In part one of running in San Diego, I talked about how easy it was to get excited about running there every day. In this part, let’s take a look at the good and the bad of being a runner in southern California.
Runners in San Diego are in a great spot for running. Just ask them.
Seriously though, whether I was running along the ocean in Carlsbad or along the water near downtown San Diego, the weather and scenery played a big part in how enjoyable all of my runs were. California also does a good job of accommodating their robust running population. Bike and running paths are relatively easy to find and in my relatively small sampling, there was as many runners out and about than I recall seeing back east…especially this early in the year.
There also seems to be an abundance of running groups and areas where you can run. Tired of running in Carlsbad? Drive down the road a bit to the next beach town. Chances are you’ll find a whole slew of running groups and new routes to keep you busy. Oh, and chances are good that you’ll find a half or full marathon in that area coming up sooner or later.
And speaking of running groups, I ran with one of the more inspiring groups I’ve met in a while. The group consists mostly of people in their 50s and 60s, but you wouldn’t know it from their energy – or some of their half marathon times. One of the guys I ran with told me his PR in the half is under 1:45 and he told me this while filling me in on his most recent trip to Nebraska to see his grand kids as we peeled away miles at a little over a 8 minute pace.
Not everyone was kicking my tail in a 7 mile run, but everyone was generally accepting of me and everyone in the group. Simply put the prerequisite to join the group was to show up.
One other thing I noticed about all the runners in southern California was how friendly they all were. Blame it on my Midwestern upbringing, but I like to greet runners I see out on my runs. In DC or New York plenty of people will either nod or say hi back to you, but a fair share of people will either ignore you, scoff or otherwise give you the impression that you’re not worth their time. In the 4 runs I did in southern California EVERYONE acknowledged my greeting – and most of them did it with a smile.
Call it an influx of sunshine or vitamin D, but there seemed to be a good vibe surrounding the southern California running community. I dug it.
Okay, this might be stretching a bit, but there were something things I thought of in the middle of my gushing about running in southern California.
While I could get used to a fluctuation of weather that ranges from sunny to slightly sunny and dealing with the “cold” months when running in the mornings might mean dealing with temperatures in the 40s and never having to worry about it being too hot, I did start to think about things I would miss running on the east coast.
Some of my favorite runs are the ones I do on weekends in Rock Creek Park (RCP) that make me feel like I’m a million miles from the nation’s capitol. Or the runs through RCP in the winter when not a lot of people are out and the park is covered in snow and random families of deer are traipsing through the woods. It’s nice to be able to experience all of this roughly a mile from my house.
My San Diego counterparts don’t get the changing of the seasons on their normal runs either. The trade-off is that they don’t have to deal with sweltering humidity or bitterly cold winters, but fall and spring – especially in the greater DC area – are magical running times to run.