The rains cleared, there is a light layer of sand packed on the path along the beach, the air is chilly, fallen branches decorate dirt routes, and we are out running. I have not run since Monday. The rains were enough to prevent me from going out with the expectation of completely unexpected downpours. I saw those runners in the street. One minute it's drizzling and the next there's hail. No thanks, not for me. Although my runner's dream is to be all geared up one of these day's and in ship rain running shape. Fearless, unweathered, and frankly, a little bull-headed. But today there is no rain.
Our route today takes us north along the sandy beach toward our eventual uphill climb on Temescal. Before we get there we are first tested with a couple of little hills - more like slopes in the path - but it is enough to remind us that today is a series of ups and downs - large and small - shallow and steep. There are about 20 of us today. The view along the beach here is lovely, but all eyes are on Temescal. We will kill this hill, oh yes we will. We run in two's, we run by ourselves, we run until we can't run anymore. We all make it to the top. Some think the worst is over, but it's not. We still have about 6 miles to go!
This part of the course takes us through Pacific Palisades and past some lovely homes - although we must dodge the vines and plants and flowers that want to touch us, poking us with their arms. There is also the after rain effect in the ground, in the trees, and in the air, that makes it seem that we are in Oregon, or a rain forest - except that it is not humid but cool and breezy. It's full of green, and often it is only when you are on two feet exploring a city, that you realize how lush and beautiful and pristine L.A can be.
Hills are good for us. We know this. And next time our mentors suggest we do this route again, we will cheer and beg for it.
Personally, I had one small blip toward mile 8 or 9. I bought a packet of powder to mix in my water meant for endurance athletes. Other walkers or runners use powders and I thought I would give it a try. For me and my body, it proved to be a bad idea. The mixture of the drink and my usual created a deep cramp under my upper right ribcage for a good 10 minutes. So now I know. I like my Gu and it looks like it will stay that way.
Next week, 24 miles. Flat.