Where to Play Pickleball in Ventura County and...What IS Pickleball?

Pickleball court at Del Prado Playgrounds in Newbury Park

Pickleball court at Del Prado Playgrounds in Newbury Park

According to www.whatispickleball.com, pickleball is oversized ping pong played on a badminton sized court with a tennis sized net. Pickleball originated in Bainsbridge Island, Washington in 1965 when congressman Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell created the game for their families to play.

Pickleball is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a wiffle ball that weighs about an ounce and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping pong paddles. Pickleball is an indoor/outdoor sport that is easy to learn and, like tennis and ping pong, can be played singles or doubles. Learn more about pickleball at www.usapa.org.

Today, the sport of pickleball is governed in the U.S. by the USA Pickleball Association. which was founded in 2005 to promote the sport. There are over 150,000 pickleball players and over 2,000 pickleball courts across the country.

While I have not played pickleball myself, I'm intrigued when I watch the video below. Looks like a lot of fun, and certain does look like playing ping pong while standing on an oversized ping pong table (or undersized tennis court, if you will).

Pickleball is growing in popularity here in the Ventura County area. Here is a list of public pickleball courts in and around Ventura County.

"Pickleball player Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." (Somebody had to say it.)

Conejo Valley Veterans Memorial at Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks

Veterans Memorial Fountain

Veterans Memorial Fountain

The Conejo Valley Veterans Memorial is a fountain memorial with two ponds located at Conejo Creek Park North, 1379 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks

The inscription on the memorial says "We the people of the Conejo Valley proudly dedicate this memorial to our local veterans. Their courage and sacrifices serve as a shining example for future generations."

Conejo Creek Park is a local treasure. Completed in 1992, the park has a fitness trail, two playgrounds, a stream that meanders between two large ponds, three large picnic structures, over two dozen picnic tables and more. 

There is plenty of parking surrounding Conejo Creek Park, which is also a popular venue for community events and festivals.

Another great feature is the bridge that connects the park to three other community gathering spots - the Grant R. Brimhall Library, Thousand Oaks Teen Center and Goebel Senior Adult Center. When my kids were younger, we used to park at and visit the library, place our books in the car, then walk or scooter across the bridge to the park.

The bridge leading from the Thousand Oaks Library to Conejo Creek Park North.

The bridge leading from the Thousand Oaks Library to Conejo Creek Park North.

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One Dozen Physical Fitness Activities in the Conejo Valley That Cost Nothing

Conejo Valley Guide highlights thousands of things to do in the Conejo Valley, Greater Ventura County and surrounding areas, including carnivals, festivals, fairs, free concerts and movies and all sorts of places and things to see and do. Let's zero in on things to do that will help keep you fit right here in the Conejo Valley, at a total cost of $0.

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The Conejo Recreation & Park District maintains the Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course at Thousand Oaks Community Park. This 9 acre, 18 basket course has rolling hills and will keep you moving. The only cost to you is your flying disc!

Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course in Thousand Oaks

Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course in Thousand Oaks

The Conejo Group Sierra Club and other local hiking groups often host hikes in the area.

There are several dozen free tennis courts open to the public available throughout the Conejo Valley.

The 33 acre Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a peaceful, beautiful respite from the daily grind...and makes for a nice hike with panaromic views of the Conejo Valley as your reward.

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Local hiking surrounds us. Check out Oakbrook Regional Park and dozens of other local Conejo Valley trails at Wildwood Park, Los Robles Trail, Dos Vientos such as the Conejo Mountain/Edison Road trail.

We love stopping by the Borchard Park Labyrinth and Fitness Equipment Area in Newbury Park from time to time and moving our way through the entire labyrinth (my kids still call it a maze).

Borchard Park Labyrinth in Newbury Park

Borchard Park Labyrinth in Newbury Park

The Oaks Mall at 1.3 million square feet is so huge that you can get a great workout in just walking from end to end or around the perimeter...though you may be tempted to consume the calories you burned off at some of the great eateries inside.

