I headed east to Baltimore, Maryland to check off my 30th state. Having only been to Baltimore in passing when traveling to Delaware, I had some more time to check things out. Definitely a big fan of all the markets where you can get lots of great yet different food in one place. I did hit up one of these markets for post-race oysters and crab cakes (when in Rome). Oh, and let's not forget the "crush" drinks that they make from booze and fresh citrus. 
Race weekend weather was sunny and warm.  The harbor area was beautiful, which also hosted the post-race party. It was a getting a bit hot by the finish, but I still finished one second faster than my time in San Fran. 

Baltimore was surprisingly just as hilly as San Fran, with miles 16-20 pretty much all up hill. I was so not expecting that. But there were penguins on the course, and the crab-shaped medal at the end was sorta worth it. 

So which was better? Maybe my trip to California wins this one, but because everything is better with good friends and support along the way! 2017 closed out with my 40th birthday and my 30th marathon, which gives me 10 years to finish the remaining 20 to hit all 50 states by the time I'm 50! Easy, right?  Looking forward to what 2018 holds (as of now Jackson, Mississippi, Lincoln, Nebraska and potentially Wyoming in the fall!) Stay tuned, and as always, thanks for all your support!

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