Christmas Evening Five

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The German Shepherd and I headed out to Santa Maria Mesa Rd. for a run through the vineyards before finishing up the Christmas dinner cooking. It was another perfect time to run. It was cool, but not cold. No wind. Very few cars on the road. The sunset was amazing, and everything felt good. After the run, we both just sat for a few minutes soaking in the surroundings. I love runs like this.

Hazard Peak and Lots of Sand

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It was a chilly morning, but it turned out to be an absolutely perfect day to run. Skies were clear, trails were not crowded, and there was no wind. Today, I did a little exploring after climbing Hazard Peak and heading to East Boundary Trail. That turned out to be a bit of a mistake. When I reached the Cable Line Trail, the trail turned into a brutal sand slog for near four miles. At least it was pleasant to be in the eucalyptus forest. When I reached the Hiedra Trail again, I still had some mileage to do, so I headed back up the Hazard Peak Trail for about a mile before turning around. Great run. Besides the sand section, it felt really good.

Short Run on the Shortest Day of the Year

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I was really hesitant to get out there today because it was so damn cold. For half the day, there was a cold, stiff wind blowing that is really unpleasant. But the bottom line is that I had not been out for a run since Monday, and the German Shepherd needed some exercise.

So we headed out with my medium weight windbreaker in the dark. It wasn’t really that bad, and I actually felt ok most of the run besides a runny nose. Of course, the place was empty because nobody wants to be out in that stuff, so C Dog could be off leash. I always keep my eyes out for coyotes ever since the Pt. Sal encounter. Every time the dog ended up running behind me, after a few seconds, I would have to look back to make sure he was there. One time, he wasn’t! Luckily, I think he was just taking a bit of a pee, and he came running back. It probably wouldn’t have been such a pain if I didn’t have my headphones in, but I wouldn’t have heard anything if he was pulled away somehow.

But nothing happened. We got in a solid and quick 5k. It was cold. It was not pleasant. But it was done.

MDO in the Dark

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For some reason, I have never run at Montana de Oro at night. I’m not sure why because it is a beautiful place at night. I know the trails very well, but that didn’t stop me from taking some wrong turns. At one point, I had no idea which way I was facing. It’s just so dark out there that there are no points of reference. And I loved that. It was a really great run, and I’ll have to do it again. However, one thing to keep in mind is that there is almost no cell service at MDO. If something goes wrong at night, I can’t expect a mountain biker or hiker to come along. I’d be 100% on my own. Something to think about if I ever do more than five miles.

Best Run All Week

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The runs have been either mediocre or bad this week. I was almost dreading doing it again, even though it is just a short distance. But today, everything was clicking. I was having fun and felt relatively strong. I hope some of this is due to getting on my feet more this week. I hope it is because I’ve been pushing myself more to get into better shape instead of doing lazy runs in the grey zone.

I got out about 30 minutes before sunset. Numerous firefighting planes were doing their last runs on the Thomas Fire, now burning toward Highway 154. As the sun set, there was no wind, and the temps were cool and nice. I was having so much fun that I extended the run another mile and a half. I probably should have done more. I ended in the dark with my headlamp lighting the path. Very nice way to end the week.

The FCC Has Repealed Net Neutrality Rules

Today is a sad day. The FCC, led by yet another incompetent Republican clown, Ajit Pai, repealed net neutrality rules, which restrict the power of Internet service providers to influence loading speeds for specific websites or apps. They did this while ignoring public opinion as well as allowing tens of thousands of fake comments to be admitted from the FCC website. Ajit Pai even posted a video yesterday mocking Americans that are against repealing net neutrality.

The repeal is not good, but the open brazenness our current government has against its citizens is repulsive and anti-democratic. Luckily, there is still something that can be done.

Call and write Congress, and let them know that you want them to pass a resolution of disapproval to overturn the FCC vote. And to make it easy, just go to this website: www.battleforthenet.com. With just a couple of clicks and two minutes of your time, you can get the message to the right people. Do it.

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Quick Rice Ranch Loop

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Tonight, I just had to get out for a short run to stretch my legs and get the German Shepherd some exercise. It was totally dark when I started, and it was a bit cold. It was surprisingly cold when I hit certain little canyons or low points. Some of those places hold cold air like a bucket. The temperature could drop about 15 degrees in a matter of a few feet as I ran down a hill into a small canyon.

I ran with the dog off leash, since the place was so empty (the leash is always in my hand). Of course, he was perfect, running right at my side the whole time. I also couldn’t find my headphones tonight, which was really annoying. I had a podcast I was looking forward to listening to on my run. But since nobody was out there, I just cranked the volume up on my iPhone speakers and listened that way. Nobody was bothered because nobody was around. However, I would never do that when other people are trying to enjoy the trails. Please, please don’t do that on your Saturday morning hike. You just look like a jackass.

Anyway, good run. Cool evening. Now I need to find my headphones.

Post-Ashfall Run

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Yesterday, Santa Maria was hit with a lot of smoke and ash from the Thomas fire in Ventura, Ojai, and Santa Paula (see yesterday’s video). As of this morning, the fire was a 230,500 acres or 360 square miles. The smoke and ash was so bad, it was unhealthy. It was forecast to get worse today. However, I woke up this morning to see much less apocalyptic skies. I checked the air quality report, and Santa Maria was in the green. It was a good day to take the German shepherd out for a run. If not today, tomorrow may be smoky again.

The run was pretty uneventful overall, but one interesting thing was the amount of ash on the ground. As I ran up Union Valley Parkway, the ash was deep enough to see footprints from people running and bike tracks from their tires. Granted, it wasn’t really that deep, but it was deep enough to see tracks, and that’s not something you see everyday.

The dog and I only ran a 5K today because the air quality still wasn’t perfect. We didn’t want to push our luck. But I would say it was just about perfect for a Monday morning run.

Vlog #14 – Thomas Fire Smoke

The smoke from the Thomas Fire hit Santa Maria this morning. It was surreal. It feels apocalyptic. Check it out.

Please click here to donate to the Thomas Fire victims.

Blame It On the Smoke

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Wow, today’s run was tough. It was far tougher than a ten miler should be. I’m not sure exactly why that was.

I started the run under some smoky skies. The Thomas Fire in Ventura, my home town and two hours south, was at about 148,000 acres as of this morning. That’s about 231 square miles. Massive. We haven’t been too impacted by smoke here, but the winds have changed a bit which is blowing them north.

The first half of the run felt pretty good, but the second half was a slog. Part of it might have been due to the temperature increasing. It wasn’t really that warm, but it was warmer. I don’t think it was really due to the smoke. My lungs are still recovering from a slight cold that just won’t go away. Plus, this is the most mileage I’ve done in a number of weeks.

The good news is that my pace was much faster than I expected, and I think I even got a negative split. So maybe it was tough simply because I was pushing myself. Either way, tough runs are good for the mind. I had to keep talking myself into continuing with the plan, fighting back all the great excuses I had to turn around and end the run early. But I didn’t end early. That’s always a win.