California Dreaming

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Training
Tags: , , ,

Work takes me out to California this week, to visit our new clients a the University of Southern California in LA and our old friends at Pepperdine in Malibu.

Life could be worse.

Being out on the West Coast and training for a marathon can be challenging as at this point in the training cycle the mileage is high, the runs take a long time and you have to find a place to “run long” without getting lost.

I’m an “out and back” runner, not a “loop” runner, meaning I don’t like to pass the same place on a run more than twice if I can help it.

My favorite runs are squares or circle routes where I run one big loop from start to finish where every step is different than the last.

Easy to do at home where I have a lot of tried and true routes that regardless of having my GPS watch with me or not, I know exactly where I am and how much farther I have to go to get in my target mileage.

Traveling makes it much tougher.

Today’s run of 11 miles started in Marina Del Rey. I knew an out and back to the Santa Monica Pier would get me about 6 or 7 of the miles I needed, so I would have to get a little creative at the start and do some early morning exploring.

Instead of heading directly to the beach, I headed North from the hotel out into the streets of Venice California. A very cool, quirky little town with low close quartered bungalows and narrow streets.

After a quick mile and a half I ended up on a narrow street that took me up and over three small bridges that crossed three small tributaries or canals.

Is this why it is called Venice, CA? Never occurred to me before.

As I started making more and more turns to keep heading North I was starting to get to the point where I would have a hard time remembering how to get back.

I have been lost on runs while I was traveling before, a nice way to turn an 11-miler into a 15 miler, and I wasn’t up for that this morning.

I decided to turn around, double back and then hit the long stretch along the beach to the Santa Monica Pier.

I took a few more streets through town, taking in all the shops, restaurants, bars and store fronts and finally hit the beach a little bit south of Venice Beach.

I could see the Ferris Wheel lit up off in the distance on the Santa Monica Pier and started to head straight for it. I would run out to the pier and then loop back. That should bring me in right at my target of 11 miles.

Winding around the path that bisects the beach like so many do out in California I had to dodge the large trucks that are fast at work at 5:00 a.m. local time.

They look like narrow street cleaners sweeping up the sand that has blown across the path overnight, then go down towards the water and drop a device from the rear of the truck to smooth out the sand.

I was thankful for their headlights as the sun had still not risen over Santa Monica when I made the turn around at the pier.

I ran back through Venice Beach, past the famous Venice Beach Basketball courts and then the body building area with bleachers for spectators to watch – seriously – and then made my way back through the streets of Venice to Marina Del Rey and my hotel.

11 miles – 1:16:35 – 6:57 pace.

An awesome run this morning after Sunday’s 21 miler. My legs are a little tired right now and will appreciate tomorrow’s relaxed pace 8 miler.

I couldn’t help dream a little bit this morning before the sun came up about our race 3,000 miles away in 8 weeks. How many people out along my route that I passed this morning will be racing in the NYC Marathon on Nov. 6th?

One? Two? None?

New York is a long way away from me right now, but it’s also just around the corner.

3,000 miles and 56 days.

Boom goes the dynamite.

  1. Ty says:


    Too bad you are in SOCA…I’m in the Bay Area this week. I need to get you dialed into A company of mine that matches up friends that travel. Now on Facebook. Check it out. Great job on the run. Great area to pick routes from in that area. Ty

  2. joerunfordom says:

    That is too bad Ty! Would have loved to hook up. I love San Fran. I will definitely check out that site. Sounds like a really cool idea!

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