Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Race Weekend

Last month I ran the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon and although it was one of my slowest half marathons to date, our weekend in wine country was amazingly fun and a much needed summer getaway! This post is much more about the weekend than the race itself! OOPSY!

We have some really good friends who flew out with us to show their support of my running and cheer me on during the race! HAHAH Who am I kidding, they came along for the wine tasting!! Either way, it was so much fun having another couple to enjoy the weekend with.  We arrived to San Francisco Friday just in time for lunch! We picked up the rental car and made our way to Francis Coppola's  Cafe Zoetrope  for lunch. Such a nice treat! Afterwards we walked around Chinatown and couldn't resist picking up some steamed dumplings and sticky buns at our friend's favorite spot! We took the food to go and seriously enjoyed them during our long drive in traffic up to Napa.  

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Saturday morning we went straight to packet pickup right when it opened at 10am.  The location was so pretty and it was a nice expo with some good vendors who handed out some nice samples ;) That's always a plus! Once I had my bib + shirt and my fair share of samples, we were off to do some wine tasting! 

Our first stop was our favorite winery, which we are also wine club members, Benzinger Winery. They use bio dynamic and organic farming, which is such an interesting process and we learned so much more about their history and sustainable farming practices during the tour.  Afterwards we enjoyed wine tasting in their private members only tasting room.  We lost track of time chatting and tasting, but our tummies soon let us know it was time to eat, so we bought a bottle of wine and found a nice picnic table with some shade to enjoy the snacks we had purchased earlier.  Had the weather been just about 10 degrees cooler, it would have been perfection!

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Our next stop was their sister winery, Imagery Estate Winery, which was such a cool artsy place and the grounds are beautiful!  It was packed inside because it was just way too hot to be sitting outside by then, but we found a nice spot in the members only area and enjoyed a bit more wine tasting and fun conversation.  

The last stop before dinner was Domaine Carneros! I absolutely love bubbly wines and pinot noir so I'd been looking forward to this visit for a while. Plus, the grounds were so pretty! We ended up sitting outside and again if only it had been 10 degrees cooler, it would have been so dreamy! The view of the vineyards from the terrace were beautiful and the flights of champagne were super yummy! By this point in the day, we were really getting hungry so we ordered a small charcuterie plate to enjoy while we finished our flights.  Thank you so our server who recommended the best place for us to grab a casual, yet delicious dinner, which of course included lots of water and my go-to pre-race meal of...PIZZA!!

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Unfortunately, for as much as I tried to stay hydrated during wine tasting on Saturday, it was still not enough! I started off ok.  I wasn't going for any PR or anything, but I was hoping the idea of another fun-filled wine tasting day would be enough to make my legs go fast! The race course was beautiful and running alongside rows and rows of vineyards was amazing.  The weather was unseasonably warm and I soon started struggling with the heat and the sun beating down on me.  After I saw the hubs and friends at mile 7ish I got some renewed energy and I was doing good and keeping a nice pace till about mile 9 or so.  At that point my calves started to feel super tight and by mile 10 they were cramping terrible.  I was dehydrated and in pain! I managed to pull through, but I had to slow down and even walk those last 3 miles.  I felt bad and was so disappointed in myself.  After I limped my way across the finish line, I chugged some coconut water and stretched my legs as best I could.  I met up with the hubs and our friends, plus some running friends from Vegas who ran the race too and together we grabbed our wine glasses for post-race wine tasting festival! Soon enough, my pain was gone and I was back to feeling great! lol 

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After the race, it was back to the room to shower and get ready for round 2! We visited my hubby's favorite winery, Sequoia Grove.  Talk about another good time tasting, laughing, and making new friends! Afterwards we had some time to kill before our dinner reservations at Ad Hoc, so what else is someone to do while in Napa waiting? We found a wine bar, enjoyed another charcuterie platter and waited patiently ;) Dinner at Ad Hoc was amazing! Thomas Keller's take on family style casual dinning was spot on. We just wish we would have had more room to fit more food in our bellies!! 

