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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

making out like a bandit

our new year's eve was completely uneventful.  i think everyone except me fell asleep by around 10, and when the ball dropped i nudged the hub with my foot, gave him a kiss, and we went to bed.  woohoo!

but that was okay, since i had fun plans that had me getting out of bed stupid early the next morning.  i'd seen a post on facebook about an annual "rose parade bandit run" - basically, people meet up at a starbucks near the end of the parade route and then run it to the beginning.  there's time to wander around and check out the floats before they glide down colorado boulevard before heading back, for a total of 11 miles round trip.  they were meeting at 4:30am, which sounded rather painful, but i figured it'd be kinda cool to do at least once.  i only needed to get in an 8-mile training run (for the upcoming tinkerbell half), so i figured i could just do my mileage and then catch the train back to the starting point.

and then i found another group who was planning on meeting in a different location, with a later start time and a shorter (6 mile) route.  sold.  the hub thought i was insane - and i suppose he isn't wrong - but i was excited to do it.  i pulled up here at about a quarter to 6 (obviously, i took this a little later):

i headed out a little early with a couple of ladies who were walking, and we chatted a little as we made our way down to colorado.  along with the thousands of folks who'd camped out overnight, there were a lot of others who were just arriving to stake out a spot for the parade.  i ended up having to do a lot of weaving around people, which slowed me down like crazy until i finally reached the point where cars were being detoured to sidestreets.  it was nice to move over onto the asphalt and have lots of room to get my run on.

it was really fun being out there running past all of the campers, although i was choking on smoke that wafted out from various fire pits that people had going to keep themselves warm.  i could hear people cheering as i ran past, but i'm pretty sure a good number of them were jeers.

yeah.  those fuckers who were out there freezing their asses off as they slept on the sidewalk were mocking ME.  psh, whatevs, assholes.

the grandstands were mostly empty, but there were some folks who were there bright and early.

and then as i headed past the old town area i was stopped by a member of event staff.  he was kind of a jerk, holding his hand up and bellowing "where do you think you're going?"  i told him i was out for a morning run and heading to my friend's house up on orange grove boulevard, and he shook his fat head at me and said "not without a ticket, you're not."  assface.

so i turned around, following the lead of a couple of other runners who'd also been stopped by mr. wonderful, and then i decided to ask another staffer who looked a lot friendlier.  he pointed towards an opening in the gate and told me to go through and follow the path, and i'd end up on orange grove.  i did as he said and found myself scampering through this private school campus:

and when i emerged through the other end of the path, i found myself right in front of the first float.  sweet.

i wandered up and down the street, checking out the floats and listening to the chatter all around me.

it was way cool.  and i recognized a couple of floats that the bean and i had seen at family fun day:

okay, i had to.  come on.

valley hunt club, where it all began 125 years ago.

adam levine?  are you in there?

by then, it was almost 7:00.  with the parade scheduled to begin at 8 on the dot, i knew i needed to get outta there or risk being swept off the course by the cops, who were out in full force.  my middle name ain't "danger," so i turned around and headed back.

i passed quite a few of these street food carts, and the smell was almost enough to make me stop.  i didn't, though.

heading back down colorado.

my beloved lululemon wasn't boarded up like most of the other stores along the route.  

busloads of grandstand ticketholders got a police escort.  oh you fancy, huh.

by the time i got closer to my starting point, i'd only done about five miles.  because i'd been stopped by that ticket nazi dude, i hadn't been able to do the loop around the rose bowl that would have bumped up my mileage to where i wanted it to be.  and so instead of going back to the running store as originally planned, i decided to just follow the route to the end.  i figured i could just take the train back.  easy peasy, right?

here's the very end, where the floats are parked after the parade.  they sell tickets to enter this area so that you can get up close and personal with them.  but neener neener neener, i'd already done that.  for free, fools!

i'm pretty familiar with pasadena, but anyone who knows me will tell you that i'm horrible with directions.  so i opened the maps app on my phone, looked up the nearest train station, and went on my merry way.  right as my nike app congratulated me on reaching my 8-mile goal, i got this notification:

yay for me!

except that my lack of direction totally kicked in.  i'm also going to blame lack of sleep and fatigue after, you know, an 8-freaking-mile run.  i walked and walked and walked and before i knew it, i was at allen avenue - because i'd turned the wrong way and ended up damn near walking all the way back to my starting point.  fuck, man.  i was so pissed off at myself.

but even then, i was a good mile and a half away.  and i was pooped.  so i walked my happy ass down to the train station and bought a freaking train fare card.

i seriously only had to go to the next station, but i didn't care.  i was pretty stoked to get on that train and sit my ass down for a few minutes.

random photo that i took as i waited at the last stop light between me and my car.

despite my fuckup at the end of the run, i gotta say that the whole experience was really fun.  would i do it again?  um, hell yes!  and because i'm pretty much committed to doing the tinkerbell half every year until my legs fall off, i'll always be in training mode at this time of year.  it's perfect.

and next year, i'll know which way to go for that damn train.


  1. Love your headband and watching the Rose Parade is now on my bucket list. I'd love to see them close up!

  2. That does look like a fun route! Happy New Year!


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