So I’ve been off the net for a bit. We had another baby, I picked up a lot more work, and things got a little chaotic. That’s not an excuse, just fact. (and while I’m at it, keeping your Christmas tree up until St. Patrick’s Day is a thing, right?)
Work with me here. The adventures continue!
In the weeks that followed Morro Bay in November I found myself once again trying to figure out my next move: what would I race? Would I just do triathlons? What about improving my run times? How about more biking? What about more trail runs? I was so motivated coming out of the Morro Bay triathlon I felt ready for anything.
Then life stepped in and guided me into some decisions. At the end of November my second child, another wonderful little girl, was born.
My in-laws came out to help our expanded family get situated. My running partner, Kit, our super protective German Shepherd, went into the kennel for nearly a month while our baby girl and mom got situated back at home from the hospital. It was while Kit was at the kennel at the Carmel Crossroads, I developed an almost daily routine which helped me to focus on the future.
As many days as I could, I drove down to Carmel and explored the trails of Palo Corona Regional Park, and its newly opened sections. Whether running solo or walking the park’s trails with Kit, the park, which is the newest in Monterey County, is a beautiful combination of paved and unpaved trails tucked into the western and southern boundaries of Carmel Valley, just east of Highway 1. I first explored this park in 2006 when access required a park permit, but with the opening of the former Rancho Canada Golf Course section of the park in 2018, visitors can now park and walk the former golf courses sections in addition to the original park’s lands. The runs took on all lengths and times.
When exploring Palo Corona, for me the park exists in three distinct parts: Rancho Canada, Palo Corona lower, and Inspiration Point. Rancho Canada, as I discussed earlier is the newest addition, a former golf course. The trails in this section are mainly former golf cart paths winding through the overgrown fairways and greens. This section is very pleasant to run through if one is looking for a flat, fast routes to possibly run some intervals on. Jumping into the Palo Corona lower at the southwest corner of Rancho Canada, runners find a beautiful open landscape of trails as the valley opens to the sea. It’s not uncommon to find cows grazing along the hillsides so watch out.
The views are incredible and I could not help but be energized by the beauty around me. Last but certainly not least is the upper portion of Palo Corona, distinctly identified by Inspiration Point. Taking a turn out of the lower portion of Palo Corona, runners find themselves encountering the steep long ascent to Inspiration Point.
It is no joke! You’ll want to catch your breath atop the hill and take in the views looking down at Carmel and the sea beyond. Going further back behind the hill, runners can also explore Animas Pond, marking the boundary of Palo Corona. All in all you can easily squeeze in 8 miles bouncing between these three distinct areas in Palo Corona. There is something for runners of all abilities at Palo Corona, so keep it in mind when looking at trails in Monterey County, and because of its relative newness, fewer people tend to explore it compared to its cousin, Point Lobos, just to the east.
Following my park explorations, I often stopped in at my new favorite watering hole: Carmel Craft Brewing. As my family expanded, so was Carmel Craft Brewing. In late 2018 they acquired the space next door and began bringing down walls and opening space.
They built a window to the Allegro pizzeria next door allowing guests to order well paired food with their beers. For me, I would come in every few days as a respite from dirty diapers and long nights to relax before going back home. Of course I always brought home a growler of whatever tasted best. The beers I tried all were excellent full of flavor and rich in satisfaction. They have names such as Apri-Kolsch, Crème de Carmel, and El Fin del Mundo. I never left disappointed. Then in mid-December they released what quickly became a favorite in our home: their Resilience IPA. Carmel Craft brewed this beer as part of a nationwide effort sponsored by Sierra Nevada Brewing to raise money for the victims of the Camp Fire in Butte County, California which decimated the area in late in 2018. While the beer wasn’t overly hoppy or complex, there was something deeper and stronger in the flavor of this beer, which made the title that much more appropriate. I’m not an IPA guy, but I could drink this beer all day. I brought home growlers a couple of times and my wife and I would finish them over the course of two days (which is quick for us). Apparently the beer was pretty popular as Carmel Craft sold out before New Year’s.
It was somewhere between the trails of Palo Corona, the hops of Carmel Craft, and the poopy diapers of my newborn that things started to come together as to what I wanted in 2019. For me this new year would be about finding balance and gaining strength: balance between the increased demands of an expanded family, improving myself physically, while moving forward professionally. Easier said than done, right? Like the beer said, it was going to be about building and maintaining resilience.