July 16, 2012

California Dream Runs

My cousin was married at the self-proclaimed "World's Most Beautiful Zoo" this weekend.


After the wedding ceremony, all of the guests were invited to feed the giraffes! (check out that tongue!!!)


So, yeah, you can add "licked by a giraffe" to the experiences I've shared with my siblings, first cousins, and niece. Cool!

In addition to the pleasure of feeding a giraffe, the travel commitment meant that the day of the wedding, I was able to run a loop from our hotel, through a canyon, under fog and mist, up a cliff, and out to a shoreline park trail, past crashing waves on one of the most gorgeous beaches in the world, and finally, a recovery jog/walk up one of the more posh and fascinating shopping scenes I've ever seen (State St).

California is a gloriously beautiful state and to enjoy it on a run in perfect weather is one of the greatest pleasures I have known.

The morning after the wedding was equally awesome (after the wedding, E & I bid the 20-somethings goodbye from the last shuttle bus as they headed out to dance 'til dawn and we prided ourselves on our late wedding partying - I mean, we took the last bus and because I packed flip-flops, I left my heels at the venue, that has to count for some sort of mid-30's coolness, right?). I woke after what felt like sleeping in, and I headed out to the deserted paved path along the beach (nothing like a party town to make you feel like you wake early). I did speed intervals in the overcast cool temperatures, grateful for the sound of the crashing waves and a reprieve from the direct sun I get at home. I finished, happy with the fast tempo, and treated myself to my favorite post-run ritual of bare feet in the cold ocean, where I try to relax and metaphorically let the receding waves take everything I should release.

Last night, thanks to business obligations in Los Angeles, we had a fabulous date night in Santa Monica including sunset dinner at The Lobster and a wonderful room with awesome views at Ocean and Vine:


Today, I had the privilege of a short run along the paved beach path in Santa Monica and Venice where I pushed the pace and enjoyed the shared commitment to fitness.

You know, like this:

(In other news, while I opted out of the tightrope, this AM, I confirmed that I can still *barely* do a pull-up. This was a relief to me after a failed attempt on the shuttle bus post-rehearsal dinner, perhaps after too many drinks and while the bus was driving...)

Tomorrow, I'm planning to run to the Hollywood sign.

All in all, this picturesque SoCal interlude has treated me to some fabulous runs and I can't help but feel extra grateful to live in such a beautiful state with a commitment to its environment and making the beauty available to all of its citizens.

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