#Mountains2Beach Marathon Recap

25 May

Yesterday I ran my third marathon – Mountains 2 Beach which started in Ojai and ended on the beach in Ventura. I wanted to get my recap done ASAP to remember all of the highs and various lows from this race.  Overall, it was a fabulous race experience and I also learned a lot for future training cycles.

My training going into this marathon was better than my previous two — I got in more long runs, and my pace was consistently better than it has been in the past.  I felt strong, and I wasn’t nervous heading into yesterday.  This is in stark contrast to when I ran LA in 2014 — I was a ball of nerves the entire week before because I had put a lot of pressure on myself to do well, even though I realized no one really cares about my time except for me.

Anyway,  my parents generously agreed to come up to Ventura with me on Saturday.  We hit up packet pick-up at Ventura High School on our way, which was a huge chaotic mess. I loved this race but their organization was awful at packet pick-up.  Various unmarked lines and very little space for the number of people it was trying to accommodate.  Also, the expo was really tiny and there wasn’t much going on, but it at least made it relatively easy to make quick work of it.

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My parents and I headed to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ventura which was great — we walked onto Main Street for an early dinner at Bombay Burger Bar which beyond hit the spot.  I’m pretty sure if you’re craving something the day before a marathon you should not deny yourself that craving and my body was telling me I needed a hamburger.  Granted,  my body tells me this a lot, but I listened on a pre-race day.  It was insanely hard to watch my Dad have a couple of beers while I drank water.  But there’s a first time for everything.

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I managed to get to sleep around 9:30, which was helpful because my alarm was set to 3:15.  This race shuttles everyone from Ventura up to the start in Ojai, and my shuttle time was 4 a.m.  Waking up that early is never easy, but pre-race adrenaline got me going, and once I got to Ojai I ran into my #DTLARunning buddies Alvaro, Cynthia, Kevin, and Kendra and that helped pass the time.  On the shuttle,  I met a guy who had done this race before who suggested I stay to the left because sometimes the water stations are only one side.  That tip came in handy later on.

My race strategy was to conserve the first 10, pick up the pace the second 10, and to hang on for the last 6.  This worked very well for the first 20 – and the first part of the race was nothing short of euphoric.  We started in Ojai and essentially did a big loop to add mileage.  I was hovering in between the 3:28 and 3:33 pacer for this portion.  There’s one very gradual uphill for about a mile at mile 6 and I made a conscious effort to slow my pace and not to push it.  My iPod was set to shuffle and everything was on-point, one great song after another.  I had this amazing feeling of “this is going to be my day…I’m going to shatter my PR.”  Even the signs were inspired.  My two favorites were ones that said “One if By Land – Boston Bound” and “San Diego – 200 miles.  Boston – 22 miles” held by someone at mile 4.

  • Mile 1: 8:00
  • Mile 2: 7:53
  • Mile 3: 7:36
  • Mile 4: 7:44
  • Mile 5: 7:37
  • Mile 6: 8:11
  • Mile 7: 8:07
  • Mile 8: 7:54
  • Mile 9: 7:31
  • Mile 10: 7:20

The miles were sort of blurring together and before I knew it I was at mile 10.  At this point I realized I could pick it up if I wanted to, so I accelerated when I felt like it and used the downhill.  I passed the 3:28 pacer.  And then I passed the 3:23 pacer. I knew I’d slow down once we got to the flat portion for the last 5 miles or so, but I figured this would give me a solid buffer to still BQ.

  • Mile 11: 7:33
  • Mile 12: 7:19
  • Mile 13: 7:05
  • (1:40:xx at the half)
  • Mile 14: 7:17
  • Mile 15: 7:39
  • Mile 16: 7:49
  • Mile 17: 8:02

Around this point I started to get a little bit tired, so I started walking through the water stations.  It was starting to get hot, and this portion of the bike path did not have a lot of cloud cover.  Based on my rough math,  I thought I could slow to a 9 min/mile average and still BQ, so with small walk breaks I’d be about 9 minutes per mile with my running pace still around 8 minutes/mile.

