Tag Archives: san francisco parks

Day 7: Working those calves on Bernal Hill

San Francisco loves a hill. And San Francisco adores a steep hill. So much so that my roommate Venessa specifically warned me that my calves were going to explode, hulk-style, as a result of walking around – pointing out her own monster calves as an example. (FYI they’re tiny, dainty little things). Risk of monster calves aside there’s no denying that a walk around your typical SF neighborhood will provide you with a satisfactory burn in the legs.

If Ryan's OK with it, then so am I

If it’s good enough for Ryan, it’s good enough for me

One of the hills near me is the beautiful Bernal Heights Hill. If you can believe it, I’ve lived in my house for 8 months now and I can see Bernal from our deck, but I’ve never actually made it up. Ridiculous! My new year’s resolution is to get outdoors more so I decided to take myself up there for a nice walk with my other roommate Lysbet.

The walk itself is very short – it probably only took us 15/20 minutes to get up to the top. But most of it is vertical with lots of stairs so you get a lot of bang for your buck. If I had been taking the outing seriously as a workout, I probably would have run it. As it was, I was just happy to get out in the warm, Californian sunshine and take in the view. My calves did burn though!! I’ll run it the next time…

The view from the summit is spectacular – on a clear day you get a 360 view of the city. It was fun trying to pick out our fave spots. One thing I also noticed was that there were so many more green areas that I didn’t even know existed. Plenty more exploring to be done obviously!

A lot of people had the same idea as we did – we were joined by a lot of dog walkers and couples having magic moments. Bernal Hill is an amazing place to either pledge your undying love to someone or decide to go your separate ways.

The walk home was fun as well. One thing I love about SF is that they put such effort into making public spaces pretty and interesting. There were so many cute little look-out points and even a slide in lieu of some stairs (see video!). A simple walk around the block can turn into a mini adventure.

It was a lovely day indeed and it’s made me realise that I need to get out exploring more. Any San Franciscans know of any other hills/green areas/fun places to explore in the city?

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Video of Lysbet and I going down the slide.

Such lovely views!

Such lovely views!

Comment on healthy living

Today was a good day. My one slight slip was another trip to Toast. I’m obsessed. My new favourite activity is to go early by myself and people watch. No major exercise – just the walk up Bernal. Great to get some fresh air though and to get your body moving.

Food and exercise

  • Breakfast: Scramble with bacon and avocado, fruit salad, half an English muffin
  • Exercise: Walk up Bernal Heights Hill
  • Lunch: Salad from Wholefoods with prawns
  • Dinner: Vegan Tamale
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Day 31: It ended with a burrito

Day 31 ended with a burrito. A big, fat, chicken one. With guac.

But it had started so well!

I had woken up early, loving the fact that I had such a clear head on a Saturday. Sad to say,  but that’s not been the norm to date – Friday nights out on the town are one of my most favourite things in life.  As a result, I felt like I could conquer the world! Or at the very least conquer my bad habits and have a golden day*.

Mags and I went to Barry’s Bootcamp in the morning and killed the workout. (Big fan now, by the way. Huge.) This was followed by a green juice from Pressed Juicery and a healthy brunch of eggs and salmon in Savor., Noe Valley.

‘No, bread,’ I told the waiter, with a smug smile. ‘And, no, I don’t want a box for those potatoes I left behind.’

Success!

Next stop after brunch, was none other than Dolores Park. Thinking about it, I really should have anticipated my downfall.

A bunch of us had decided to go watch the movie they were showing that night, as part of their movie series. I was so excited about it! This is such a Californian thing to do, in my mind. The fact that you can sit outside, in a park and watch a movie and not have to worry about rain, or wind or the gangster pigeons you’d sometimes get in a Dublin park – it blows the mind.

The movie started at 8.30pm, so the plan was to get there at 3.30pm to secure a good spot and have a picnic beforehand.

The fatal mistake I made was not planning what to bring in advance.

I was running late and still full from brunch, so I thought I wouldn’t need to eat anything (eh, in what world would that ever happen, Michelle??). I then wanted to get some alcohol like all the cool kids were doing so I went into the Bi-Rite Market near the park. It was so jammed I ended up panic buying some BEER!

