recycle, reduce, reuse… does that apply to runners?

Last night I went for a glorious 4 mile run on the beach as the sun set over the Pacific.

hard to be sad with this at your back





It was one of those runs that made me grateful for my legs, my heart, my lungs, my location, my love, my life. Life is good. Except…. well, there’s just something that always bugs me. It looks like this:

ummm, that's not seaweed Jonathan




 Every time I run in Venice, the trash that lines the beach from Navy down to the pier totally bruises my runner’s high. Plastic bags, bottles, condoms, napkins, plates, cans, diapers, cups. You name it. If it’s trash, I see it out on the beach. (Think about that next time you leave a wayward red cup on the street. It ends up in the water people.) When I partake in a leisurely surf-side stroll, I make it a habit to pick up whatever trash I see and throw it away. I can at least do what the nincompoop who put it there couldn’t seem to manage, and that is walk 20 feet to the nearest garbage can. When I’m running though? That’s a different story.

I feel like a terrible person.

Confession: When I see trash on the beach during a run, I run right past it and think “what a shame.” I’m sorry! If I stopped to pick up every piece of garbage that I saw during a run, I would never finish and my average pace would slow to tortoise speed. I can’t let that happen, especially now that I’m training for a Half Marathon. So what do I do friends? What would you do? I’m open to suggestions that will make me feel like the tree-hugging earth child I am, while not sacrificing the determination of the runner staring 13.1 miles in the face.

I did pause for a while yesterday to snap some shots of a quizzical little seagull. Totally counter to my complaints above about not wanting to slow down for anything, this Jonathan Livingston Seagull stopped me in my tracks. I swear he wrestled with this empty Doritos bag for a solid 10 minutes. He would not let it go! I couldn’t tell if he wanted to figure out how to eat it, to make a nest, or he just thought he looked cool with a purple bag on his beak. Like a shiny beak sock. Who knows though. Maybe Mr. Seagull is actually a much better creature than Ms. Sigl and was doing his part to clean up the beach. You decide:

"what do we have here?"
"kind of delicious"
"there must be something yummy in here"
"not working out as planned"
"the garbage can is way over THERE?"


I’ll run one extra mile on Sunday for every person that donates to Running for Wonderlust between now and Saturday. Come on friends. Don’t you want to force me to run like 10 miles this weekend? I want that.




















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