California Dreamin':I'm back in my home state. I'm here on business for a week, and I'll be driving all over the Southland - Orange County (I refuse to call it "The O.C."), San Diego County, and the high desert, near Palm Springs. Whew.
When E. and I headed to our hotel Sunday after flying cross-country that morning, we noticed detour signs. Then we saw that the Pacific Shoreline Marathon was underway. Very cool. What wasn't was that we couldn't get to our beach hotel (which was the official hotel for the marathon) because of road closures. Ah, well. All for a good cause. We ate lunch and looked around downtown Huntington Beach (a.k.a. "Surf City"), then drove to our hotel after police re-opened the streets.
I was itchin' for a run myself - it was a balmy 72 degrees, sunny and not a cloud marred the sky - so I quickly changed into shorts and a singlet (the first time I didn't have to don long sleeves to run in for MONTHS), smeared on sunscreen, and headed out the door.
I passed by an exhausted-looking woman wrapped in a silver runner's blanket, huddled in the hotel lobby.
"Congratulations!" I said to her, smiling, as I quickly strode by her.
"Thanks," she said as I walked away. "Congrats to you too."
I stopped and turned around to explain that I didn't run the marathon. But she was already talking intently to someone else. I shrugged and walked down to the beach. It was after 1:30 p.m., more than six -and-a-half hours after the start of the marathon, but there were still one or two people shuffling down the street.
They looked sunburned and tired. But they were smiling. The race volunteers who were breaking down all of the booths, tables, etc., and loading them into huge trucks stopped and clapped. So did I.
Beach Run: Running along the beach (I was on a sidewalk), was sooo nice compared to the fast (avg pace 9:00/mile) 12.5 mile hilly run on broken glass, through the rain, in the 'hood the day before (that will be reported in my next post).
I headed south, with the ocean and a wide expanse of sand to my right, stopped briefly at the water's edge to gaze at some monster waves and surfers wiping out, then ran back at a brisk pace, dodging a few folks, one of whom I almost ran into as she abruptly stepped into my path while holding the hands of two kids.
("What a bitch!" said the woman, who badly needed another dye job, about me to her friend as I narrowly dodged her. "Huh?!" I thought and almost turned around and yelled at her. But I have more class. Plus I didn't want to cuss in front of the children. I kept running.)
Here's how the run, which was supposed to be a recovery run, went:
Mile 1: 8:46
Mile 2: 8:28
Mile 3: 7:39 (I pushed it here- felt good)
Mile 4: 8:30
Mile 5.2: 8:27
Okay, I thought this run was suspiciously fast. I'd kept track on my Forerunner, and while it's a bit off when I'm going around curves or down hills, it's accurate on flat straightaways, like the one I ran here. But I wanted to make sure, so I drove the distance as well.
The damn thing was accurate. I guess I'm (slowly) getting faster.
Next up: Idiot teenage boys who play pranks that backfire and running past shuttered liquor stores in gangland. Watch this space.