March has been very busy with work, so I find balance in a variety of outdoor activities. I love the diversity of nature that Southern California offers…it’s only hard to choose which activity to do :-)! We had a “rainy” March in California – which means lots of snow in the mountains. It is true, you can go surfing in the morning and snowboarding in the afternoon here in SoCal – all in one day.
We had planned a winter vacation to Mammoth, but due to our tight work schedule, we had to cancel our trip. However, we did a day trip to Big Bear mountain. I was kind of nervous of getting back on my snowboard after an almost 1 year (unintentional) break and not sure if I could even ride down the mountain. The conditions were perfect as there was just a storm that moved over – so all fresh powder. As soon as we arrived on top of the mountain and I stood on my board I remembered what to do. Actually, I’ve had my best snowboarding experience ever. I focused on turning my shoulder on the turns instead of my feet and it worked wonders. I’ve been watching the Winter Olympics and cheering on Shaun White and Chloe Kim. Their skills must have rubbed off on me (HAHAHAHA). Seriously, I’m not sure what it is, but sometimes when you start with no expectations it turns out better than expected. I had a ton of fun and we stayed until it got too crowded in the afternoon. I’m not even sure if we can go another time before summer, but I can’t wait to get back on the slopes!
Run, Bike, Ride, Repeat
There are so many activities we like to do so we try to switch it up each weekend. My only must do is volleyball on Saturdays. I can’t wait to get out early morning and play until everyone is tired and I have no one to play with anymore :-). Another one of our Sunday traditions is starting the day with a (longer – for me) run…mostly in one of the Canyons here so Ulli can get some hill work in. That way we earn our Sunday Brunch 🙂 We’ve also got back on our mountain bike. We have great trails here in Orange County and are really lucky to have Aliso Wood Canyon in our “backyard” which offers some of the best trails in Southern California. The ride starts out pretty easy but then you have to climb up steep & technical trails to get to Top of the World. From there you can choose from several downhill trails. It’s a lot of fun and a good workout….which you only feel when you get home 🙂
I’ve been practicing riding a motorcycle with sidecar to get familiar with shifting. I’m feeling more comfortable each time and having fun doing it. However, I always loved riding with Ulli and being the passenger on the backseat. I feel very safe with him and love the feeling of riding on a bike. So the other weekend after our morning run, we did a motorcycle tour. We rode down Pacific Coast Highway from Laguna Beach to Newport Beach. I can never get enough of this coastal view. There’s nothing like the freedom of riding on a motorcycle down the Southern California coast…..ahhh….until you run out of gas and have to push up the bike and get an Uber to the gas station (yes, that happened). Our reward was a stop at our favorite smoothie/bowl place Sejuiced in Corona Del Mar.
So many activities…so little time! What do you like to do on the weekend? What are your favorite scenic driving routes? Always like to hear what everyone is up to 🙂
I think it’s the 3rd year that Ulli is running the LA Marathon and it is his favorite one. Basically it’s a sightseeing tour through Los Angeles J The runners start at Dodgers Stadium, through Downtown LA, West Hollywood and end in Santa Monica. Sounds beautiful, right? Unless you have to run the entire 26.2 miles (42km). No matter how many times Ulli is running a marathon, I still can’t comprehend how someone can do this. The weather conditions were perfect – sunny skies and in the 60s. Ulli achieved a PR of 3hours 16minutes! WOW!!
While he was running the marathon, I slept through the morning and had cake for breakfast….NO! Just kidding 🙂 I also put on my running shoes and did a scenic route from Santa Monica beach to Malibu. On the way back I took some amazing photos (see below) and watched a juniors beach volleyball competition on Santa Monica Beach.
I had to rush back quickly as I got the text notification that Ulli is close to the finish already. They had very tight security so there were no spectators allowed at the finish line. However, we stayed at a hotel that’s right after the finish line (no coincidence) so I was able to welcome him right there – I was the only spectactor around. I’m always in awe and so proud when I see Ulli after a marathon. We went up to our room and watched the other runners come in from our window view :-). Most runners would crash for the rest of the day, but we continued walking in Santa Monica to get lunch and smoothies – active recovery is the best.
Who else ran the LA marathon? What’s your bucket list marathon?
It’s been a while since my last post. Even though I’ve been super busy I had to remind myself the reason I started this blog was to keep a journal of our adventures. These days I’m reminded again to make every day count. There’s no weekday or weekend – there should be joy in every day living. There are days where you easily forget and not every moment is a happy day. However, my goal is to experience something new every week and live in the moment each day. It has to be a conscious decision to do so, as it’s easy to get lazy in your routine. I tell my husband every day that I love him and he makes me laugh every day (I know I’m lucky).
