Labor Day Weekend Running, Feasting, and Celebrating!

Happy Monday! I hope most of you are enjoying the extra day off this weekend for Labor Day (my husband unfortunately is not one of us lucky ones).

We had a wonderful extended long weekend that kicked off with one of my husband’s best friends, Chris, driving down from the Bay Area on Thursday night to stay with us for the weekend. We hadn’t seen Chris since we were up visiting for Christmas and it was his first time seeing our place in Los Olivos since we had moved from Santa Barbara. We started his visit by going out to get burgers (veggie for us) and beers at Solvang Brewing Company. They make burgers as big as your head, so I was able to eat half for dinner and box up the other half for the next day at school. Even better, there is an arcade attached to the restaurant, so the guys got in some good ol’ video game competition while I played pinball. Adrian and Chris continued the night by heading out to Chumash Casino, which is only 10-15 minutes away, while I called it a night and crawled into bed early.

Friday night was pretty uneventful – I didn’t leave school until around 5:45 and didn’t get home until almost 6:30. I was exhausted after a long week at work and the guys had spent the day exploring, so we were all happy to settle on the couch, watch almost an entire season of Vice Principles, and pick up Chinese take-out.

Our dog, Winston, woke me up bright and early at 6:30am on Saturday morning. After refilling his water bowl and letting him outside I tried to fall back asleep for about 15 minutes before giving it up and getting ready to go out on a much-needed 8 mile run. I was really excited to run past this stand my neighbors had set out!

Garden Variety Runner
We definitely made this the destination of our afternoon dog walk to buy some avocados!

I also ran past some gorgeous flowers someone had planted in a large metal tub next to their mailbox.

Garden Variety RunnerIt wasn’t a fast run, but I was really happy to build my mileage since that half marathon is looming next weekend. I hadn’t run longer than 5 miles at a time since May! (I advise you not to follow my non-training plan, super rushed training that is happening for this race – thankfully I’ve been running long enough to know I can push myself to finish a half marathon with minimal training…it just won’t be fast…at all.)

9:48 min/mile average pace.
9:48 min/mile average pace.

A long run deserves pancakes! The guys were just waking up as I arrived home from my run, so I stretched, showered, and started whipping up my favorite pancakes.

Garden Variety Runner

I always use One Ingredient Chef’s recipe for The Perfect Vegan Pancake, unless I’m making protein pancakes. They always turn out delicious and are all-around crowdpleasers for vegans and non-vegans alike.

Served with warmed maple syrup and watermelon!
Served with warmed maple syrup and watermelon. I hadn’t used my melon baller in ages and a half a watermelon and company made for the perfect excuse 🙂

I had been looking forward to Saturday for weeks because my best friend from 3rd grade, Heather, and her boyfriend, Doug, were driving up from L.A. to visit for the afternoon! We had last seen them over the 4th of July weekend, so I was really excited they were willing to make the long drive again (Heather and Doug – we owe you a trip down to L.A.). We spent the day wine tasting (it was Chris’ first time wine tasting ever!) and we all especially like the first stop of the day at Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery. The winery was featured in the movie Sideways and I’d been wanting to visit it since I’d seen the sign outside that said so! We failed at taking any pictures of the five of us or at all while we were out wine tasting, but at least I got one picture with Heather in my front yard before she and Doug made the drive home.

Besties for TWENTY YEARS! I love her so much!
Besties for TWENTY YEARS! I love her so much!

Then, Adrian, Chris, and I headed out for a fancy dinner at Sides Hardware & Shoes because it’s one of those places that visitors need to go to. It used to be a hardware store (hence the name) and has a bunch of amazing pictures from the early days of Los Olivos covering the exposed brick walls. The food was pretty, but none of the pictures came out very well in the restaurant’s low-lighting, sorry! We ended the night watching the movie 50/50, which was so good, but so sad – I cried four separate times!

Sunday was my mom’s birthday and she wanted to come spend it in Santa Barbara (yay!), so I got to drop off Adrian at work and meet my mom and step-dad for breakfast at Scarlett Begonia. We had to wait a while since we hadn’t made reservations, but the food was worth the wait! The menu isn’t very vegetarian friendly, but does have options for those that include eggs in their diets. The cinnamon rolls and biscuits were heavenly. We then spent the rest of the day walking around checking out open houses in Santa Barbara. When my parents retire in 5 years they are thinking about making the move to Santa Barbara (crossing my fingers) and so we had fun seeing what’s out there. I fell in love with this house…

Garden Variety Runner

…but we are years away from being financially ready to become home owners. A girl can dream though!

After hours of walking from house to house in beautiful warm Santa Barbara weather we were ready for some refreshments.

Garden Variety Runner
Blended almond milk chai for me and smoothies for the parents.

Then we made a quick trip to the beach in Isla Vista because we had some time to spend before Adrian got off work. The tide was high, so we were limited to the stairs.

Garden Variety Runner

These two make me happy.
These two make me happy.

And finally we closed out the day with a dinner fit for a birthday at Mesa Verde, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Santa Barbara. My mom and I actually went there for lunch on my birthday this year as well! Their food is always delicious and gorgeous. I got the Smoked Oyster Mushroom Risotto.

Garden Variety Runner // Risotto at Mesa Verde

And we split baklava and a vegan strawberry cheesecake for dessert.

Finally (I know this post is a long one!), I kicked off this morning with a 10 mile run. I needed to get in one double-digit run before the half marathon next weekend to put myself in the right mental state. Adrian and Winston joined me for the first mile, which was awesome! We did a loop and it made it seem easier to think of going out 4.5 more instead of 5 – it’s the little things when it comes to running mind tricks, right?!

Mid-run stop at 5 miles to splash my face with cold water.
Mid-run stop at 5 miles to splash my face with cold water.

The animal life near the end of my run also made it much easier!

Little sweetie I ran into at mile 8.5!
Little sweetie I ran into at mile 8.5!
Unexpected deer sighting at mile 9! There were five of them all together.
Unexpected deer sighting at mile 9! There were five of them all together.

Thankfully, this run was a bit faster than Saturday’s and made me feel much more prepared for next weekend!

9:05 min/mile average pace.
9:05 min/mile average pace.

I followed up my run with avocado toast made from two of the avocados we had picked up on Saturday – I had been thinking about them ever since!

Garden Variety Runner // Avocado Toast


How did you celebrate Labor Day Weekend? Was it a long weekend for you?

Leave a Reply