Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coast to Coast Travel

Mon and Tues: Charlotte
Wed and Thurs: Chicago
Fri, Sat and Sun: Los Angeles

Whew. What a week. Honestly as I'm typing this it feels more like two. Things started with a bit of weather-related tomfoolery in Charlotte, as Mother Nature decided to grace us with four inches of snow on Sunday night. This meant the landscape was absolutely beautiful on Monday but quickly turned treacherous by Tuesday. Turns out that when you live in a city where it allegedly only snows once a year, it isn't deemed fiscally responsible to invest in plowing and sanding systems. I agree with this in principle, but one has to wonder if the three days of school and work missed by many Charlotteans (more for some) doesn't do something to offset those savings.

But I digress. As this is a running blog, the important thing is how the weather affected my training. Monday morning I enjoyed a beautiful snow-covered run on the Booty Loop, to be followed by a less beautiful and far less enjoyable Monday evening run during which I endured being pelted in the face by shards of freezin
g rain. Tuesday morning I was supposed to fly out to Chicago which did not even come remotely close to happening. Instead, injured cross-training guru Jay Holder pulled a VIP move and braved the icy roads to pick me up--if I was going to trust anyone to drive me around in this mess, it was the native upstate New Yorker--and transport the two of us to Caitlin and John's gym near their apartment. There we enjoyed a Team CRC group "run"--alongside each other on treadmills, and an elliptical for Jay--which is really the only civilized way to endure an hour on one of those dreadful machines. Apparently Caitlin and I had such a good time that we slipped and slid back over for round two in the afternoon. There wasn't much else to do considering my second flight was also canceled and she was "working from home" for the second day in a row.

Miraculously, the third flight attempt was a charm, and at 6am on Wednesday morning I found myself on a plane en route to Chicago. With my trip cut short by
a day that meant all my work appointments were drastically compressed, which made for an extremely busy few days in the Windy City. This, combined with the hallmark Midwestern cold and snowy weather--though, surprisingly, it was neither colder nor snowier than the supposedly more temperate state in which I live--made running a challenge, but I was able to combine some loops around Navy Pier with a few treadmill miles with a suburban jog at one of my accounts to cobble together a few days of decent mileage. Besides, all I had to do when the going got tough was conjure up images of warm sun and swaying palm trees, so close I could almost touch them...

Navy Pier in the summer. There were definitely no ferris wheel riders
out there this week.

...which I finally did, the next day, when I completed my cross-country journey and arrived in Los Angeles! I would be there for the entire weekend representing Craft and Karhu at the 13.1 half marathon, and I was beyond excited for a reprieve from the wintry weather. My run on Friday morning was 75 degrees with not a cloud in the sky, and I swear I almost cried. The best run of the entire week was Saturday morning when I rose at sunrise and enjoyed a breathtaking jaunt along San Vicente Boulevard in Santa Monica. Similar to the Booty Loop, this mostly residential street is divided by an expansive grassy median that conveniently has a sinuous path worn into the ground by the countless runners who've trod there before. Unlike the Booty Loop, the shade here is mostly provided by trees of the palm variety. I took the boulevard all the way down to where it dead ended at the beach, where I was greeted by a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean in all its aquamarine glory. To say it was beautiful would be doing a disservice to the vista, and at that moment I literally could not think of a legitimate reason why I--nay, why anyone in the entire world--would want to live anywhere else. (Fortunately Caitlin reminded me later that it's too expensive and yadda yadda yadda, but still.) I could've spent several hours meandering along the coastline and soaking up the sun, but unfortunately I had to keep in mind the reason for my sojourn and thus turned around a few minutes later.

The commercial section of San Vicente Blvd. Not me in
the photo but it looks like she's keeping a good clip.

View from the end of San Vicente Blvd. at sunrise

Just typing this brings on the urge for a nap, but alas, my busy weekend was hardly over. The next 24 hours would include working a six-hour packet pickup, rising at 4am to set up our Craft/Karhu booth at the race finish line, putting in a quick 13.1 of my own, returning to aforementioned booth to sell some schwag, then hopping another cross-country flight back to the Queen City. Weeks like this are both exhausting and exhilarating for someone like me who is privileged to work in an industry centered around the activity she loves. I wouldn't have it any other way.