Sunday is our adventure day. We always make this our special day together – with lots of activities and good food. As I thrive to explore new areas we decided to focus on Northeast Los Angeles. LA is so big you have to concentrate on one area at a time. I found out that there are amazing hikes (aka trail runs) in the San Gabriel Mountains and also the drive on Angeles Crest Highway is one of the most scenic ones you can imagine. So Ulli picked out the car and I picked out the trail. I decided on Switzer Falls Trail which is a 50-foot waterfall and about a 4.5 mile out-and-back trek. We wanted to make this a trail run (instead of hike) and parked on the top of Switzer Falls Parking area. We were there super early and not a lot of hikers in sight yet. We saw a picnic area and ventured off on a single track into the wilderness. It was beautiful scenery and a nice run up and down hills. After about 3 miles into the run we still didn’t see any Falls (even though the entire hike was 4.5 miles roundtrip). We finally encountered another couple and they told us we ran in the wrong direction – starting from the campground. Oh! That’s why we didn’t see any other hikers around. We ran back and then found the correct trail to the Falls. When we finally got there after 2 hours of running we earned our dip in the (freezing cold and little) waterfall. That was fun! While Ulli was running the steep cliffs back up, I hiked (I was tired) and on top we encountered some deer in the forest. I’m actually glad that we discovered this other trail, as it would have been too short trip otherwise.
We then drove on Angels Crest Highway – listening to Strauss (yes thats right – we’re classy like that ;-)) – and stopped at Newcomb’s Ranch. This is an iconic roadhouse and meet up for all car and bike enthusiast. Everyone was checking out each others vehicles and in a good mood. Not any healthy food options there so we headed back to Pasadena to EAT! We went to a really good sushi restaurant (that I forgot the name)…oh we earned that meal! In case you’re not familiar, Pasadena is the home of the world-famous Rose Bowl Stadium (saw Coldplay there a few months ago) and beautiful wide, tree-lined residential streets with Arts & Crafts-style architecture. Pasadena Slogan is: “Old World Charm. Modern Convenience.” Really cute town. We did some window shopping on Colorado Boulevard and got some coffee (in my case: Matcha green tea) at Intelligentsia Coffee – MUST DO! Love a Sunday like this with not a minute to waste 🙂 What was something new you discovered / learned this week?
Colorado is a popular winter destination but if you love the outdoors you have to experience it in the summer. The days are warm and sunny and you have plenty of adventures to choose from: hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, rafting, trail running, climbing, golfing, horseback riding, fly fishing…each activity with its own spectacular scenic views. Here are some of my favorite activities that we did… Continue Reading…
These days are flying by. The last few weeks have been super busy at work and on the weekend I’ve been using every minute to find my balance outdoors. Each Saturday I get up at 5am to be out on the beach volleyball court for lesson and playing and I’ve had so much fun learning this sport (ok also a lot of frustration too as my body is not cooperating the way I want to sometimes). I had been playing for a few months, but have found an awesome coach who is patient with me to get me to the next level. I also made some new friends while playing and it’s been so much fun being at the beach from sunrise to sunset. I’m still hoping to see Kerri Walsh out on practice sometime, I know she trains around here…:-)
We also have had some very unique weather especially where I live – close to the beach. With warm days and cool ocean water the marine layer clouds develop and the fog moves in over the coastal areas. As we live on top of a canyon, it’s a spectacular phenomenon to witness and something you don’t see every day. I posted some pictures below and video here so you can see for yourself. They actually call it “June gloom” but it’s just March now. Does that mean it’s already hotter than it’s supposed to be?
Another highlight these past days was going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers live at the Staples Center (here’s a sneak peak). The venue is iconic (home of the LA Lakers) and seeing the band that loves LA as much as I do was freaking awesome. I almost forgot how many incredible songs they have and now they’re back on my running playlist. My current favorite tracks are Give it Away, Can’t stop and Soul to Squeeze. RHCP are such a cool band and they’re touring right now – so go see them! On that note, Ulli met Anthony Kiedis a while ago in Malibu and they had a quick chat about motorcycles and stuff…really nice guy too!
We also went one day to Big Bear Mountain to go snowboarding (first time this year), as we had some unusual storms earlier this month (you may remember the flooding in Northern California). Rain at the beach means snow in the mountains, so we had a blast playing in the snow. I always have to decide snow or sunshine each weekend – and so far beach & sun have won (Ulli is not happy). Last weekend we’ve been to Indian wells which is in the desert (next to Palm Springs). We went to the tennis tournament there and I actually struggled with the heat at 100F. It’s so unique to California to experience snow, extreme heat, marine fog and sunny 70F all within a 2 hour driving radius (so you can even go on the same day). For me as an outdoor enthusiast it’s a true adventure paradise – and hard to choose where to go each weekend (yeah I know tough life).
