Monday, April 27, 2015


Hello, friends! Guess who spent the weekend together, after two long years apart????

That's right! Natasha and Becky were reunited in good ol' sunny California! Only... it wasn't so sunny. Not at all. When Natasha and I started planning for her visit a few weeks ago, we had planned to so many active adventures to talk about in this blog. We were going to hike to the Hollywood sign! We were going to spin with Soul Cycle! We were going to obliterate our 10k/day walking goals! Or.... so we thought.

Sadly... a cold front moved in and our hiking dreams moved out. Despite the worst drought in hundreds of years and seemingly endless sunshine for weeks prior to Natasha's visit, it rained almost nonstop once Natasha arrived. I'm not complaining - we need the rain desperately, and it was nice to get the cold spell after an unseasonably warm spring. BUT... did it have to come the one weekend Natasha was visiting? UGH! We did make it to the Hollywood sign, but intermittent rain made planning for the hike difficult. We decided to scrap our plans, and headed to The Getty instead.

The Getty is a great place to visit if you're ever in Los Angeles. It's a gorgeous museum full of renown antiquities, art, and gardens - and it's free! Visitors are greeted with an amazing view of the city... and a challenge to mimic the Muse Pose. This simple pose is more difficult than it looks - I was surprised at the ab and leg strength it took to hold the pose just so! And it takes a lot of humility to try it... I couldn't keep my composure very long with tourists standing behind Natasha taking pics while she was taking mine. Hilarious! Beyond its beauty, The Getty is a great leisurely workout too! Located on 24 acres, The Getty gives you a bunch of opportunities to get your steps in. Whether you elect to hike up and down the 26 stories of staircases between exhibits, stroll the 134,000 square foot central garden, or hike your way up the 800' ascent from the parking lot to the center itself... you definitely don't have to be lazy when visiting The Getty. I logged over 11,000 steps during our two hour visit myself! Woohoo! Want more of a challenge? Check out this blogger's recommended Getty Challenge (I'll have to remember this for a future visit... haha!).

Saturday was another rainy day, and we almost opted to stay home and watch movies. I really didn't want to spend my day on the couch, however, and recommended that we go hike the Trail of 100 Giants in Sequoia National Forest instead. The Trail of 100 Giants is not a challenging hike - it covers just over 1/2 a mile (unless you add in the Fallen Tree Loop, which brings you up to approx. one mile), and is a fairly easy 6% grade. It's perfect for strolling, and is very accessible for those with disabilities. If you're not used to the altitude (just over 6500'), you may want to take it a little slow as the air is definitely thinner up there.

The weather was not working with us at all. We discovered that the temperature had fallen to just over 40 degrees (vs 65 in the valley) when we arrived, and it rained intermittently throughout our visit. That said, the sight is truly amazing and well worth the bad weather. We took the long route, and took our time enjoying the view and the smell of the forest. No sense in wasting a perfectly good hike due to inclement weather!

Despite the rain, we still burned a respectable 300 calories during our leisurely stroll through the meadow. I would like to go back in warmer weather and climb higher/farther with my dog, but that will have to wait for another day. All in all, I logged in approximately 12,000 steps on our second day of vacation. Ever the fitness beast, Natasha earned around the same plus she went for a morning jog bringing her steps closer to 20K. She really is a fitness inspiration y'all!

On Natasha's final day, we booked tickets and traveled to Santa Clarita to have some fun at Magic Mountain. I had always wanted to go, so I was pretty psyched to make the journey. We stuck to roller coasters all day, which I think was a good choice. (PS - the scariest ride all day was the Green Lantern, in my opinion - it looked so harmless! I was so wrong!) From an exercise perspective, our poor planning resulted in an accidental fitness victory. During our 5 hour visit, I logged just over 16,000 steps! My only regret was not finding the healthy food options earlier - I settled for a kids meal at Johnny Rockets, which blew me away. Had I consumed the entire meal, I would have consumed over 1,200 calories! And we feed kids this?! Luckily, I had the foresight to look everything up and chose what I ate carefully. So crazy!

So... my goal of having a fit staycation with Natasha was not meant to be. I didn't make it to the gym once during her visit (even though she managed to run 3-4 miles/day - beast!!!), but I was pretty happy that I logged the steps that I did. I also maintained my strength training, although I had to modify my normal routine to a bodyweight routine since I didn't have my weights or my kettlebell. We both could have eaten better during her stay, but my calorie consumption wasn't too out of control (I averaged only 100 calories over my 1,350 calorie goal all weekend - frankly, I did worse today after she left). All in all, it was a pretty fun and healthy-ish weekend. I only hope Natasha enjoyed her sun-less California adventure too!

Natasha arrived back home in DC this evening, so I guess the visit truly is over. Back to reality! I enjoyed having her visit, and showing her some of my favorite places in California. We ate well, saw a lot of fun places, did a lot of fun things, and got to catch up and talk in person for once. Watching her run every day has really encouraged me to get back at it and try and do the same! Guess we'll see how it goes. Hope you all had a great weekend too!


Becky (and Natasha too!)

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