Friday, September 4, 2015

San Diego (part 1) sightseeing, run, problem

Conferences always bring so much angst to people, let alone those of us with food restrictions! Before heading out though, I made up some meals for The Mike to enjoy while I was gone. Half cup meatballs he could pair with some pasta, a mexican lasagna, and cubed and baked butternut squash. 

Wednesday I felt like I was running around like a headless chicken getting groceries done, meals prepped and baggage *packed*.  Sometimes I'm good at packing and this time I just seemed to want to toss in five outfits for two days of meetings!  Not to mention shoes! How does one decide on just one pair of shoes? 

I had the luggage in the car Wednesday night and got up just before 4am to head to the airport for my 7am flight.  (yeah?).  I got about three miles down the road when I said, "I'm hungry. oh, snap, where's my food bag?"  U-turn back to the house to get the bag from the refrigerator, kiss The Mike good bye (again) and he was awake enough to know I was leaving (he didn't know I'd left before), and I was on the road again.   Flight:  Iowa to Twin Cities to San Diego.  I found other pancreatic cancer volunteers heading to this conference, as well as a researcher who wants me to get in her group. With my Melanoma and mom's pancreatic cancer, there's a chance that the two can be related (which is pretty much Pres Jimmy Carter's family history).  

When I fly, I always try to get the window seat, figuring to leave the aisle seats for those with longer legs, plus I enjoy looking out the window at the scenery.  Square fields in the midwest, round crop circles (from irrigation) in western Ks, Ne and Colorado.  As such, I got to see. . . . THE GRAND CANYON in all its glory. We had  been over it enough to go from the little canyon (below left) to the large canyon (center) when the flight attendant made an announcement and everyone threw open their window shades and leaned out to see. . .even my seat mate who thought 

Canyon of the Grand variety.
East half of Grand Canyon
When I had gotten to San Diego I met up with others at the luggage carousel to carpool to the fabulous hotel. I checked in, arranged for a LYFT ride and headed over to Point Loma to explore the historic lighthouse and run/walk back to the hotel.  [If you don't know what Lyft is, it's like a Uber, it's a car service with some local driving his or her own car to take you to your destination. All billing is done through your smartphone/email. In San Diego, a taxi would have been a $50+ ride to Point Loma, Lyft was under $25--with tip] I always take my glowstick/whistle with an angled end on runs with me, and it came in handy for peace of mind on the lyft ride too. 
The direction from which Cabrillo would have arrived at Point Loma. National Park info
Mountains in far distance = Mexico, island out to the front and left =Coronado
I was surprised at how mountainous the peninsula was. I expected it to be lower to the ocean.
I wondered around Cabrillo National Monument for about an hour. I kept to the paths at the top. If I'd had the car, I'd have taken the liberty to enjoy the paths down to the ocean, but I didn't want to get too tired before I started my return.  I enjoyed my snack of Chobani, talked with some bicycle locals who were doing a photo shoot of new carbon fiber bikes, and then headed back to the hotel. Distance: about 10 miles.  I started out running. . . at least until I got to this:  
Just outside the park was one the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.  It's odd to see brown grass, but this area had signs it was undergoing renovation.  Perhaps they're putting in a hardier, drought resistant grass?  Major General Joseph H. Pendleton (namesake of Camp Pendleton) is interred here. I didn't see his resting place, but I found several men from Iowa and spied the resting place of a female WW2 veteran.
So then I start running again and worked my way up the peninsula. One of the gift shop ladies at the national park told me the peninsula is about 3 miles. Wow. It took me an hour an a half to go 3 miles. hahahahahaha.  One has to have  a great attitude when exploring a new city!  
Because of the severe drought, I was quite content to see all the brown space. I thought it interesting signs had to be placed here and there around the city.  There was a meeting on desalination going on at our hotel. Oh, how I would have loved to have been part of that event!  

On my way to Point Loma, I had a small Nalgene bottle of water in my waist pack CamelBak mine is an older design of this one. Knowing I'd want to stuff  things into it, I didn't take the bladder. .. well, that and it had some penicillin growing in it since I rarely use the bladder,  so I had the small Nalgene bottle and then a small Fuji water bottle with me as well.  I refilled the Fuji bottle at the cemetery and continued on my way.  

I enjoyed running back through the quiet neighborhoods and little shops.  I found it interesting that in Iowa we park cars on the sides of the streets as well. . . we just don't really have people parking boats outside their homes though!

About 3.5 miles from the hotel yet, it seemed to be getting hotter. . and I was taking longer than I thought, plus it was actually humid in this city!  I figured part of the sluggishness was from having five hours of sleep and still being on central time while in the pacific time zone. While the body said 5pm, the clock said 3pm. By this time I had half a bottle of water left and stopped inside the police station (it was right on the running path) to ask about a refill. The kind woman there did refill my bottle with blessedly cold water, and then kindly told me I should wear a hat to prevent my face from getting red in the heat, it'll lead to skin cancer she said.  I tried to explain my face is always red when I run and she didn't understand. Ah well, I've already had skin cancer too-and the melanoma showed up between my toes in a non-sunny spot!  Plus, the sun was mostly at my back. I was more concerned about getting burned there, and kept reapplying the sunscreen I had (I had smartly taken a mini spray can which worked for my back!).   Okay lady, yeah, next time I'll wear a big wide brimmed hat while I run. Uh-huh.  

Thank you Police Dept for your really cold water
I carried on for a bit further and then came upon this park I wanted to explore.  Almost directly across from the airport in San Diego is the Cancer Survivor's Park. Part of why I was in San Diego was for leadership training for Pancreatic Cancer and we want to double the survival rate by 2020. It's currently 7%. Plus, now I'm a Melanoma cancer survivor.  
I thought this sculpture was quite moving.
Entitled "Cancer.  .  . There is HOPE".
Sculptor: Victor Salmones
According to the plaque: "The back five figures are cancer patients and their supports preparing to enter treatment, represented by the maze, notice their fear, determination and hope on their faces in contrast to the joy of those of the front three, signifying successful treatment."  
Throughout the park there were signs to helping those with cancer and the steps they must take:   
1. Cancer 
2. Commitment 
3. Knowledge
4. Treatments
5. Physical Welfare
6. Mental Welfare
7. Positive Thinking

As always happens, by the time you get to the last mile or two of a run you have that energy back and you can just visualize the finish line even if you can't see it.  I was so ecstatic when I saw "Marriott" on the side of the building!  
My badge of honor today. . . dirty legs.

I went out to dinner with my roommate for the trip, bayside seating, spied the coast guard doing some excursions, and had a fabulous slice of salmon with veggies and a side of avocado :-)  
This concludes part 1. . .
part 2:  Conference food to make you drool :-)  

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