California / For the Girls / For the Guys / Free! / Get off your @$$ -- it's the weekend / South Bay

Running Tracks and Trails

I love parties. One of the first to arrive, one of the last to leave. I’m not the life of the party, but I sure do enjoy myself! I love parties!

But NOT Track Parties. They suck. Bring me to a track party and I’m the party pooper. What’s that old saying? “Every party needs a pooper, that’s why we invited you.” Mission accomplished.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running! I love how my heart beats fast, I love feeling the wind on my arms, I love the impact of my feet on the ground, I love feeling like I’ve accomplished something. Something that most people won’t do unless forced.

Tonight, I ran not in any of my usual spots, but on a high school track. Glamorous, I know. I went to Soquel High School’s track to run an easy 3 miles. Let me tell you a secret: if you’re not invested in the area around you, your run is going to be torture. Yes, my run was easy, but only on my body– my heart rate was slow and controlled, I could easily talk if needed, my stride was short. My mind, however– “That guy has a great forefoot strike. It’s way too windy. Where’s a hill when you need one? It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all. . . Someone should pick up that trash. Kid, get off the track. Wrong direction, walker. How much longer? Squirrel!”

My word of advice: the track is an amazing place to do your pick up runs, general sprinting training, have a social hour. But if you’re running for any distance or time that’s longer than 1 mile or 10 minutes, get out on to the road (please use the sidewalk) or the trails!

I’m guilty of Runner’s ADD. I have a hard time running in the exact same scenery, over and over. I love finding trails and running routes that take me to new places in the area I live. It’s a great way to see places that I normally don’t go. I can’t get enough of the scenery in Santa Cruz County!

A nice, but admittedly over-run and slightly repetitive, running route is WestCliff Drive in Santa Cruz. The sidewalks are wide enough for running groups; plenty of room for the pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Natural Bridges, WestCliff Drive

If you’re looking for solitude, a jog out at the Land Of Medicine Buddha might be more your cup of tea. (It is home to monks, so when you go, make sure you’re respectful of their home.) You’ll be amazed at the beauty of this hidden sanctuary!

Land Of Medicine Buddha, 8 Verses Trail

Also in the trails category is Nisene Marks park. Lots of trails and fire roads to keep you entertained! Great for running with friends, though most of the time you’ll be single-file on the trails.

Nisene Marks, Aptos

*No matter where I run or for how long I go, I use the Nike + GPS app to track everything. And by everything, I mean: pace, miles, routes, dates, weather, notes, everything. It’s amazing, you should definitely check it out!!! And the Lululemon SeaWheeze app is perfect for someone training for a running event. I suggest you check that one out, too! Seriously, I should be getting paid for this publicity.*

the Nike + GPS record of my run last Saturday

Where’s your favorite place to run? What tools do you use to help keep you pushing farther and faster? 

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