Running in the desert

When I booked an early flight to Southern California for last week, I thought oh I’ll go for my long run at Huntington Beach, I’ll see the ocean it will be lovely! And that’s what I almost did.

DSC01409Except that when I got to California and opened up my wallet I saw my National Parks Annual pass and I was like oh I wonder what parks are around and then I felt like a dumbass because I was only 2 hours from one of my all time most favourite of national parks: Joshua Tree. So I said to myself and also texted to Eric: I’m going to take an impromptu trip to Joshua Tree and run my miles there! Sure I’d be driving 4 hours to run 5 miles, but honestly, what else was I going to do with the day? I mean other than sit on the beach and probably shop. I like the beach, but I like Joshua Tree better and the beach is more accessible for days when I don’t have a ton of time.

DSC01425Off to Joshua Tree I went. Additional things to note about the day is that I ate two breakfasts because I had a first class upgrade and I was like eh, why not? Although, I know that I should only eat one breakfast, but it turned out to actually be a solid decision! Because it was noon when I arrived at Joshua Tree and if I hadn’t had second breakfast then I would have been starving for lunch and would ┬áhave had to eat and then wait to run. Instead I was still full and immediately went for a run.

DSC01417I chose the nice and flat boy scout trail. I had never hiked it before and that was part of the goal, to see new places at the park. I didn’t do the whole trail because it’s 7 miles one way and I wasn’t going for that long of a run at this point anyways. So 2.5 miles in and 2.5 miles back. Perfect. Long run complete and it was only 1:30. That left quite a bit of time to explore the park and get back to Fountain Valley in time for some grocery shopping for the week.

DSC01437I can tell my fitness is improving. I’m not tired after longer runs and I’m ready for more activity instead of being like whew! spent! no more moving for me! It’s pretty exciting and motivating to see the hard work pay off. When I trained for my previous half marathons I wasn’t as on task with my mid week runs and as a result my long runs on the weekend tended to be a bit torturous and then my shorter runs during the week never really improved because I wasn’t being consistent.

DSC01433I then hit up a few other scenic spots and a little bit of hiking here and there and a bit of climbing on rocks and being very jealous of those who were really rock climbing. I felt a small itch to break out those climbing shoes again and perhaps soon I will but for now the focus is running.

DSC01407Joshua Tree is one of my favourite places to be alone. I can’t wait to also bring the boys there sometime soon but I find it to be a very peaceful place to be lonely. There’s something so warm and cozy about those rocks. To me they seem like big friendly giants who one day got a bit sleepy and have laid down to rest. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they were to yawn, pulls themselves up from the ground, and carry on with life someday. There is something very special about that piece of desert and I’m glad that it’s being protected.