  • Mile 18: 8:49
  • Mile 19: 8:34
  • Mile 20: 8:51

Somewhere in the 21st mile is when things got rough.  I started to feel the beginnings of muscle spasms earlier in my race, and I had taken a salt pill to try and prevent them from taking over. In mile 21 I took another pill, and walked A LOT.  At one point when we made the turn off the bike path, I started running again and BOOM.   Both calves instantly seized up at the same time.  Every time I tried to run, they’d be okay for maybe a minute or so, and then spasm again.  Literally charley horse after charley horse with both calves.

  • Mile 21: 8:30
  • Mile 22: 12:39

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I thought I’d maybe have a chance If I could get my calves to cooperate, but by now the 3:23 and 3:28 pacers were long gone.   At this point, I saw my parents who were cheering.  I told them “it’s gonna be close” as I ran by — I was still hanging with the 3:33 pacer.  Little did I know my calves would only get worse, essentially leaving me to walk the last 3 miles. Every time I would try to run both calves would seize.  

  • Mile 23: 8:23
  • Mile 24: 11:46
  • Mile 25: 12:58
  • Mile 26: 12:42
  • You can see the pain.

    You can see the pain.

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    Total Time:  3:46:11

    This was unbelievably disappointing — I never really felt like I went into glycogen debt and I felt strong most of the way.  I crossed the finish line and started to cry.  Not from the disappointment of missing the BQ — I frankly did not deserve it with that race and that day will come.  What frustrated me is how EVERYTHING else was perfect — my nutrition,  the course, the music, the weather…Ugh.

    I rallied myself to a slow walk back to the hotel, showered, and took some standard social media photos.

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    Later, my mom did some research and we think poor hip extension is the cause of my muscle spasms/charley horses.   So I will definitely be working on that and adding yoga into my routine.

    Overall, I am proud of what I accomplished yesterday and I loved the race.  The course was BEAUTIFUL and FAST.  I didn’t love miles 17-19, but I would know that for future years and plan accordingly.  I also loved that the race started at 6 AM – making it much easier to beat the heat, since it never really got THAT hot, although it did get sunny.

    I spent the rest of the afternoon eating In-n-Out and drinking an IPA while watching Pitch Perfect with my mom.  Fat Amy’s “horizontal running” even seems too taxing right now…

    Thank you to EVERYONE who sent me positive vibes and social media likes the last couple of days.  Yesterday was an emotional ride but so worth it.

    random things i felt compelled to share.

    10 May

    So my blogging has been sporadic…but over the last month I’ve saved up some things to share with you guys.  Here’s a random list of things I like/love/am obsessed with:

    I know, I know…such a blogger cliché to jump on the subscription box bandwagon – but I am loving the $19/month commitment to Rocksbox…they ship me 3 pieces of jewelry, I wear them until I feel like sending them back…and the cycle repeats.  I love the fact I don’t have to commit to buying the pieces (although there is an option to purchase).  Yay for baby steps to being an adult.  (I loved these earrings and this necklace from my first set).

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    • Speaking of boxes – although not a subscription box I LOVE LOVE LOVE the curated gift boxes the girls (based in LA!) put together over at BoxFox.  I sent my friend Whitney the “hustle” box when she started a new job in SF and grabbed my mom one for Mother’s Day.
    • Baseball season. Hellooooooo Dodger stadium!

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    • Casual Fridays.  because duh.

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    • The fact the TimeHop app lets me relive college.  Here’s a photo of me, Kathleen, and Amanda with (one of) our favorite college bar’s bouncers. So normal.

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    • My high school guy friends.  I have one biological brother and 10 brudders.  They’re the best.

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    • Thursdays…have been and always will be my favorite day of the week.

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    • Social Media & the law – I’ve done some interesting things at work lately related to social media which has been fun.  Fun fact:  Although users might think their snapchats disappear, forensics experts can still obtain them. IMG_1977
    • High school reunions.  Loved seeing two of my close girl friends this past weekend at Malibu Wines.  I had the best time in high school (I know, I’m one of those obnoxious people) and always love re-connecting with my HS peeps.

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     What’s a random thing you’re loving?

    my 3 fitness obsessions [b/c “girl crush” sounds too creepy].

