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December 10, 2005

Santa's Fly-In

Since I declared marathon training officially on, I figured I had better drag my tail out and try a long run this weekend.

I started my 20-miler in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and here are some of the areas I ran past or through: Carmel Beach, Carmel Mission, the Pebble Beach golf links on Stillwater Cove, mansions and cypress forests along 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, and about 4 miles of the most beautiful rocky coastline anywhere in America.

It was a crystal-clear morning, temps in the high 40s on their way to the 70s by the afternoon. For whatever reason, I spent a lot of time thinking about the snowstorm on the East Coast, and the frigid temperatures across the rest of the country.

I know Thanksgiving has passed, but, I mean...I just couldn't have ordered it any better than the day we were blessed with today.

The run was pretty much what I expected: comfortable through about 13-14, then I worked too hard to keep a steady pace during miles 15 and 16, and struggled dearly through the last 3 miles. But it was 20 miles, and I'll take it.

Later in the morning we attended Santa's Fly-In at the old Carmel Valley Airstrip. The field is in disrepair and has been closed to aircraft for a few years now, but every year the Community Center arranges for Santa to fly into the airport in a helicopter, with a Christmas parade through Carmel Valley Village afterward.

It's totally small-town America, and totally charming. Families turn out in droves, and somehow it feels like Christmas despite the 70-degree temps.

I drove a truck in the parade, and my son rode in the back, waving to his classmates. My daughters watched with their mom from the road and collected pocketfuls of candy.

So, to recap: a solid long run, memorable family time, and a sunny December day in California. It really doesn't get much better than that.

Marathon season is on. Christmas season is on. God bless us every one.


robtherunner 12/12/05, 12:46 PM  

Ya know 'normal' people do not run 20 miles until near the end of a marathon training routine. Looks like wonderful weather. I still prefer the snow this time of year even though we do not get that much.

stronger 12/13/05, 12:19 PM  

Now that's a perfect day. Beautiful training grounds. The picture sitting on my desk in front of me is my son at 1yr. eating caramel covered popcorn while surrounded by squirrels and birds- if I recall at "bird rock" viewing area.

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