Roadrunner Sports in Newbury Park hosts Thursday Adventure Runs on the 3rd Thursday of each month in March through November! Sign up, show up, run and have fun.

There are over 4 dozen Thousand Oaks parks maintained by the Conejo Recreation and Park District and another 11 in Agoura/Westlake Village.

Try the Fitness Trail at Pepper Tree Park in Newbury Park; a .83 mile trail with fitness activities every 1/8th of a mile.

Westlake Lake is a great venue for walking, running and cycling year-round. There is roughly a 4 to 5 mile scenic loop around the lake and surrounding areas that you and your family will enjoy.

Gardens of the World Thousand Oaks

Gardens of the World Thousand Oaks

Gardens of the World across from the Civic Arts Plaza is 4 1/2 acres of immaculate, serene gardens to walk through and enjoy Tuesday through Sunday. Perhaps not the place for a "power" walk and definitely not a run. You will enjoy it, regardless.

Last but not least, the National Park Service brings us over 154,000 acres of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, including local Conejo Valley open space at Paramount Ranch, Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons in Agoura, Rancho Sierra Vista/Point Mugu State Park and more.

Stay Cool in the Pool! Community Swimming Throughout Ventura County

Stay cool this summer and year-round at some of these community swimming pools, water parks and splash pads in Ventura County and surrounding areas. For updates and additions, contact us!

Conejo Valley (Conejo Recreation & Park District)

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Community Pool at Cal Lutheran University Samuelson Aquatics Center is a year-round facility, offering recreational and lap swimming 7 days a week. Call 805.241.0894 or visit www.crpd.org. Admission is $3 ($2 for 62+). Current schedule at www.crpd.org/programs/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp. Water is heated up to 82 degrees year round.

Newbury Park High School Community Swimming Pool is at 456 Reino Road and is anticipated to be open to the public from July 2 to August 17,. 2018 (after major renovations that have been taking place this year!). Recreational swimming to be offered Mon-Thu 1-4pm, Sat 12:30-3:30pm (6/16 to 7/28 only) and Mon 7-9pm. Only $3 ($2 for 62+). Call 805.498.6906 or visit www.crpd.org/programs/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp.

Thousand Oaks High School Community Swimming Pool is at 2323 N. Moorpark Road and offers recreational swimming Mon to Thu 1-4pm and Wed 7-9pm from June 11 to August 17, 2018. Only $3 ($2 for 62+). Call 805.496.8564 or visit www.crpd.org/parkfac/aquatics/hoursnfees.asp.

Free open swim at the CLU Community Pool and NPHS pool from noon to 4pm on the 4th of July 2018! (TOHS pool will be closed on the 4th.)

Conejo Valley/Agoura - Other

Childrens' Splash Pad/Water Area at Oak Canyon Community Park, 5600 Hollytree Drive, Oak Park. Hours of operation are generally Memorial Day weekend through September 30th. 10am to 7pm. Free of charge. 818.865.9304

Kids love the Interactive Fountain at Janss Marketplace.

Moorpark/Simi Valley

Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District offers a large community swimming pool at Rancho Simi Community Park, 1765 Royal Avenue. Open 7 days a week; summer swim hours 1-4PM every day. Admission age 3 and up is $3 ($1 for 65+). Visit www.rsrpd.org/recreation/aquatics.php or call 805.584.4436.

Rancho Tapo Splash Pad

Rancho Tapo Splash Pad

Childrens' Splash Pad Area at Rancho Tapo Community Park, 3700 Avenida Simi. Free. Opens Memorial Day weekend through September. Hours are 11am to 2:30pm and 3:30pm to 7pm daily.

Simi Valley Aquatics opened the first indoor swim school in Simi Valley in July 2016. Open for swim lessons and birthday parties only.

Simi Valley Family YMCA heated indoor swimming pool open 7 days/week.