    14 Apr

    These three women inspire me to be a better runner and a stronger athlete — and you may not have heard of any of them because they’re not Olympians or professional athletes, but they have inspired me over the years and I thought I should share the wealth!

    I started taking spin classes in 2008 at Cal’s on-campus gym, and I quickly became low-key obsessed with Anja’s class. (Her six-minute slow remix of B. Spears’ “Toxic” = legendary).  I admired her enthusiasm and how dedicated she was…and not to mention that she was also a gymnast and getting her masters in nursing.   A few years later, she’s a nurse in Los Angeles, and a master trainer with Daily Burn and teaching classes at Equinox.  I’m no Anja, but I found her ability to pursue multiple passions inspiring, and she was a huge motivator for me in deciding to get spin certified and teach a class.  It’s been amazing to watch her success unfold via social media.

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    Image: Twitter.com/AnjaGarcia

     

    No clue why I even bother taking a class with anyone but Laura Crago.  I dubbed her class #ChurchOfCrago because it is that amazing.  Insane beats, energy, and motivation…and she has an EDGE.  Last week my friend Riley said “I want to be her…but you REALLY want to be her.”  Yuppp.  Not weird at all.  Sometimes some of the yoga-like speeches instructors give at the end of SoulCycle classes come off as trite, but Crago’s always inspire me. Last week, she managed to not only say “Bye Felicia” but also one of my favorite quotes of hers — “How you do anything is how you do everything.”  Her class is tough but amazing and she is a total bad ass.  Go take her class immediately.

    image: Soul Cycle website

    image: Soul Cycle website

    Janae is both a warrior and an amazing athlete.  I follow a lot of running bloggers – but Janae is more like a runner who happens to have a blog.  She is a beast — she’s close to breaking 3 hours in the marathon.  I find her particularly inspiring because  a few years ago, she went through a divorce while being somewhat in the public eye…and during this particularly stressful time she destroyed her own PR in the half marathon and broke 1:30.  She has also blogged honestly about her relationship and what it’s like dating while being a single mom, and has always come off as grateful and classy.  Her mantra of “I can do hard things” has proved true for her – and she has inspired me to push myself.

    image: Hungry Runner Girl website

    image: Hungry Runner Girl website

    Who is your biggest fitness inspiration? 

    vacation state of mind.

    13 Apr

    One thing that has been different about being an “actual adult” with a job (as opposed to a fake adult 3LOL-ing my way through last year) is that my weeks are MUCH more structured.  I love routine — so in a lot of ways this is great for me — but it has been an adjustment to build in spontaneity and fun on non-weekend days.

    Last Thursday, on an out-of-the-ordinary trip to SoulCycle to visit the #ChurchOfCrago with Whitney and Riley, I announced I was “on vacation.”  Whitney asked “Really?  Don’t you have work tomorrow?”  I laughed — of course I did — but I have adopted something I like to call the “vacation mindset.”  Whenever I sneak in an unexpected break in my routine, I am SHOCKED at how happy it makes me and how it literally serves to brighten my whole day.  Here’s some recent things I’ve done to cultivate the “vacation mindset.”

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    #obsessed

    • A few months ago I attended a hearing in Santa Monica…so instead of sitting in traffic to get out there, I headed west early, hit up a rooster class at SoulCycle and ate breakfast by the ocean.  (Basically SoulCycle = vacation for me if you haven’t figured that out.  I am a cheap date).

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    • Worked out of our other LA office in Century City.  I did this last month — a couple of my colleagues laughed at me when I said I felt like I was on vacation, but I seriously did.  I am overdue for a mid-week jaunt to Century City.

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    • Having coffee with my Dad after his gym session in DTLA before we both head to work.

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    • Changing up my route to hit up Two Guns Espresso’s new stand (outside of the PwC building)

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    • Carpooling with my Dad out to Oak Park for dinner with my family, and heading back in with him the next morning…complete with a super early Starbucks run to fuel the commute.unnamed-4
    • The occasional pre-work breakfast with the Cal Alumni Association or Creative Mornings/LA
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    January’s CM/LA with Eric Joule from Strava.

    How do you get into the vacation mindset? 

    hollywood half recapped.

