Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Lazy Sunday Leads Me to the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon

On Sundays, I have time, and with this time, I walk. Sometimes my walks take me into the sinuous hills of Beachwood, sometimes into the sun-baked paths of Griffith Park. Sometimes my walks turn into runs, as I join the motivated, life-affirming achievers that chase each other on the Los Feliz Boulevard sidewalk. Last Sunday, I joined their ranks, and ran from Western Avenue to Vermont Avenue and up to the Greek Theatre. I stopped at the park just south of the theatre and marveled at the visual contrast of the Santa Monica Mountains’ sandstone peaks against the bright blue California sky.

I stood there a moment, uncertain of what to do next. Typically, my Sunday outdoor excursions, whether they be walking, climbing, or running, engages a clarity in my mind of all of the other things I want to accomplish, and midway through my jaunt, I’m running (or hiking or walking) with the ambition to get home and get things done. Not so last Sunday. I was at the foot of a mountain, and I wanted to climb it. I started wandering, looking for a trail, and there, just below the Greek Theatre, I found one. As I’ve never hiked that side of Griffith Park, I didn’t know where this trail would lead. As long as it seemed like it was heading west, I figured I’d wind up near home eventually. After a steep, dusty climb, I saw the Observatory gleaming upon the hill ahead of me. Once upon its grassy knoll, I contemplated continuing along any of the numerous trails that branch off from there, but as I’d already been out for two hours, I decided I’d head home, along the familiar trail that leads straight down to Western Avenue.

That day, my sole ambition had been exerting myself across Hollywood, soaking up its sun and breeze, getting covered in its dirt, and I returned home wearing a sheen of rejuvenation that I hoped to never shed. Hence, I’ve registered for the first annual Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon. Over the next twelve weeks, I will train for another, longer, more grueling bout of physical exertion across Hollywood’s hills; another, dirtier, sweatier way of experiencing LA.

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