Sunday, March 30, 2014

King Tides Part 2: The San Diego Edition

So I've already talked about the King Tides (the super high tides that occur a few times a year and are a great demo of what sea level rise will look like) and my experience chasing the tides around San Francisco.  About a month later (and two months ago- oops!) I did the same thing in San Diego.  I dragged my intern (Hi Emily!) with me to one of our project sites on Thursday morning (Jan 30) so that she could get out in the field during her short time with us.  We headed to Los Peñasquitos Lagoon which is just north of Torrey Pines along the coast.

Source: Google Maps
The next day, I got up early again to catch the high tide at Kendal Frost Marsh in Pacific Beach along the northeast hump of Mission Bay.

Then, since I'm a HUGE marsh nerd, I drove out to San Dieguito Lagoon on a Saturday to hang out by myself and take time lapse pictures.  Wait, you didn't do that too? :)

The yellow areas are some of the other parts of the marsh that I've worked in.  The red circle is where the time lapse photos were taken.

At Los Pen, as we like to call it, Emily and I trekked around the lagoon and checked out the beach.  The beach was pretty much gone because the water levels were so high.

 Where's the beach?

Sea level rise = beach and bluff erosion
Lagoon mouth from the north (looking south) under a normal tide- we were standing on the sand.

Lagoon mouth from the south (looking north) under a king tide- where we were standing in the picture above is now under water! Note the path north of the lagoon that goes under the bridge.

Looking back into the marsh under a normal tide
Looking back into the marsh under a king tide- crazy how this almost looks like a black and white photo since it was so gloomy out!
This is the path going under the bridge.  Definitely not safe to walk on at this point.  The sign is usually at the beginning of the beach.

At Kendal Frost, most of the marsh was under water.

This is not usually a bay.  The housing on the left is definitely at risk under sea level rise.

Great Blue Heron (I think)

This was a small, dry island where the birds were just hanging out.

At San Dieguito Lagoon, I headed to the beach first and checked out the lagoon mouth.

Stupid people building homes where the water wants to go!

The dog beach at the north end of the lagoon mouth

Just south of the lagoon mouth.  This is normally a beach, but the rock rip-rap and the sea wall are there to protect the (dumb) houses behind it from storm events.

Watching a marsh drain...

10 min later...

10 min after that...

And 10 min after that...
Okay, I know, these time lapse pictures are super lame.  :(  I got carried away at the beach and looking at the other marsh units and got to the site I wanted to see too late! I missed the highest tide, so my pictures just captured the end of the drainage.  I'll just have to go out again next year!

Also, this is the site I've spent a good amount of time at.  Last summer and the summer before, when I was ITF, it was here.  (Same for getting muddy and muddier).

So are you going to come out with me next year to chase the tides?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

12 miles (and Copy-Cat Bitchin' Bars)

I ran 24 miles this week with a 12 mile run yesterday!  Woot woot.  I've officially completed 7 weeks of training.  Wow. 

This week was nice because I finally felt back on my game.  My motivation had been super low the previously two weeks, and every run felt like a struggle.  So I was really relieved to feel good again last week. 

To go with so much running, I have a fun recipe that provides good fuel.  At the farmers market, there's a company that makes this stuff called Bitchin' Sauce and it is to die for.  Holy gee, it is always a party hit.  It's an almond-based dip and it is so, so good.  They also make Bitchin' Bars which are again based on almonds and are kind of like an all-natural power bar.  I've really enjoyed them, but at $5 a pop, I just can't afford to buy them to eat before every run.  So I've made my own copy-cat version!

These are so easy and quite tasty. 

Start by toasting 1/4 cup of pepitas, 1/2 cup of almonds, and a heaping 1/4 cup of pecans. 

While those are going, chop up and de-seed 8 oz of dates.  I usually cut them into fourths.

Add 1/2 cup each of oats and dried, unsweetened coconut to your food processor and top with the toasted mix. 