    12 Apr

    Yesterday I ran my 18th half marathon.  (That number is now approaching embarrassing status, but I digress).  The course wasn’t my favorite but it was still a good experience overall, so I thought I’d break it down as I procrastinate work (noticing a theme?) and trying to overcome my sleep deprivation.  ANYWAY.

    I started off the morning with a 4:30 wake-up call.  Did my usual coffee/oatmeal/selfie thing, and headed out the the metro right around 5.

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    I met up with some of the #DTLARunning crew and we headed over to the start at Hollywood and Highland for the race start at 6.

    I ran the 10k here two years ago, so I knew what to expect, but my initial criticisms of the race are twofold: (1) there weren’t really easy-to-find porta-potties near the start (or I am blind), so I waited in a long line at Hollywood & Highland’s shopping center before the start.  Better than porta potties for sure, but some security guards noted that these were technically not supposed to be open.  Whatever.

    Also, I did something I NEVER do and brought a bag to the race with a change of clothes for after the race, including my favorite Nike jacket.  (In retrospect, this was a total bonehead move).  I didn’t realize gear check was at the FINISH,  over a mile away from the start until it was too late, so I tried to hide my bag and hoped for the best.  Sigh.

    I hustled into Corral #2 and a few minutes after 6 we were off.

    The course itself had it’s pros and cons – I wouldn’t classify this course as “hilly” but it was mentally challenging which made it pretty tough.  It was an out and back on Hollywood Boulevard, but in order to get the mileage up to 13.1, there were probably a half dozen or so little dog-legs up and down side streets.  These proved to be short little hill repeats – I liked the downhills but they were not fun.

    My early splits were decently speedy:

    • Mile 1 7:08
    • Mile 2 7:17
    • Mile 3 7:22
    • Mile 4 7:43
    • Mile 5 7:41

    I spotted my high school teammate, Garrison, on several of the out and back sections — he was running the 10k.  At one point I yelled “Garrison, get up here!!

    Around mile 5, I saw Andres, and he joined me for about a mile or so.  Shout-out to AC for making sure the mile he ran with me was my fastest. He also reminded me that the next section would be downhill, so I kept that in mind…ish.

    • Mile 6 7:06
    • Mile 7 7:25
    • Mile 8 8:10
    • Mile 9 7:53

    Around Mile 9 the half-marathon converged on the 10k and 5k runners who were still finishing.  One of my least favorite things to happen in a race…you lose track of who is in front of you, it’s hard to gauge speed, etc.

    • Mile 10 8:02
    • Mile 11 8:13

    Around Mile 11.5, we passed the finish…and then had to head out an extra 3/4 of a mile or so in the wrong direction, and then back.  This was pretty torturous and my time reflects that.  I was so over it by this point.

    Exhibit A:

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    • Mile 12 8:23
    • Mile 13 7:55

    Finish:  1:40:40 – 7:43/mile average pace

    4th out of 263 in my age group (F – 25-29)

    26/1819 – All females

    182/3219 Overall

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    (Of course the gear I had stored was nowhere to be found.  Sad).

    So overall, I wasn’t thrilled with my performance or the course logistics,  but it was a fun morning and an impressive turnout by #DTLARunning.  Thanks again to everyone who came out to support us!

    The rest of my day was amazingly fun – and a tad bit overaggressive but what else is new.  I’ll save that for a different post.

    Thoughts on the #HollywoodHalf if you ran it? 

    march madness. (yes, i have resorted to cliché blog post titles).

    6 Apr

    Sue me?  Oh god, was that an ill-fated attempt at a legal pun?  What happened to me? I used to be think I was funny.

    Anyway, I just got back from a run…and am procrastinating doing work (what else is new) so I figured why not fill my seven readers in on the latest in my life.  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

    Running.  Lots of it.

    Marathon Spectating – FOMO hit me HARD on March 15th when I saw my mom and tons of my friends run the LA Marathon.  It was inspiring seeing so many people I know fight through the heat and set personal bests out there — and it was a fun and different perspective spectating, but I’ve already signed up for next year so that next year people hand me gummy bears and gatorade instead of the other way around.  My Dad and I went to four different spots on the course.  We started near the 5k in Little Tokyo where I saw a TON of people I know as well as a really excited old man who chanted “Si Se Puede! Si Se Puede, C’mon, C’mon, C’mon C’mon!” ad naseum for an hour, then we drove near mile 11 or so at Hollywood and Highland – I was glad to see Andres but of course he was too fast and beat us to our other spots, then mile 18 in Century City (this is the spot where I wanted to die last year), and then finally the finish to see my mom.

