Thursday, November 15, 2007


An awe inspiring breaking of waves along seventeen mile drive last weekend.

This word describes so much of my evening. Foremost, the breaking waves. Also the breaking moonlight filtering through the foggy clouds and onto the ocean waters. The headlights breaking through the fences along the pathway, making patterns on the pavement. My thoughts, that I haven't really been alone with in any meaningful way lately, breaking over me, reminding me of the specialness running provides. And the breaking of my three week streak of no running.

Tonight I decided to test my body and see where I am, healing wise. I thought an evening run would be nice, since I hadn't done one since Berkeley, and missed it dearly. I chose to run along west cliff because it was a nice paved path, only 2 miles long so I couldn't get too carried away, and I thought it'd be relatively safe, with houses all on one side. Plus, running by the ocean sounded lovely and poetic. I packed layers and my headlamp, since I wasn't sure what the weather was going to be like, and I wasn't sure about the lighting along there.

It was a perfect 55 degrees, which felt a little cold at first, but was perfect in my long sleeved shirt and shorts. All you traditionalists will yell at me, but I *almost* wore headphones, as part of what I love in running alone is getting to listen to music. It's part of my special running time :) But, I was going to be running by the ocean, and I figured it would be nice to be kept company by the sounds of nature. And it was. I loved the variations in sound of the waves break, the seals and sea lions barking, the wind. The endless stream of waves constantly coming in was amazing. There was just enough light on the water to see them in their relentless form, and see the huge breakers on the shore. There were a few others out, but it was pretty dark in spots and I was able to relish in being alone. I was glad I had the headlamp, though I had it out probably half the time, as it made me feel a bit safer :)

Overall, my body did pretty well. I ran about 3 miles or so, for 35 minutes. I tried really hard to listen to my body, and when I started to hear that calf a bit, turned around (okay, I still ran for a few more minutes, but I did turn around relatively soon after hearing it!). I'll see how I feel tomorrow, which I think will be the trying test. Right now I feel it a bit, but not too much. I'm thinking I'll swim tomorrow and just keep doing small chunks, but, boy, was it nice to be out there!

I had forgotten about how you get all warm after a half mile or so, and the slightly chilled temperature becomes perfect. I forgot how strong and natural it feels to run. I forgot what it felt like to run "fresh". Yes, I've lost fitness, but I started the run not sore, and it's been so long since I've done that. I was so tired at the end of my 50 miler training that I think I was just always sore. It was amazing to feel springy and free.

Lest it all sounds too perfect, there were some other things I forgot about that weren't as great. Mainly, I forgot that as much as you want to be alone in your run, sometimes the few others out there just won't let you. I ran by some charming gentlemen towards the end of my run who yelled, as I went past, "you f***ing hippy S.O.B" expletives in their full glory. However, that comment made absolutely no sense as I'm not a man, and nothing about my headlamped wicking fabric adorned running self said hippy, so I let it roll over me, like the waves rolling in from the ocean. The men saying it were, I believe, on a drug of some kind (and smoking something or other) so I don't think they were really all to cognisant of reality. A car went by and people yelled (slightly ambiguous whether this was aimed at me) and someone else honked at me, which I don't really get, but whatever. The evening was so perfectly beautiful that these things don't matter.

At the very end of my run, I ran past a church just as the bells starting tolling for 7 pm, and it was beautiful. Hearing the bells while looking over the water and just taking in the night air. This is going to be my regular night running spot and I'm looking forward to many more moonlight filled evenings.

Thank goodness I'm (at least slightly) back


Jamie said...

Very poetic writing, enjoyed the post. Best of luck in your continued comeback. It can be frustrating, but alas, with time and patience you will be rewarded. In the meantime, stay away from those crazy people!

Pete Vara said...

Addy I like the picture and great post. Happy to hear you are on the comeback.

Backofpack said...

Sounds absolutely lovely, wish I coulda been there! But then, you wouldn't have had your alone time. Glad to hear it all felt okay too.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Glad you're getting better.

Not to be your daddy, but besides sacrilegiously missing ocean sounds, it might be safer to not have headphones on when running alone at night, especially with lots of guy drivers on drugs.

Very nice photo (particularly to my eyes after 15 hours of an 18 hour shift), thanks.

Good fish answer (previous post).

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

beautifully written post.

I'm glad to hear that you are back.

Sarah said...

That's a beautiful picture! Glad your run went well.

Addy said...

Jamie- Glad you enjoyed :) I'm holding onto faith that I'll feel normal again someday!

Pete- Thanks!

Michelle- It was nice to run alone, but I do miss running with people too. Anytime you want to come enjoy some Santa Cruz running, I'd be happy to have the company :D

Mark- I know, I know, gotta be safe :) Luckily nature has a pretty nice soundtrack! Glad you enjoyed the photo!

Dave- Thanks

Sarah- Me too!

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

(I responded to your question in the comments on my blog)

Josh said...

that picture looks like it should be on one of those posters with the single word and then an inspirational saying underneath :)

Addy said...

dave- thanks! and thanks for the reference!

Josh- Thanks (I think?) :D

Jean said...

Sounds like a beautiful run, Addy. And be sure to tune out the morons who were shouting at you. I once had a group of high school kids shout some sexist comments at me that would have made more sense if I was female, so I took solace in the fact that I am smarter and live better then they do! :)

A very happy Thanksgiving to you, Addy, and keep up the wonderful work!

rick said...

I like running on West Cliff. I've only done it in races though. I love the view no matter how much my legs hurt. I didn't realize they honk and yell at runners in Santa Cruz, I thought they would be used to it by now.

Sensationally Red said...

Very beautiful post and glad to hear you let those idiot comments roll right off your back. Yeah! A run!