Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Of course, like most of the reasons for our adventures, the reason for this visit involved food. We get a subscription to the magazine Seattle Metropolitan which discusses all things Seattle and tends to have reviews of restaurants, shows, etc. It's rare that the Seattle magazine will discuss a Tacoma restaurant, but apparently this authentic Mexican restaurant was so tasty, that Seattlites could not be denied. So we headed to Vuelve a La Vida to check it out. This restaurant was definitely authentic (no chips and salsa, but plenty of weird meats like marrow and tongue), and very tasty. We tried a fish cerviche to start, which was amazing. My burrito was pretty good. And Robb had three soft tacos, each with a different meat: pork, goat, and marrow. Robb's trying to eat 30 new foods before he turns 30, so when he saw marrow on the menu, he felt compelled to try it. He thought it was okay and tasted exactly like what you think marrow will taste like. All I know is that I tried a bite and I have to say that I don't care for marrow. After paying a very reasonable bill, we headed out. We'll definitely be stopping there again.
Like all good Pacific Northwest towns, Tacoma honors the salmon.
Our final stop of the rainy afternoon was the Washington State History Museum in downtown Tacoma. This small museum presented displays on everything from Native American culture, to the logging business, to the Japanese interment camps during WWII. It was a nice little museum, with lots to learn and a lot of interactive displays. The building the Museum was housed in was gorgeous and was right next to the historic Union Station. Right before the Museum closed we headed upstairs to the special exhibition on Washington: Then and Now Photos. This exhibit was really neat. It showed photos of Washington landmarks taken decades ago, alongside photos of the exact same spot taken in the past few months. To see the changes were really remarkable; and at the same time, the lack of changes were really interesting as well.
The first picture is of the Museum. The second picture is of Union Station, now a courthouse.All in all, Tacoma's not a bad place to visit. There are some other "attractions" that we still need to visit, so I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this city soon...
Monday, February 16, 2009
So what does this have to do with living in the Northwest? First, I feel that people who live up here, as a general rule, tend to be healthier and more fitness-oriented. I want to be a part of that, and now I am. Additionally, it was REALLY too hot to run in Florida. I hated the humidity. Sure, it's cold here occasionally, but the mild weather here makes it much easier for me to keep up with a running routine.
In order to keep up with my running during the winter months, I decided that I should try something new. In December I joined a local running group. We meet every Thursday night for a run and then hang out to eat and drink beer in a local sports bar. I was nervous to join the group because I knew they run a little faster than I generally go. However, I also know that running with other people is the best way to get faster. I approached my first run with a little trepidation, but I kept up with the slowest member of the group and ran 4.2 miles in a record speed. And I just keep getting faster every week. I now can run 4.2 miles, averaging an 8:17 mile. The group members are fantastic and are really good at pushing me and encouraging me.
And I didn't stop with my Thursday night running group. I wanted to up my mileage and I was having a hard time motivating myself, so I joined a lunchtime running group at work too! I've been running at lunch 2-3 times a week for awhile now. I can get in a 30 minute run and shower, which allows me more time in the evenings to do my own thing. I've come across a running group occasionally on my solo runs, and they invited me to join them. So at least once a week, I join the work group for a run that is generally 35-45 minutes. This also challenges me. This group also moves a little faster than my normal pace and they go on trailruns. I had never done trailrunning before, because even though the trails are close to work, I felt uncomfortable running in the woods by myself. So this group introduced me to the trails. Let me tell you, trailrunning is hard! Running on the street is fairly easy; trailrunning requires more muscle engagement in order to balance and not trip on the uneven terrain or get attacked by tree branches.
So now, no matter what happens, I always run at least twice a week. Generally I supplement these runs by running on my own 2 more times a week. I'm trying to build up to 5 times a week total. I'd like to get my mileage up to 20-25 miles a week. This past week I definitely achieved that goal because of an awesome long run. On Saturday my local running group held a little fun run for its members, the Million-Inch-Run. They created an approximately 16 mile course with some water stations. I knew that I wouldn't go that far, but the course was an out-and-back, meaning I could turn around at anytime and go back. The farthest I had ever run was a 6.2 mile race on Thanksgiving. I figured I would shoot for a 7 or 8 mile run as a challenge. Well, I didn't make that goal; I exceeded it beyond my wildest expectations. I ran 10 miles without stopping. So last week I hit my 20 mile goal. Now I just need to keep it up! The good thing is that now I have tons of people encouraging me and helping me achieve my goals.
(Picture is of me after I got home from my first 10-miler. I look exhausted. I spent the rest of the day on the couch. But I quickly recovered and feel ready for a run again!)
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I was impressed with the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Their home is McGraw Hall at the Seattle Center, right next to the Space Needle. McGraw Hall was really lovely and the lobby was beautiful with an amazing, whimsical sculpture hanging down. I also really appreciated the bar available for intermissions. Before the ballet there was a 30 minute free lecture to discuss the ballet, George Balanchine, and answer any questions the audience had. And if the Superbowl hadn't already started, we would have stayed after the ballet for the Q&A with one of the dancers. Apparently they do this for every ballet, except Nutcracker. I think it's a real nice touch and a great way for people to learn more about ballet.