09 March 2009

Wrote This One Too!

Outdoor Exercise: Go Outside and Play!!!

April 22nd, 2008

Even though Los Angeles boasts some of the most temperate weather in the country, many people still insist on doing their workouts within the confines of an indoor space where the recycled air mixes with the scent of many perspiring bodies. Why spend an hour on the treadmill looking at a wall or a television when you can find more invigorating workouts in the great outdoors?

Tucked away in a quiet residential neighborhood in Manhattan Beach is God's (and the Devil's) gift to those who believe a workout is pointless unless it causes a near-death experience. The 100-foot sand dune at Sand Dune Park looks innocent enough from afar. You think, It's just a big sand hill. What's the big deal? Then you begin your ascent.

The pain is almost immediate. It starts at the bottom (of your body, not the dune) and works its way up. Most people go barefoot when working out on the sand dune. Your feet do much of the hard work. With each step you take, the sand gives way a little. Your toes unsuccessfully try to maintain their grip on the terra that's not so firma. Your calves join in to help stabilize your steps. The quads then start burning; they do the majority of the work when each foot is lifted off the ground.

Your lower body is screaming and you're only one-quarter of the way up the hill. That's when you realize your heart is going to explode, you can't catch your breath and you'll probably die before you reach the top. But, as they say, onward and upward. While you probably won't die while doing the dune, you may be reduced to tears. Tears. Sweat. It all looks the same when you're suffering through a workout.
Once you reach the top of the dune, you think about throwing your arms up and singing the theme to Rocky. It's a fleeting thought since you're much too tired to lift one arm, let alone sing. You do, however, feel a sense of accomplishment. Cursing yourself for not immediately giving in to your dreams of a Double Double with fries and a shake, you go back to the bottom, take a deep breath and climb the dune once again.


At 3/9/09, 2:52 PM, Anonymous Dale said...


A year or so after my heart attack in Oct. 2006, walking and running up steep sand dunes (sometimes wearing a 30+ lb. weight vest) became part of my rehab "medicine". It's quite a different feeling compared to carving down those same dunes on a sandboard...

At 3/10/09, 10:56 AM, Blogger Alan_M said...

I've always thought how absurd it is when people feel the need to get exercise, to drive to a building, circle the parking lot endlessly to get the closest parking space to the door, and pay a fee to get on a stairway to nowhere or on a glorified hamster wheel. All you have to do is open your front door and put one foot in front of the other....

At 3/10/09, 2:29 PM, Blogger tres_arboles said...

That thing is awesome. Would have been great to run that during my rugby days.

My favorite San Diego days (when I lived there) consisted of running jetty to pier and back in Mission Beach then going for a surf or ocean swim out front.

At 3/10/09, 2:33 PM, Blogger Surfsister said...

Before osteoarthritis brought my running to a halt, I used to run in the soft sand at the beach several times a week. Sometimes, I'd run and then surf (or vice versa). It's the running in the sand that I truly miss; I can live without running on concrete.


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