Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome to Sunny Southern Cal

The date was April 17, 2011.  It was almost a year ago to the date.  I had been suffering emotionally from the recent discovery that my mother, Salud Seims had died and without my knowledge, and was now emboiled in an ill-fated lawsuit with horrible lawyers against a scumbag who works at a financial institution in New York.  No need for me to give him any attention either or his job for that matter, now that I know that he checks here periodically. 

To date this had been my best, and longest training run ever. Absolutely monstrous. I went from Redondo Beach in Cali, and headed north into Palos Verdes some 350 feet above. Had everything. Wind, Sun, Hills, Trail Running, Sand Running, Asphalt Running, Grass Running, Boardwalk Running, Water Shortage, Snake Warnings. Ran along seawall cliffs that went straight down 350 feet below! At one point, I saw signs that said "Beware of Rattlesnakes". Unreal!!! Came back to hotel and hit the jacuzzi right away. Did well with the SPF, but still got burned in some unusual areas (behind the knee, wrist). Have tons of pictures I took along the way, so see below for my running blog taken through the eyes of not only a runner, but as a sightseer as well...

My company had sent me to California on a relo assignment.  April 17th was a blessed day off.  The weather was spectacular, and when it was all over I had run 23.6 miles.  At that point, it was the longest training run I had ever done.  I capped off the night by going to dinner with some of my co-workers out there.  Nothing like a little vino, good chat, and good food to cap off what would already have been an amazing day out there.

The night before, I had gotten the advice from none other than Lori Ida, as to the better places to go running. Redondo Beach kept coming up.  So, I decided to make that the launching point. 
The weather the next morning was spectacular, and I was so excited to start my run, that after I got to the pier parking lot (which only btw cost me $5 for the whole day), that I called Lori to thank her, and then Karen to tell her the long run that I was about to attempt.  At that time, I didn't have a clue how long I was going to go, other than that I wanted to go 16 or more.

The first part of the run around the Redondo Beach area was very winding.  There are a lot of shops that zig zag around piers,  You go over a mile before you even hit the sand.

Shops, eateries and bars adorn the many piers of Redondo Beach.   It's a very beautiful place, and even as I write this now today (April 5, 2012), I long to go back and run some more around here.

As I ran along the piers, I had great views of the Pacific as well as the minimalist designs such as the metal sails along the piers.  Having gotten off to an early start, not only was I blessed with great weather, but with a lack of pedestrians as well.  This minimized the zig-zag effect, allowing me to run almost effortlessly.

Redondo Beach.  Finally.  I can now see a straight-away right ahead of me.  There were what looked like mountains in the distance.  Had to be what, 3? 4? miles away.  I figured I would venture out.  I had a whole day ahead of me with no plans, and no worries.  And with no injuries either, and feeling good after my nearly-paralyzing injury in January, life just could not get much better than this...

Perhaps one of the most amazing things that a human being will experience in their lifetime, is to see a beautiful clear blue sky over the Pacific Ocean.  Even as nice as this picture is below, it still fails to do justice to the majesticness of such a sight.

After several miles I started noticing that the street running parallel along the boardwalk, not only separated, but became elevated as well, as evidenced in this photo below...

I was now at the south end of the beach.  Thumbs up for me (below).  What would be next?  Let's find out....

I picked up some G2s at the Sunrise Grill, a little food and beverage hut at the south end of the Redondo Beach strip.  You might not be able to notice it too well, but just on the left of the hut is a steep uphill which I took to get to the road, and to start my next phase in this long run.

 This photo was taken at the beginning of the run. See the mountain range in the distance?  The next picture below shows me now on the road that I left the beach for and that is already on the beginning of the mount. Paseo De La Playa is a windy uphill road with many small but pretty homes along the way.

As I passed a sign that read "St. Francis Episcopal Church", I detected an off-road trail area, off of Palos Verdes Boulevard.  I decided to head into it, as it appeared it was taking me to the direction that I wanted to travel in.

