Thursday, March 18, 2010

Four lessons from La Brea Urban Hike and Eat . . .

Shadow of Self at Gold Line Terminal

Even if my Urban Hike and Eat didn't go as planned, I'd still consider it a fun success; but did learn a few takeaways for next month's walk.

1. Checking the route beforehand! Alas, I entrusted my hike path to Google Maps, only to discover that a stretch of La Brea along Baldwin Hills is not made for pedestrians. And so, my almost-12-mile affair turned into a 16-mile roundtrip hike (noted in above map) as I made my way back to the starting point (and beyond)
Back through the Freeway
2. Being flexible - of course, I could've easily cut my hike short and just bussed my way back after ~7 miles. But since I had the time and energy, I decided to hike my way back. On a similar note, I gave myself lots of eating/drinking options and set a pretty loose, open-ended schedule -- which worked in my favor when I found out my 1st and 2nd breakfast options were not opened yet, and I still got very delicious nosh at my 3rd stop. And of course, the choice of always hopping on a bus if I feel too exhausted, which leads to...
Still OK to Hike on this?
3. Being safe - especially important when hiking alone. On Urban Hikes, I try to pick routes where I'm always within a few blocks of a busstop, so just in case I can't hike anymore (either out of exhaustion, dehydration, or even plain ole laziness.) On this particular La Brea hike, I was intent on paving through Baldwin Hills on an improvised hiking path after the sidewalks have ended, but quickly turned around upon observing broken beer/wine bottles, used syringes and a vial of testosterone along that "trail."
My meaty legs...
4. Have fun & relax - In a recent LA Times article about marathon motivation, they found that people with intrinsic reasons for running (inner sense of accomplishment, reveling in the sheer joy of activity) are more likely to complete the entire 26.2 miles than those with extrinsic motivators (weight loss, getting a medal, etc.) In many ways I feel the same way during my urban hikes, it's a time for me to de-stress, observe the scenery, check out interesting sights... and even check myself out! And taking pleasure in the journey itself means the time and distance flies that much faster to get to the destination, if it even matters at all.

And, on that note, I've already decided on the route for my third Urban Hike and Eat slated for April 18, going past the Orange Curtain via the entire length of Beach Blvd. from La Habra to Huntington Beach. It comes out a little over 20 miles so it will be a full-day affair, but I'm really looking forward to the sights and sounds I'll encounter (and of course, the eats and drinks too!) Hope you can join me!

And here's the post on the eats I had on my La Brea Urban Hike and Eat, or click here for more photos.