I've been blogging from my parents' home the last couple of days since I'm visiting them for the long holiday weekend. It's been quite some time since I've spent more than a day here so it's been nice to hang out with them. They love to feed me and you know me...I can't say no to delicious food. I think I mentioned this before but my parents are amazing cooks. That's why I'm such a good little eater.
During the summer, I can eat snow ice everyday! If you've never had snow ice, it's like the love-child of froyo and shaved ice. So good!
With all the eating I've been doing these past couple of days I knew it would be a bad idea to blow off my long run this weekend. Believe me, I wanted to. It's so hot outside! But I didn't. I went to bed early last night and managed to get up before sunrise to beat the heat. I was only 75% successful because now I'm a few shades darker than when left my parents' house this morning.
I have to say that living in the OC has spoiled me when it comes to having access to nicely maintained running paths with very minimal traffic lights or stops required. The cities surrounding my parents' place is not exactly runner friendly. You are basically running on concrete sidewalks the whole time along busy streets that require waiting at traffic lights to cross every ten minutes or so. Can you imagine how fun that can get over a two to three hour run? Not! I thought about driving to Long Beach or Santa Monica to run on the bike path but decided that was just a waste of gas. There is a bike path nearby (the Rio Hondo Bike Path) that runs all the way to Seal Beach but I question the safety of said path so I decided to be safe than sorry and skip it.
So this is what I had to do yesterday to ensure that I got my long run in today or as I like to call it...how to plan a long ass run in the middle of a busy ass city. I know, I'm so eloquent.
1) Google the area for trails and paths that other runners have already scoped out, no need to create anything new if something is already there. Then Google a couple of different sources/forums to see if the path is safe and if there are lots of other runners on it. If this fails, go to the next step.
2) Go to MapMyRun and map out a course according to the desire distance you want to run. Then, use the street-view feature at a couple of different points along the course on the map to check out what it will look like when you actually get there.
3) If you have the time or opportunity, drive the route the night before. This is extremely helpful. If there are sections that looks unsafe, questionable or if there is construction, make a mental note to reroute to another street. Also, it is helpful to note which side of the street you want to run on because one side may be flatter or have smoother pavement than the other side.
4) If you are unfamiliar with the area, having someone to run or bike with you is priceless. If not, be mindful of your surroundings and run without music. Just leave your iPod at home. I ran the whole time without mine today because I was busy looking out for cars, cyclists and people popping out onto the sidewalk out of nowhere.
5) Be safe! I guess this applies to running anywhere but I felt more aware of it today because I was running in unfamiliar territories. Wear lots of sunscreen, carry a cellphone, ID bracelet, pepper spray, fuel belt/handheld bottle/hydration vest and money to purchase more liquid when you run out because there may or may not be any water fountains on your route. I saw one water fountain on my run this morning and it was not working. Boo. Remember to mention to a family member or friend about your run and course info so someone knows where you are and may be able to come and get you if something happens.
I ran by Cal Tech today!
I was thankful that my little sister agreed to bike along with me today to keep me company during the early morning hours. We made this into a little adventure and it was one of the more interesting long runs I've done in a long time. I'm super impressed that she was able to bike that far since she has not biked in years and I think she told me that the furthest she has rode was 5 miles. On top of that, the first half of the run was all uphill with over 500 ft of elevation gain. She is such a trooper! Quitters need not apply. :0) We got lost a couple of times and it was hot as heck out there but we managed to complete 17 miles running through five different cities. What a day!