Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Surf And Sand

First off, I want to apologize to some of my readers. I'm sorry I can't send some of this totally awesome weather your way, if in fact you aren't basking under the same sun I am. And I hope the following pictures don't offend you or make you kick your wall or the door or whatever is near you while you wish the sun was as kind to you as it is to me.

On Saturday, I was hit with a full dose of non-winter weather while others across the nation suffered in near- or sub-freezing temperatures, trying to stay warm somewhere. We went to Huntington Beach for our first family trip of 2010, which is also our first trip of the new decade.

Why Huntington Beach? Well, for starters it's a beach, and since it's January and cold and snowing elsewhere in the country, we took advantage of living in SoCal and headed out to a local beach.

Huntington Beach also happens to be where I am going to run my first marathon. It is the site of the Surf City Marathon, which will go down on Feb. 7. Huntington Beach is also known as Surf City and we knew why pretty early in our trip.

the surfers had nearly everything to themselves

The only people in the water were surfers. Now, while the weather was nice, the water was cold, so only the dedicated surfers were willing to brave the cold.

surfers, ducks and seagulls were the only souls in the water

While the water was cold, it was about the only thing that was during our visit. We all took jackets with us, as is our custom in this time of year. Yes, we actually have to make a point of it not to forget jackets. But we left our jackets in the truck as we had no need of them out on the pier and on the beach.

looking at the waves from atop the pier

Aside from the surfers, the sand was crowded with another sort of athlete: the beach volleyball players. These weren't the sort of leisurely, let's-knock-the-ball-around type of volleyball games. These appeared cutthroat and very competitive. The attire for many seemed to be either shorts and no shirt for the guys or a bikini for the ladies, and they had the bodies to go along with said outfits. No pudginess allowed.

these volleyballers don't mess around;
bring it or don't bother showing up

I wouldn't exactly fit in with that crowd; after all, on the rare occasion I play volleyball, I'm just happy to get the ball over the net.

After making our way to the end of the pier, we strolled back and figured we'd let the girls dip their feet in the water. The water was cold but they didn't seem to mind. They were eager. They each love the beach and the water, and since it was a sunny day - maybe not hot but warm and sunny for sure - it probably didn't really register in their head that it was January and what that means in terms of water temperature. But they didn't really care.

the girls took their shoes off to go near the water

They were pretty eager to go.

and away they go

They probably played about five minutes in the water or so. We probably could have let them play longer but they probably would have gotten all wet or something, they probably would have fallen down and then that would have been bad because we didn't have a towel or change of clothes.

As it turned out, they only got the bottoms of their pants wet.

junior members of the Polar Bear club

But the main reason we went to Huntington Beach was to scope out what the scene will be like during the marathon. Well, the true scene we won't be able to get a real feel for until the day before. But we wanted to have an idea of where the start and finish lines would be, how accessible they are to the beach, what the parking situation is like and what sort of hotels were within walking distance of the start line (if there were any that weren't completely booked of course).

We're still not sure of what streets will be shut down. The marathon course starts and ends on Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, and I believe that won't be totally closed down on that day. It's two lanes, so it might go down to one lane. Not sure. But I saw the general area of where the start line will be and where the finish line will be. We were on the pier, and the pier is roughly around Mile 25. I've had it in my head that once I get to the pier, I'll almost be done. Of course, I'll have to pass it on my way out, so I'll have more than four hours between sightings that day.

But somewhere on the other sides of these palm trees is PCH, where I will run the marathon.

somewhere off in the distance will be Mile 2 (way out)
and Mile 24-25 (way back)

the hotel off in the distance is the Hilton Waterfront Hotel
and the start line will be right across from there

Now, when I run and try and envision the race, I'll have the actual setting to ponder as well.


Jephy's Mom said...

Wow! I would love winter in California. Looks like a nice place for a run.

Lissaloo said...

Lots of jealously here, it has been raining for days, yuck. The pictures are beautiful :)

5thsister said...

Still trying to thaw out from my trip to the arctic region otherwise known as Kansas (where it was actually 3 degrees one of the days!). Unfortunately we brought the weather home with us so the space heater is getting an extra workout at our house.

It's good to be back and to read your posts again. What a beautiful setting for a marathon!

Mark said...

I had intended to head to the beach myself over the weekend. But I wound up hanging out with friends here in town instead. Thanks to your pictures, I wish I could have done both.

tahoegirl said...

totally offended :o( snow, snow go away.

thrasherswife said...

We did family day at HB on Sunday.. Rode bikes and had lunch, such a beautiful day! Would have been funny if we had been there on the same day. We ran into two other families we knew while we were there! The girls are adorable!!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

This is why I love living in California! What great pics. I will have to argue, though, that Huntington Beach shouldn't have won the right to the name Surf City, but that's coming from someone who is from the Original Surf City, Santa Cruz ;)

Jill said...

Your girls are just precious beyond belief!! What a couple cuties. Beings Denver is going to be a whopping 9 degrees here in a couple days, I envy your location! Well, I'm a land-lock beach loving girl so am envious of your SoCal location always. Been to Huntington Beach a few times...very pretty. You're going to have a great race! Good luck!!

Angie Eats Peace said...

It really is a great location for a race!
I love the last picture of the girls.