Running in Los Angeles

I’m gearing up for the New York Marathon at the beginning of November (yes – I have a number – thanks Jack).  I’m running it with Matt Blumberg (unless he decides to run for time and try to break four hours – then he’s on his own) so I’ve been logging some serious miles.

This was my first week on the road since I got back from Alaska.  My travel rhythm is completely bunged up and – as a result, I’ve been unable to get out of bed early enough the last two days to get my runs in before the day starts (yes – it’s dark at 5am in Atherton these days).   I ended up in LA this afternoon at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference and – after sitting through the one session I was really interested in (Windows Vista: Building RSS Enabled Applications) decided to squeeze in a run before dinner.

The hotel I’m at has a nice little laminated card with a “Runner’s World Magazine Recommended” 6 mile run – so I hit the road and did that.  The first mile on Figueroa Street was nice enough, but then I turned left on Sunset to head up to Elysian Park.  Suddenly, I went from a nice downtown to lower pitsville – trash everywhere, broken down buildings, graffiti, tar scars all over the sidewalk, and the smell of yuckola everywhere.  Eventually I got to Douglas and did a sharp uphill to Elysian Park where I went from pitsville to a scene from 24 Season One.  I’m Kim, on a dusty, isolated fire road, up above the street by a half a mile, tromping along looking for some sign of a normal human being.  I kept waiting for one of Marwan’s honchos to step out from the trees at the side of the path (yes – I know I’m mixing up seasons).  Eventually I got to Stadium Way (where it turned pretty again) – at which point I turned around and retraced my steps.  This time I had the extra bonus of rush hour traffic and – as I noticed that virtually every car only had one person in it – I soldiered on back to the hotel. 

My standard line for Alaska is that the place needs a paint job and a vacuuming.  This place needed a power wash.  At one point, the unambiguous smell of shit overwhelmed me.  I wrote it off initially (every runner I know farts with enthusiasm) but then realized that it both wasn’t my brand and was just lasting too long.  Somewhere on Sunset between Figueroa and Douglas is a shit-smell factory that must operate 24 hours a day to generate the haze that lingered.

My eyes are still burning, I’m coughing a little, and I’m ready for a nice dinner at The Palm with a bunch of Microsoft folks.  At least I got my six miles in.

  • Pretty funny (although sad that it’s true). How’d you get your number for NYC? I tried but didn’t win the lottery this year – doing Cape Cod (Oct 30) instead.

  • I’m still laughing at the shit-small factory comment.

  • Pete

    Brad – do you know the Death Cab for Cutie song “Why You’d Want to Live Here?”

    “I’m in los angeles today: it smells like an airport runway. jet fuel stench’s
    in the cabin and lights flickering at random.

    I’m in los angeles today: garbage cans comprise the medians of freeways always
    creaping even when the population’s sleeping.

    and I can’t see why you’d want to live here.

    I’m in los angeles today: asked a gas station employee if he ever had trouble
    breathing and he said “it varies from season to season, kid.”

    Etc…. I guess they missed the shit factory! 🙂

  • Matt

    Yes, that’s what it is all about…getting the miles in. Recently, while staying in San Mateo on a fundraising trip, the CEO of our company and I went for an easy five miler. He ended up crawling through an aquaduct, hopping the railroad tracks, and scaling a fence only to come back to the hotel a bloodied mess. But, he got his run in.


  • Pete Warden

    If you have the chance next time, go just a few miles outside the city into the mountains, you’ll be amazed.

    If you still don’t believe me, here’s a photo of mine taken just outside Glendale.

    Not quite Alaska, but it’s the reason I’m still here!


  • were you wearing your 24 hat?

  • Next time, call me before you come in. I’ll get you into a hotel in a decent neighborhood. 😉 We could also just do Benny’s Lair again.

  • I laughed out loud when reading your post. I am a resident of Los Angeles and everyday I ask myself why sooooo many people live here.

    Just FYI, I wouldn’t send my worst enemy to run where you ran that day. Scary. Hopefully, during your stay in LA you made it to some more appealing areas.

    Run On!


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