Sunday, September 22, 2013

Thirty-nine and feelin' ...

My "39-athon" route
Honestly? A little tired.

Saturday was my 39th birthday, and in celebration I organized an all-day 39-mile adventure: 17-mile run + 1-mile swim + 18-mile bike ride + 3-mile hike. It covered some of my favorite parts of San Diego, included some of my favorite people, and reminded me why we celebrate birthdays: because life is really, really good. I live in a strong and healthy body that can still do (most of) the things I ask of it, I have an adventurous husband, family, and friends who are willing to go along with my crazy ideas, and I live in an astoundingly beautiful place. I planned out a day that took me all over western San Diego County, and was granted an absolutely perfect last day of summer on which to do it. Two dozen of my friends/family jumped in at different points along my 16-hour day, keeping me smiling and laughing from start to finish. 

6:30 am: A girlfriend and I met at the Solana Beach train station, and caught the 6:49 one-way to Oceanside. We arrived shortly after 7:00 am, and were soon on our way, heading south on Highway 101 back to the station. We had a perfect low-60s morning, with nice cloud cover until the final few miles of the run. We saw friends along the way, and had coordinated a meet-up with another runner friend in Carlsbad, who joined us for six fun mid-run miles. We made it back to the station around 10:30, where my husband was waiting for us with fresh, hot cups of coffee (and my dog). We'd run an easy and comfortable 10:15 pace throughout the 16.5 miles, and felt great at the finish.

With my running buddies, at The Kook (Cardiff), and at the finish,
back at the Solana Beach train station.

11:45 am: Arrived in La Jolla, where I met another friend for a swim in the cove. We'd planned on a mile swim, but got started a little late, and so decided to just sort of head out and do whatever we had time for. (I already had a half-mile to make up for later in the day on the bike, since the run had only turned out to be 16.5, and figured what's one more?) The water was a cool but comfortable 68 degrees, and we had an awesome time flopping around in the warm sunshine out there with the seals and kayakers.

Swimming in La Jolla Cove:
one of my life's greatest pleasures.

1:30 pm: After an awkward and probably mildly illegal change out of suits on the shore (the bathrooms were closed for cleaning when we got out!), we drove a few blocks into the village of La Jolla for a lovely lunch in the sunshine with a few friends (and my husband) who met us there.

It took a lot of shoes, towels, and grubby athletic clothes
to pull this whole thing off.

3:30 pm: We met up with another friend on Coronado, and headed out for what we'd intended to be a leisurely 18-mile stroll south along the Silver Strand toward Imperial Beach. I had that 1.5 miles to make up, so we agreed to take on a little extra, but when we got to the 10.25 mile turnaround point, we found ourselves in the middle of the gorgeous Tijuana Estuary. I convinced them to go just a little further so that we could get all the way to Imperial Beach and see the salt mines there. So, it turned out to be a 22-mile ride -- with a gnarly headwind all the way back, that had us working hard. (We averaged 14-15 mph comfortably most of the way out, and struggled at 10-11 mph on the way back in.) They were great sports, though, and that stretch of San Diego, with its ocean dunes on one side, and bird-filled salty marsh on the other, is one of my absolute favorite places to spend an afternoon.

More than we bargained for on the beautiful Silver Strand!

6:30 pm: A group of friends met up with us at the bottom of Cowles Mountain - the highest peak within the city limits of San Diego (1,594 feet: mountainous, my city is not), and a popular place to night hike. We toasted with a quick glass of wine before heading up, and had a great time. We didn't quite make it to the top (we had an 8:30 dinner reservation, and got concerned about missing it), but in the dark, who can tell the difference? We were close. I think. So, we didn't make it the full 3 miles as planned, but since I'd already made up for it on the bike ride, was pleased to have easily covered my total 39 miles for the day. Mission accomplished! Now let's eat.

A few of my hiking pals.
(It got too dark to take photos without
blinding ourselves once the sun went down.)

8:30 pm: All of the hikers, and several other friends headed to a local Vietnamese/Japanese gem of a restaurant, and basically filled up the place. I should have been exhausted by the end of the day, but instead was energized by all of the eating and drinking with such marvelous, spirited friends. And I was delighted to find that, at the end of the night, when I pulled my chair away from the table, I was still able to stand up. And walk!

Fortunately, just the one candle.
I don't think I'd have had the lung capacity for 39!

As I crawled into bed after a much-needed shower and a blissful Epsom salt soak, I was filled with pride at the physical accomplishment, and warmed all over by the love of so many. Well, warm everywhere except for my left knee. It needed a little ice.



  1. What a grand adventure! A great way to spend your 39th birthday. Congratz on a wonderful accomplishment and what looks like was a fabulous day. :)

    1. Thank you so much! Sorry for my delay, I've been neglectful on the blog these last few weeks! Guess the big birthday adventure wore me out even more than I thought ... ;-)