6 Miles Downtown

My urban loop – the first 6 miles of the LA Marathon route, basically: Dodger Stadium to Sunset Blvd down to Main, Main to 1st, 1st to Grand, Grand to Temple, right on Bellevue and then down to Echo Park, around and back to Sunset. If it were the marathon, I’d hang a left and run 21 miles to the Santa Monica Pier, but instead it’s my Wednesday morning run so I hang a right and run a mile back to Dodger Stadium.

I used to run this all the time in preparation but haven’t since running the marathon. Felt like I needed an urban run. Felt like I needed to pound the feet against some sidewalk, toughen ’em up after all those soft trail surfaces. Cool, overcast morning (we are not going to have a summer here in So Cali this year, it seems). Being on the streets is strange – nothing but signs directing you not to enter here, keep out of there, only go here during certain hours, no right turns, no left turns, wrong way, no exit…it’s not a very encouraging landscape, that’s for sure.

When I looked at the film, though, I didn’t see all the do not enter, keep out, authorized only, go away, we don’t want you, wrong way signs that seemed to circumscribe everyone’s movement through town.

What I saw instead was the usual down-at-the-heels quirkiness I love about this part of the city. I saw all the signs of folks asserting themselves and their lives despite assorted authorities attempts to circumscribe and organize us. I saw all sorts of signs of gritty optimism, the kind that you don’t see in the clean, orderly, middle class parts of town.

As for the run itself, well, decent pace, felt good, my quads are a little sore, gotta watch the achilles tendon in the left (recently injured) foot – it hurts if I don’t stretch it out, and keep stretching it out – after a run. But all of that stuff is not so interesting, really.

2 replies
  1. elodie
    elodie says:

    All of that stuff is not so interesting until it keeps you from running. And then, there’s nothing more fascinating!

    When you mentioned your Yashica T4, I had to google because I knew there couldn’t be any film P&Ss made any more that you’d want to shoot with. I’m stunned at the pictures it can take! Not sure if it was intentional, but I love the sequencing. It’s like running there again with someone else’s glasses on… I think my favourite is One Way. So tactile, the cracked wood, cool metal, prickly grass — your feet add the perfect touch of wit. Do you have a favourite?

    Reply
    • geoff
      geoff says:

      Thanks. They are arranged in the order I took ’em, which means in the order you’d encounter them were you to follow my run.

      I love the T4. The Zeiss lens is awesome – great quality optics but with the sorts of idiosyncrasies that all point and shoots will have, mostly due to the tiny lens size. All will give you some degree of vignetting, for example, especially if used with the camera flash. Contax made an awesome P&S camera, too.

      Not sure which my favorite is. Perhaps the Madonna, but I also like the old woman’s backside on the $5 Psychic and the textures on the road in the Dodger Stadium shot. Film is so rich in texture, and texture is something I really love to work with in all my photos. (It’s no wonder, really, that I’ve yet to take a digital photo I’m happy with.)

      One of the joys of these urban runs is the density of visual information, especially when you’re on the street with it. I like to find a stretch that I’m going to travel often, and I challenge myself to see as many new (to me, at least) things as I can on each run/walk/trek. It’s one area where street runs have trail runs beat, imo. Trail runs are more about a panorama, and a union of things; the trail, for me, is best viewed in its entirety. The views on urban runs are about contextual clashes and contextual redefinitions, about details; it falls apart in a big-picture view.

      Reply

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