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First HEAL Zone Run

Running the Streets of Lemon Grove begins in earnest. HEAL Zone committee member, pastor, and all-around good guy runs the perimeter of Lemon Grove city limits for his first outing.

For my first foray into running the streets of Lemon Grove, I thought it might be a good idea to run the perimeter of the city. I took a map I got years ago from the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce, photocopied it and brought the copy with me. I didn’t want to get lost. I folded it up and put it into a sandwich-size
ziplock so that it wouldn't get wet from my sweat. I knew I was going to sweat ... a lot.  

I guessed that it might be about nine miles around the city. (I underestimated it by a few miles.) As you can see from the map to the right, it was quite a route.  Speaking of the posted map, it was produced from the watch that I wear, a Garmin 405 Forerunner. It is a GPS watch the links to satellites and is able to “follow” me along, giving me information such as my pace, my direction, the distance run and how long I've been running, among other data.

Once done with my run the watch will sync with my computer and upload the data to a website. On this site I can a see a map (traffic view or satellite view) of the route I ran with the actual streets that I ran on. It provides the info I already mentioned plus an elevation graph, a time graph and all others kinds of fun stuff.  Pretty nifty. I will post the map of each run as I blog about it.

Okay, now on to the run. It was a blast. I knew it would be a long run but I was
so invigorated with the thought that this was bigger and of higher significance
than just a training run:

I was running for more than myself.

I was running for the awareness of health, active living, and the HEAL Zone.

I was running for Lemon Grove. 

I was running to encourage and inspire others. 

It is amazing how things are a bit easier and more energy is found when one does something for a cause and endeavors to participate in something bigger than themselves.  So for the whole time I ran with more of a “pep in my step” than usual.

I tried to wave to as many people as I could while running, especially as I was going up Sweetwater on the eastern border of the city. I kind of wanted to put myself out there even more. I was amazed at how few people (like, none) waved back. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt—it is good to keep your eyes on the road. And maybe they were La Mesa’ers or Spring Valleyites just passing through. I am hoping Lemon Grovers will wave back.

I found out that not all maps are accurate. The map I was carrying showed that at the very south end of Washington Street at Canton, it connects to and continues on to become Osage Street which then T’s into Jamacha Road.  Not so, not so. There is a barrier there and one must take a sharp right curve onto Canton when going south on Washington. But I had to go down Osage to get to Jamacha to make my perimeter run more accurate and effective. 

Thankfully, just beyond the barrier there is an open field with a path that connects Washington and Osage. Disaster averted. It was on this path that I ran into a friend I had not seen for a little while. Let’s call her Krista D. The funny thing is, earlier in the day my wife and I were down in Chula Vista and saw someone that looked just like Krista D. We wondered how she was doing and hoped the best for her. Then, low and behold, I run into her! I mean I almost ran into her! As I came around the barrier, there she was! What a shock for both of us. I stopped and met the friends she was hanging out with and we chatted for a bit, getting caught up on her life. Interesting how “chance” meetings take place.

Some of the Lemon Grove city boundary lines do not follow streets, so I had to run a little outside of the actual city limits to continue my run. But that was fine, I was loving every minute of it. As I ran up 69th at Madera Street, I turned and
waved to the LG city manger’s house (Graham Mitchell) up on the hill. I doubt
anyone there saw me. It was a symbolic gesture to my friend, fellow LG resident and HEAL Zone committee member, former next-door neighbor and now a fellow “run the streets of Lemon Grove” compadre.

The sun was setting as I headed east on Federal Boulevard. It is a little dangerous to run at night so I pushed on to make it home before darkness fell. Very close to home at the trolley crossing at Lemon Grove Avenue and North Street, while waiting for the red hand to turn into a green person, Pastor Jeff Lettow (First  Baptist Church of Lemon Grove)—also a member on the HEAL Zone—pulled up at the light and witnessed my very first run. He now had “proof positive” that I was crazy. But he encouraged me to keep it up and inspired me to finish the run strong. I’m glad I saw him. My legs were a bit wobbly, my lungs taxed and the 300 yards left seemed a mile. His vote of confidence gave me the fuel I needed to finish well.

Other interesting things happened on the run and perhaps I will blog about those later. But this is too long now (like this first run, which was 11.25 miles) and I must get ready for the next one. 

Thanks for all the comments and encouragement. I feel like we are all in
this together.  So ... eat healthy, be active and wave.  You never know who you
might see out there running the streets of Lemon Grove!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Helen Ofield August 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Mark - You are brave and good to do this--and keep waving! They'll wave back. There is a wonderful, unknown runner who tears around town on Saturdays and never fails to run in the open front door of the Parsonage Museum, drop a coin in the guest box and rush out so that he doesn't break his stride. We still don't know his name, but now he is famous! You will be, too. The route around 3.75 square miles is curious and it's interesting how the old maps are still, to a degree, in play from county days (prior to 1977). I can't jog any more, but plan to walk that 11.25 miles.
Christine Huard August 28, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I agree ... Keep waving!
Shreya August 28, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Keep waving and blogging! This is great to read!
Melanie Briones August 29, 2012 at 05:38 PM
You're kick-starting a great trend and soon Lemon Grover's will start to recognize the smiling waving runner - Keep running, waving, and blogging about your adventures!
Mark & Anne Stapleton August 30, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Maybe we can start a new "waving" trend in Lemon Grove! ~Anne p.s. Love the map!

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