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Category: California

Avenue of the Giants Marathon

I’ve always been a runner, and haven’t spent much time on the sidelines cheering others on. This past weekend at the Avenue of the Giant’s 50th anniversary, I got the opportunity to cheer my brother-in-law on to finishing his first marathon. This accomplishment was absolutely huge! Both for Jav, as well as celebrating a decade since finishing this very same race for my first marathon. I almost preferred the race on the sidelines, but events like this have me excited to jump back in racing!

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California hosts many, many, many great opportunities to run a half marathon, including Avenue of the Giants. So California may become my largest category of runs. (Of course that isn’t a bad thing as there are many things to explore on this beautiful west coast).

If you ever get the opportunity to run anywhere, choose here. Located in Northern California, this run is absolutely perfect. https://www.theave.org

Avenue of the Giants was my first (and hopefully only) full marathon. To be honest, I couldn’t have asked for a better location or weather. I think fate was in place on that day, because if the conditions weren’t as perfect as they were, I don’t know if I could have finished those 26.2 grueling miles. And yes, that many miles in my experience is definitely considered grueling. I remember by mile 21 my sister and I were throwing pebbles at the beautiful redwoods, as we spitefully yelled “stupid tree! I’m here running these terrible miles and all you’re doing is growing and photosynthesizing!” Let’s just say your mind grows weary after 4+ hours of physical activity. Best advice is train for your run!

THE RUN- Avenue of the Giants

This is a double out and back run on paved roads that is covered by redwood trees providing stable shade the whole course. Since it’s an early run, the temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but as you can see in the picture, I wore shorts and a tank top and never once remembered being cold. One of the perks of this run is how remote and beautiful the location is, but at the same time somewhat of a downfall as there is not a whole lot for lodging or food. The run is located about 5 miles from Sacramento and San Francisco.

THE SIGHTS AND FOOD

You actually can’t miss the sights of this race, as the Humboldt Redwoods surround you as you drive to and run this course. But please take the opportunity to stop and appreciate just how BIG these redwoods are! It’s an absolute amazing experience to stand underneath a forest of trees. Most of which are over 300 ft tall and over 1000 years old! As for recommendations for food and wine, uh pack a lunch! There aren’t a whole lot of options that I even remember. But if you head up highway 101 you can find a good chocolate milkshake within 30 miles or so.

Overall recommendation: This race is for you if you’re looking for a run to appreciate nature or a pretty flat course with stable weather. This may not be the best choice if you’re looking for busy city life with lots of food choices.

Napa Valley Run: The wine, the run, and more wine!

I had you at wine, didn’t I? That’s usually what catches my attention! And it sure did when my new running friend mentioned she was signed up for the Napa Valley Run. Mercedes was traveling all the way from Texas, so I figured I could make the short three hour drive to Napa. Since the race was only a few short weeks a way, the half marathon was unfortunately sold out; but I WAS able to snag a spot in the Rose 5K!

Napa Valley Run

California boosts for it’s clement weather, thus making it a great place to run most parts of the year. Check out Avenue of the Giants California run also for perfect weather. This run did not disappoint. The event was held in mid-summer and the weather had a slight chill in the morning. But it turned out to be a beautiful day. The Rose 5K was scenic (as I expected from a Napa Valley Run!) and went by very quickly. Sebastiani winery hosted a rest stop close to mile 1 that poured hearty ‘tastings’ of sauvinon blanc that was surprisingly refreshing during the run.

Although we could have continued mingling for hours, we proceeded with the easy run. We were definitely excited to get to the next part of the day, the wine!

Destination Races, Napa Valley run sells out quickly each year, so plan ahead and book early!

The Wine

I never realized how close I live to Napa Valley! For as much as I enjoy wine, I hadn’t been to Napa in 8 years! (insert shamed face here) We visited Artesa for a tasting and the views were stunning! Although Napa valley was hosting a half marathon weekend, we were the only ones silly enough to wear our running clothes wine tasting. Attire is business casual-formal amongst most of the valley; so dress accordingly. There was even a bachelorette party in very formal prom dresses.

There are countless INCREDIBLE options of wine tasting in this region, all of which can be explored here: https://www.visitnapavalley.com/wineries/winery-map/.

When you make the trip to California to visit wine country, I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE a few extras stops. Take an extra few days to travel north to Lake County and stop by Gregory Graham wineries. Or head East 2 hours to Shenandoah valley. The wine is less expensive in these areas, but still produces the highest quality that the California sun has to nurture.

I fully anticipate more of my Destination runs to include wine tasting, and I can’t wait to share them with you here!

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