Well at least running towards Mexico; which is sort of the opposite of what people do here in San Diego, most run FROM Mexico – arriba arriba. Woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise and decided to run at Border Field State Park which is on the United States/Mexico Border. The route I ran was 3.67 miles starting at the sign for the park entrance and is/was on mixed underfoot conditions consisting of eroded asphalt, dirt trails, soft sand at the shoreline of the pacific ocean, concrete at the observation point and unexpected mud, lots of mud.
I thought it would be just a nice little run on a warm Christmas Eve (it’s 79 degrees Fahrenheit this morning) it turn out of be a harder run than expected.
Starting out as I said at the park sign, I ran west toward the ocean on eroded asphalt that was covered in a thin layer of silt from the rain runoff we had last week. Where asphalt turns south, I continued down a dirt path that eventually ends at the ocean. Easy enough route so far I could see the Bull Fighting Stadium in Mexico to the south and the City of Imperial Beach when not obstructed by brush to the north. Absolutely gorgeous run!
After about 1.2 miles the blue line on the first map I hit the beach. There was plenty of beautiful wave crashing on the beach, sun glistening off the white foam. The plan was to run at the water’s edge to take advantage of the compacted sand. Turned out the sand was not so compacted; it turned out to be soft, my feet would sink in from an inch to two inches with each stride, you can see how deep some were in this picture of my footsteps in the sand.
I didn’t think about it at the time but I suppose the sand is the way it is because this beach doesn’t get that many visitors. The park is rarely open to motor vehicles so the only way to access it is by walking, running, biking and horseback. I think that’s great, I love solitude. As a matter of fact besides the US Border Patrol agent in his truck I saw only 3 other people and they were at the observation point.
I ran south down the beach toward Mexico; by the time I reached the hill I need to run up to get the observation point the muscles in my legs were burning; I was a great feeling to be able to get out of the sand and back onto dirt. Running up the hill I paused to take a picture of the border fence that runs into the sea separating the US from Mexico (that was just the excuse I needed to grab a breath). Once up the hill I came out at the observation point, the Border Patrol officer sitting in his truck kinda looked at me like ‘where did you come from’ obviously I must not have look like an illegal alien running across the border because he didn’t give chase as I ran past him; must have been the lack of a Sombrero.
I paused again (had nothing to do with being out of breath from running up the hill) to take this picture you can see Point Loma and the City of San Diego in the distance. I continued my run around the observation point at about midway I hit the 2 mile mark; the blue line on the map.
Once around the observation point I headed back down the hill back toward the entrance of the park, this was supposed to be the easy part as I was going to be on asphalt, so I thought, the rest of the way (1.6miles) back. If you take a look at the third map you will notice that the blue line veers off the road at two places.
The road was flooded so I was forced off the road; hind sight being 50/50 as they says I should have turned around at that point and head back the way I came in. But me being me pushed forward like a good solider. Within the first 50 feet I would pay for my poor judgment; as my foot landed I sunk in to the mud, sticky mud at that. This forced me further from the road into the high grass, shrubs and bushes with little relief from the water soaked spongy ‘tundra’ beneath my feet. My feet soaking wet and shoes covered in mud I trudged on, on though the bristles and brush slicing at my bare legs as I watched for rattlesnakes common and plentiful in this area that might be sunning themselves in the morning daylight. Near the end of that mile which took me 10.47 minutes to traverse, I was finally able to get back out on the asphalt for the final .66 mile.
All in all though, it was a really nice run. If you want to look at the park on Google it’s at 32.537624, -117.119923 .
If you will excuse me now I need to go clean some very expensive running shoes.