#1 Seattle, Washington
Our trip began in Seattle, Washington, where we flew in mid-Wednesday and stayed the night with a friend. Even though we only spent half a day in Seattle, it we were able to see the space needle (from a distance), experience the Pike's Place Market downtown, eat at a cool restaurant called Local 360, and visit the Brooks Headquarters / flagship store! We found the store by accident on our way to visit the Troll, but since I am a huge Brooks fan we HAD to stop in. Since Wednesday was a travel day, we did not actually run on this day.
#2 Portland + Eugene, Oregon
Early Thursday morning, we packed our bags and headed south on I-5 in route for Oregon. In route to Eugene, we took a random 2-3 hour detour at the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland. This was not a run, but we did hike around 3 miles total checking out a few of the 75 total waterfalls that surround the gorge, including Multnomah Falls which is the 2nd highest free-falling waterfall in America.
Once we got to Eugene, we did an easy run and used it as an opportunity to explore some running mecca landmarks such as Hayward Field and Pre's Trail!! You know you're a running nerd when you are giddily running around Hayward Field, daydreaming about all the incredible runners that have set records on this very track! It was incredible!!
After running around the track for a while, we ran over to the trail system by the river and found Pre's Trail. This trail was a vision of Prefontaine prior to his death after having run on many of the soft trails in Europe and wanting to have a similar type running surface in Oregon. The trail, which is approximately 4 miles in length located in Alton Baker Park, was built by the community in his honor in the year after his death and features soft bark chips. The weather in Eugene was absolutely gorgeous that afternoon, and though I was still feeling quite jetlag, it was a happy run and a great way to explore this quaint college town.
#3 Mt. Tamalpais State Park - Fairfax, California
Friday morning we hit the road early to make the 500 mile drive south into California! It was an 8 hour day of driving, but we thoroughly enjoyed many of the views along the way, including a stellar view of Mt. Shasta which stands at 14,000 ft+ ! We also had fun observing all of the food crops growing alongside the highway and trying to guess what was growing. I now understand why so much of our food comes from Cali!
That evening, we stayed with our good Ultra VT friend Rudy, who took us on a running tour of Mt. Tamalpais State Park. Now, I was not really feeling running straight up a mountain after a 8 hour drive, so I took advantage of the flatter single track trails and turned around early. I was tired from the miles we had traveled, but again it was such a gorgeous day (especially compared to the Arctic cold we've been having in the East), and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity for some shirtless, carefree miles with friends. I used this run as my long run for the weekend, logging a total of 13.5 miles in roughly 2 hours (photo credits: J.Chang & Rudy).
#4 Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco, California
Saturday morning we left early and made our way over to a local coffee shop/bakery called M.H. Bread & Butter, owned and operated by a stellar running couple (you can read more about it here). We used that time to identify a location for our run for the day and opted to make our way over to Crissy Field on the shore of the bay overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. It was another gorgeous day (catching a trend here?) and there were athletes and exercise enthusiasts everywhere walking, biking, running and just generally soaking up the sunshine.
On the agenda for the day was a 80 minute / 10 mile run with some marathon pace and sub-marathon paced miles, which I did after a warm-up that included a few photo ops :) In starting the marathon-paced portion of the run, we ended up climbing a bunch of stairs and running across the span of the Golden Gate Bridge, which was mostly uphill and crowded! Not ideal, but I made the pace happen and it was pretty exhilarating to do this workout someplace new and exciting. I tried my best to not run into anyone on the bridge while balancing productive running and taking in the scenery overlooking the bay.
#5 California Redwoods
After a weekend of family time, we made our way south again on Monday morning where we visited Monterey, Big Sur and Big Basin State Park. We did two runs around Big Sur, totaling just over 10 miles total. The longer of the two was in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park running among the redwoods and shorter run was along the coastline/sea buffs at Andrew Molera State Park. We also enjoyed a short run/hike around Big Basin, which featured even bigger and more beautiful Redwoods (the pictures just don't do justice!!!)
That's an overview of our trip! Oftentimes getting in workouts while traveling can be stressful, but the weather was so beautiful on the west coast that I was eager to take advantage of it! It definitely also helps to be married to a runner that likes to explore by foot and not have a strict agenda or timeline to follow.
How do you like to enjoy vacations? Do you use them as an opportunity to take a break from running, or do you find yourself running more to explore new sites and scenes?
Have a great weekend and good luck with your workouts!
Learn more about the Friday Five Linkup here.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
Another year has flown by, which means it's time to sit back and reflect on the past season. It has been a season of challenge in many regards, and most definitely not the season I had hoped or planned for. Thinking back to my coaching meeting in January, coach Jim and I had discussed taking things to the next level and I set some pretty high goals for myself. That remained the plan through June, until I through a complete 180 by dropping Chattanooga and deciding to focus on my health. I can vividly remember that day, sitting next to the pool after a short workout when coach asked if Chattanooga was still in the cards. I don't remember whether or not I actually responded, but I do remember the emptiness and defeat I felt in that moment knowing in my heart that the answer was no. I consider myself a "fighter"... being Italian makes me stubborn to the core and I am very loyal to the commitments that I make. However, in that moment God was calling me to let go of my own personal plans and trust in Him instead. As humbling and difficult as it was to walk away from Ironman training this past season, I'm incredibly glad that I did.Hearty Miso Soup
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