Beach Run


The Curmudgeonly Lion flew home to Chicago to surprise his mom for her birthday, so I was left without adult supervision for the weekend. I spent the days vacillating back and forth between Responsible Adulting and Imma Do What I Want. Weed whacking the backyard, turning in the recycling, cleaning the house and rolling up our jar of loose change fell into the first category, while binge watching the Good Place, grabbing coffee with an old collaborator, going running on the beach and eating half a rotissere chicken straight off the bones beast-style feel into the second.

Oh, and I learned that I’ll happily stay up until damn midnight if I don’t have a responsible grown up reminding me to go to bed.

So it was a busy weekend.

The highlight, to me, was going running on the beach. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for months. I even made one not-quite-successful attempt back in April which was somewhat derailed by the fact that the stretch of beach I’d chosen was not equipped with a significant length of path and I spent most of my time trying to navigate around breakwaters and traffic.

This time I would be smart: I knew there was a paved bike path down in Santa Monica and I suspected that I could probably follow it pretty far if I timed things right. At first, I thought the obvious time to do it would be after driving the Curmudgeonly Lion to the airport in the morning: I’d already be down at that end of the city and it was likely to be cool and uncrowded. It was the perfect plan except for one thing: the flight was before dawn and the coast was still pitch black by the time I got there. Aside, of course, from the dazzling full moon which: while gorgeous, did not lend itself to the safety of a lone female runner on an unfamiliar stretch of path. I was forced to admit that it was too dark even for me, and I aborted the plan and went home.

All day long I debated with myself: did I really want to haul myself all the way back out there just to go for a run? It was a fifty minute drive one way and it was a hot, sunny Saturday at the end of the summer: it might be crowded. And parking…

In the end I decided that it was worth it: I’d wanted to do this for months and this was my chance to do it. If I left right then I could get there and still have half an hour until sunset to run. So I put on my running clothes and headed out the door.

The drive wasn’t short and parking wasn’t cheap, but I made it to the beach and the sun was still high enough to give me plenty of time to run. I made my way to the path and headed north, headed into the golden blaze of sunset. I told myself that I’d run along the path until thesun touched the horizon and then is run back while it set and while I still had a bit of twilight to find my way. It was a perfect time of the day to be out and running was easy and fun. I didn’t know how far I was going (I mapped it afterwards and it turned out to be about five miles round trip) which was a new experience: typically I’m extremely aware of just how far I’ll going when I run. It was like visiting a strange culture: everyone was so tan and active. I wondered what they must think of me: white as sea foam, trotting along in their midst.

When I made it back to the car I decided to walk out to the water line to dip my toes in the surf while I cooled down. It was the hazy purple of near-dark by then, but it seemed only right, having come this far, to make it to the water. I stood barefoot on the wet sand and stated out over the waves and just tried to Be Now for a while and to let the ocean wash away the anxieties and frustrations and insecurities still gnawing at the back of my mind. I wanted to absorb the feeling of being present there on the edge of the world at the end of the day and being at peace with it.

I felt better.

I hope it will last.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on September 16, 2019.

One Response to “Beach Run”

  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time, glad to hear it

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