Summer Adventures

Summer is starting to wind down, and so is my hectic schedule! This year has easily been one of my busiest and most adventurous to date, leaving little time to blog! Lately, it feels like I am either working or traveling, but I can’t complain!

Rich and I returned from our European vacation (True story-it still feels surreal to say that!), in late spring/early June, which I will save for another belated post. I spent most of June recovering from the Slane flu (a pesky Irish meecrobe I picked up in Slane, Ireland), working, and training for The San Francisco Marathon. I had zero time to return to my internship, and the only free weekend I had was spent road tripping to Arizona to pick up our pooch from the dog-sitter, aka my best friend’s house.

July was a fun one. The week before the San Francisco Marathon, Rich and I went camping and white water rafting with friends!

RaftingGroup

We arrived at the glamp…er…campgrounds, which was near Sacramento, on a Monday afternoon. The grounds were quite luxurious as far as camping goes-we had access to running water, flushing toilets and even showers! We spent the rest of the day swimming in the river, tossing frisbees, drinking beer, BBQing and Cards of Humanity-ing.

RaftingFrisbee

CampingBugs

The following day we headed out to the Middle Fork of the American River! This would be my first time white water rafting, and I was super nervous and excited. I am a decent swimmer, as in I’ve got a mean doggie paddle and I’m good at wading in the water drinking margaritas, but the thought of being submerged under white water was a little terrifying to me! But once we boarded the boat, we were flying down rapids and there was no time to be afraid!

Rafting1

Our trip included a full day of rafting, plus a lunch break. I have to say, it was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. We tackled Class 3 to Class 5 rapids, and my friends and I laughed and screamed all day long!

Rafting2

I never fell out of the raft (yay!), but we were allowed to jump in the river twice and float down with our life vests, which might have been just as fun as cruising down the rapids in the raft. It was a fantastic experience, and I will be heading back to the white waters as soon as the next opportunity presents itself!

The San Francisco Marathon was only days away after returning from our rafting trip. I promise to publish my painfully long review of the race, but that’s for another post. I will mention, however, that Rich and I contracted the stomach flu, resulting in a less than spectacular race day. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I could feel signs of it coming on during our rafting trip, I just didn’t realize what was happening at the time. I’ve been sick too many times this year, and I will attribute that to a complete lack of sleep. A busy life is great, but I think too many sleepless nights have caught up with me.

In August, my focus was work. I did get to volunteer at the Giant Race with The San Francisco Marathon, but for the most part the month was a quiet one. However, I was able to save up for our last big event of the summer. I found Rich the PERFECT belated birthday present: 2 tickets to Riot Fest in Chicago! I found ultra-cheap plane tickets on Frontier airlines (hooray red-eyes!), and we were housed by friends in the city, so I was able to swing one more mini-vaca. This would be my first visit to Chicago, AND my first 3-day music festival!

RiotFestSign

Riot Fest is a punk-rock themed festival, and was held this year at Douglas Park on September 11th, 12th and 13th. We spent 3 days jumping and dancing in the mud to some of our favorite bands!

RiotFerrisWheel

A few of my personal favorites…

RiotNoDoubtFlower

Front and center for No Doubt

RiotFloggingMolly

Flogging Molly

System Of A Down

Rodrigo Y Gabriela

RiotFestModestMouse

Last but not least, Modest Mouse

On Day 2, we attended a music discussion panel with Henry Rollins and 2 of the 3 members of the West Memphis 3. If you don’t know who they are, they were teens convicted of murder in the 1990’s based on shoddy evidence, such as they listened to Metallica and wore black clothing. It took them 18 years to be released. The panel was fascinating!

There was also a carnival inside the park. We rode the ferris wheel, which provided us with amazing views of the festival!

RiotFerrisWheel2

On Day 3, we checked out the Lagunitas Brewery, which happened to be right next to Douglas Park.

LagunitasBrewery

LagunitasFlights

We had to fly home on Monday evening, which left us a half day to explore Chicago…

RiotChiSky

…We decided Millenium Park was a MUST:

ChiTheBean

Obligatory touristy “Bean” photo

We then headed to Wicker Park for some drinks at a hipster saloon with our house hosts.

ChiWickerPark

Some Mezcal-y drink…mmmmm

Our last day went by so fast, and we were back at the airport in a flash. Chicago was beautiful and fun, and the midwestern friendliness was very real! I want to go back and explore more of the city (just not during the winter!).

There you have it, my summer adventures! I am home for a little while, until the wedding extravaganza for my best friend, Allison, begins…starting with the bachelorette party in Disneyland at the end of October! I am currently gearing up for a loooong training camp for my next batch of races, which includes the Berkeley Half Marathon, and, gulp, the Los Angeles Marathon. Stay tuned!

-J

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