Monday, August 14, 2017

15 Weeks to JFK: A California RUNcation

15 weeks to go, and my first accountability update takes us to the west coast, the best coast! The objectives here were to visit family, get my running going again, eat a TON OF DELICIOUS FOOD, and pack up Miss Apple Green road bike (AKA my first love!).




My self-coached JFK training plan starts out vague and eventually I will be hammering the big miles on my 3-day weekends (I work 4x10hr days Monday through Thursday). I would first like to get back to running 5 days a week.




This week was neat because I go to run all over the state of CA to get my 5 runs in!

Run #1: Mori Point in Pacifica, CA. 6.0 miles. P-Town is my hometown, named after the Pacific Ocean, obviously. Although I've been running since my middle school track days, I didn't discover the awesomeness of running by the beach and all the trails in this area until after I got home from college.



You can park by the Pacifica Pier, and run all the way down to Linda Mar Beach (claim to fame: home of the legendary beach-based Taco Bell location). For real delicious food though, you will pass by Nick's Restaurant at Rockaway Beach (between the Pacifica Pier and Linda Mar), which has amazing crab sandwiches!




Run #2: Garin Regional Park in Hayward, CA. 5.4 miles. My brother, sister-in-law and their adorable munchkin sprouts live in Hayward now, and just 4 miles from a really epic cross country course. 



Back in high school, there was a cross country invitational that was hosted at Garin Park.




I remember the ginormous hills and also huge cow pies we had to avoid. Apparently it's already been two decades since I ran here as a wee little high schooler! The climbs were high and harder than I remembered. πŸ˜‰




I reminisced about growing up as a high school runner in the very hilly Bay Area, which helped shape my resilience as a person and athlete later in life. On some of the really steep climbs, I would yell at myself "RESILIENCE!"




Run #3: Koreatown to the "Buddah" Mural, Los Angeles, CA. 5.0 miles. My sister has lived in LA since she graduated high school and went to UCLA. She now has her own place in Koreatown (no we are not Korean) so I made sure to tour her neighborhood. (We definitely toured a bunch of places to eat in her neighborhood all week too! 😝🐷) She is the one responsible for getting me into running and athletic endeavors in the first place, as I wanted to be just like my big sister. 😊




This general vicinity is known for some awesome street art, and I remember passing this Buddha mural on my way up to Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign when I visited last summer. This time I slowed down enough to appreciate the two murals located at a 76 gas station/car wash (shoutout to the 76ers πŸ‘trustπŸ‘theπŸ‘processπŸ˜‰). 




I've been trying to find my zen, as the aftermath of last month's bike vs. car accident has left me with dark, twisty feelings. The Buddah Murals happen to be located at the intersection of Western Ave. and Marathon Street. Nice!




Run #4: "The Strand" on Manhattan Beach to the Bluffs at Palos Verdes Estates. 15.1 miles. There's no trip to California complete without a long run by the beach! By then, my legs were feeling some soreness from the epic hills at Garin Park two days before and the 16+ accumulated miles for the week. Which made it perfect JFK training, because after the first 15 miles on the fairly technical Appalachian Trail section, you get to pound out 26.3 miles on the very flat and boring canal towpath.




I ran from the Manhattan Beach Pier on "The Strand", which has a dedicated bike path and pedestrian path sandwiched between all these ridiculously gorgeous bajillion dollar properties (squished up next to each other) and the beach. I ran south through Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, staying easily entertained by beautiful beachfront properties on the left, and the amazing ocean on the right. And of course, the many beach volleyball players, surfers, and lifeguards amongst other beachgoers.




My turnaround point took me climbing up the Bluffs of Palos Verdes Estates, hometown to the Smashfest Queen herself (who was kind enough to give me some tips on where to run in PVE). 




Run #5: The La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, CA. 7.0 miles. My last day took me from K-Town along Wilshire Blvd. to the La Brea Tar Pits.




Made famous by the movie My Girl 2 (sarcasm! 😜), you can actually see the gross tar bubbles popping up out of the tar pits. They have found wooly mammoths and 73 saber-toothed tigers here!





Total mileage for the week: 38.7 miles. 5 days of running, check! ✅✅✅✅✅ The most I've run in a great while. I'll throw in some easy recovery days (Sunday was travel day) and this is an auspicious start to my JFK training.



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