It all went downhill from then.

Of course, the others had brought an amazing spread with them, and of course, I got hungry so I was powerless to resist.

So, first this happened:

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Then this

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Being honest, this would have happened anyway. Mags made some home-made Irish scones and they were delish!

And then flash forward, past a few handfuls of kettle chips, more beer, dancing at a friend’s house, out to a bar, another beer, and then finally this happened:

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Despite having grazed all day my stomach was hungry for something more substantial and nourishing. A burrito was the perfect answer, obvs!

But, fate, the heavens and the angels are obviously all working hard to keep me on my healthy eating track.

Just as I was sitting down at the kitchen table, all set to enjoy my greasy, fatty, unhealthy indulgence, my roommate Quinn suddenly appeared at the door.

‘YOU’RE EATING A BURRITO?!?’ he cried, incredulously.

Caught in the act, with the burrito half-way to my mouth.

Note, Quinn doesn’t even know about my 100 Healthy Day Challenge, by the way. He’s just a Californian and the idea of eating a burrito, late at night, was probably just shocking in general to him.

‘Emmm, yes,’ I replied, red-faced, ‘Hungry, you know.’

He stared at me, still in obvious shock.

I looked down and the burrito, and back to him.

‘Actually, you know what, this is way too big for me. I’m stuffed.’ (Lies, pure lies). ‘Do you want some?’

I could see the same internal, mental struggle I was suffering from, painted on his face.

‘Well, maybe just a bite,’ he said, after a while.

And proceeded to eat the whole thing.

The next day I woke up, feeling thankful for the unexpected intervention. One of these days, I will be able to intervene on my own behalf and truly have the, as of yet, elusive golden Saturday.

This day was not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But, I am determined to plan better for the next time.

(*NOTE: A golden day is what I’m calling a day where I make all the right decisions from a healthy living point of view.)

Day 18: Dolores Park life

Breakfast: Low fat natural yogurt, raspberries, red grapes, 6 pecans, cinnamon, coffee with milk
Snack: banana
Lunch: Vietnamese chicken salad (grilled chicken with cabbage, carrots, pickled onions, peanuts), kale smoothie made with almond milk and almond butter. All from Delores Park Cafe (really tasty).
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Chicken with tomato ratatouille, cherry tomatoes, red grapes

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The summers in San Francisco are not the best. It’s cold and foggy and you’re more likely to be investing in a sensible Northface fleece than a cute pair of shorts. The fog is kind of cool to see though- it rolls in over the city like a wave and hovers so low you feel like you could touch it. The San Franciscans have become so acquainted with it they’ve even given it a name. Meet Karl the Fog. It’s a definitely a love-hate relationship.

Anyway, SF summers kind of suck (which is a lot for an Irish person to say) but the SF fall can be spectacular- like this weekend! It was so hot, but with a light breeze so very pleasant indeed. I love the sun!!

If you’re staying in the city there’s really only one thing to do when the weather is nice- hit up a park. And my park of choice is Dolores Park. Not only is it in my hood, but it’s the most fun in my opinion, even with half of it under construction as it is now. It’s chock-a-block with people, dogs (sometimes cats), babies, birthday parties, acrobatics, hippies doing hippy things, hippies selling hippy things (like things 😉 ) and…people kicking back and drinking.

Beers in the sun, in a park. Is there anything nicer?

Before heading over to meet my friends I tried to steel myself against the lures of Delores Park by reminding myself of my goals, blah blah blah.

But as soon as we sat down and someone mentioned getting beers my resolve began to waver and the internal battle commenced.

‘Well maybe one, tiny, light beer won’t hurt.’ ‘

‘That skinny girl over there is drinking beer, how bad could it be.’

‘Drinking in the sun burns off calories immediately.’

And so on.

It wasn’t until another friend Katie refused the offer of beer in favor of coffee that I was able to calm the inner voice and say no myself.

And the good news is I still had a good time. Parks are fun without the drinking.

But it just goes to show that while I have won a few battles on behalf of healthy eating, the war with my old habits had yet to be won.

In other news, I got a hair cut today as well. It was really needed! Thanks Henrik, magic work!

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