Sunday, May 16, 2010

13 mile run in the afternoon

Venice Beach on a Saturday afternoon can be a scary place, especially when you turn a corner and you see someone in an alien mask crouched along the side of a wall, staring at you.

Initially, when I turned at the pier and headed south, I knew I would have to navigate through an unrelenting stream of bicyclists, strollers, walkers, surfers, talkers, stalkers, weirdos and street artists. I welcomed it. Distractions are always good when you plan to run for a long period of time. And hey! This is Venice , with incense and other mood-altering aromas wafting around, shouldn’t I expect the promise of synergy in the air? The answer is apparently “No”. And that was proven before I even hit Venice Beach when confronted by one of a runner’s worst enemies: Mother and stroller.

I had peeled a sliver of running space for myself and was holding the line like a high wire acrobat, happy with my achievement, when the mother in question, slowly but surely and without looking behind her to spot me, turned right in front of me and stopped. When she didn’t reply with any reaction that I existed, I told her that I was right behind, to which she replied, with plenty of attitude, that I was the one who needed to move over. I had already run off by then, so I tried for the next couple minutes to get her bad karma out of my mind. Slowly, I am realizing why we usually run so early in the morning. No babies, no mommas, no nobodies. And the people who are there aren’t wide awake yet to cause any problems.

I don’t want to say mothers and their poor unsuspecting babies are an enemy – But on the road and on the path, there are people who assume they have the right of way ALL the time. This list includes:

Women with young children and strollers

Dogs and their people (the blame goes mostly on their people, who can blame a dog?)

Girlfriends who can’t break the bond of walking side by side.

And sadly, Runners (sorry, it’s true).

I know that when I am running, I try to be courteous, but if I run into a walker, isn’t it my right of way since I am moving at a faster speed? Shouldn’t they move over?!

There was no love and no synergy on the boardwalk, especially with skateboarders and bicyclists. So I veered off into safer (and saner) waters – That’s when I spotted the alien man – ran along Speedway (much nicer in the morning), meandered through Venice canals large and small, headed down Pacific until Ocean Park, where I turned east and eventually made my way back home. .

I ended up with a 13.3 mile run – Happy that it was done, but will stray away from any afternoon run through Venice in the future.

Congrats to all who ran Palos Verdes Marathon and Half-Marathon, and the Santa Monica Classic!

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