Monday, June 4, 2012

Birthday Walk - 2012 Edition

It was time once again for my annual birthday trek. Only, I had to do it the day before because I had to work on my birthday and didn’t want to be limping while doing my job. As you will find out later, that turned out to be a very good decision. To prepare, I took out my decades old waist pack the night before so I could fit in whatever accoutrements I planned on carrying: cell phone, camera, HD radio, ATM card, ID, keys, and some money (in case I had to take the bus or a taxi). Oh by the way, I haven’t done a walking workout in about 6 weeks.
At about 2 miles, I had to cross over the 405 (San Diego) Freeway
What used to be a 2 hour run has now become a 3 hour walk the past two years. For the first time in years, I wasn’t particularly motivated to be out on the streets for 3 hours especially that I’ve managed to compress my workouts to shorter blocks of time to get the same result as easier and longer ones, by doing them with more intensity. Since this was going to be a loooong walk, I didn’t feel it necessary to push the pace. So I started slowly and through the 3 hours, I never felt the need to racewalk. Last year I only hit the flat streets but this time my goal was to walk from home to Signal Hill, meander around there to add some time, then walk back home while trying not to hit the same streets twice. At around three miles, I reached two of the oldest  cemeteries in the city: the Long Beach Municipal Cemetery and Sunnyside Cemetery. The graves there go back to the 1800’s. I went around both briefly looking at gravestones and saw a recently erected flagpole that was put up last Memorial Day. Some of the graves were probably there when Long Beach was still named Willmore City.

 From the graveyard, I headed to Signal Hill. I didn't want to do the route that the Long Beach Walking Club had so I went down different streets until I reached Pacific Coast Highway. When I checked my watch, I figured I might overshoot my 3 hour time limit since I still have to turn around and go back home and I was already at 1:45.
The base of the infamous Stanley Avenue 13% incline hill
Hilltop Park

 After a bathroom break at Hilltop Park, it was time to head back. Then what I feared might happen did - my ankles began to hurt after two hours. Surprisingly, my trapezius muscle was getting sore too for whatever reason. But I was more concerned about my ankles. Would I find a bus route or call the cab company? After all I have their number in my cell phone. Eh, let’s just soldier on I thought, since by that time it was either all downhill or flat. I had planned on stopping by an ATM machine on the way back and the bank was just a mile and a half from home. I knew that I was going to make it from there even if I had to limp all the way back. My watch said I had been walking for about 2 hours and 50 minutes. I was indeed going to go past my 3 hour goal. By the time the odometer on the GPS watch ticked 12 miles, I had walked for exactly 3 hours and 11 minutes. I think my pace was slower than last year since I didn’t push the pace, but I walked longer distance wise. Halfway through the walk, all I could think about was how nice it would be to have some hot and sour soup for lunch. By the time I got home, my ankles were too sore and I was too hungry to order and pick up the soup from the nearby Chinese restaurant so I just ate what I already had at home – some El Pollo Loco type chicken and salad with Greek dressing. I waited till the next day (my actual birthday) to give myself a treat in the form of Super Nachos from the neighborhood Mexican Restaurant. Man, I haven’t had those in three years! Last time I had them, they were just $4.75 and now they’re $6.00.
I know the presentation doesn't look good because the sour cream and  guacamole have been squashed in the styrofoam container. It has taken me 3 meals to finish these super nachos. 

 In the meantime, I did the usual Ibuprofenizing, capsaicinizing, and ankle binding after efforts like this. That might have helped but not by much. What was supposed to be my better left ankle was hurting until the next day and up to this writing almost two days later. Right after the walk, my lower back was also sore for hours. I may have to rethink this self imposed tradition next year. Maybe I’ll just walk my age in minutes.
I took a few pictures during this walk. That’s the reason I brought a camera instead of relying on my cell phone, because the camera boots up faster. Coming and going, I saw a pair of dark men’s underwear on the street. I passed on taking a picture of that one.

To this day, Signal Hill continues to pump out oil and the area has numerous oil wells.

Other sights around Signal Hill

This the Unity Monument erected in memory of September 11, 2001

American Gymnastics Academy

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