The "trail"-like run lasted only about 1/3rd of a mile, which put me back onto Palos Verdes Dr W. (flags below)
As I passed near Via Corta, this beautiful "classic" car passed me. Believe it or not, a few blocks later the car stopped.  And from it a few people, runners, came out and asked if they could take a picture of me.  I let them, and gave them my address, but unfortunately never got the email.  Still, it was pretty cool of them to want to take a photo of me (for what reason, who knows..)

Along Paseo Del Mar and Via Del Monte, some steep terrain came before me.  But with the beautiful large homes, and amazing colors and sweet smell from the flowers and all, I really didn't notice too much.  Although once in a while, I would just ask myself "why", in that "why do these people have money to live like this, and I don't?"

After a steep drop along Via Corta, I could see a ballfield along Via Almar.  It was at the north end of a large piece of property which I believe belongs to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District

You just don't see this kind of view in New York.  Ain't happening.  I'm not even about to guess as to what kind of a tree this was, other than it looked awesome compared to the Pacific sky in the background.

As I headed up on Paseo Del Mar, I started feeling euphoric and indestructible.  And considering all the torture I had been putting up with recently at the hands of my mother's death, this was more than a welcome relief.  I felt like as if I was in heaven.  I tell you the truth, for as much as I love New York, I could easily see myself retiring to California with Karen.  I love this area of the world, and earthquakes be damned!

Judging by the height that I already scaled, you can tell I was already having one heckuva workout!

Whoever owns this deep blue Challenger is a lucky person!
How could anyone NOT want to live in a house like this one below?

Or what about this one?    Again, all of these homes are along the cliffs of Paseo Del Mar.

I saw the size of this Rose, and was amazed by the size.  This rose is for my Karen Rose.  :-)

I came across this trail along Paseo Del Mar, between Yarmouth and Oakley Roads.  The trail breaks into two directions, the first, which I took, hugs Paseo, the other, more adventurous one, actually goes down to the water.  Killer!  But I opted for the safe bet and chose the hug instead.

Nice Flower Bed.

If you are wondering why the photo of the water fountain....I was running now along Paseo Luneado, dying of thirst, and wondering when I was going to see a convenience store or even a soda machine.  I see a sign  that read Lunada Bay Elementary School, and decided to head for it, hoping, praying to see a machine.  I had to go around the back of the school, but near the play yard, I saw these water fountains below.  I had struck gold because they worked!  What a relief!!!
I continued on Lunado until I got to Palos Verdes Drive W again, made a right and ran along the grassy median for awhile to give my knees a rest from all of the pounding.  Before long I was already making my way south on Calle Entradero and had just finished 9.5 miles. By now, I had finally acquired a goal too.  Based on what I was seeing on my iPhone, I decided I would run to the Point Vincente lighthouse and back (hopefully!)
This may very well be my favorite photo of the event.  Look up at the top of the photo after reading the sign.  Priceless.

Hey.  No one ever said that running was hazard-free.

After running past the Trump National museum and the Ocean Trails Reserve area, I had finally come to the Lighthouse.  At last, I was ready to turn back.  What an amazing run this had been so far too!

What an amazing view.  Time to head back...
As you can see, I wasn't the only runner along this path....

Not only did it have a Spanish name "Malaga" but it looked very Castillian as well.

The view of a tired, but happy shadow...

Artwork along near, of all places, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department.  I believe this artwork is from one Michael Hamson, who specializes in Oceanic Art.  Beautiful work and a shame I didn't have my rental truck with me or I'd have gobbled a few of these up and sent them back home to NY.

Seeing the sign that read Torrance, meant that I was closing in on the beach where it had all begun hours earlier. And more importantly, TWENTY MILES COMPLETED. WOOHOO!!!!!

Final view of the road before re-entering the south section of Redondo Beach near Torrance.
Make no mistake about it.  I was a hurting cowboy.  My legs had given all they could and I was dog tired.

Mile 21.

Mile 22.
Dig for it! Dig for it!!!

With my face clearly etched in pain, I nonetheless was happy to see the piers.  I was already at 23 miles

I didn't eat them .  This time.
I made my way to an ice cream shop along the last pier and near to where I had parked. And when I came back to the hotel, I was exhausted but happy.  The longest training run to date. 23.6 miles.  Wow.
But....would there be a sequel???