    Immediately that day I whipped up a training plan for myself since I’m running Ojai Mountains 2 Beach at the end of May. It will be my third full mary and I’m hoping for a decent PR.  I’ve been logging more AM miles and trying to push the pace on some of my shorter runs, and have been trying to hang with the big  boys at my running group.  (And by “trying” I mean they make fun of me for being slow and getting distracted by pretty buildings).

    Last weekend, I ran the Agoura Hills Great Race Cheseboro Half Marathon. I grew up running these trails, but never for time.  These were the days before Garmins and NikePlus and even social media.  Anyway, while I knew what to expect, I didn’t get myself in the right headspace to get my butt kicked by the trails and the hills.  Portions of the course were really technical and REALLY steep.  That said, it was gorgeous…just wasn’t gonna be seeing fast times or a PR.  Again, there’s that old saying “it takes a crappy run to make you appreciate the really good ones.”

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    While I finished in 1:47:47, my splits ranged from 6:31 to 10:59.  Not pretty.

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    My Dad ran the 5k and then took a selfie. Not pictured because “his colleagues will see it and it is embarrassing.”  Guess I should worry about that at some point.

    Up next for me is the Hollywood Half which I decided to do in a gunner moment of…gunning?  But in all seriousness I need to redeem myself from the Cheseboro Half, and logging long run miles is SO much easier to do in a race setting than solo.

    My Best Friend’s Wedding.  Also in March, my best friend, Jenn, got married!  Jenn and I were in the same sorority in college, lived together all of law school, and ended up working at the same law firm.  If you’ve read this blog even once before you’ve probably seen her around…ANYWAY.  She had a unique and playful ceremony and super fun reception at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale on Ultimate Pi Day (3.14.15).  Check out the gorgeous photos here.  It was a lot of fun and an honor getting to stand up there celebrating Jenn…and they even trusted me with a microphone to say some nice (and mildly derisive) words about Jenn and Daniel.  I also had an amazing time catching up with Kathleen and Amanda from my sorority, as well as a ton of Jenn’s friends from law school.

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    I also had a great time with my parents.

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    (This is my mom just hours before she started her first marathon #boss).

    Also in March, I got to attend my friend Andres and his wife Monique’s baby shower.  It was awesome — they thought of every little detail and I got to eat the best mole sauce I will ever have in my life. Can’t wait to meet who is sure to be the coolest kid in the greater LA area.

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    I was pretty busy in March, but I think — for the most part — busy is better.  I got to work on some fun and interesting things at work.  S/o to my parents for keeping me sane in (rare?) moments of insanity and (frequent) moments of stress.

    I also went to a fun Cal Alumni breakfast last week — it was cool to connect with alumni and trade stories — sometimes I forget about little things I loved about Cal living in LA, which is so UCLA/U$C dominated…so I’m going to try and go to more events like that. (Side-note: trying to keep the side-hustle/creative side of my brain working, so it’s a goal of mine to go to one non-law related networking or speaker event a month.  We’ll see how that goes).

    Anyway, that’s about it for me.  Off to go review a deposition transcript, polish off my application for the RW/RR Challenge, and loudly rap Kanye to myself.  Not necessarily in that order, but more than likely.

    I guess that’s why they call it #zincity

    11 Mar

    Alternative title: I planned a bachelorette party by some miracle.

    A few short weeks ago, my best friend Jenn’s bachelorette weekend took me and 9 other women (girls?…unclear) up to Lompoc (north of Santa Barbara) for some wine-tasting, “girl talk” and general debauchery to celebrate Jenn.   Although Jenn was quite the “rager” in college — she was literally always stopping at various fraternities to say hi to people — she was pretty adamant that she didn’t want a Vegas bachelorette, or anything super typical.  Fine by me, since I was planning it and I’m the least “OMG!!!” person there is. (That’s a type of person, FYI).

