Happy Valentine’s Day: I’m in love with a park!

There is this secret park in the middle of Los Angeles. Maybe it isn’t a secret, or maybe it isn’t really the CENTER of the city, but it feels like it. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. It just rolls off the tongue! I’ve been here several times on and off through the years, but now it’s exactly at the halfway point of my commute. Lately, I’ve taken advantage of all it offers: tons of moderately hilly, short trail runs, a huge “bowl”–big area of grass (not really common in Los Angeles) surrounded by a mile long paved path, & tons of brand new workout stations. We’re not talking the cheesy workout stations of yesteryear. We’re talking the good stuff– basically a free outdoor gym on top of a hill.

Did I mention the view? You can see all of Los Angeles. The skyline looks amazing from the top of the trails. There is the Hollywood sign and look west…it’s the Pacific Ocean. That’s all. Just ALL OF OUR CITY by turning 360 (new rap I’m working on). It’s not perfect. There are oil wells all around, which remind me of my hometown in West Texas. There is probably fracking happening on already unstable land, so it all might cause an earthquake. I’m reminded of an exhibit at our Petroleum Museum that every Midland kid has gone to dozens of time. You stand on a little square & the ground shakes, showing what would happen during a nitroglycerin explosion. That’s what we did as kids, and it was our favorite part of that museum! But you can’t live in fear, as they say. I still love the park, for all it’s literal faults.

I’ve been stopping there on my way home from work, and the sun is usually setting around that time. You see a dozen other people doing the same thing, slowly trudging along in that post-work workout way…not with the enthusiasm of a weekend hike. But you’re doing it, you’re out there, and that’s what matters. I work downtown, and there is no grass to be found. So to drive twenty minutes or so and be up on this hill, running in dirt, surrounded by nature is the best gift. I ran this week hoping so much that I could make this a regular part of my work week. It wakes me up to everything. It shakes off the feeling of “I really need a nap right now, work was so hard.” I definitely don’t take any bad parts of the day home with me after the run.

I made a promise to myself that it WILL in fact be the normal thing to do–bring workout clothes to work every day & just make this happen. My car is now filled with a variety of clothing–converse shoes, boots, pants, shirts…it’s a mess. I imagine one day I will have a car trunk that is a mini closet filled with a variety of workout and work clothes, so that I can stop my commute anywhere/anytime for a little bit of trail running.

I have my workout clothes beside me this Valentine’s Day, and I’m going to spend the late afternoon with my park. At least my park gives me FLOWERS (or invasive species or weeds or something, I can’t tell).