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I have four running tracks within a 2 mile radius and you would think that with four options, there would never be any problems hopping onto a track for a workout. Oh no, not the case here in Santa Monica. What I had failed to realize about Santa Monica was that the running track was considered quite sacred and all shall be barred and locked unless, by chance, they are not (always a surprise). I have rarely found any of the tracks available and had all but given up on the idea of a mid-day track workout but I returned from camp a new woman…determined to find a way.

So, today, off I went on my bike with a backpack full of running gear. Yes, I was going to get on a track. I mapped my route hoping that I would only have to hit one track and could soon find myself lost in the intervals. Track number one, open gates! Yippee. I hop down. Lace up my shoes and off I go. I had the track all to myself with blue skies and sunshine gazing down at me. I was happy – for about 10 minutes. Come around the turn and what do I see? Standing at my start line, a rather large, nasty security woman decked out in badges and walkie talkies glared at me as though she was going to give me the ultimate beat down. I thought about simply sprinting by though I believe she had a stun gun on hand so I bypassed that thought and walked up to her surrendering. She gives me a full body scan and then says Madam (she actually referred to me as madam) , you are NOT allowed on this track. You will leave immediately. I gave a smile and nod but of course couldn’t just leave without some answers…

Why can’t we use the track at this time?
School law forbids the public from using the track unless during public use hours.
When are public use hours?
Unsure. Maybe mornings but not all mornings.
Do you know if there is anyway I could talk to someone and see if I could get a permit or something so I can run on the track mid-day?
I would be the person you talk to and Madam, there are no permits. and there is no running on the track, period. You will never be an exception. Once we let one person come on the track mid-day then everyone will be on the track.
That would be horrible if everyone was running on the track (sarcastically stated).
How can I find out if the track is definitely open?
You must leave now. Off school property.
Ok Sorry.

Yep, that was the extent of the conversation and she actually walked me to the corner and made sure I biked away. I can see it now Run Away Runner Circling Publicly Funded Track. Horrifying. Well, onto track number two. Yet again, the gates are open. I’m much more cautious during round 2 of track running. I scanned my surroundings searching for any signs of security or stun guns. All looked clear and I jump onto my 400 meter circle ready to go. One lap down, two laps down, three laps…oh bugger, security not looking so happy with me. There is a yell followed with quick paced shuffling This track is not open to runners! Sorry. I didn’t really even say much. I did ask when the track was open to the public and received an unspecified reply I do not believe the public has access to this track. Oh bologna! and, once again, I was escorted off and watched to make sure I bike away but this time the security guard took the extra measure of making sure to lock the gates in front of me. I get it people, I get it. Deep breath. Onto track number three even though, by this point, my motivation was sadly lacking. Track number three: locked. Track number four: locked. Final Destination: home with my pineapple and ended up forfeiting my track workout or any running workout due to frustration and stun guns.

I want to simply run on a running track. That’s all. Nothing more. I want to run in circles…unbothered. I just honestly cannot understand why, at 9am in the morning, all the tracks must be locked, gated, and inspected by stun gunned dressed security guards. It is a track people. A track! Rubber and grass. A circle that is made for running and I, a runner, who wants to run that circle. I don’t get it. I really don’t understand but I shall give it another go tomorrow morning again on my bike and with my backpack. I am still determined though if I happen to get stun gunned or whamboozled then I will, most likely, call it quits on my track endeavors.

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