Process to the consistency you want in your bars- I like my pieces pretty tiny for a smooth bar.  Add 1 tsp of vanilla and the dates and whiz away until the mixture starts balling in on itself. 

Give it a few more spins, then transfer to a sheet of wax paper. Roll out the mixture with another sheet of wax paper on top, and then cut up to make bars. 

I usually shoot for 9 servings.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

King Tides

Did you see the king tides last month or in December?  I was in bed at 11 on New Years so that I could get up the next morning and chase the king tide around San Francisco Bay (inundation over inebriation!)  Good times.

What are king tides?  They are the super high tides that occur a few times a year when the sun and the moon's gravitational pull on the earth is aligned.  Why do I find them interesting? Well, they present an example of what sea level rise will look like in the future.  Right now we see these really high tides a few times a year, so any flooding they cause is not usually a big deal.  If a storm hits during a king tide, things look ugly, but again, since the king tides only happen a few times a year, this is rare.  But in the future, these high tides will be the same as our daily high tides- we'll see these water levels every day! That means that when storms hit in the future on top of these really high water elevations, things are going to get wet. The California King Tides website does a great job capturing what this will look like, so check it out when you have a minute.

So on December 31st, my friend and coworker, Nena, and I headed down to the Embarcadero (I was in SF for the holidays) at the high and low tide for that day. These pictures were taken just south of the Ferry Building at high tide, which was about 7.2 ft NAVD that day. (If you're not familiar with San Francisco, this is on the bay side of the city.)  If our high emission rates continue, the sea level rise models predict that this will be our daily high tide somewhere between 2030 and 2050.


We came back at low tide after work with our other friend/coworker Barry.  We drank beer out of brown paper bags and were really confused about why they were blocking off the streets and setting up loud speakers.  We wondered if it was all for the king tides, then realized it was New Year's Eve.  You know who the cool kids are...  (tide was at -1.4 ft NAVD).

The next day we (Nena, Doug, James, and I) headed out to Pacifica to see some more action. This small city is just south of San Francisco and has built a huge sea wall to protect itself from flooding.  I plan to talk more later about why sea walls are horrible, but that's for another time.  You can see for yourself how at risk Pacifica is- check out the location of those homes! (high tide was around 7.3 ft NAVD)


My camera died after our stop in Pacifica, but check out Nena's blog for more of our adventures (like how we got chased by old men in a golf cart...)

At the end of January/beginning of February, I was back in San Diego and able to check out the king tides at some of my favorite lagoons and marshes down here.  To avoid a big photo dump post, I'll leave you hanging for now, and share those photos soon.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A New Challenge

So I did something a little crazy, but I'm feeling really pumped about it.  I SIGNED UP FOR A MARATHON!!! (San Diego Rock 'n' Roll, June 1)

Why would any sane person do this, you ask. Well, I need some motivation.

I've never particularly enjoyed working out, but I want to stay fit. And unfortunately, the motivation of training for a half-marathon has faded over the last year, and I've done a poor job training for the last two.  (I'm not sure if I mentioned it here, but I ran the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco in October, and just did the Carlsbad Half last weekend.  Plus the SD Rock 'n' Roll Half in June, and the Women's Half in February.  Wooh! What a year!) So I need a new challenge.

Plus, running a marathon just seems like one of those accomplishments that only a select group of people can achieve, and I want to be part of that club.  So here goes nothing...

I've roped in a friend (possibly two) to run the full with me, and three others to do the half.  So our weekend running group is back in action!  Today we did 6 miles and it wasn't as easy as I had hoped.  So I revisited my training plan.  I was originally shooting to use the Hal Higdon Novice II plan, but I've decided that his Novice I plan is probably the better choice.  I don't want to injure myself and today was hard, so the Novice I plan seems like the way to go.

