Sep 15 2005

Running in Los Angeles

I’m gearing up for the New York Marathon at the beginning of November (yes – I have a number – thanks Jack).  I’m running it with Matt Blumberg (unless he decides to run for time and try to break four hours – then he’s on his own) so I’ve been logging some serious miles.

This was my first week on the road since I got back from Alaska.  My travel rhythm is completely bunged up and – as a result, I’ve been unable to get out of bed early enough the last two days to get my runs in before the day starts (yes – it’s dark at 5am in Atherton these days).   I ended up in LA this afternoon at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference and – after sitting through the one session I was really interested in (Windows Vista: Building RSS Enabled Applications) decided to squeeze in a run before dinner.

The hotel I’m at has a nice little laminated card with a “Runner’s World Magazine Recommended” 6 mile run – so I hit the road and did that.  The first mile on Figueroa Street was nice enough, but then I turned left on Sunset to head up to Elysian Park.  Suddenly, I went from a nice downtown to lower pitsville – trash everywhere, broken down buildings, graffiti, tar scars all over the sidewalk, and the smell of yuckola everywhere.  Eventually I got to Douglas and did a sharp uphill to Elysian Park where I went from pitsville to a scene from 24 Season One.  I’m Kim, on a dusty, isolated fire road, up above the street by a half a mile, tromping along looking for some sign of a normal human being.  I kept waiting for one of Marwan’s honchos to step out from the trees at the side of the path (yes – I know I’m mixing up seasons).  Eventually I got to Stadium Way (where it turned pretty again) – at which point I turned around and retraced my steps.  This time I had the extra bonus of rush hour traffic and – as I noticed that virtually every car only had one person in it – I soldiered on back to the hotel. 

My standard line for Alaska is that the place needs a paint job and a vacuuming.  This place needed a power wash.  At one point, the unambiguous smell of shit overwhelmed me.  I wrote it off initially (every runner I know farts with enthusiasm) but then realized that it both wasn’t my brand and was just lasting too long.  Somewhere on Sunset between Figueroa and Douglas is a shit-smell factory that must operate 24 hours a day to generate the haze that lingered.

My eyes are still burning, I’m coughing a little, and I’m ready for a nice dinner at The Palm with a bunch of Microsoft folks.  At least I got my six miles in.