September 25, 2010


Saturday is my typical long-run day, so my day started with a 12 miler. I almost always start in the same place, a park/ball field in Ocean Beach. Officially Autumn started this past week, but there are few indications of it here in San Diego so far. There aren't many leaves to change, though I did see one tree at a jobsite on Friday that had a few splashes of red. One indication of the change of season is the ball fields are now filled with soccer rather than softball players.

The weather certainly isn't a good indication of fall this year, as temperatures are far enough above normal that the schools sent home heat advisories. I forgot to pack headphones in my run bag this morning, so I would be alone with my thoughts. No podcasts or music to distract me. Though I will likely go without an iPod for the marathon, it has been five or six months since I've run without MP3 company. Fortunately, I did remember to pack sunscreen and something to drink.

The park is on the San Diego river, just a few blocks inland from Dog Beach. As I was gearing up to go, I heard someone on a megaphone speaking to a crowd across the river. She was coming in loud and clear, so I don't know how loud it was on the other side. She was talking to a group of runners, preparing for the Carlsbad Marathon four months from now in January. It reminded me that I would like to volunteer in some sort of marathon training program. Pay it forward as it were for the help I have received.

On this side of the river, there was another group of volunteers as well. Crowds of people were cleaning up the beach and streets of Ocean Beach. So many that it seemed the helping hands might outweigh the trash. They also seemed to be carrying around clipboards to make notations of some sort. Maybe they were also recording things in need of repair as well. Great to see.

The run went reasonably well. I wasn't up at the crack of dawn, but I managed to avoid most of the heat of the day. There were lots of people out on the paths today. Runners, walkers, bikers and people just out enjoying the morning. I saw one woman on a bench facing the bay, with her legs folded into the lotus position. It looked peaceful as I approached her, but on closer inspection she was texting away on her Blackberry.

After the run I went to find some breakfast. My usual haunt is the Tower Two Cafe (so named because it is near life guard tower number two). Matt and Holly took me there for breakfast a few years ago on one of my earlier visits to San Diego. Breakfast is served all day, and it is decent but not all that special. The appeal is the patio that is a block off the beach and is dog-friendly.

Most of the people on the patio seem to be people with dogs, tourists enjoying the beach view, or hungover 20-somethings having a late breakfast of greasy food. There are usually champagne bottles at a couple tables, sitting in buckets of ice to be mixed with OJ as a 'hair of the dog' cure. There were a few dogs as well this morning, one who parked himself next to my chair the whole time I was there.

Across the street, the beach-cleaning volunteers gathered on the lawn, hopefully for a bit of thanks and maybe some breakfast. Both were well earned.

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