Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Night Manuevers

Huntington Beach Path

The funny thing with me and running at night is that as the days get shorter in the Fall, I try to do everything I can to get my runs in during daylight hours.  But once the time change hits, I've got little choice but to run in the dark, and I quickly learn to love it.

With a little bit of planning, I can usually find the extra 20 minutes I need to hop into the car and drive back and forth to the beach.  Theoretically, you can run 16 miles out and back from one end of Huntington Beach to the other, with all of it on motor vehicle free beach path and most of it well lit.  Lately, I've been starting about a mile north of the pier, and then running south to the Newport Beach city line and back for a total of 8 miles.

I really enjoy this run.  The crowds are long gone by now so I get lost in a feeling of solitary remoteness, though at any time I can see other runners and their safety lights somewhere up or down the path running with me.

The temperature, especially lately, has been cool.  And the wind has been brisk.  With the wind on my back, I feel like a running superstar for the first 4 miles only to be humbled by a stiff headwind on the way back.  But for what the wind reduces in speed, I gain in mental toughness - two years ago I would have simply not attempted to run 4 miles anywhere, let alone into a stiff wind.

Huntington Beach Pier

The pier itself, though not in the middle of my run, still serves as the centerpiece.  I've been trying not to look at my Garmin on these night runs, opting instead to just enjoy the dark and my movement.  But when I pass under the pier, I know where I am in terms of distance.  And that mental reset is still welcome, because in the end, I am a creature of math and measurement.

There are also a few beach-side restaraunts around the pier.  As I run by and look at the patrons on the gas-lamp heated patio looking back at me, I think to myself "I am running.  They are eating nachos.  Nachos sound good, but so does running."

What will happen over the next few months is I will do this run many times.  Then the days will get longer, and I'll start to lose the dark.  Though this will be a little sad, I'll quickly rediscover the joys of running at sunset, at least for a few months.  And the cycle will begin again.

21 comments:

Emz said...

Man, for a minute . . .
. . . I actually wanted to run outside?!!?

It
passed.

I mean I get to watch the Thanksgiving day parade while I run my 22 tomorrow. beach-shmeach.

[don't tell anyone . . . I did like this post]....you wear your iPod while you run, right?!

Pretend this is real said...

Ok. I'm jealous. That looks like a really awesome place to pound out the miles. Happy Thanksgiving!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

That looks like a wonderful place to run. And the "cool" part is what sounds even better! It is 84 degrees with humidity right now?? Supposed to be 72 tomorrow for the turkey trot run at 8am??

Jason said...

That Pier looks gorgeous. What a great mile marker and something to truly run TO.

Enjoy the holiday.

ajh said...

I am definitely jealous. It sounds like a wonderful run!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Running near the ocean is great anytime but especially at night. Hope you get some nice moonlit runs in this winter!

TRI714 said...

Yo I grabbed that shot of the pier. Hope thats o.k.
Funny how you run south side and I run the North. But Im guessing that is from all the miles you have put on the North over the last couple of years. You gotta keep them routes some what fresh.
Nice.

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

That looks amazing. I hate to sound like a crazy, but I would have trouble turning around... I'd probably get lost in thought and reach the end and wonder how I'm supposed to get back!

Her Name is Rio said...

Pretty pretty pretty. Even when dark!

Shawn said...

Hey Patrick,

I love doing night runs too. Mine are usually by the river with no lights. You have to know where you are or its wipeout time...it would be nice to have it all lit like yours. I do not however like running into the wind....hence I always go out into it and love having it at my back on the way home...run like Batman with a tail wind. Keep it up and I agree, look at the Garmin when you get home. Thanx for the great read

Goose said...

That is some phenomenal scenery. I'm coming to Cali to run a half along the Bay in San Fran. I wish I had that view every day. You're awesome.

Aimee said...

If I lived by that I would run there every night! What an awesome place for a run!

DRog said...

hahaha

"I am running. They are eating nachos. Nachos sound good, but so does running

what a great night route...or day route

Happy Thanksgiving

D

Megan said...

What a great place to run and very pretty. I always like running by restaurants where people can see you run. I always think the people inside are jealous that I'm running and they're stuffing their face cause that's how I feel when I see a runner while in a restaurant. But in reality, most people would probably stuff their face with nachos. :)

Chris K said...

I have been running at night too and LOVE IT. I thought that I was gonna hate it, but I find that I can get into a groove alot easier at night.

Johann said...

That is an awesome run you can do there! I love running in the dark but mine is mostly early in the morning. I'm not close to the ocean though.

Raegun said...

That almost makes me want to run in the dark. Almost.

lindsay said...

happy thanksgiving!

i don't mind running in the dark as long as there isn't a lot of traffic - just hearing the cars whiz by worries me enough! usually i can duck into a neighborhood after a mile or so though where it's quieter. i like the peacefulness of the dark, but i also like various things about running during daylight - the colors of the sky/trees, sounds of birds, etc...

Jarrett @ "PaddlePedalPlod" said...

Nice post! well written, makes me jealous. Things have warmed up a bit here, but it comes with wind...

valen said...

loved those photos

Glenn Jones said...

Wait a minute. Running better than nachos? Good thing I don't run past any restaurants....

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