For all that I’ve written about how the biking in LA isn’t great, it’s not the main thing I miss about training down here. Yes, there’s some nice mountains to ride in (and I understand I still need to check out Palos Verdes and more of Pasadena as soon as I actually have some free time), but none of that is super time-efficient for everyday training. And, yes, I’m commute biking less than usual, because it’s just not as easy or safe as I’d like here.
That’s all true. And saying that it is true is a completely legitimate complaint. But, biking is not actually my favorite thing. Unless I can go somewhere cool, I don’t usually love it. I didn’t even ride for almost all of 2012 because I just didn’t feel like it.
What I really like is trail running — except not of the running-through-the-dark, total wilderness variety. Since I’m scared of mountain lions, bears, snakes, and pretty much all of nature, and since I hate hike-running straight uphill, and I don’t do well in extreme heat, I’m a little picky about my trails.
It turns out I am a huge trail snob.
- If it is paved, it is not a trail.
- If a truck can drive down it, it is a fire road, not a trail. (Fire roads can be fine, but not exactly something to brag about.)
- If you can’t tell where the trail is, it’s not a trail.
This is a trail:
It turns out, many of the trails in LA do not meet my standards. I have been to all the famous ones that people brag about. For the most part, they are exposed, hot, open fire roads that go up and up and up. This is not my thing. It is some people’s thing, but not mine. I generally avoided even running on the trail right outside my door in Marin, because it’s an exposed, hot, hilly fire road. It’s just not fun. I have been to the trails by the beach in LA, which are really just bike paths. I hate flat crowded bike paths. I generally avoid those too. I found one trail I liked a lot in the Santa Monica Mountains, but it’s far from my house.
Without nice wooded single- or double-track lake trails, it’s hard for me to get motivated to run. Logically, I remember a time when I used to run almost exclusively on boring roads around neighborhoods, stopping at lights, and dodging people on the sidewalk. I remember this, but it feels like another person. I can not fathom doing all my running like that now.
Of course, I’m about to sign up for the LA Marathon, so I’m going to have to either find some good trails, get better headphones to run with up and down the bike path, or re-learn how to run on sidewalks.