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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Celebrating Forty-Nine

Big weekend this weekend, which is why I decided to make this an “easy” week mileage-wise.  The boys had a four day “weekend” from school to celebrate “Presidents’ Day” and either Abraham Lincoln or George Washington’s birthday (I’m not sure which – when I was a child, we celebrated both of these presidents’ birthdays, and didn’t have a “Presidents Day.”)

Insomnia continued to plague me, so I didn’t get extra rest during these “vacation” days.  But I did have some great times thus far.  I can’t write about this weekend without mentioning my trip to Skid Row with my middle son and his church confirmation group.  We rode the train into Los Angeles and walked through downtown to Skid Row.  I have been to L.A. countless times.  I grew up in L.A. county.  But I have never been to Skid Row.  This is just not a place you visit.  Even though I knew what to expect, I was shocked by the stench and hundreds of down-and-out people sleeping, sitting, camping, no, not camping, living on the streets of Skid Row.  The depths the human condition can fall amazed me.  I shouldn’t have been so shocked.  I know homelessness and helplessness exists.  But I’ve never seen it in such abundance first hand.  It was hard to take.  And I kind of felt embarrassed for humanity.  I have always been an advocate for freedom.  But, don’t we have some sort of obligation to lift people out of the gutter?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  I don’t have an answer yet.  Not sure I ever will.  One person at a time, I suppose.  That’s the only way to help.  That’s why we were there, to help out the faith-based mission that helps transform lives out of Skid Row.  They are in it for the long run, for anyone who is willing to take their aid.  After scrubbing walls with hot water and soap inside the Union Rescue Mission, we had a couple hours left before boarding our train.  As a special treat, I got to take my son through Olvera Street.  The festive atmosphere of this historic market colorfully veiled the experiences of a day in Skid Row. 

Downtown Los Angeles: Olvera Street:

Needless to say, I arrived home last night, grateful for all that I have.  Dead tired, I still was not able to fall asleep for many hours.  When morning arrived I could not drag myself from the bed at the early morning alarm.   I don’t know exactly why, but I feel that I MUST run on my birthday.  So, I swapped out my early morning run plans for a late morning run plan on my 49th birthday.  Then, after laying in bed awake for several hours, I dressed for a run. 

I ran out the front door and through town.  From there I ran down to the harbor for a delightful run around the harbor and island.  Sea lions barked so loudly, I could hear them before I even reached sea level.  From the island, I witnessed a sea bird dive into the green sea and pull out a silver fish who flapped its fins desperately, before being gobbled down.  I ran several miles in all this without even feeling it.  The skies were blue.  People were out and about picnicking, kayaking, dining, skateboarding, biking, walking, fishing, you name it.  I felt like I live in a fairy-tale land. 

I ran 7.12 miles in this lovely town – a grand birthday present to me.  Smile

Looking down at harbor from bluff:

Running through park down to harbor:

Running the harbor island:

Crossing bridge back to “mainland”:

The Headlands:


  1. Lauren, like your runs & races, it takes a committed efforts to involve yourself in helping others. That area isn't for the the faint of heart.

    1. I definitely agree Patty. Thanks for reading!

  2. Now how did I miss your Birthday...? Happy Birthday my friend! I also have to run on my Birthday! We have terrible places like that here and it is really an eye opener to visit there. Africa is hard and cruel and it is heart braking to see the many hungry children here. You enjoy your 49th year! :)

    1. Thanks Johann. Yes, hungry children is heart breaking. I can see why people don't want to know about these things -- it's a tough thing to know. :(