Although I’m not a dedicated Oprah watcher, I did always tune into her annual (or sometimes bi-annual) “Favorite Things” show.  The show would feature the best of the best- apparel, electronics, foods, you name it.  Well, here are a few of the things and places that I love;

  • GU Vanilla Bean Energy Gel:  Ever since my first GU while training for my first marathon, I’ve thought I was a Chocolate kind of girl.  I’m you’re average chocaholic, but ever since trying this flavor at the Oakland Half Marathon in March, I’m hooked.  It’s the perfect amount of sweet, not overwhelming, and has a small amount of caffeine.  Everyone has their preference, but I’ve found my match in Vanilla Bean- yum!
  • Superfeet GREEN insoles- I suffered from knee pain on and off for a good portion of my running.  My dad finally got me to try Superfeet to add stability to my shoe and provide more support for my feet and legs.  The Green line is actually for hiking, but after a careful trial of both Green and Pink (Pink is more for female runners), I had to stick with the firmer Green pair.  They last for about 2 pairs of shoes, and add SO much value to any shoes I’ve run in.  My aches and pains have been healed!
  • Nook- This is a favorite little cafe of our staff.  We love their salads, but most of the menu is yummy.  They have free wi-fi, outdoor seating, and a nice space.  They use all fresh ingredients and have lots of healthy options.  I’m borderline salivating just thinking about it.
  • Fort Mason Hill- This is my favorite place to run hill repeats- it is a steep climb, but short and sweet.  I chase up or down the steep or less steep side over and over, looking up at the trees, waterfront, bridge, and beach beneath.
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 10- I’ve run in almost every top shoe brand out there, Asics, Nike, Saucony, you name it.  I ran in Brooks Adrenalines for my first marathon back in 2008, and was sad to part with them when they’d worn down.  When they were updated, I wasn’t as impressed, but with this most recent update, the GTS 10’s are phenomenal.  These are the best shoes I’ve run in yet- to prove it, I just finished up on my 2nd pair and ordered 2 more online.  If you don’t believe me- Runner’s World gave this shoe a “Best Update” award.  5 Stars!
  • Lilly’s Frozen Yogurt- Recently renovated, this place has self-serve low fat (or fat free) frozen yogurt and all the toppings you could ever want.  I love the “tart” yogurt flavors- pomegranate, original, raspberry, etc.  Then I usually top it with fresh berries, mochi, and fruity pebbles! It’s tasty and a lot less guilt than other desserts.
  • Headsweats Race Hat- These hats are the best for endurance athletes.  The material is lightweight, they are lined with a thin sweatband on the front, and they are machine washable for after a long run.  It clips in the back for a pony tail, and is super comfortable.  We also have headsweats Race Hats in our online store!
  • Udi’s Hawaiian Granola- I found this stuff at Real Foods on Polk Street and have been hooked ever since.  It’s all natural and only 120 calories per serving (not bad for Granola!).  It has macadamia nuts, dried pineapple, and coconut for the tropical flavor.  I put this on top of Fage Greek Yogurt for extra protein.
  • The Athlete’s Palate Cookbook: Ever since “Dublin” gave me this cookbook for my birthday, I’ve been smitten.  So far I’ve loved the Asparagus Omelet Tart with Polenta Crust, the Salmon Lettuce Gyros, Pancetta Wrapped Chicken, and the Naan Pizza with Canadian Bacon, Asparagus and Fontina Cheese.  My favorite part is that it’s written by athletes, for athletes and it tells you which recipes are best for recovery, training, etc. And since athletes understand limited schedules, they’re all really easy to make.
  • Bumble and Bumble Seaweed Shampoo- I used to buy my shampoo and conditioner at Whole Foods, or Trader Joes, nothing fancy.  But recently my hairdresser Dana at Backstage Salon SF (another favorite- it’s a salon and art gallery in one! Awesome place) recommended this stuff because I wash my hair so often.  Daily running= Daily shampooing and that’s a lot of hair damage.  This stuff has changed my life- the soft smell is amazing, my hair is healthy and soft, and it repairs all the damage I’m doing with my ponytails, runs, time in the sun, and hard water in my old apartment building.
  • Garmin Forerunner- You can’t get much more accurate than GPS.  When I started working at The SF Marathon, I tried my first watch on, and now I rarely run without it.  My roommates have nicknames my watch “Gary Garmin”, because they think I’m a bit attached, but it’s nice to be able to leave my apartment to go out for a run and be able to run in any direction without mapping it ahead of time.  That way I can enjoy my run and know when it’s time to turn around and go home.
  • Green Layer Arm Warmers- When our friends at Green Layer sent a pair of these over to me, I was really excited to try them out.  I’d tried running with other arm warmers before, but fit is key.  I took my first run in them, and I was immediately obsessed.  They didn’t slip or slide, and they were a nice sleek black color, and great design.  Stay tuned, we will soon be selling SF Marathon Arm Warmers (by Green Layer) in our online store.
  • Synergy Grape Kombucha- Michelle and Francis brought the Kombucha trend to The SF Marathon office, and slowly but surely we all became hooked.  We all have our favorites, but mine is Grape.  Awesome health benefits, unique flavor, and low calorie.
  • Finally, my favorite PLACES in San Francisco: Crissy Field and The Coastal Trail.  Nothing calms me more than the water.  Crissy Field is great for the long stretch of beach property, people walking their dogs along, and the unmatched view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The Coastal Trail is a bit more remote, a higher viewpoint, and windy trail with trees and cliffs.  When I first ran here, I could not believe I was in a big city, it feels so “naturey”.  I love to run in both spots, and fondly refer to them as “My Happy Places”.
  • GLEE Cast Soundtrack- Total guilty pleasure- but I haven’t found someone yet who has watched Glee and doesn’t love it.  I downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes, and a lot of the songs are great to run to.  The show’s star Lea Michelle has an fantastic voice, fun to sing-a-long to.
  • Restorative Yoga- With my training schedule ramping up as I train to *hopefully* qualify for Boston, and the stress of Race Day of The SF Marathon approaching in only 83 short days, this style of yoga centers and rejuvenates me.  It is more effective than any nap I’ve ever taken, and really allows me to unwind.  The props (straps, bolsters, blocks, blankets, sand bags) all help achieve the ultimate relaxation.  Namaste!
  • Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market- After living in this neighborhood for a short stint when I first moved here, this is still my favorite farmer’s market.  The location (right near Arizmendi Cooperative Bakery, The Beanery Coffeeshop), this is a one stop shop.  This farmer’s market is a pretty new one, just this year opened to year round shopping.  Buy local!
  • Lemon Zest Luna Bars- They’re sweet and tart- and although I thought they’d be on the more “sugary” end of bars, when label checking in Trader Joe’s last week, I noticed that this kind is one of the best on the sugar spectrum.  Perfect for my 4PM lull to give me some energy before Track, a run, or a yoga class.

Those are just a FEW of my favorite things, what are yours?

Jojo