Saturday, January 3, 2015

Southern California running

I grew up in Southern California but haven't lived there in a long time. The traffic, smog, and high cost of living have pretty much killed any interest I might have in moving back, but it is a nice place to visit, especially in colder months.

No, this is not a big lake. That's Catalina Island in the distance.
One of the weird tricks that your mind plays on you is how a temperature that would seem warm in a cooler location (say, the Pacific Northwest) ends up feeling cold when you're in a place that you expect to be warm. On my recent winter break trip to Southern California, it wasn't cold by any stretch - daytime temps in the 60s and nighttime in the 50s! - but there were a few nights when I layered up in a longsleeve T-shirt and a light sweatshirt.

It is just a mind trick, though, and once I started running, whether day or night, it quickly felt comfortable. And aside from Hawaii, it's hard to beat Southern California winters and scenery.

Crystal Cove State Park
Can you believe it costs $15 per car to park in the lot for this park? Fortunately, I was able to run into the park and avoid paying any entrance fee. (I did wonder if there would be one for pedestrians, but there was not.)

A steep path down to the beach
Yeah, I ran down to the beach. But I didn't go on the sand; instead, I turned around and headed back up. I don't much like getting sand in my shoes, and while I could've stopped to take my shoes off, then I would've had to carry them.

Odd enough, this was the only day time outside run that I managed during the entire week. Family vacation time plays havoc with my running schedule! I did have one other outside run at night, after I determined that it was (relatively) safe enough. Not for fear of being attacked, just not being hit by a car. There weren't a lot of street lights around the area I was staying. I did somewhat foolishly extent that night-time run along a dark stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, but there was a sidewalk at least.

Anyway, I'm back in the Pacific Northwest now, and have my first race of the new year under my belt already. Quite a different experience: sub-40 degree weather and damp air add up to cold weather running gear.

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