Archive for December, 2013

Christmas run 2013

December 25, 2013

I do a long run every Christmas morning. I started doing this when I lived down near Hendry’s beach, so my first run was from Hendry’s to Ellwood and back. I no longer live there, but somehow I still do that run, more or less.

I checked the tide table yesterday and noticed there was a lowish tide at 10:11AM (2ft above Mean Lower Low water), and with a very low high tide at 3PM (3ft above MLLW). So if I ran between 7AM and 9PM the tide would be below 3ft.

So I thought I might try running the whole way along the beach. I’ve never done that before, the tide has always prevented me…

The weather man said it was 60°. I don’t know where he keeps his thermometer, but it was more like 50° at my house. He also claimed the high for the day would be 71°, but yesterday he was off by 10°, so I was expecting it would be hotter than that…

I set out a little before dawn and trotted down Los Positas to Hendry’s. When I started from my old house Christmas morning seemed very quiet, but running down Los Positas isn’t quiet. Well, it’s quiet for Los Positas…

It is chilly though. Los Positas is considerably colder than my house.

Christmas Sunrise
When I got to Hendry’s the sun was just peeking over the horizon.

It was also considerably warmer on the beach. Perhaps this is where the weatherman measures…

Suddenly the beach was sunlit.

Pelicans Santa Cruz
A flight of pelicans flew past, with Santa Cruz Island in the background.

Seagull On Rock

Sand Cliff
I find these sand cliffs peculiar. The beach I grew up visiting (in SC) never had cliffs. I used to think the winter storms carved them out, but we have had no winter storms yet this year.

More Mesa
More Mesa

Petro olium

About a mile beyond More Mesa I start to see “rocks” which appear to be made of petrified oil. The oil seems to have oozed out of the ground and then solidified in great lumps. I’ve never seen anything like this elsewhere, and I don’t come here often, so it always surprises me…

Just beyond one of these lumps of petrified olium is a rock which extends far out into the surf and which I can’t climb over. Drat. I have to go back.

More Mesa Steps
This entails running back to the More Mesa stairs (about a mile) and then about 4 miles around to Goleta Beach, and then about a mile and a quarter down the beach until I come to the other side of the large rock. (there are lumps of petrified olium here too). Then finally I turn around and continue my run along the beach.

Goleta Slough Blocked
I was pleased to discover that the Goleta Slough is blocked up. Most of our creeks have so little flow through them over the summer that the high tides leave a dam of sand across the mouth of the creek. What little water does come down can seep through the sand of the dam without disturbing its structure. Then when the winter rains come, the flow increases and the sand all washes away. This year, so far, the rains have not come. The dams are intact. This makes it much easier to run along the beach, but is otherwise disturbing.

Stilts in the Goleta Slough.

And then a nice long uninterrupted run down the beach. Past UCSB. Past Coal Oil Point. Until finally I can see Ellwood Mesa.
Ellwood Mesa
(if you click on the image to look at it in full resolution you can see the signs for the Snowy Plover Reserve)

But when I get to Ellwood, I don’t want to stop. The beach keeps going, why can’t I? So I proceed.

There’s the Bacara (I guess). I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

No TrespassingAnd beyond the Bacara is a long pier. At first I assume it is attached to the Bacara, but then decide it may have something to do with (Oil) Platform Holly. Two of the Platform Holly tugs are anchored nearby. The pier has a nasty notice attached to it, and, being in a contrary mood, I run under the pier and into the semi-proscribed, after all I do know what the tides are doing and Good heavens I’ve been running for 3:30 hours and it really is past time to turn back. (which means it is just past low tide) Well… I go a little further (to prove I can) and then turn back.

On the way back I make a detour to visit the Monarch reserve. It’s a warm sunny day and they are happily flying around. There are still some butterfly clumps, but they are more active than I usually see them. As always the light and distance conspire to make photographs unsatisfying.

I seem to have run out of water. Oh well, I can fill up at Goleta Beach. Which is only another hour away.

Snowy Egrets in the UCSB Lagoon
Snowy egrets at the UCSB Lagoon.

At Goleta Beach I do fill up my camelback, and get an immediate drink of water. I’m feeling tired now, and I’m not running very fast. I’ve got another ~7 miles to go. I’ve been running for about 5 hours. At least another hour to go.

I run out of water again about a mile from home. I didn’t realize I was this thirsty… I’m hot and sweaty, I guess that’s why. That might be why I’m running so slowly too.

Home. ~36 miles in 6:15 hours. The weatherman says the current temperature is 79° (I knew he was lying this morning). Time for food, and a shower.


The Finish Line

December 2, 2013

For me, the finish line is magical. I often reach the line, healthy but am a shambles once I’m on the other side of it.

Three people told me I looked good in the last half mile of SBIM, but once I crossed the line everyone was concerned. June even ran up to me to help me… Then I sat down until I vomited.

And that’s not a unique occurrence. In my first 15K I ran fairly normally, but was unable to walk once I crossed the line — somewhere in the race I had acquired a stress fracture in my pelvis — and I’m sure that didn’t happen in that last step.

In many marathons and ultras I pretty much have collapsed with dehydration — once I cross the line.

Something happens during a race and I don’t notice pain or other problems, but once I finish I am finished.

The French word for the finish line is arrivée — arrival — which, to me, an English speaker, has completely different connotations. “Arrival” seems to focus on what comes next rather than what has been. It ignores the race that has happened in favor of — well, I’m not sure what.

Perhaps I’d race better in France.