The Hills of Aviara

My idea of a vacation is to wake up at 5:00 AM and be able to go for a run without having to be anywhere afterwards.  That's just what I was able to do in Aviara this past weekend.  I was in runner bliss.

Upon checking in, I inquired about running routes, something I do at every hotel I stay at.  I was impressed by the pre-printed sheet the person at the front desk handed me.  It was clear and easy to carry along while I ran.  It also laid out a 1.5, 3, and 6 mile run.  

Being who I am, I chose the 6 miler. I was advised to ask the valet out front when I left as to which direction to head.  The next morning, I did just that.  He first instructed me to a shortcut down some stairs to start the run, to which I replied, "I don't do shortcuts" and insisted on guidance to the whole route.  He chuckled and said it was only a couple hundred yards difference, but to me it makes all the difference.

He warned me that the last areas on the route were a gradual uphill.  That didn't seem to phase me and I imagined a gentle 2-3% incline.

Well the first mile or so was a steep downhill to a trail which butted up against a prehistoric lagoon adjacent to the Pacific.  It was scenic, a little raw, and a little smelly.  But we weren't in Pasadena anymore were we...  It was beautiful and you can actually smell the air, rather than the smog.

As I finished the trail portion of the run I noticed on the map that it turned into a named street.  I transitioned to asphalt and was immediately hit with my first hill.  This hill didn't last long, but it was steep - more like 6-7%.  I made a left at the top of this hill to be met with a sweeping bank into another hill -- steep.  Next was a right turn at the top of this hill to another gradual hill -- steep again.  This went on and on for the rest of the run and at one point I felt like I was on the the L'Alpe D'Huez of the Tour de France.  It was awesome!  A challenge and at the end I was exhilarated!  

I repeated this run twice during our stay and will go back if only for this run.

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