Amongst other “quirks,” I have been known to take a pair of running shoes with me when I travel. Even when, say, I’m going to Pismo Beach to camp in the middle of the sand dunes, which happen to be used as a motor-vehicle playground. I figured there had to be some beach running opportunities, and I was not disappointed.
I am smitten with beach running. Some people, like Dr. Kristie Leong on E-How, are prone to offering tips for running along the sand. Leong says, “It’s more difficult to run on soft sand. You can alleviate this problem by running on the beach when the tide is low along the shoreline and the sand is wet and more firmly packed. This can help to reduce soreness as well as reduce your risk of injury.” Runners should probably heed such advice–it is from a reliable source who has a logical perspective on the subject. I certainly did not take this advice into consideration, but I like to take my own path every so often. Also, I tend to get really excited when I am about to embark on a beach run, and all thoughts but “Yay yay yay yay yay!” are muted.
Running while at the dunes was a bit tricky — it’s not safe to walk through the “Sand Highway” by foot with all the ATVs and dirtbikes shooting by. Even if I had been wearing a flag, I would not have trusted the riders of these vehicles to be ready for a pedestrian. Thus, a ride needed to be procurred. Being an early riser, this also meant that I had the pleasure of waking up my ride before nine o’clock and hoping my enthusiasm, which manifested itself as a full on wiggle, would be enough to make up for the wake up call. Plus, since my mind was nothing but a series of “Yay!” getting my desire for a ride out was doubly tricky.
Of course, the “yay’s” were quickly replaced by a series of sensations and thoughts when my feet hit the beach. Ocean fog kept the entire run cool, witnessing the subculture of sand-based motorized sports satiated my people-watching desires, beaches are always full of various breeds of dogs, sand-dollars were scattered everywhere, trying to dodge the waves and the 4-wheel drive sand climbers required constant surviellance, little kids were abundant and almost cute in their excitement of the waves, large fishermen in tiny belly-baring shirts were noted…I barely noticed fives miles passing me by.
My favorite part of any beach run is the end, and not just beacuse I can feel the endorphins pulsing through my veins. No, the beach run has its own special place in my heart because immediately following the run, I can strip off my shirt and sprint into the ocean. Which I always do, temperature be darned. I splash around, and my heart usually races at the extreme temperature shift (that has to be healthy), and I jump through the waves or duck under them. Or, as was the case Saturday morning, get pummeled by them.
In any event, it’s almost impossible to feel more alive than when you throw yourself into the surf.
For all of Dr. Leong’s tips, see: http://www.ehow.com/how_2253528_run-beach.html