Camarillo/Oxnard

Pleasant Valley Aquatic Center offers an indoor swimming pool with a cool slide. Open Monday through Saturday. $3 for ages 4+, free to ages 3 and under and $2.50 ages 60+ and military. Visit www.pvrpd.org/documents/SummerGuide_Aquatics.pdf or call 805.987.8198.  Grab a 20 visit Splash Pass for just $32 ($51 reg price) at bit.ly/PVACSplash (affiliate link).

Camarillo Family YMCA heated indoor swimming pool open 7 days/week. Call 805.484.0423.

Oxnard Aquatic Center is located at Oxnard High School, 3400 W. Gonzales Road and the Hueneme High School Pool is at 500 W. Bard Road. Summer recreational swim from 11 AM-1:45 PM at both Oxnard & Hueneme pools Monday – Friday and offers lap swimming, diving boards, and open swim. Call 805.278.0910 (Oxnard) and 805.385.7772 (Hueneme). $4 per session.

There's a "Pop Jet Fountain" at The Collection at Riverpark in Oxnard, on Town Center Drive in front of the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar and adjacent to Larsen's Grill.

Ventura and Up the Coast

Ventura Community Park Aquatics Center has a competition pool, playground pool, two slides, fun, fun, fun! Open swim free for age 2 and under, $8 for ages 3 to 61 and $5 for 62+. Visit www.cityofventura.ca.gov/612/Aquatics or call 805.654.7511 for details. Open June 18 to Sept 3, 2018 for the summer.

Casitas Water Adventure is open all summer with a multi-level jungle gym with waterfalls, bridges and slides in a lagoon in water only up to 18" deep for little kids and a lazy river with waterfalls, bridges and jet sprays with inner tubes for the whole family. Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (except 5/29-6/1, 6/4-6/8, 6/11-6/15, 8/20-8/24 and 8/27-8/31), as well as Saturdays, 9/8/18 and 9/15/18.  Sunday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday/Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 805.649.2233 or visit www.casitaswater.org/lower.php?url=water-adventure for details. Cost is $13 per person all day on weekdays, $15 on weekends/holidays or just $7.50 if you come during the last 3 hours.

Ventura Family YMCA has 2 indoor heated swimming pools and is open 7 days/week.

Carpinteria Community Pool is located at 5305 Carpinteria Avenue. Day passes are $4.25 for kids, $6.50 for adults, $4.75 for seniors. Recreational swimming on Saturdays from 11am to 2pm. Visit www.carp-pool.com or call 805.566.2417 for information.

The Leo Robbins Community Sailing Center at Marina Park in Ventura is a U.S. Sailing Association certified facility for lessons in sailing, kayaking and navigation for all ages.

Other Places Around Town

The Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center located at 23400 Park Sorrento is open 7 days/week. Only $3 for adults, $2 for seniors $1 for kids under 13. Pool hours vary. Visit www.calabasastsc.com/aquatic.html or call 818.222.2782. Pools heated to 82 degrees year-round.

Malibu Community Pool at Malibu High School, 30215 Morning View Drive. Outdoor pool heated to 82 degrees. $3 per person. Visit www.malibucity.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Malibu-Community-Pool-7 or call 310.589.1933 for details.

The Fillmore Aquatics Center at 575 1st Street opens Memorial Day through Labor Day each year for recreational swimming Monday through Friday from 11:30am-3:45pm and Saturdays 10am to 4pm. More information and fees at fillmoreca.com/fac.htm or 805.524.4902. 

The Ojai Recreation Department hosts public recreational swimming at Villanova Preparatory School, 12096 North Ventura Avenue.. Visit www.ojairec.com or call 805.646.5581 for information about hours and fees.

And let's not forget the incredible BEACHES close by! CLICK HERE for links to over 40 publicly accessible beaches throughout Ventura County, stretching north to Carpinteria and south to Malibu.

