Yikes! I’m Running the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in the Redwood Forest

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I decided to tackle a new project and would share today what that’s all about. Call me crazy, but I decided to run another marathon – the Avenue of the Giants Marathon! In the first decade of this century, I ran a total of five marathons. I ran the Chicago marathon twice, the Fox River Valley marathon twice, and the Johnstown Marathon located in Pennsylvania. At the time, I thought it would be a good idea to stop at five and stick to shorter distances. Well, that all changed this past week.

Marathon runners on the street


I said I’d never run another marathon but visiting Madison, Wisconsin, made me change my mind. I saw a LOT of runners while we were out exploring and that running bug was biting me big time. Mind you, I still run a few days a week but not nearly enough miles that put me in marathon shape.

As I was toying with the idea of tackling another 26.2 miles, I remembered how much I wanted to someday run the Avenue of the Giants Marathon through the redwood forest of northern California. The next thing I knew, I was hitting the sign-up button!

Here’s some of the scenery I’ll get to enjoy while running that race on May 1st. Gorgeous, right? Despite the pain my body will feel toward the end of the marathon, I’ll enjoy every minute of these breathtaking views.

Avenue of the Giants through the redwood forest in northern California


Since we’ll be out there for the race, I figured why not make a vacation out of it? I’ve been to southern California but never the north part. So I booked this cute little Airbnb in Ferndale halfway between the airport and the start of the race.

Cottage Airbnb in northern California


Below is historic Main Street in Ferndale. I’ve already looked into where the coffee shops and restaurants are located. Please let me know if you’ve ever been there and what we should see during our stay.

Main Street in historic Ferndale


Main Street in historic Ferndale, California


If I can still walk after the marathon, we plan to visit some of the lighthouses in the area. This one is in Trinidad.

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse in Northern California with a view of the bay.


Here’s the lighthouse at Cape Mendocino.

Cape Mendocino lighthouse on the north california coast.


And this unique-looking lighthouse is in Eureka, California. You could say I have a thing for lighthouses. My favorite is the one at Harbor Town on Hilton Head Island.

Table Bluff Lighthouse in Eureka California along the Pacific Ocean


Also in Eureka (as well as in Ferndale) are beautiful, historic Victorian homes. I can’t wait to see them in person!

Blue Victorian house in Eureka, California


We plan to visit the Lost Coast, too. It’ll be too cold for getting in the water, but it should be fun to explore.

Black rock in a black sand beach on The Lost Coast Trail in northern California


Training for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon is going to be brutal. I’ve never trained for a spring marathon – I’ve only run fall marathons – so we’ll see how I do running long mileage in the middle of winter. I think the longest I’ve run in winter is 14 miles, but I’ll need to do about three 20-mile runs to properly prepare. Ugh. What did I get myself into? LOL.

Here’s a few pics from past marathons. This is early in the morning before the Fox River Valley Marathon that’s close to where I live. We all look so fresh and chipper here. That’s me in the orange sweatshirt, in case you didn’t know.

Fox River Valley Marathon group of friends


And here we are, running the first part of the race and still looking energetic. I’m #244 in the purple tank top. I ditched the sweatshirt when the starting gun went off.

Fox River Valley Marathon group of friends


As the marathon went on, some of the group took off ahead, and some fell behind. T.J. and I were left together for a while. I don’t know what I’m saying to him in this picture. Unfortunately his girlfriend didn’t stay with us. T.J. ended up falling behind too. This is the race where I ran my best marathon time in three hours and 58 minutes. All my marathon race results are listed here. Breaking four hours was my big goal and I started crying (happy tears) when I crossed the finish line that day. I also placed first in my age group, which I wasn’t expecting at all. It’s my claim to fame. LOL.


Fox River Valley Marathon group of friends

My goal for this marathon is 1) get to the starting line and 2) cross the finish line. I plan to run slower to avoid injury and to save my legs for the remainder of the trip. Wish me luck – I’m gonna need it!



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  1. Good for you!!! What a great way to see other areas of the country and meet people, plus getting exercise too! Keep on runnin’ and be glad you are able to do it.

    1. Hi Kathy! You’re right – I always do manage to meet people when running a marathon. Despite the pain it ends up being a good experience. Thanks for your support!

  2. Congrats on setting this ambitious goal! We spent months in that part of our beautiful state the past two years. Do visit Arcata (cuter homes than Eureka with a college vibe), check out the cemetary in Ferndale, and in Trinidad, there are many great places to walk and run (and buy fresh fish!). Be prepared for fog and mist all along that section of coast, which ought to make the running easier.

  3. I can’t even…good luck! And those beautiful little towns with their Victorian structures as well as the lighthouses on the coast will certainly serve as a carrot on the end of the stick.

  4. What an amazing adventure! You are an inspiration, for sure. The vacation after the race will be well deserved. Enjoy and best of luck to you!

  5. Sounds like an exciting and beautiful trip.
    I wish you great success. Who needs luck when you’ve got Jesus?!! Prov.16:33 😉👏

  6. I think it’s wonderful, have a good time and I will say a prayer for you to be able to finish.

  7. I live just east of the north coast area – in Shasta County. It sounds like you have all the must-see places on your list. Ferndale is a lovely place to visit. The Eureka Zoo called Sequoia Park Zoo is charming and has opened up a new Redwood Skywalk which is a must-see.


  8. This is beyond Awesome! I’ll be rooting for you from here. I really am impressed. You remind me of that meme I see where it asks what 3 words would you say you your younger Self? Mine would be Never Stop Exercising. Keep running. . .