Today is my 30th birthday – and what better way to kick off a day (or week) of festivities, filled with amazing food and drink, than with a long run?! Okay, if I’m honest, I would’ve been equally happy sleeping in and running 5M on the beach, but alas, that’s not what my running schedule had in store for me. I suppose it’s good to remind my body that it’s still young and strong – surprisingly, after more than two and a half hours of running this morning, I actually feel that way too!

Originally I had planned to run 17 miles on September 17th to kickstart my celebrations, but then decided to throw an extra mile in there for good luck. Since I decided to scrap my 20 miler next weekend, I figured 18 sounded better than 17 as a final long run distance too!

E arrived a couple days ago, and it was great having him join me for the first half of my run. I wanted to do something relatively flat and partly on road to practice for race day, plus I needed a break from running on the beach and the trails in Nisene Marks, so I decided to take him to West Cliff and Wilder Ranch. I had only explored a couple miles of the coastal path on my 13M run a couple weeks ago, so a good chunk of our run was new to me too! Rather than park on West Cliff, we decided to drive to and start at the trailhead:

Here I am on the first part of the trail (excuse the camera phone photo) – proud to be 30 today!

Turns out that the coastal trail went on for far longer than I had thought – rather than about 8M on trail, we ended up doing nearly 13 and didn’t even go all the way! We had a slight mishap around mile 3 where we lost the path and started to hack our way through what we thought was an “overgrown trail,” but which turned out NOT to be the trail at all – hence the relatively slow pace – but otherwise, it was a very straightforward, lovely trail. The California coastline is truly stunning – a wonderful way to start off my birthday! I left E back at the trailhead and finished my last 6ish miles on road, which felt pretty good in my new purple Sauconys. Check out my Garmin details here, as well as a few post-run photos:

I’m really pleased with how my final long run went – my pacing was on the faster side (8:50 average pace), and although I was a bit sore towards the end, overall I felt strong through the finish. I definitely think two full rest days (tomorrow will make three) helped a lot, as did the gorgeous scenery and weather, E’s company and excitement about today’s festivities! I can honestly say that I feel good about hanging up my Portland marathon long run hat after today. I know race day will still be a struggle, but better to rest up and than force out a 20-miler next weekend.

On our way home, we met up with my parents at my local farmer’s market and got some coffee and acai na tigela (which means acai in the bowl – a favorite of mine from Brazil). The acai wasn’t quite as authentic as the stuff I got down south, but that’s okay – it tasted delicious after burning 2200 calories this morning!!

To top off my long-run success, the tasty post-run snacks and the fact that the sunshine was STILL shining even at my house (often it is foggy where I live) was what I saw as I approached my front door – not one but TWO beautiful flower/balloon deliveries waiting for me!! One from E, and another from my old flatmates in London. I was so surprised and happy – really feeling the birthday love, you guys are the best!!

So now that I’ve taken my ice bath and am all cleaned up, what’s my plan for the rest of the day? I decided to save the partying for next weekend (drinks up in San Francisco) and keep my actual birthday rather low key. With so much going on lately, I really just wanted my birthday to be an intimate affair with the people I love – so I’m having a chilled out afternoon at home with E and my family, including my sister, bro-in-law and little E, and an awesome BBQ later in the day, including my two closest friends from high school. Fingers crossed the weather holds!

I of course got to plan the menu – excited to have many of my favorite foods that I associate with home, including my Mom’s marinated steak which my Dad grills to perfection and the most delicious cake that I’ve had at nearly every California birthday celebration since I can remember. It’s the princess cake from Gayle’s bakery – if you’re not familiar with princess cake, it’s a dome-shaped cake with three layers of vanilla genoise cake, and pastry cream, raspberry jam and whipped cream inside the layers, covered in whipped cream (mainly on top, to fill the dome) and then encased in a pastel marzipan shell (obviously, I get mine in purple), sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with a fresh rose. Yes, I am turning 30 years old! I will never outgrow this cake…

And tomorrow, banana pancakes from the pancake master chef himself – my Dad! Good thing I ran this morning…

I can’t believe I’m finally 30 – all I know is that if my day so far is any indication of what 30 is like, I think this decade is going to be AWESOME! I feel so loved and am extremely grateful for everyone and everything in my life. This is going to be a big year – and I can’t be more excited for it all!!

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