Saturday, August 8, 2009

Just what the doctor ordered

My husband and I spent a few days in Avalon, California on Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California. Let me just say, "Ahhhhhhhh...." I feel so good now. I didn't even splurge on a massage as I had planned. We just rode our bikes and relaxed.

I missed my run on Wednesday, since we had a lot to do before catching our boat. I figured that I would run on Thursday and Friday. Well... on Thursday I was lazy and slept in. I thought we would go on a big mountain bike later on (at least that was how I justified being lazy). Unfortunately, all the mountain biking on the island is part of the Catalina Conservancy. In order to go into Conservancy land, a pass is needed. These passes are $35 per person! We decided to wait to get home to mountain bike for free. We would just have to bike in town.
We ended up doing a scenic loop on the roads up to the outskirts of town. It was HARD. It was a steep climb to the top of the hill with a lot of switchbacks. I think the average grade was around 10%. According to the Garmin, at one point the grade was 24%! It wasn't a lot of elevation gain. It was only 500 feet over 1.5 miles, but it was enough to get my legs to their lactate threshold (at least that is what it felt like). Plus, my bike is a big, bulky (and heavy) mountain bike with super knobby tires*. I know I am giving excuses here... but I know I am in good shape and that climb kicked my butt. I didn't even get that much of a payoff because I am a wimp and rode the brakes all the way down. Someday, I'll have a nice bike and get to be a better rider.

One of the great things about Catalina is its super laid back atmosphere. On the downside, service in a lot of the restaurants leaves a lot to be desired because the employees are a bit too laid back. On the other hand, after our ride I was STARVING. We had a late breakfast and no lunch, so by 5 I was famished. I didn't want to ride all the way back up another hill to our hotel to shower for dinner, only to ride back downtown to eat. Both of us were wanting some good seafood. We also wanted nice atmosphere. We ended up at one of the best restaurants on the island**. They seated us overlooking the bay without even blinking at our attire. Kenny was in regular shorts (his bike shorts were underneath) and a t-shirt, but I had on a full biking ensemble. I had goofy bike shorts (you know the ones with the logo on the butt highlighting those really flattering butt pillows). I also had on a logo biking tank. I was also carrying a backpack with my helmet clipped to it.*** We were seated between a couple in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops and another who looked like they actually showered and dressed for dinner. It was nice being in such a relaxed atmosphere where I could have such a nice meal.

Here is the view from the road on my run. BEAUTIFUL!
On Friday morning, I was determined to go out for a run. My friend, Janet, had told me about a great trail on the island. The road out to the trailhead was a doozy. It was a great hill workout, especially when I missed my speed work this week. The Garmin gave me all sorts of trouble. I waited forever for it to find satellites. In fact, it was taking so long, I decided to start my run without waiting for it. I stopped several times to see if I could restart it to get it to link up with no luck. It finally found satellites about a mile or so into the run. If you look at the elevation profile, it starts around 250 feet in elevation. In actuality, I had run from around 100 feet to below sea level and then up to the 250 feet. It went up from there. The highest point was 675 feet.

I found the Trans-Catalina trail and headed up into the Conservancy land**** It was a nice wide trail that was a bit of a fire road (although it obviously is never graded etc.) Footing was pretty good. Rocks and ruts were easy to navigate and there weren't any tree roots etc. About a half mile into the trail I passed a guy running down the trail. He gave me two thumbs up and said, "right on" as I said "good morning." Maybe not too many runners run up there? No matter, his greeting gave me a boost. The trail was gorgeous! It went straight up into the wilderness, but as the trail turned you could often still see the ocean. I didn't bring my camera, but I did have my phone,***** so here are some phone self portraits. When I ran back to the hotel I was on a serious runner's high. Most of it was downhill, so I just cruised. Even on the steep road back up to the hotel, I was grinning ear to ear.

We had a wonderful boat ride back to Dana Point and were greeted by our smiling children. They had a wonderful time with their grandparents. It was a great way to spend quality time together before Kenny starts his job on Monday. We have some busy weeks ahead of us and I am so thankful to be starting them in a much better mental place.

*These pictures show my big, yellow bike and just how knobby the tires are. The first one also shows how much of a bike enthusiast my husband is. Two of his bikes aren't even in our garage right now.
**Steve's Steakhouse actually had very good service, which really made it stand apart from some of the other restaurants. The food was equally as good. Mmmmmm... I had seared ahi tuna with Romano potatoe and grilled vegetables. I also enjoyed a nice glass of Pinot Noir.
***Too bad I'm not a
real biker, because I certainly looked the part. LOL.
****You don't need to pay for a pass for hiking (they don't mention running. LOL)
*****Too bad there was no cell coverage on that part of the island. If there had been, I probably would have run further up the trail. I tried calling Kenny telling him that I would be late getting back. I had to turn back before I was ready so he didn't worry too much.

Our boat ride back to the mainland.


lindsay said...

i'm so jealous! love all the pics - so pretty. way to take advantage of new territory and get in some good workouts.

Terri said...

i know I have a lot of catching up to do now - Kenny has a job, that is awesome! Congratulations. Does this mean you get to continue to stay home?

Your pictures are very beautiful. I've never been to that island, but I think they filmed part of that movie, Life as a House there, didn't they?

Thanks so much for sharing the photos, and I'm so glad you were smiling on your run. I felt the same way on one of my runs in lancaster county, PA, this past week.

MCM Mama said...

Looks like an awesome weekend! Glad you guys got a chance to hang out and relax AND get in some good workouts!

Marlene said...

That sounds like such a perfect weekend getaway! Glad you enjoyed yourselves. Nice run, too!

jillwillrun said...

That sounds like such a great getaway. You guys totally deserve that. I love active vacations!

Great photos too... you look so content and peaceful. Relaxed even, in spite of all the hard exercise! (or maybe partly because of the exercise!)

Southbay Girl said...

it sounds like you had a wonderful much needed mini vacation! Catalina is a very laid back place-I like it!! Perfect place to run, bike, hike!!! I need to go back!!

Can't wait to hear about hubby and the new job!!

Irene said...

Catalina is beautiful. It's good to hear that you had a mini vacation. Sometimes that's all you need to get refreshed and recharged. LOVED the pictures!

Irish Cream said...

I'm SO far behind, it's ridiculous . . . but I just wanted to say that I loved all of your pics, and I'm SO glad you got to have a mini-vacation! It sounds like it was just what you needed (and deserved!) :)


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