What have you been up to lately? How is the March weather where you are? Have you been to any memorable concerts or sports events? Would love to hear!
P.S. As we’re talking music today – I discovered the band LANY (my #1 song is “ILYSB”) and Matt Franco “Fresh Eyes” – L.O.V.E. these two songs! Is anyone with me on this?
This weekend we went to the Rock’n’Roll run marathon, 1/2 marathon & 10k in Las Vegas. This event is very unique for several reasons. First of all, marathons are usually early in the morning, but this one starts at sunset. Therefore you run through the night and experience all the Las Vegas lights that are so famous. Another exclusive feature from this marathon is that it’s the only private event that shuts off the entire Las Vegas Strip. So from 2pm to around 10pm there are no cars allowed on the Strip. The only other time this happens is at New Year’s Eve (but this is arranged by the city). One more reason why this has become one of my favorite events is, as the name states, it’s all about music. There are several live stages and bands set up throughout the running course. The opening act this year was Snoop Dogg…run it’s like it’s hot…
Ulli signed up for the marathon and I decided to do the 10k. Our starting time was almost simultaneously but our starting location was on opposite ends of the Strip (about 3 miles apart). We signed up to pick up our race package on the day of the event which was earliest at 2:30pm. The pickup location was at the SLS hotel, where the 10k would start (which was strange, as Ulli had to get to the other end of the strip). We left our hotel at 2pm to have sufficient time and requested an UBER. However, our UBER drivers couldn’t get to the hotel and we had 3 back-to-back cancellations while we waited almost 45 minutes. At 2:45pm we were still at the hotel. While we saw many runners walking to the starting line (close to MGM) we were still trying to get a taxi to get us to the opposite side to pick up our bib numbers. I started to worry that we wouldn’t make it. We finally got a taxi, but the traffic was horrible. He dropped us off and we ran to the tent where they would have our bibs. As we got there, they told Ulli he must pick up his at the starting line of the marathon. AHHH! I’m not sure how we got the wrong information initially, but it was 3:45pm and his race would start in less than 45 minutes. With all this traffic it was almost impossible to make it. Fortunately, the lady said that there’s a monorail that he can take. While I got my bib number and was ready 10 minutes prior to the start, Ulli had to race to the other side of town, but with the rail he would at least make it if all goes as planned. Well, we didn’t consider that you need money for the monorail, and of course he didn’t have anything on him. Luckily one of the security guards made an exception so he could go on the tram without paying (Thank You! I promise we will pay double next time!). After this hectic start we just made it in time before they closed our corrals. Pheeewww! When I was standing at the starting line I was finally able to enjoy the beautiful weather (about 70F), live rock band singing the national anthem, and fellow runners (and their unique outfits). Everyone was in good spirits and excited for the race. My 10k started at the south end of the Strip (at SLS) and went past Stratosphere Tower, many of the famous wedding chapels, Old Downtown Las Vegas (Fremont Street) and the finish line was at the Mirage (for all runners). I felt great during my run. THANK YOU to all the volunteers that would give out water and cheering us on. Also the many police officers on each intersection where smiling and giving us thumbs up. Thank you to everyone for keeping us hydrated, motivated and safe! While running I thought about how this sport truly brings all people together. The struggles (and joys) runners go through are the same for everyone – no matter what race, religion or how much money you have. It was just wonderful to see how each person got together and was thanking the police officers when running by. I believe there are more good people than there is hate. It was really the most entertaining and quickest 10k run I’ve ever done. I think I smiled through the entire race. Shortly after the 5 mile mark, I hear someone screaming my name. I turn to the left and on the other side of the road Ulli was just passing by me. How crazy is that! With over 45,000 people running at the same time – what are the chances that we see each other at one of the few only sections where our two different courses even pass? That was such a happy surprise and made me run even faster for the last mile. 🙂 Crossing through the finish line I couldn’t stop beaming. My “runners high” lasted for the rest of the night. Ulli also had a great race, despite fighting with stomach issues. He completed the 26.2 miles in 3:49 hours and I was as proud as ever to see him coming through the finish line! The Rock’N’Roll series is truly a lot of fun and I can’t wait to sign up for the next event. On another note, the winner of this years marathon was setting a record for the fastest marathon run by someone dressed as Elvis Presley (full costume with wig) and finished in 2hrs 38min (is this human?). I’m curious to hear about any of your running stories or memorable events that you participated.