As a broke girl from Queens I’ve always dreamed of traveling all over the world. As the years passed and my bank account failed to grow I then started to dream of traveling all over the country. After more years had passed I then started to dream of simply seeing the west coast. In the past 10 years I only took a week off from work to get married and go on honeymoon. I took weekend getaways but I didn’t take time off for vacations.
Over the winter my friends Mr. & Mrs. Scuba Cyclist came to visit. We met for dinner and they told us all about their life on the west coast and how nice it was. It all sounded wonderful. They invited me to come visit. They’ve had a few friends come to visit them and they love entertaining. They had no plans for February so I searched their area for half marathons going on around that time and found The Mermaid Half Marathon, an event for the ladies. I’ve never done a ladies race and decided to visit them surrounding the event.
The race was on the morning of Saturday, February 8th. I flew in on Thursday morning and spent the day with Scuba cyclist preparing for our super fun extended weekend. We stopped by the military base so I could get a cyclist’s visitors pass to be able to ride through the base. There was a wait so we went to lunch at a nearby restaurant on the water. The food was delicious and everyone on the west coast are really nice and laid back, so much different from the uptight people of New York! When we returned to the base there was a short wait and we were able to get my pass fairly quickly. We went for delicious ice cream afterwards before going to pick up my race packet.
We sat in rush hour traffic on the way back to her place and I was freezing. She had the air conditioner on in the car but it wasn’t all that cold. Luckily I had bought a Navajo blanket when we were by the water so I used it in the car. I felt like crap. Shortly after we got back to the house we sat down to a very nice dinner. I started to warm up a bit. Since we’re the same height I borrowed Scuba Cyclist’s bike, she had it adjusted for me with the email I sent her from my last bike fitting. After dinner we prepared by bike for our ride the next day. That night I slept like crap, I was fighting something. I was worried that I’d flown across the country just to be laid up sick but, thankfully, that was not the case.
I woke up feeling refreshed. Since I was doing a half marathon the next day this ride was gonna be more chill, at a tempo pace. I had no intention of actually racing the half marathon but I didn’t want to run on depleted legs either. Riding tempo suited Scuba Cyclist just fine, she enjoys just riding. She took my on a very nice route along the coast through the seaside towns. It was all very breathtaking. It was mostly flat except for a coupe of hills in the military base. There was a spectacular view of the mountains. We visited the sea lions that sunbathe on the pier. I took pictures of amazing water views at a few places along our ride. I didn’t want the ride to end but I was getting tired as the first half of the ride was into a headwind.
That afternoon we all visited the farmers market. I love shopping on the street, I always have. I also love eating on the street but that’s a whole other thing. My friends did their regular shopping and I bought essential oils. I started aromatherapy in my essential oil diffuser while I sleep and I’ve been sleeping deeper and waking up feeling more rested. We went back and had a sensible meal and I went to sleep at a decent hour.
In the morning I got ready and Scuba Cyclist dropped me off at the race before heading to the gym. She didn’t ride that day because my race was along her riding route and the roads were blocked off. On the way to the race I felt the familiar pang of my stomach. I used the bathroom before leaving the house but, yea, I was about to have one of my pre race porto potty episodes. At least it was before and not during the race…. After that I lined up and chatted with the other mermaids, they were all very nice. None of them sized me up, acted catty, or acted like competition. These ladies were all very positive and friendly.
The race itself was very nice and scenic. It was a bit windy and the course was in the sun but it was a lovely day for a race. I spent some time running behind and with a very nice lady. We chatted a bit and, it turns out, she’s also from NY. She currently lives in San Diego and, I later learned, spends a good amount of time encouraging female athletes. Although I wasn’t racing I wasn’t exactly taking my time either. I actually came close to having a PR but that would come at a later race. I was on vacation and I was there to have a good time. I did push the final 5k as I always do but this time it was tough and I had to back it down a bit. The nice lady and I met again at the results kiosk and chatted a bit. She told me about Stryd, the running power meter footpod. I was intrigued and that started my research into running with power. Gathering more information about my runs could only help me as pace is dependent upon many factors but I’ll get into all that on my next post. Yes, I plan on writing some more 😉
After taking part in some of the finish line festivities I made my way back to the lot at the starting line to meet up with Scuba Cyclist. It was a mile walk back to the lot and I was dance walking because a good song came on. She was happy to see that I was having fun and I told her all about the race. We went back to the house and got ready. We went to the brewery for lunch and then went hiking up a mountain. The only other time I went hiking it was freezing out and there was a lot of ice. It was nice to only worry about navigating the steep uphills and descents while maneuvering around the rocks and stones. The view from the top was spectacular.
That night it was ladies night at a friend’s house. It was nice to meet her friends and learn more about life in California. It was a late night but, since it was raining the next day, I was sleeping in. I woke up feeling like crap. As the day went on it was clear that I had a cold. It was just as well that it was raining because my legs were toast. We took an hour drive to the vineyard for lunch and wine tasting once Scuba Cyclist returned from the gym. The Vineyard was so beautiful and all the wines we tasted were amazing. It was a very fun way to spend a rainy day. We were planning on having more wine with dinner but none of us were into it and we drank water instead. We went to bed at a decent hour but I still woke up feeling like crap.
It was raining again and Mr. Scuba Cyclist offered to take me to a nice running spot while the Mrs. was at the gym. It was beautiful. There was a light rain but running in the rain never bothered me. I did a nice zone 2 run or at least I tried to run zone 2 up a mountain. The downhill was certainly at zone 2 though. I stopped a couple of times along the run to take pictures as it was one of the nicest places I had ever run. That was the last thing I did in San Diego. Just like that my visit had come to an end. Once back at the house I bathed and got the rest of my things together. Scuba Cyclist dropped me off at the airport and she even packed a meal for me to take on the plane.
I’m ever so grateful to my friends for giving me the opportunity to visit the west coast. I’m also grateful to have visited before the world shut down. Not long after my visit all hell broke loose with the pandemic and nobody went anywhere. I thank my friends for being excellent hosts and making me feel welcome in their home. I’m deeply grateful to have been trusted with her top of the line bicycle, I treated it like royalty.
Through cycling I’ve made friendships with truly wonderful people, people that I may not have met otherwise. I’ve made friendships with people that don’t care that I’m a BrokeLadyCyclist and that means the world to me. In a time of materialism these wonderful people see me for who I really am. Thank you to everyone who has been kind to me. Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Scuba Cyclist for everything, including repeatedly picking me up when I was down. I hope you all stay healthy and safe, thank you all so much for reading!