The Pacific beaches of Venice and Santa Monica are wide, clean and mostly empty. Surfers come and go, and some families hang out near the water. But mostly the peace on the sand is only interrupted by lifeguards in their yellow SUVs, and me running in the tracks of their tires.
Living in Venice I am finding my favorite routes to run. I still do my best, fastest runs on the Alter-G machine at about 70% of my body weight. But gradually I am transitioning back into running on earth: at gravity, on the ground, in my amazing, light, new Nike Terra Kiger trail shoes. (I am, for the first time, fully embracing Nike for running. I feel they are simply making great new shoes.)
The loveliest run takes me from home to the beach, an easy five-minute warm-up on quiet streets. Once I reach the beach I take off the sneakers, fit them into my little trail pack, and hit the beach. For about 20 to 30 minutes I slowly battle the deep sand, trying to stay light on my feet, landing softly, breathing deeply. With the ocean on my left and the sun above me, I count myself lucky as I sweat and move through this gorgeous part of California.
The Atlantic has a good piece about how the treatment of depression has gone off the rails. So many people are on pills, believing that’s the only or best solution. In fact, aerobic exercise is an equal, if not better approach: “A 2011 study looked at 127 depressed people who hadn’t experienced relief from SSRIs, a common type of antidepressant, and found that exercise led 30 percent of them into remission—a result that was as good as, or better than, drugs alone.”
So that’s why I feel happy, calm and fulfilled when I return from the beach.