Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Putting back the Pieces

Whew....I made it!

Not that I've made it through any of the huge obstacles of the program yet, or really even made it through this week, but I did make it through my 3 day mini solo (three days of just me teaching in the classroom) and finally feel like I can take a few moment for myself so that I can breathe. Today I cleaned my room finally, sent some emails that I should have sent weeks ago, and vegged out for a bit. It was wonderful. I still have a big group presentation tomorrow, but I'm not feeling overly concerned. I'm just happy to have made it through.

The biggest push was all the lesson designing that I've been doing. I created an entire unit on the California Missions where the class became researchers for a secret government organization to find an unknown mission. Unfortunately the lesson crossed over from simulation to reality in their minds, and now I somehow need to figure out how to break it to them that they were never real government spies. Alternatively, I might just contact the CHS (which is the 'secret government organization' that I used) and see if they can send my class an official letter of thanks or something. We'll see. The most important thing is that they are all so excited about history and writing, and that's wonderful!

On the running front things overall have been quite lovely. My run friday was 12.5 miles along the Santa Cruz Half Marathon route, which is one of routine medium routes that I hadn't done in a while. Ed joined me in the run, even though the longest he had done since the week after Dick Collins was 7 or 8. Being the guy he is, he was itching to go fast, but kept it slowish for me (after commenting when we started "do we really go this slow? I can walk this pace!"). He did agree upon finishing that it was a good pace for that distance. 10:58 average pace including slow downs for picture opps :). We started around 4pm so got the full effect of sunset and a beautiful evening sky.

The run began on West Cliff, where surfers were out full force, enjoying the amazing weather we've been having lately. Hundreds, probably, were in the water along this few mile stretch, catching all number of sized waves. The sidewalk was crowded as well, with many out walking dogs, or with friends, enjoying the friendly rays of the sun's light.

As we turned off westcliff and along surface streets for a bit, we finally reached the bike path that was to take us to our next destination. This pathway is sandwhiched between agricultural fields and the 1 highway, but is quite peaceful. As we neared our turn off at Wilder ranch, we came upon some happy California cows, enjoying the good life with their ocean views.

Around this point in the run, I began remembering the importance of careful food choices before afternoon runs. In a famished state, I had prepared a very delicious (if I do say so myself) spicy pasta dish with marinara sauce and lots of parmesean cheese (and some red wine for flavor). Now, this would have been much better after the run, but not before. My tummy was not super happy with with for most of the run. I stopped for a bathroom break at Wilder ranch (with their lovely (seriously!) public restrooms, and felt a bit better.

On our way back out we came upon a very cute critter. Of course, Ed couldn't agree in his cuteness, but since the little guy seemed unconcerned with us, I wasn't too worried. I snapped a photo and we were off.

Once we got out on the bluffs, life seemed great. It was just so beautiful out there. We stopped for a bit to take some photos at the first great view point, and then continued onward. This route provides about 2 miles of trails, which was lovely.

The sun was definitely setting by this point, casting a pink glow over everything. As we got back on the bike path on our return to the fuller streets of West Cliff, a glance backward towards the west was a lovely goodbye to the sun.

Looking down the barely used railroad tracks provided a similar beautiful image as the sun faded away.

Soon we were back on westcliff as the stars began to appear and the moon rose. The streets and sidewalks were less crowded now, and we basked in the semi-solitude. Our strength (or at least mine) seemed to be picking up and I was wishing we had started just a bit earlier so that the run could last a little longer. Unfortunately, there was lots of work to be done. A man juggling fire caught our eye as we headed back that last 1/2 mile to the car (Santa Cruz earns its reputation as a weird place every day...). I pleaded another 1/2 mile out of Ed (who had a bit of trouble understanding why stopping at 12.12 wouldn't cut it) but who humoured me.

The run finished and I was left with the desire for more, but the knowledge that this was just right. How nice to be running 'long' once again.


Donald said...

Fantastic pics. That skunk is up past his bedtime, don't you think? The photo of you with the coast behind you is awesome.

BTW, I kissed a banana slug last week!

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

boy, that's beautiful!

rick said...

Nice pictures and so nice to know you are hitting double digit numbers again. You are certainly recovering nicely from your injury. created little cute history spies.

Sarah said...

What a lovely run!

robtherunner said...

Sounds like a great run and what a beautiful one as well. Great pics! Congratulations on your 3 day solo in the classroom.

Jean said...

Now THAT looks like a fantastic run! Absolutely gorgeous pictures, Addy. Good to hear you are able to start logging some longer runs, too. Keep it up!

Mmmm...spicy pasta with marinara and parmesan I am hungry after reading your post! :)

Anonymous said...

What great photos. I love seeing the run through your eyes. That route is one of my favorite flat runs in SC. The ocean views are amazing. Did you get sprayed by any of the waves as they crashed on the cliffs?

Good luck w/ the presentation. I love that you made the learning come alive for the students. What a fun creative way to present the missions.

PKPWV said...

Stunning pictures! It's always nice to take pics while on a run at sunset! There is something wonderful about running and watching the sun set-or rise!!

Congrats on your 3 day solo!!

We saw a skunk this morning as well! Cute creatures as long as it's from afar!

Southbay Girl (Planet Ynnep Running)