For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

SLO Rock

Crashing waves. Beautiful coastline. Warmish temperatures. These ideal environs (bright and early this morning!) presented idyllic running conditions. Standing at the start line near Morro Rock—a 21 million-year-old volcanic remnant surfacing high above the ocean at 576 feet—runners (including me!) and walkers lined up on the beach in Morro Bay, California, readying ourselves for the challenge ahead: Miracle Miles for Kids 10K run/walk. A benefit for The Family Care Network, a private nonprofit organization that operates multiple programs designed to strengthen and preserve families and individuals, this year's annual event attracted over 2,000 participants that were willing to hoof 6.2 miles on the sand.

Not quite in shape for this San Luis Obispo County event that spanned all the way to Cayucos Pier, I hoped my recent hiking adventures would help me to persevere. However, I encountered a challenge from the get-go, as a few minutes into the race, an unavoidable stream of gushing water left me running with sopping shoes and socks. But as I focused on the undulating, soothing sounds of the rising, falling waves, soon I forgot my wet, squishy feet that sqeaked of too much salt water, and settled into a comfortable pace.

Unfortunately my legs weren't in tune with my groove for long. As pain flared up, I welcomed several stops along the way. Due to high tides, walking (not running!) over wet, slippery rocks was essential. I stopped another time to retrieve my hat, blown off from blustery winds. Another halt resulted from dropping my water bottle on the beach, rendering it useless as gritty sand stuck to the mouthpiece. And then there were a few arrests when my legs screamed and demanded that I stop and stretch—albeit, briefly.

Amazingly, by the time I ran under the pier and reached the finish line, my final time was not bad at all (for me!). As a SLO runner, I try not to focus on how many minutes and seconds my body requires to haul me to the end of a race. But—I admit—it's an amazing feeling to get to the end, close to my goal-time. But above all, supporting a good cause, working towards a fitness endeavor on a consistent basis, and actually getting out, exercising, and achieving my goals is the real reward. And...it doesn't hurt to be able to run along a beautiful shoreline for inspiration.

Runners and walkers weren't the only ones out on the beach this morning.

My sister, Erin—a dynamic SLO County volunteer—was on site at 5:30 a.m. this morning to help set up for this event. Through Americorps, her dedicated volunteerism takes her around the county via the Central Coast Volunteer Corps.

Surfers and the Coast Guard were up bright and early too.

Far into the race, Morro Rock silhouetted in the distance.

Arriving at the finish line was an accomplishment and a welcome relief.

I'm already looking forward to my next race!

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