One of the best reasons to choose a race in a different city is the opportunity for a race-cation! You know, where you sign up for a race and plan a trip around it! Because I love to run and I love to travel even more, it's no wonder most of my races are out of town. I love being able to combine two of my favorite things! Mostly, these are just weekend getaways like for the L.A. Marathon and sometimes they are full-on family vacations, like for Disney's Wine and Dine Half Marathon in DisneyWorld. Either way, it's always exciting to get away and run in a new place!
Last month I got to race the Ventura Beach Half Marathon and we made a nice little family trip out of it. The kids had already started school, so we let them play hooky and we left Friday morning. We headed straight to L.A.'s The Grove shopping center where Elysse had an appointment with a personal shopper at the American Girl store! You can read all about her amazing experience and my recommendations when visiting this store HERE. While Elysse and I shopped and had lunch at the American Girl Cafe, Jason and Diego spent their afternoon catching PokeMon Go at the nearby La Brea Tar Pits. They also grabbed a bite to eat and even did a little shopping too.
In case you didn't know, Friday afternoon traffic through L.A. is insane. We thought because we were leaving a few hours before rush hour that we would be ok, but it was still really congested and it took us quite awhile to get from Los Angeles to Ventura. When we finally arrived at our hotel, I realized just how chilly the evenings are in Ventura and we were not prepared! Elysse still got in the pool before we headed to dinner. She's crazy and maybe I'm a little crazier for letting her get in. But hey, it's a vacation!
Saturday morning, was packet pickup and our family day at the beach. The first thing we did, was head to Old Navy to get some sweaters because the morning was cold and cloudy and I knew the evening would also be chilly. Then we headed to Trader Joe's to grab food for our beach picnic lunch later. At this point, we're all starving, so we had to find a place to eat a late breakfast on Main St. Finally, around noon, we made it to the beach. Packet pick up was right next to the pier and super quick to find and get my bib for the race the next day.
After all of this, it was finally time to relax at the beach for the day! The weather was cool but it did get pretty sunny once that morning fog rolled out. We spent the day lounging, making sand castles, and gathering shells. Diego had gotten a skate board while in L.A. so him and Jason practiced skating along the bike trail. It was seriously one of the most chill out days at the beach we've ever had. Even though it was too cold for actual swimming in the ocean, it was a blast! We were all so stuffed from our big breakfast, that we didn't even have our lunch or snacks until we got in the car to leave.
As soon as we got back to our hotel, Elysse was ready to jump in the pool again! I don't know how she has so much energy. But, because we didn't swim in the ocean, we figured why not! So her and Jason stayed at the pool while Diego and went up to the room to get a head start on showers and get ready for dinner.
Sunday was race day and it was perfect! You can read all about my race recap HERE. Unfortunately, with school on Monday, we decided to head back home soon after the race was done. After my race, we headed back to the hotel to check-out and for me to get myself all cleaned up from the half marathon. After breakfast we decided to take the scenic route and find the Musical Road in Lancaster, CA. It was originally made for a Honda commercial. It's a quarter mile bit of road that when driven on it, it is supposed to sound like William Tell Overature or better known as the theme from the classic Lone Ranger tv show. Was it worth taking the scenic route for this? Absolutely! There are only a few of these musical roads in the world and even though it wasn't perfectly in tune, it was still a fun little side track.
We also got to see one of the largest wind farms in the world as we drove back to the interstate. We had no idea we'd be seeing that, but when we kept seeing so many rows of windmills, I quickly googled and found out it was the Alta Wind Project, also called the Mojave Wind Farm, the third largest onshore wind energy project in the world. Pretty neat bit of trivia :)
All and all, our family race-cation was a much needed break from the busy months we'd been having with packing and moving and the kids starting new schools. I highly recommend when looking for your next race, consider making it a race-cation! I'm sure the idea of traveling and getting away will be a nice motivator as you put in those training miles!