Water Parks Outside of Ventura County

Knott's Soak City in Buena Park (about 70 miles from Thousand Oaks)

Legoland Water Park in Carlsbad (135 miles from Thousand Oaks)

Raging Waters Water Park in San Dimas (75 miles from Thousand Oaks)

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Valencia (50 miles from Thousand Oaks)

Hansen Dam Aquatic Center in Lakeview Terrace with a large pool, cabanas and two water slides. 

26.2 Miles or Bust: Marathons Within a One Hour Range of Ventura County

The marathon has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards). Most of us marathoners refer to it as a 26.2 mile race. Let's put some perspective on that. We're talking roughly the distance from the Muvico Theater in Thousand Oaks to Downtown Ventura (Main St at California St).

Running USA estimates that in 2016, there were 507,600 marathon finishers in the United States, a slight drop from 509,000 in 2015 and an 8% drop over the all-time high of 550,600 in 2014. That is over 13.3 million miles, not including the training miles to get there. That's a lot of running! There are over 1,100 marathons now throughout the country.

Until fairly recently, there were no marathons run on Ventura County soil. When I began running in the mid 1990s, the closest marathons to us were in Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and Culver City. Now there are marathons in Ventura, Ojai and Camarillo.

While it's fun to travel to faraway lands to run a marathon, there's something to be said for sleeping in your own bed, waking up early, and driving out to run a local marathon. So how about a rundown of local marathons within a one hour range of Ventura County!

Los Angeles Marathon (www.lamarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: A Sunday usually in March
  • Course Description: The course route has changed a number of times over the years, but most recently the point to point "Stadium to the Sea" route from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier has proved extraordinarily popular. The course takes you through sections of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. There are race day shuttles that take runners from Santa Monica to the start.
  • Other Events: 5K
  • Pricing: Registration started at $195 for the 2017 event.
  • Other: On a personal note, I set my personal best time on this course back in 1997. This is THE race to do if you enjoy lots of crowd support along the course.

Mountains to Beach Marathon (www.mountains2beachmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Late May; generally last Sunday of May.
  • Course Description: Point to point course that starts with a 10K loop in Ojai, then 10 miles of bike path to the Ventura oceanfront, down the Ventura Keys to Marina Park and back to the Ventura Pier. Net downhill of 700 feet makes this a fast course. 
  • Other Events: Half Marathon, 5K
  • Pricing: 2018 event starts at $113 (includes processing fee)

Camarillo Marathon (www.camarillomarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: The Camarillo Marathon was previously in the January time frame but the January 8, 2017 was cancelled. However, it is coming back on August 12, 2018.
  • Course: Starts at Pleasant Valley Fields, goes along the Camarillo Bike Path and nearby roads. New course.
  • Other Events: Half Marathon, 5K, 10K
  • Pricing: Started at $95 for the 2018 event.

Lexus Ventura Marathon (www.venturamarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: The inaugural event was Sunday, September 8, 2013. The 6th annual event is October 21, 2018.
  • Course Description: The course starts in Ojai down the bike path to finish at the Ventura Pier. There were 763 finishers in the 2017 event
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, kids fun run, bike rides.
  • Pricing: Pricing for 2017 event was $130.
Finish line of the Inaugural Ventura Marathon on September 8, 2013.

Finish line of the Inaugural Ventura Marathon on September 8, 2013.

Santa Clarita Marathon (www.scmarathon.org)

  • Time of Year: Generally runs on the 1st Sunday in November
  • Course Description: The course starts and finishes at the Valencia Town Center and has a number of out and back turns, mostly along bike paths. One of the more low key marathons in the area, with around 350 to 400 finishers.
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, Kid K
  • Pricing: $80 to $100 depending on timing for the 2017 event.

Seaside Marathon (www.seasidehalf.com)

  • Time of Year: Mid-February
  • Course Description: Two out and back runs along the boardwalk and bike path and shoulder of Highway 1 in Ventura. (Same course as Surfer's Point Marathon.)
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K
  • Pricing: Pricing for the 2019 event ranges up to $130 depending on timing.

