Here is a suggestion for your Labor Day Weekend: try the new Metro Line to go to the Santa Monica Pier or the beach! The Expo Line has a stop at the South Campus gate of USC, the Expo Park/USC station. Just walk past Tommy Trojan, continue on Trousdale Parkway to Exposition Blvd, and there take the Metro towards Santa Monica. You could be watching a beautiful sunset off the pier or from the beach within 40 minutes.
Once there, don’t miss a stroll on 3rd Street Promenade, a fun and store-filled walking street just a few blocks from the pier.
Marathon running is meant for pros. But for those of us who are not pros and who house a vaguely masochistic streak, marathons can also be a good lifestyle choice. Pain aside, long distance running increases your stamina and energy and gets progressively easier the more you do it. It’s one of the best ways to see different parts of LA in the shortest amount of time, and, in my opinion, a pretty good way to kill a Sunday. Most importantly though, intense running sessions are great for justifying an addiction to snacks. So, of what does marathon training consist? Oh, you innocents.
Running long distance begins with a few weekly runs of 5-ish miles, and one big run every Sunday for punishment. 🙂 Generally, the Sunday runs are over 13 miles, the longest being a 22 mile stretch that starts at Dockweiler Beach, goes through Santa Monica and Venice, and loops back around to Dockweiler. This route takes approximately 4-5 hours to accomplish. So let’s talk about this one.
We start at a Dockweiler bathroom coated in the kind of graffiti you want to see more of, a nice inspiration for the hours ahead. For the most part, this run takes place along the beach. It’s reliable because there are water fountains along the course so you can run out of fluids without freaking out. We all bring some form of electrolyte sugar, whether in gummy, goo, or powerade form. Most don’t realize that once you break the 14 mile threshold, you risk running low on sodium and minerals, as those are also lost through sweat. Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and, therefore, can be easily digested. Ingesting sugar will ensure a steady stream of energy, and reduce the risk that you will hit what is colloquially known to runners as “the wall”, or the point where your body stops burning excess calorie and instead breaks directly into your fat stores. “The wall” feels like death, so sugar is recommended.
Anyway, we go up through Venice Beach, passing tents full of vendors and their wares, each offering both sub-par and over-par paintings for sale, as well as an assortment of odds and ends. Graffiti coated pillars rise from the sand; muscle-strapped men and women work out on gym-equipment; people run by with miniature parachutes strapped to their butts (I assume this is a new-fangled workout routine). Yes, yes indeed: this is my favorite beach in Southern California.
I spent this past summer working and living at Pepperdine University, located in Malibu, California. Malibu is a beautiful location known for its famous beaches (many movies and TV shows were filmed here) and laid-back atmosphere. Although the school is located directly across the street from the ocean, Pepperdine is an acclaimed private school, highly regarded for its international programming. This summer, I worked with three other interns at Pepperdine’s Housing and Residence Life. Though my work at Pepperdine was quite fulfilling, my most memorable summer moments took place on the weekend adventures on which I went with my fellow interns. Of the many Los Angeles gems we visited, the Griffith Observatory, Point Dume Natural Preserve, and the Santa Anita Park were among my favorites.
Located in the northern hills of Hollywood, the Griffith Observatory is a must see Los Angeles landmark. I don’t know why I had never visited before. It is mostly known for its fantastic views. My friends and I visited in the evening so, standing at the lookout points, we got to see the sun set over the city and witnessed all the Los Angeles city lights take over the darkness. It was perfect. The interior of the building is just as stunning; it is beautifully architected and makes for fun picture opts with friends. While inside the building, I saw everything from telescopes, to a giant ticker clock, to statues, to an orbit exhibit with all the planets.