Monday, March 3

weather woes and cross-training

K was visiting town this weekend from Ohio, which meant we had to cram all kinds of Southern California fun into a couple of days that were not ideal--Saturday, the day we had mainly to ourselves, was cloudy and relatively calm. Naturally, this was the day we went sailing.

Yesterday, with friends who were in town from the desert, we headed to the beach, with the ferocious Santa Ana winds blowing down from the canyons. It was brilliantly sunny, and quite warm, considering the wind, but, despite having chosen a relatively protected beach (the State park would have been better, but also would have cost $10 to park), we still were pelted by sand fairly regularly. The ensuing trip to Ruby's (formerly known as the Shake Shack, and where you can still get a monkey flip shake if you know to order it without it being on the menu), up on the cliffs and away from the sand, was much easier on the skin. I kept an eye out for whales, since it's their migratory season, but don't think I saw one. There was a disturbance in the water off-shore that could have been one, since there was a powerboat stopped near it, but I didn't really see anything that was undeniably whale-ish--with the winds the way they were, the spray could have been from a whitecap. The main thing that made me suspect it might be a whale was that the water remained quite flat there for awhile--a whale just beneath the surface will even out the chop. So, I suspect it was a whale, but can't be sure, especially since this year there have been far fewer gray whales spotted than usual.

Finally, our fun continued this morning with a run along the Back bay, with the Santa Anas still blowing. Santa Anas are terrible to run in: they kick up massive amounts of pollen and dust, the air is extremely dry, and running upwind in them is killer. Another point I'd forgotten is that extra body glide is required during Santa Ana conditions--normally I don't use it for runs shorter than 6 miles, but because sweat dries so quickly in the air blowing in from the deserts, instead of lubricating, it actually aids in the chafing, since it dries leaving salt. Top this all off with a nice stomach cramp and an improperly trimmed toenail cutting one of my toes, and I was absolutely surprised by the end that I'd run 4.6 miles. It was quite a painful run.

K reminded me that it was still better than doing the same run in 22 degrees. I imagine he's right--after all, cold weather wreaks much of the same havoc on noses and skin. Also, the Santa Anas have calmed down a lot since this morning--it almost looks like the onshore flow is fighting them right now--so this evening would be perfect for a run (if I hadn't just done one). Below-freezing temperatures usually last a lot longer than two days when they come in Ohio. It was also nice to have the airplanes overhead coming in for a landing rather than taking off--far less noisy.

I did notice some nice changes, though, doing this run after nearly a week off. All the bike-riding in the meantime has meant that it didn't feel like I'd taken that much time off, in terms of strength or stamina. It actually felt a lot better--my feet and legs felt less abused than an equivalent amount of running would have caused. Hopefully I'll get a bike right away when I get to Columbus, and continue to cross-train.

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