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The next day we started our trip back to San Francisco! We spent some time walking around Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed some clam chowder and some delicious Irish coffee from the iconic Buena Vista.  Then, as all good things, our trip came to an end and it was time to catch our flight back home to our little ones!  

I learned a valuable lesson on this trip: Although I love running and I love wine tasting, the two shouldn't really be paired up! At least not for me!!! The next time I go to Napa, it will only be for wine tasting.  And the only drinking I'll do on race weekend, will be my post-race celebratory beer! Live and learn, right? 

2017 Spring Break in Southern California

I know, I know, it is almost summer and I am just now sharing our spring break getaway! But, better late than never and I've even got some tips on how to get away on a budget ;) 

We have a busy summer coming up and we'll be traveling in June & July without the kiddos (woop woop!) and our family vacation to Portland, OR is also in June.  The in-laws will be visiting this summer as well for a few weeks, which means we'll be getting away with them on some day trips too.  What I'm getting at with all of this is that we've been saving our pennies for this summer! But, we also love to travel and it had been a few months since we'd gone away as a family and I think we all needed a change of pace and a change of scenery!  So, this spring break we planned some fun local activities during the first part of the week, including a sleep over with friends, and then we took off on Friday morning to Southern California! 

We were really trying to keep this trip as budget savvy as possible, so after a yummy lunch at Porto's Bakery and Cafe, we made our way to  The Getty Center in Los Angeles.  After living in in Vegas for over 8 years and visiting L.A. countless of times, this was our first visit to The Getty.  It's been on my list of places to visit for awhile, but I just wasn't sure if the kiddos would be interested in the art when they were younger.  Even now, I was skeptical that they wouldn't enjoy it but boy was I wrong! They loved seeing all the paintings, sculptures, and the gardens.  They especially thought it was so cool to see some paintings by famous artists that they'd actually heard of, like Claude Monet! The Getty is located on a beautiful property, with several buildings and gardens and water features.  To get to the center, we had to take a tram up the hill to where there are amazing views of the city below.  The best thing about The Getty? It's free admission. There is a parking fee of $15 but it's totally worth it! We spent about 4 hours there and could have probably spent more time if it hadn't closed! 

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After our visit to The Getty, it was time to make our way through the L.A. Friday afternoon rush hour to our hotel.  We were staying in Ventura, CA because Saturday was another family first for us, Six Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park! This was another thing we've been waiting on the kids, especially Elysse, to be tall enough to ride most of the rides.  To save money, we purchased our tickets online a week in advance.  This proved to be the biggest saving on admission tickets.  Our hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Valencia, was also located across the street from the park and provided a shuttle to and from, saving us the $25 parking fee! 

Being spring break, we were fully expecting the park to be busy and it was, but not so much so that we couldn't enjoy our time there.  We also met up with my sister and her family and another family we're friends with, so it really made it for a fun time for the kiddos.  They really enjoyed being able to ride the rides and hang out with their friends.  Amusement parks are not my favorite thing to do on trips for all the usual reasons: they're crowded, long lines for rides, and bad over-priced fast food. But, aside from the Disney theme parks and Legoland, the kiddos hadn't been to an amusement park with big roller coasters and had been wanting to go.  It worked out great and I'm so glad we went with a group of friends and family to make it even more fun! 

Sunday was our last day in SoCal before heading back to Vegas, so the kids spent the morning in the pool and then we made our way to Malibu Beach.  We couldn't come all the way to California and not at least see the ocean! The best thing was the fruit carts on the side of the road that make your bowls to order! So delicious!! Our time in Malibu was quick, we ate on the pier at the Malibu Farm restaurant.  I highly recommend it! Then we walked along the beach for a bit before the long drive back home. 

This trip was much needed for us!  It was a quick getaway from our routine, we saw the ocean, ate some yummy food, got cultured at The Getty, and screamed so much on roller coasters we woke up hoarse the next day! Yup, a seriously well-rounded and diverse trip for our family.  

I know it's late, but how did you spend your spring break?