Surfer's Point Marathon (www.surferspointmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Set to take place November 11, 2018
  • Course Description: Course is along the ocean/Highway 101, starting at Promenade Park in Ventura, on bike paths and shoulder of roads. It goes out and back (the half marathon course) twice.
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, 10K
  • Pricing: Ranges from $95 to $130 for the 2018 event.

Just a little farther but still possible to commute to if you are an early riser:

jetBlue Long Beach Marathon (www.motivrunning.com/run-longbeach)

  • Time of Year: Early to mid-October range on a Sunday
  • Course Description: I've run the Long Beach Marathon several times and it is probably the most twisty, turny course I've ever run, yet it is still a reasonably flat and fast course. It starts and finishers in the heart of downtown Long Beach near Shoreline Village. There are sections along the beach, then it turns inland, up and around Cal State Long Beach, and back to the finish. Over 2,200 finishers in 2016.
  • Other Events: Half marathon is hugely popular
  • Pricing: $120 for the 2018 race

Surf City Marathon (formerly Pacific Shoreline Marathon) (www.runsurfcity.com)

  • Time of Year: Generally run on the 1st Sunday of February
  • Course Description: Much of course runs on PCH, streets and bike paths in and around the Huntington Beach Pier with views of the Pacific Ocean.  This race generally sells out each year with between 2,000 and 2,500 participants.
  • Other Events: Half marathon
  • Pricing: $100 for 2019 race

OC Marathon (www.ocmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Generally takes place the first Sunday of May
  • Course Description: The marathon starts in Newport Beach, runs past Balboa Island in kind of a figure eight-ish pattern in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and adjacent cities. The race generally has around 2,000 participants. The race finishes at the OC Fair and Event Center.
  • Other Events: Half marathon and 5K
  • Pricing: 2018 event starts at just $80!

Marathons No More

There was a Pasadena Marathon in recent years but organizers announced it has been cancelled.

Malibu Marathon was cancelled in 2014, though the half marathon and 5K continue on (www.malibuintmarathon.com).

The Santa Barbara International Marathon also ran its final event in 2014, though a Veterans Day Half Marathon continues. www.sbmarathon.com

Looking for marathons around the world? My favorite place to find them is www.MarathonGuide.com. They do a great job of compiling a massive amount of information strictly about marathons.

CLICK HERE for other local races...5K, 10K, half marathon, etc.

I've run over 30 marathons or so through the years and periodically babble on about my training, experiences and other random running and training related items THIS LINK.

And last but not least, here are 26.2 training tips for running your first marathon.

Fun, Games and Exercise at Westlake Village Community Park

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Westlake Village Community Park is a spectacular 19 acre site built atop a hill at 31107 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just west of Lindero Canyon.

There are baseball fields, soccer fields, the 55,000 square foot Triunfo YMCA (which will open at some point in the future), playground, exercise circuit, skate park and plenty of parking.

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The HealthBeat Outdoor Fitness System for ages 13+ is designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced users looking for an outdoor workout.  Kind of an interesting assortment of workout stations that can be a fun addition to your workout routine.

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Unfinished Triunfo YMCA in the background.

Unfinished Triunfo YMCA in the background.

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Instructions on proper use of each station is at playlsi.com/hb. More on the park at www.wlv.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Westlake-Village-Community-Park-12.

Sick With the Flu? Here's What to Do!

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Sick With Flu? Know What to Do! (courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Influenza (or flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. Most people with flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with others except to get medical care.

Know the symptoms of Flu

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: Fever* or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness). Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. This is more common in children.

* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Take Antiviral Drugs if your doctor prescribes them!

Antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications.

CDC recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat people who are very sick with the flu and people who get flu symptoms who are at high risk of serious flu complications, either because of their age or because they have a high risk medical condition.

Stay Home When Sick

When you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw tissues in the trash after you use them. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.

*Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine before resuming normal activities.

Learn more at www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm.