The Avenue of the Giants marathon is one of the most sought after marathons in the state, and now I know why. I've driven the Avenue before but we stayed the entire weekend up there and got to do all the fun kitschy touristy stuff before running on Sunday. And man oh man it was THE MOST beautiful run I've ever done.
We drove up on Friday afternoon getting to the campground late in the evening, thanks traffic. Our tent spot was amazing and right on the river which was lovely to wake up to. First we stopped in Garberville and had breakfast at a great little greasy spoon. It was a teeny town, but had a lot of charm and cute store signs.
In the morning we woke up bright and early and got started on all the fun 1950's kitschy touristy stuff! We first stopped by the One Log House and the Grandfather Tree. Unfortunately the grandfather tree but you could see it from the road! It's a redwood that has a circumference of 55ft and 245ft tall, and it's over 1800 years old!
Then we walked over to the One-Log House! It's so cute, is was made from a hallowed out log in 1947 which is sad to know it was from a super old tree... hopefully it was a fallen tree :( Anyway inside the Log house it had a kitchen area, a bedroom area with two twin beds, and a living room. I wish you could rent it, it reminded me of a little log house we had for my calico critter toys I played with as a kid!
Next was Confusion Hill which is a good ole' mystery spot and roadside attraction! I know there's lot's of mystery spots all over in Kentucky, Oregon, Santa Cruz, and lotsa places. There were little kid things, a train ride, a shoe house, and other fun stuff. Their main attraction was the defying gravity house! Water and balls go up hill, and you swing to the side... one can't even standup straight!
In actuality it's just a crooked house. The weird thing is that actually all the weird angles and such made me feel a little sick and lightheaded. The floors were all at an angle and it was a little dizzying.
After we drove back towards our campsite and to the Shrine Drive-thru Tree! It's of course like any drive-thru tree, EXCEPT it's a naturally split tree. It was cheap to get in and even though it's really only a loop you drive thru, stop and get your picture, it still was really fun. Driving through the tree was a little worrisome though! Next now I need to go through the Chandelier Tree!! Around the little park was a little walk-thru house, a group of trees and two little houses carved from stumps. It was pretty cute!
We spent the rest of our Saturday we hung around and walked around. There were so many grove that I'd love to explore, but we only walked around a couple. The most amazing one was Founder's Grove. It was a small looped walk where the founders tree is, an albino tree, and tons of gigantic fallen trees. I swear the fallen trees were larger then the ones standing, they were incredibly huge and beautiful, the patterns the root systems looked like beautiful flowers.
We went to bed early so we got lot's of rest before Sunday's race. We got up extra early on Sunday so we could park by this grove near the race. Then we napped a bit before walking to the starting line. I'm really glad we did cause there were cars parked beyond ours when we walked down. When we got to the start there were quite a lot of people but no where near as many people as big city marathons, which is how this marathon tries to be, more small and intimate. The marathoners had already started so we all had to just wait for the half marathon to start then the 10k. I hope that maybe next year I can do the half marathon! I was so proud of myself running this 10k. And I think it was actually an easier run because of how amazingly gorgeous it was. Whenever you got tired or mad at running, all you had to do was look up and see the beautiful trees surrounding you. I was able to run two miles without stopping which doesn't sound like much I know, but I'm more of a run walk kind of gal. After that I only stopped for 10 seconds after every mile. Mike only took one walk I think, but he is a runner, so he of course didn't need as much walking as me :) But it wasn't bad cause look I'm kinda smiling in my pictures! I finished in 1:07 and Mike finished in :59, I'm really proud of my time, I beat my goal and Mike made his, YAY!
|Before and After the run!|
Running with other people really helped, I soon started pacing with a few women and that kept me pushing myself. With all my rowing I found that it helped me so much with breathing, I didn't have any breathing issues. The only thing that hurt was my middle toe and my knees were a little sore. Overall I can't wait for my next race! And I hope to make the Avenue of the Giants a yearly endeavor!
If you ever have the chance to visit Northern California, you have to stop and drive the Avenue of the Giants. It really is the most beautiful drive I've experienced (and I've driven lots of places!) and has the best redwoods. Better that Redwood National Park, John Muir, anywhere, it's absolutely breathtaking.