Running for Coffee and Fun
Yesterday I made a spontaneous trip down to Santa Cruz. It’s about a 2.5 hour drive from where I live. I just wanted to get out of town and go somewhere fun. I needed to get away but I didn’t know how much until I actually arrived. I arrived, checked into hotel, changed into my running clothes and hit the road for a quick 3 mile jaunt to explore and kinda get my bearings. It was a beautiful late afternoon, just a hint of cool temperatures. I ran through the cute, packed in downtown, saw the coffee shop i wanted to visit (VERVE COFFEE) and just made a loop back to hotel. Felt great to move my body. I’m SLOWLY getting back into running….and being ok with that…
I felt myself excited and awakened by the new sights all around me. My senses were awakened. On alert. I wanted to take it all in. I love how a new place has this effect. I had been to Santa Cruz many times in the past….but i’m talking about 25 years ago….
After run, made my way back downtown to visit Verve and find dinner. If you don’t know, I’m a big coffee fan and love finding new good coffee and coffee shops. Verve did not disappoint! I went to 1 of their 3 Santa Cruz locations. Its located downtown on the main street, Pacific. The shop was spacious, tall ceilings and a large area for the baristas to do their thing! A decent sized crowd were sitting and doing THEIR thing. I ordered a Cappuccino and passed on the yummy looking Chocolate Chip Cookie. While my drink was bring crafted, I nosed around in the shop…looking at their beans, mugs, apparel (yes!) and other logo items. I knew i would spend more than a few bucks in this place! I picked up my splendid cappuccino and took a seat at the bar area that allowed me to watch the baristas. Love that! The VIBE in this place was a huge plus. Young, cute, friendly staff. All of them. Welcoming!
I also ended up chatting w/ a gal who works there and she gave me a recommendation for dinner. I asked for “someplace casual with a TV to watch sports”. She directed me to SurfRider Cafe about 1/2 mile away. It was pretty packed but I got a seat at the bar immediately. Ordered a house-made Veggie burger w/ sweet potato fries and an ale called Dragon’s Breath. All very good! And again, loved the vibe in THIS place. Young, casual crowd. Very good and pleasant service. I think the VIBE i am speaking about is just very much Santa Cruz. Always been a very casual, independent, liberal place. Love that!
Saturday morning got up and went back to Verve for morning coffee. using my iPad, i found one of their other locations about 2 miles away and figured that would be a fun out and back route. So, off i went. There’s a river that runs thru town, The San Lorenzo River, and the route carried me on a path next to the river. Mostly flat, with just a little bit of incline. Gorgeous day outside. I could see the Boardwalk Rides off in the distance. And the Pacific Ocean. AHHHHH — Soon enough the short 3.6 mile run was over and again, i felt like i couldn’t run much more. for now!!
Got breakfast, walked around a bit, got cleaned up and headed to the Boardwalk. I went straight to the arcade and played my old favorite video games; Ms Pac Man & Centipede. Fun! I could’ve played longer, but had only a short time to get a few rides in and head back home. I chose 2 rides; Double Shot – which is just a straight ride up 125 ft. Super fast up and super fast down. a few times. I was facing the ocean and of course, great views. I was screaming and laughing the entire time. Other ride was the classic Giant Dipper roller coaster. More laughing the entire time. I love rides…i love the feeling of being locked in but totally out of control. SOOOO FUN. I really needed it.
This morning (Sunday) I drove just a short distance over to Mill Valley to hit some trails I had yet visited. These were right off of Tennessee Valley Road. I really had no idea where I was going, but i thought it would be easy to get back to the starting point, and it was. I ran, hiked up and came to some amazing views of the bay! Picture does not justice.
The trail up was mostly single track with hard packed dirt. I could’ve worn regular road shoes but I had my adidas trail shoes on. Came to some fire roads also. A hefty climb, especially given my current level of fitness..but i sure loved being out there!
So…I am making progress with getting back to being as fit as i want to be. Here’s a snapshot of what i’ve done lately.
Feb 10: 6 mile trail run; Elevation gain 1,179 (highest elevation gain since last August!)
Feb 9: 3.6 mile road run
Feb 8: 3 mile road run
Feb 7: core workout @ home
Feb 5: 3 mile treadmill run
Feb 2: 4.25 mile trail run; Elevation gain 635 (makes me realize how this is really nothing compared to what i can do in muir woods)
Feb 1: 3 mile road run
So as you can see, February is off to a much better start than January. Thank God for HEALTH! I still have not picked any races. Basically, I’m just trying to get a base level of fitness back and go from there. I saw a lot of folks on the trails today and that also gave me a boost!
Also, these are the newest add to my collection:
Brooks Pure Connect. These are one of the minimalist shoes. Not the least MINIMAL, but mid range minimal. So far, so good. I like the feel..like they hug your feet. Good traction even on the trail I used them for last weekend. Got ‘em at a new specialty running store: San Francisco Running Company located in Mill Valley. If you are in the area, go pay them a visit. Good guys running the show!