Run #5 – Thousand Oaks, California

This week I was invited to the Corwin head office in Thousand Oaks, California, for an insanely rigorous training that is still making my head spin. Whenever I’m in a situation where I’m expected to take in an egregious amount of new content knowledge in a short period of time, a power run before dinner is my go-to strategy to firm up all that new learning.

I was lucky enough to squeeze in three runs (and a lot of walking) over my five days, despite being cooped up in a board room for most of our time together. Compared to Portland’s never-ending soggy perma-grey days, the sunshine in southern California was an immediate reason for hitting the pavement, even if I was exhausted.

If I could sum up Thousand Oaks in one image:

Granted, I didn’t get to venture outside more than a three mile radius, but Thousand Oaks seemed comprised of chain restaurants, well-paved sidewalks, and a lot of church ladies. My best run was 3.5 miles up through a quiet neighborhood that appeared to border the Santa Monica Mountains natural areas. A windy road took me up (and I mean up 400 feet in less than a mile) where I ran across many runners, people watering their lawns, and a relatively tame bunny.

The views were pretty nice and I’ve never felt safer on a run, as everyone gave friendly waves, drove 5 mph, and gave me a wide berth, even if I was on the sidewalk. (Maybe they were just worried I was going to pass out). I would also like to give another big time shout out for how insanely clean the whole town appeared to be. While Athens and Paris may have had the history and culture, they were slathered in trash and smelled like piss. Nice work, California.

Despite not having any gas in the tank, I had some good head-clearing routes and even ran into a friendly crow (who took several hops in my direction when I said hi – hopefully he tells his friends):

I have a feeling I’ll be returning to LA in the near future and it’s growing on me.

Run #4 – Paris, France

My last (and only) time in Paris was a bummer because my knee was taking orders from my knee surgeon to take the summer off from running. I couldn’t get it out of my head that I never got a chance to run in Paris, and felt a redo opportunity would have to present itself at some point.

Lucky for me, that “some point” was this week. Though the first couple of days I was still shaking off some jet lag, yesterday morning I woke up and hit the road at 8:30am (a.k.a: the crack of dawn for the French). During mid-day, the sidewalks and bridges are clogged up with pedestrians and rogue bikers, but in the morning there are relatively few people out in the most touristy areas. I randomly chose to run up and down the Seine, along the paved paths rather than the uneven stone sidewalks on the street level.

Along my route, I saw many other runners (sadly none of them women), commuters, and the occasional fisherman.


See? No people.

It was also a nice time to catch Notre Dame before it the tourist rush filled the square.


See? Just a few people.

As I knew we would be walking the rest of the day, three miles was plenty, and just enough to get me started for a day of eating all of the things.


Today we took the train to Barcelona so you can pretty much guess what Run #5 will be. Lord knows I need to exercise off egregious amount of food we are eating.

Run #10 -Apple Valley, California

My running the last few months has really been on and off, due to my nagging knee issues, so it’s crunch time for my goal of running twelve different cities by the end of the year. Luckily, I’ve started my first prolotherapy injections (blog post to come soon on that) and have been able to get back out on the road pretty successfully.

Though I traveled to both Dallas and Vegas last month, running wasn’t really possible, but these last couple days I was working with the Apple Valley School District in California and was able to sneak in a run. Although my rental car reservation didn’t go through, the assistant superintendent insisted that I borrow his truck and drew me a very specific map where I could go running. Although I was hesitant to borrow the keys and drive around a strange town, he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

His map took me up through a relatively suburban (and safe) neighborhood, that went straight up so that I could get a view of Apple Valley. While not exactly the most picturesque town, it was nice to get out and see something different.


The roads were super wide, but apparently the town doesn’t do sidewalks. The locals told me this had something to do with equestrians and that a lot of people ride horses around town…and I did notice that two of the principals I met were wearing cowboy boots.


It was hardly like my more glamorous runs earlier this year (i.e. Barcelona), but it was a nice solid loop and if I’m in town again, I’ll probably do it again. Regardless of how “glamorous” or “non glamorous” my runs in each city have been, they are a way of getting to know a little bit more about the place I’m staying. You can drive around, but running really makes you notice where you are and how people are living.

This also means that I have just two more city runs to complete this goal! (I kind of have a plan for run #12, but I might need to take a day trip to the coast or something to get in the other one).


Also, anyone else get that urge to blow through this on their dirt bike as a Terminator chases them in a semi truck? Just me…?