Graveyard Run

I woke this morning still feeling really good about yesterday’s fantastic workout in the pool, and I wanted to have another fantastic workout.  Why not shoot for two in a row?  Time to go running!

Since I implemented some my new running guidelines a few weeks ago, one of which dictates that I need to switch up my running locations and head out of my gloomy neighborhood, I thought it’d be a good day (i.e. overcast) to re-visit one of my old haunts.  The cemetery.

Valhalla Memorial Park is a cemetery on the Burbank/North Hollywood border that’s about 1 block from my old apartment, and when I was living there, I’d go walking in it just about every weekend, as it’s quiet, peaceful, big (63 acres), and very convenient.

It also has an interesting history:  It was founded in the 1920s, and soon became a tourist attraction due to regular concerts that were held on the lawn and broadcast on the radio.  The heyday was short-lived, though, because less than 5 years after opening, Valhalla’s founders were convicted and jailed for fraud – they had sold the same plots multiple times (some as many as 16 times), swindling $3 million – in 1920s dollars! The cemetery was taken over by the state, and was bought in the ’50s by the Pierce Brothers, who still run it today.

There’s a memorial honoring many of the aviation pioneers that are buried there, complete with a scaled-down replica of a space shuttle:

Aviation used to be Burbank’s largest industry (along with entertainment), and a lot of airplane companies and factories were located here – Lockheed, during World War II, employed nearly 100,000 people at its Burbank facilities alone.  One of the pioneers buried here is Augustus Roy Knabenshue, who, in 1904, became the country’s first blimp pilot, and, in 1912, started a passenger blimp service that took people between Los Angeles to Pasadena.  If only I could take a blimp to get to Pasadena now!

There are also a few celebrities buried here – including Oliver Hardy (of Laurel & Hardy fame), pro wrestler “Gorgeous George” Wagner, and Cliff Edwards, who voiced Jiminy Cricket.  (I haven’t seen any of their tombstones, I’ve just read that online.)

There’s also a big fountain I like:

Sorry to bore you with a history lesson, but is the sort of stuff I love knowing about!  But the history lesson is over.  Let’s get to my run!

Despite walking in the cemetery many many times, I’ve never measured any mileage before, so today, before getting out the car, I reset my trip odometer, and drove around the outermost paths, and found out that 1 loop around the whole cemetery equals 1.8 miles.

Figuring out the mileage before starting a run actually represents a significant change – my normal M.O. has been to go running, and then, afterwards, figure out how far I went.  But knowing the distance before getting out the car turned out to be a smart move, because I was able to set a goal.  I decided I would shoot for 2 loops (3.6 miles), and, if I was feeling good, I’d go for a 3rd loop, bringing it to 5.4 miles, which would be my longest run to date!

I started my run, and knew early on that I’d be able to do that 3rd loop.  I felt good.  It was brainless running – I was practically alone in this giant cemetery (just me and some groundskeepers collecting flower bouquets that had died), I had my route, and I didn’t have to worry about traffic or crosswalks or stoplights.  The time flew by!  Before I knew it, I was finishing the 2nd loop, and excited to push through and do it a third time.

When I looked at the clock after finishing that 3rd loop, I saw that I finished in 57 minutes – so time to update the chart!

  • 9/21/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 41 minutes.  MPH: 4.53
  • 9/27/10: Distance: 3.3 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 4.4
  • 10/5/10: Distance: 3.2 miles.  Time: 40 minutes.  MPH: 4.8
  • 10/12/10: Distance: 3.8 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 10/16/10: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Forgot to note time and MPH
  • 11/1/10: Distance: 3.1 miles.  Time: 36 minutes.  MPH: 5.16
  • 11/6/10: Distance: 5.1 miles. Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.1
  • 11/14/10: Distance: 3.9 miles. Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.2
  • 11/28/10: Distance: 4.2 miles. Time: 46 minutes.  MPH: 5.47
  • 1/4/11: Distance: 3.0 miles. Time: 34 minutes.  MPH: 5.3
  • 1/24/11: Distance: 4.4 miles.  Time: 45 minutes.  MPH: 5.86
  • 2/1/11: Distance: 1.9 miles.  Time: 20 minutes.  MPH: 5.7
  • 2/9/11: Distance: 3.5 miles.  Time: 38 minutes.  MPH: 5.52
  • 2/16/11: Distance: 2.9 miles.  Time: 33 minutes.  MPH: 5.28
  • 2/27/11: Distance: 5 miles.  Time: 60 minutes.  MPH: 5.0
  • 3/3/11: Distance: 5.4 miles.  Time: 57 minutes.  MPH: 5.13

Very happy with today’s run.

Oh!  I’ll end with a reminder, and a question.  First, a reminder to enter my Birthday Giveaway Contest – there’s still time, the deadline’s tomorrow!  Click here for details and to see what you could win!

Here’s the question:  I’m looking for some new great tunes to add to the workout playlist on my iPod.  What’s your favorite song to work out to?  Leave me a comment!

In addition to lots of pop, rock and uptempo stuff, one of the songs I’ve been playing a lot lately is an instrumental piece called “Nara” by E.S. Posthumus.  It gets me moving.

If you listen to the refrain (which starts at about 1:15 in that YouTube clip), you may recognize it, and that’s because it’s been used in tons of movie trailers.  One time at the movies, I saw two trailers, back-to-back, that used it!  (They were for “The Clearing” and “Vanity Fair”.)  It was also in the trailer for “Unfaithful” and used for the opening sequence of “Cold Case” on CBS during all 7 seasons.

Keep it up, David!

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7 Responses to Graveyard Run

  1. Amy says:

    What about Kanye West’s “Stronger” – somehow the lyrics always help to keep me motivated! Good luck!

  2. Jessica says:

    Way to go!!! That time & distance are something to be proud of! The cemetery is beautiful!

  3. John says:

    SOB! I just closed the webpage before hitting enter!

    Radiohead-Bodysnatchers
    Rise Against – Collapse
    Slipknot – The Nameless
    The Thermals – Here’s Your Future
    Blur – Song 2

  4. Leslie says:

    Excellent! I enjoy walking, I can’t imagine ever wanting to run… too many painful memories from PE classes and the drama/trauma of large breasts bouncing uncomfortably…

    I enjoy 80s tunes as well as modern Christian music, Building 429 has a new single out, “Listen to the Sound” and I think it will be great to walk with.

  5. Sheilah Lowe says:

    What a great run, David!! I love most anything by the Black Eyed Peas!!

  6. Elizabeth Tudhope says:

    I love to end a run with Sober by P!nk. It is my ‘power song’

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