Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Running and Races

{I'm posting every day this month for the 31 Days writing challenge!
Click here to see an introduction and a list of all the posts I've written so far.}

Today I want to talk about running in Santa Barbara.  I have a couple of go-to running paths and a couple of races I like to sign up for almost every year.

My number one running trail is the bike path near Goleta Beach, but I’ve also been branching out from there and running along the actual beach, too!  Something about running on sand as the tide drifts up toward my feet and birds mosey around along the beach is just...calming.  Plus, sea glass.  

Another spot I like to run is at the Santa Barbara City College track.  It’s gentler on the knees than any other running surface, and there’s no getting lost or going out too far and not being able to make it back.  (I mean, no, I never run two miles and then realize I absolutely don’t feel like running another two miles.  Nope, never happens.)  Joe prefers to run here, since he has had knee surgery and feels the impact on concrete or dirt roads a lot more harshly, so the track is where we do our runs together!  I can also throw in a few stadiums for good measure if I’m feeling extra tough.

Joe and I in our new running shoes on a track run awhile back!

The third place I love to run is down by the harbor, usually along the bike path that runs through the parking lots toward East Beach.  I get a great ocean view (and breeze), plus on Sundays there’s some kind of art walk going on that I love to admire as I’m running along.  

As for races: there’s plenty of options in Santa Barbara and the surrounding area.  I’m not quite ready (and I may never be) to run the Santa Barbara Half Marathon (much less the full one!), but I’ve done a couple different shorter races in town that I always try to make time for every year if I can.  Oh, and I’ve volunteered at the marathon a couple of times, cheering people on and making sure cars on the road don’t drive onto the race lanes – that’s always a good time!

The first race I ever did locally was the Super Bowl 4-Miler.  I loved the distance, I loved the energy of the people around me, and I loved that I burned calories on a day when most people are gorging on them!  I’ve done it a couple times since then, and it’s always a great way to start a fun day.

Then there’s the Semana Nautica 15K, which usually happens on or around the 4th of July.  This one I’ve only done once, but I really want to try it again!  Maybe next year.  A 15K is 9.3 miles, and I think if I can actually train well for this one, I could get a better idea of whether I might want to ever do a half marathon (13.1 miles!).  Again, this one had great scenery, an energetic vibe, and a sweet finisher’s shirt that was actually athletic, moisture-wicking material rather than the usual plain cotton tees I’ve gotten from most other races.

And lastly is my all-time favorite race in Santa Barbara: She Is Beautiful!  This is an all-female 5K and 10K race that is just the most fun thing ever.  Surrounded by thousands of other women ready to kick butt, and then seeing all the motivational and quirky signs along the way, makes for a high energy, confidence boosting way to get outside and stay active.

(Click to enlarge)

This year I was getting over a terrible cough and cold, so I ended up just walking the 5K instead of running the 10K, which was pretty disappointing.  But I’m glad I still went out and did SOMETHING, and I still crossed the finish line feeling accomplished, and that’s the main reason I keep coming back for more!  Plus, being at the way back of the crowd was kind of awesome because I got to see thousands of women start the race strong!

What are some other good running spots or races I should check out in Santa Barbara?

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