Santa Cruz. 7am. Brilliant sun. E Cliff Dr, hugs the shore line. 7.5 miles.
I went to Santa Cruz the summer after I graduated. It rocked my world. I fell in love with it. I have wanted to go back ever since. It has taken 10 years. I have always dreamed of being a surfer girl, hitting the waves early in the morning before really starting the day. Well, running gives me such a kick, I think I’d rather run than surf these days. This run was pure bliss from start to finish, a culmination of 10 years anticipation. I was ecstatic just being there, being in my element 100%.
Fed Aijah, and snuck out the back door. So excited. Wasn’t quite sure which streets to take, but knew generally to stay south to see the ocean as best as possible. It was bright and sunny, not overcast like San Fran, and the perfect temp because of the crisp morning air. Mmmmm, mi favorito. Crispy air.
Off we go, TO THE OCEAN. Aaaahhh, there it is!!!! I’m here, I’m really here! Run run run. Pretty pretty pretty. Um….ok, take a left. Following the shore line. Stop for a pic. Click. Lady gaga radio. Britney Spears montage while passing the Boardwalk. Haha. Smiling. Up the stairs. Legs a bit tired from San Fran run the day before. Find a real path (aka, not sidewalk off of a street) right along the shore. Gorgeous. 2 feet from the sand. Volleyball nets. Palm trees. Cliffs. Beautiful architecture. Winding path. Off to the lighthouse, I know it’s around that corner somewhere.
At this point, it felt surreal, as if I couldn’t believe I was really there. Everything was so perfect. The views, the sense of nostalgia, the morning itself, the ocean, the path I had never trod. I felt so alive, and so filled within the moment. So many things that make me happy were happening all at once.
I passed the lighthouse, and kept going. I didn’t want to go back yet. Watched people playing with their dogs on the beach. Awww…our dogs would love it here (but oi, the sand). Looked at the Garmin, almost 4 miles. Probably should head back to pamper the ol’ knee. No injuries here.
Turned to Pink Martini radio. The perfect set of tunes for the setting with the 40’s vibes. Oh baby. “Papa loves mambo…..Mama loves mambo.” Grinning ear to ear. Feeling so light on my feet. Dancing with my arms. Taking everything in. Facing the sun now. Feels so good. Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmm. HEAVEN! Amazing houses. Dodging a few bikes. Passing other happy runners. Arms swinging. Slight breeze. More beach. Stop for pics here and there. Run through the empty boardwalk (am I allowed to be here?). Run run….train bridge….can I run on this? Is it still being used? Better be safe, DETOUR. Meh, extra mile, no bigs. Great decision. Set me up to run straight into the sun, while “La Soledad” from Pink Martini came on. Starts with amazeballs Chopin solo. Running, Chopin, sun in Santa Cruz, water off to one side, pictureseque houses to the other. Practically want to cry. Thank you Heavenly Father! Thank you! Singing starts after the solo. Sucker for Spanish. Meow.
Run to the beach, take the stairs down. Who cares if I get sand in my shoes. Running toward the water. Wow!!! Little tipsy on the dry sand, get to the wet sand. Run along the shore. Run faster. Feel my legs work. Laugh because this is my dream come true. Running along the beach, fast, fast, fast. FREE!!!! WEEEEeeee! Arms out. DORK! Can’t help it! Aaaaahhhh, I’m really here. This is really me. It’s not a movie!!!! It’s not in my head. It’s REAL!!!!! Stop at the lighthouse rocks. Turn around, walk back.
Should I swim? Ofcourse. It would end the run perfectly. I have to. I would hate myself if I didn’t. Off with the shoes, socks, iphone, headphones, Garmin. Walking in. The perfect wave to dive into. GO FOR IT! Crash….shploosh! THAT WAS AWESOME!!! Soaked from head to toe. Not even cold according to my Oregon perception. Plop into the water. Float on my back. Look up at the sky, sun streaking rays across it. “Ever After” moment. Perfectly relaxed, endorphins pumping through entire body, enveloped in the ocean. Deep breaths. Stand up. Waves pass across my torso. Another dive. Looking around. Taking it in. “How is the water?” people ask. Oh, AMAZING.
Time for a stretch. Bum kinda in the air. I don’t care. I’m on vacation. I consider the stretch after as part of the whole running experience. It feels as lovely as a massage. Aaaaahhs and sighs always ensue. Close eyes. Perfection. Open my eyes. See the ocean, my skin covered in beads of water, sand on parts of me, sun reflecting off my limbs, neon running shoes off to the side. Tear up. I LOVE THIS place. I love this moment. It’s SO ME. Why has it taken so long to get here? Aren’t I supposed to live here? I feel so at home, and so alive. I LOVE THIS OCEAN. I love the sand and sun. I love the energy, the beauty, the peace. Crying a bit more. Get the feeling that everything is okay. I have a wonderful life, and heaven will give me endless time to do everything I love, in places even more amazing than this. Just enjoy the moment.
Walk back to the beach house, carrying my shoes.
Uhhh, Aijah got woken up by a dog soon after I left, and that woke up Jet. The kids were supposed to be sleeping. SORRY Chad. But, THANK YOU!!!! You have no idea. THANK YOU!!!!! That’s the second day in a row. Eeeeek. I owe you some massages. No problem.
Do you ever feel like you're meant to live somewhere else?
BUT, after this trip, I have been inspired to run in more interesting places around home. I would love to RUN the Ridgeline Trail, instead of bike or hike. I would also love to become an expert on all the Pisgah trails by running. And....in the summer, I can go for a dip afterwards in the river. It's all good. AND, Pink Martini Radio will be coming with me.