Sunday, September 6, 2009

Runner's Almanac - Day 22

It's Labor Day weekend. My plan was to get away on a road trip somwhere up the coast like beautiful Cambria or laid back Monterey. My friend Adam also has planned to get away this weekend to Mammoth with the hopes of cross country skiing. For our separate reasons, our weekend California adventures were not to be, so we decided to enjoy a daylong California trip somewhere nearby. We may not beHuell Howser, but we were both eager for get away for a few hours somewhere new in California. So Adam picked me up around 9:30a and we headed south, to Orange County.

Although a little over an hour away on the freeway, we both agreed that Orange County was foreign enough territory to be considered a mini-vacation. For me, it was the multitude of tanned blondes. For Adam, it was men in untucked Hawaiian shirts. But like Los Angeles, Orange County is a pretty diverse place. We were mainly in Alisa Viejo/Laguna Niguel so maybe the percentange of blonde Hawaiian shirt wearing locals is higher than the OC population as a whole.

Our trip focused on three activities. Hiking, yoga, and "other". The "other" consisted of checking out a popular Orange County natural foods store that Adam raved about called Mother's. If you are ever in the area (they have a ton of OC locations) and you are a health food afficionado, this place is awesome. Try the green goddess juice on the menu. I'd ask for extra spinach if I were you.

We took a class at Core Power Yoga. Now, Core Power yoga is one fancy studio. The bathrooms alone are spa-quality. The not so nice surprise was that all of the yoga classes are held in the heat. I had never done a heated yoga class before, so I was expecting passing out somewhere between the sun salutation and the namaste. Although we both made it through the induced heat exhaustion, I felt that the class was lacking in enough instruction especially for more beginner yoga practitioners. The teacher didn't offer enough variation for those of us who couldn't balance our body weight on our hands. New customers do receive a full week of classes for free. So if you're in the area and can pretty much do your practice on your own, check this place out.

After our yoga class, we headed for more fun in the heat, this time outdoors. We trekked nearly 4 miles in the Aliso Creek trail in the Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park which has approximately 3,900 acres of open land. In addition, it is home to plenty of many plants and animals. For me, the highlight of our walk was the delightful and unexpected sight of a beautiful deer up close and personal. The deer was so still when I locked eyes with it, it looked like a statue. Once I got out my camera phone, here's a a picture I took of the creature walking away from us into the cooler shade of the trees:

Despite the labor day weekend, we were one of very few walkers that afternoon and the trail was more popular among bicyslists. It was a hot summer afternoon but thankfully we were helped along with several cool breezes. Finally, I committed to a long walk after Saturday's long run. Orange county has many areas for hiking in the form of parks, trails,and marshes, all of which can be explored at the excellent website OC Check it out;

Happy walking!

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