Monday, April 30, 2012

Just another run

Last night was one of those runs in which I tell myself, this is why I run! I don’t frequently get the chance to run sans stroller and knowing I was about to get 3.5 miles just to myself was tantalizing. The prAna outfit I won during ladies night at a big-box running store had just arrived in the mail so I threw on my Sugar Mini Skirt for a test spin. I instantly could tell this skirt was not going to let me down. I took off towards the Silver Strand pathway and waited for the GPS to connect on my Motoactv watch. Clouds were full and low-hanging which caused my Motoactv watch to fail at getting a connection for the first time since I first used it a couple weeks ago. I pressed play on whatever tunes had synced onto my Motoactv and got going.

I almost never run with music. The only times I have found it useful were in the exceedingly rare times I have performed speed work or hill repeats. Come to think of it that type of training hasn’t happened since 2009. Within seconds of turning the volume up as the sun was setting rapidly, my thoughts were brought back to my regular trail just off H Street in Chula Vista, back when I had the freedom to enjoy 10+ miles of night running on a whim, back when my dog could run farther than me. Now my dog cannot run a mile without getting exhausted and without her I dare not run around San Diego alone at night. Now any run longer than 3 miles takes a little bit of planning and runs longer than 6 miles take considerable planning. I let myself sink into the music instead of dwell on life changes.

A strange thing happens when listening to music while running and it often is the reason I tell others don’t run with music—you don’t pay attention to your surroundings nearly as much. But tonight the Silver Strand pathway that bores me immensely was rather enjoyable. I am so familiar with this mile’ish long dirt path that even though the sun was setting and the trail was rapidly becoming engulfed with shadows I was able to zone out within minutes instead of miles. I love that transcending feeling when you run without thinking of what your body is doing and your mind is a million miles away. It is one of the main reasons I run, to reach that level of what I consider my meditative state.

It was short lived as I had to cross the street to the naval gate. After greeting the gate guys and showing them my dependent ID, I strode across the parking lot to drop off the Redbox rentals due. Then I took my shoes and socks off and tenderly made my way to the beach. I probably shouldn’t have tried barefoot running after scrapping the leather-like layer of yuck off my feet earlier that day which now left my pads tender. But the beach was just on the other side of the building so I simply shortened my stride until touching the sand.

After crossing the berm the crashing waves made me pause. Something about waves can turn me instantly zombie-like as I stare out and take it all in. The waves were so loud I could barely hear my music. I cranked it up a couple notches, drew in one long purposeful smell of ocean air then took off with a shoe in each hand. The sun had already set and, of course, I never thought to bring a light—or my dog. I cruised on, squinting down just to where my feet were landing and forced myself to run in the soft sand. Definitely not tuned in yet to sand. I couldn’t hit that meditation state this time as I focused intently on my path. I felt things under my feet I couldn’t quite pinpoint. I should have just kept going but instead I stopped to get a closer look. Dead crabs and piles of bird skeletons and feathers. My stomach turned. Who knows what else was out there that I was stepping on. I did the best I could to steer clear of anything that didn’t resemble sand and ignored any squishy sensations or crunchy sounds under my feet.

I made my way past the gross obstacles and saw a couple holding each other tight and remembered many nighttime walks with my guy out here. I kept running instead of dwelling. Turns out music is a wonderful distraction.

Soon I could see the palm trees and boat masts which meant I was almost done. I was slightly disoriented though and couldn’t quite manage the right path from the shore to get to the bay side and stumbled in and out of the wildlife preservation area. Oops! Eventually I found the right path and once my feet left the soft sand my stride again got chopped in half in order to get across the crushed up  and slightly painful shells and over the highway. I had forgotten the code to the gate so when I saw a car about to enter I picked up my pace so I could sneak in. As I shamefully pussy-footed over the parking lot and picked glass shards out of my feet I can only assume the look on the gentleman’s face when he saw me meant I looked a bit…crazed.

I ran the last stretch of beach, now on the bay side, with an even quicker stride. The thorns from the weeds were killing my feet at this point. I killed my music, picked the thorns out, and came inside my house to a little girl who was well aware I was home and it was bedtime.

What a great run!
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