    Anyway, thanks in large part to my mom’s incredible ability to find anything on the internet, we booked an amazing renovated barn that comfortably slept all of us – and it included a large kitchen, bathroom, TV, wifi, and dining table. I would definitely recommend checking out Hidden Canyon Ranch in Lompoc via Air BnB.

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    There were also animals on the property, to the extent you think that’s cool:

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    Before we arrived, I again enlisted my mom’s help in buying all of the food we’d need for the weekend. (Thanks mom, everyone would have starved without your guidance).  I also put together “survival kits” for everyone — I didn’t nab a picture, but they included a wine glass, a mini bottle of champagne, advil, a water bottle, gum, and a Lara bar in case of emergency.

    The weekend began for me on Friday night when I picked one of mine and Jenn’s BFFs from Cal, Kathleen, up at LAX.  I was in the middle of a crazy document production, and battling a cold, but picking Kathleen up was an instant mood boost.  We high-tailed it out of LA and stayed with my parents in the Conejo Valley, which would put us a little closer to our final destination.  S/o to Kathleen for balancing out my crazy as I stayed up pretty late reviewing documents.

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    In the morning, we packed up the car (s/o to my parents for being the best) and made a mandatory pit-stop.

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    Kathleen and I gabbed for about two hours and arrived at the barn to set up before everyone else arrived.  Around 11 or so, everyone was there and the day began! In attendance were two of Jenn’s best friends from law school, four friends from elementary school through high school, Jenn’s sister, and then Kathleen and I held it down for the college/sorority contingent. Go bears.

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    I worked with 805 Wine Tours to set up a four-hour tasting tour through the region. They were affordable, knowledgeable about the area and the region, and professional.  Our favorite winery ended up being one that I had not booked ahead of time, but our guide called during the day and squeezed us in.

    During the course of the day, we stopped at Babcock, Foley, Huber, and Melville wineries and had full tastings at all of them.

    girls on a tractor.

    girls on a tractor (like snakes on a plane except not at all)

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    I think everyone liked Huber the best because they had a dog, but I liked it because their wines were a cut above and they had snacks. Chicks and dogs, man.  I don’t get it.

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    Our final stop of the day was Foley – by this point everyone was having a good time.  Except for me in this photo?

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    After the tour, we headed back to the Ranch.  Some of the girls went into town and brought back tacos – best. call. ever. While others of us tried to keep drinking due to tank-status.  Ugh.

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    We played a few low-key games — Jenn and I told stories from our college days when we were both wrecks (compared to now that it’s mostly just me).   I’ll spare you the funny stories about Jenn’s college days because her fiancé reads my blog and also because I’m a good friend and also because blackmail.

    I also had Daniel fill out a version of the “newlywed game”-type questions which was HILARIOUS.  Here’s an example of how funny his answers were.  I may have cried:

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    We spent the rest of the time relaxing, napping/drinking, playing Cards against Humanity, and talking about Kanye.  Oh wait, that was just me.  Whoops.

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    We cooked dinner together and ate a ton of dessert (What’s a wedding with a #PiTheeWed hashtag if every event does not feature pie?)  Anyway,  my alcohol consumption never really hit me, until everyone else decided they were going to bed and I could not stop laughing.  It all started when Blanca asked me why I like Kanye so much…and that turned into a hyperbolic explanation that I think he is the “Steve Jobs of music” and that he could “stop making music tomorrow and become an architect.”  So I may not have made any friends on this trip, but at least Jenn is stuck with me?  Bahah.

    We got up in the morning and headed back to LA – but not before stuffing our faces some more and hitting up a drive-through coffee stand in Lompoc.

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    I was a stress case (event planning is not my specialty, but I am a great event-attender) but I think everyone had a good time and that this was something off the beaten path.  I’d definitely recommend where we stayed and 805 Wine Tours if you’re local and looking to do something similar!  Thank you to everyone who came :)

    Also, LOVE YOU JENN!!! Can’t wait for this weekend and to pepper every social media platform with #PiTheeWed (well, after the moratorium on social media is lifted, of course).

    What sort of bachelorette parties have you been to? 

    I can’t wait to check out Austin, Texas for my friend Riley’s bach in July!

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