I hope you will join me on this journey and cheer me on.  I'm going to need all the help I can get...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Spain, Part III: Costa Brava and Barcelona

I'm only 5-6 months late on this post.  Oops.  Although it's late, I still want to document and share the last part of my trip to Spain.  I started my trip with one day in Madrid and then five with my friend Lauren in Mallorca. We then headed over to Barcelona to meet up with our friend Mayu, catch some of the Fina World Championships, and to do more site-seeing.

I had received multiple recommendations from friends to travel north up the coast along the Costa Brava, and since Lauren had never been either, we decided to go.  When we landed in Barcelona, we got into our sweet rented car (just barely managing to fit our backpacks in it), and then headed north.

The drive was very scenic and as we headed into Tossa de Mar where we were staying, the views were breath-taking.

It was still ridiculously hot, so we did a little exploring but mostly with the purpose of finding some cold drinks.  We were only there for one night, but I'm glad we decided to go.

The next morning we continued north to Figueres to see the Dalí museum. It. was. so. cool. Dalí is a weird guy, but the museum was fascinating.  But more on that later.

We headed back to Barcelona and returned our cute little car.  That night we had our first sporting event to go to.  The Fina World Championships is the major international water sports competition, which is held on the Olympics off-years. Our friend Mayu is currently the Spanish National Team Coach for synchronized swimming.  (She lived with Lauren's family as an exchange student back when we were in high school and she trained and coached with our club team).  So that first night in Barcelona, we headed to the site of the 1992 Olympics and watched the synchronized swimming team free routine competition.

It has been SO long since I watched good synchronized swimming and it was really nice to be wowed by one of my favorite sports!

When we left, I was wowed again by the BIGGEST and COOLEST fountain I have ever seen (and I'm pretty sure the highest in the world).

The next day the sports continued as we watched 4 women's water polo games (half of the top 16 teams) followed by the synchronized swimming team combo routine competition.  I think both Lauren and I re-fell-in-love with water polo again, and we decided to buy tickets to watch Team USA play Spain the next evening.

Sadly, we didn't have that much time to explore Barcelona, so we did our best to cram in the key sites to see.  We walked La Rambla and went to La Boqueria (where I'm pretty sure I acquired a stomach bacteria, despite the delicious food).

The devil empanada...

We explored Casa Battlo, where I fell in love with Gaudí,

checked out Casa Milá (also Gaudí),

cried a little at the beautiful, spiritual, and truly awe-inspiring Sagrada Família (by Gaudí),

then made a quick stop in Park Güell (also Gaudí).

(I'm planning to write a little more about all the art I got to experience in Spain, so stay tuned.)

That evening, we headed back to the pool to cheer on Team USA in water polo (USA synchro didn't qualify this year, so we didn't get to see them compete).  Since it was the year after the Olympics, many of the gold-medal-winning team had retired.  Most of the Spanish players, who won the silver in the Olympics, stayed on the extra year to be able to play in their home country.  This did not bode well for us in the Spain vs USA game. :(  We also got mocked by many a Spaniard who would copy our English and yell "Go USA" in fake high-pitched girl voices.

After the game, we met Mayu and grabbed some beers and pizza in the village (like the Olympic village).  It was so good to be able to catch up with her after so many years.  It was also really fun to see what a star she is in Spain.  In the US, synchro is not highly respected.  In fact, it's made fun of regularly. I would guess that the average American could not name one single synchronized swimmer, let alone any coaches.  In Spain, however, the national team duet is on billboards all around Barcelona.  People call out to Mayu to get her autograph and take pictures with her.  She needs people to help get her through mobs of adoring fans.  I clearly competed in the wrong country.

Mayu, in the red shirt, signing autographs for all of her fans

The next morning one of Mayu's wonderful friends drove me to the airport a mere 2-3 hours after he dropped us off at our place.  My stomach was beginning to gargle and little did I know it was going to be a very long flight (and few weeks), but I won't go into those details. I'm mostly better now. :)  Other than that, the trip was awesome, and I can't wait for my next big trip (Ireland, June 2014)!