Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Running on the Beach

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.


  1. ohhhh, teaser comments.

    i like the 'Next Up'... kinda thingy...

    I'll be back.

    (was the OC enuf for a Washington politico! *snicker*)

  2. What a bitch? I'm not sure how she came up with that one. Maybe she was mad because you almost ran into her (as if it was your fault), but how does she get bitch out of that? You could have given her the finger without the kids noticing. :)

    Oh, and in a former life I had the online name of "OC". When O.C. became popular, I saw a bumper sticker that said "I (heart) OC". :D

  3. This is off topic but that's one kick-ass dog pictured below.

    Have fun in OrCo. Y'oughtta swing by Corona Del Mar High School tonight and say hi to my friends with Cal Coast TC -- I was out there a few times in '02 and was pleasantly surprised at the quality and range of training environments.

  4. YAY for getting faster!

    I'm ready for the teaser . . . I'll be checking back often.

  5. Too bad you aren't cruising around northern California or we could go out and do some drinking for Jeanne - I mean to celebrate Jeanne's birthday. Oh well...

  6. I am so jealous! I visited CA last year for the first time and fell in love. And the run on the beach? The best. (Aside from dye job lady. Don't those weird interactions always throw you??) Enjoy the time....

  7. Sooooo jealous.... heat, beach, warmth, someone calling you "bitch" (hmm, which thing doesn't belong here?) Nice run, except for the bitch.

  8. Bolder: The O.C. was great except for the bitchy woman. She'd probably be much nicer to you.
    Jon: Thanks for the defense. Some people have no class.
    Kemibe: Next time I'm in O.C. (now I'm in San Diego), I'll check out Cal Coast TC ... although they would blow my doors off on the track.
    Susan/Susie/21st century/Jeanne: We all should get together on SoCal and run on the beach. It IS the best.

  9. Yes! Beach running and drinking - sounds good. I'll be bringing up the rear so please order a mojito for me when you get to the bar!

  10. I used to live in Newport Beach, and though I didn't run then, I used to ride my bike along the path on the beach. You brought up a nice memory for me.

    I was in Laguna Beach last August and didn't know where to run. I found the Boingo Blog and he mentioned running along the Back Bay. So I did that and had a great 10 mile run.

    It's funny how someone that I've never communicated with can influence my running. I love the RBF!

  11. It's funny how people always think that you're in their way when you're running. I often run across the Golden Gate bridge dodging people who never seem to move aside even if they see you coming from 100 yards off and know there's no way you can get by. Funny. There's no need to get nasty though, geez.

    Thanks for mentioning the Forerunner, I hadn't seen that before. Yeah, new toys!

  12. That's so funny that a race kept you from your hotel!! It's so strange to be on the other side of the barricades, huh!!

    I love the feeling of running without winter gear! I'm so jealous!