Monday, April 29, 2013

Orange County

I went down to Huntington Beach to visit my baby sister this weekend. Some family members think that because we live in the same state, we must see each other all of the time. But HB is a solid six hours from where I live — and more like eight with L.A. traffic. Unlike most road trips, I enjoy very little about the drive, so it's tough to motivate to head down there ... but it's nice to see my sister. Beyond it being time for an annual visit, my brother-in-law is also something of a Craigslist pro and Beat and I wanted to sell two of our bicycles — my Rocky Mountain Element and Beat's Santa Cruz Blur. So I transported them down to Sara's with the hope that two Orange County riders will find value in these bikes. They're great bikes, they just don't see much use now that I have the Moots and Beat is angling for his own 29'er.

Sara and I had a great weekend, touring downtown Huntington and riding bikes to Balboa Island to eat frozen bananas (a Balboa-specific treat made famous by my favorite sitcom ever, "Arrested Development.") I sometimes tell people that Sara's and my most remarkable sisterly trait is how different we are. She's a California girl through and through, works at a high-end hotel, likes expensive purses and fashion, dislikes all things winter, isn't crazy about wilderness ventures, and can take or leave travel (unless it involves a tropical paradise.) But every time we see each other, we find new similarities. Sara recently signed up for a 30-day challenge at her Bikram yoga studio — a 90-minute session every day during the month of May. Having recently developed more of an interest in fitness, Sara wanted to know more about electrolyte supplements and fueling. It's telling of our differences that Sara's foray into an active lifestyle brought her to Bikram yoga — which is how I envision purgatory — but the 30-day yoga challenge is decidedly endurance and I'm excited to hear about her experiences.

While I was in Huntington, I tried to get in a couple of runs. Sara lives close to the Huntington pier and far from the hills, so the most reasonable place to go was the paved boardwalk that runs along the coast. I did a ten-mile run on Saturday and an eight-mile run on Sunday and struggled with both. There's something about road running that not only triggers nagging pains (such as shin pain) but also sucks the energy right out of me. I thought I'd be able to hold 9-minute-miles no problem but I lost my will and fell back to the 9:30 range. I have regular trail routes with singletrack switchbacks and a lot more climbing that I can average 9:30 on with considerably less perceived effort.

Just Wednesday, I had my best Black Mountain run yet — effectively bombed the downhill and wrapped up the 10-mile run with 2,700 feet of climbing in 1:58. Trail running on steep elevations and uneven surfaces is so much fun. The movements feel natural, and I rarely encounter the same repetitive motion pains and lack of motivation. I strongly dislike road running. Before, I believed I would just need to break my feet and body in to take it up, but now I suspect that I would rather quit running altogether than regularly run on roads. After all, that's what wheels are for. And walking. It's strange that I can enjoy a walk along a beach path and yet dislike running along the very same route. It's one of those reasons I continue to suspect that I'm not and may never be a "runner" — more like a hiker who's learning to move more efficiently over variable terrain. Or maybe I'm just annoyed with myself that I couldn't muster a decent run over the weekend. Oh well. It was a rather random week for outdoor activities, work and travel anyway. Perhaps I'm just tired.

Monday: Road cycling, 145 miles, 7,044 feet of climbing
Tuesday: 0
Wednesday: Road cycling, 17.5 miles, 2,725 feet of climbing
Thursday: Trail run, 10.1 miles, 2,750 feet of climbing
Friday: 0
Saturday: Road run, 10 miles, 95 feet of climbing
Sunday: Road run, 8 miles, 104 feet of climbing
Total: 162.5 ride, 28.1 miles run, 12,718 feet climbing


  1. I despise pavement running and still consider myself a runner. you are one too!

  2. Thanks Mary. It's been a weird month for my running. Sometimes I feel like I have a big breakthrough (like my 1:58 Black Mountain run), but other days I feel more sluggish and awkward than ever. I have a 50-miler coming up on May 11 that I'm really nervous about, because I know I'm going to need to maintain 5 mph throughout and I'm not sure whether my body is going to be up for *running* that far. It's been hard for me to find consistency in my training so I feel like I have no way of knowing.

  3. Try a soft sand run! WAAAAY better than road :)

  4. Yeah, running on flat pavement will definiely reenforce every nagging little misalignment....

  5. So about a mile of my Sunday run was sand running. It was great but also started to pull on my hips in the same way soft snow does, which cause me issues back in March. I decided it wasn't worth the risk. Sand running is also something that needs slow building to be properly conditioned. :)

    I fear I'm on the verge of shin splints in my left leg. I'll have to take it easy with running this week.


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