Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

Santa Cruz beach: Sun, fun, near death experiences

Today I was stuck in Santa Clara with about 7 hours to kill in the middle of the day, so I thought what better place to go than Santa Cruz? Just a hop skip and a kong over Highway 17 and the beach is there for my enjoyment. Beautiful day for it, and what do I come across just east of the Boardwalk but a seawall made of giant concrete obstacles dumped loosely into the ocean, creating an unrivalled playground for flow practice. The obstacles are these giant tetrahedral concrete things, each one probably 10 feet high and dumped in every possible orientation to create an amazing mixed environment. Not my photo, but check it out:

The tide was much lower than what's in the picture when I was there earlier today (I'm in a coffee shop in downtown SC right now), so only the bottom fifth or so was wet and slipping wasn't a big issue. Still, it's a risky place because if you screw up, there's a chance you're going in the water. I did two and a half runs along the whole thing (I'll get to the half part), moving mostly by tic tacs, kongs, pop vaults, and straight jumps. The feeling of flow was great, because as soon as I surmounted one obstacle, the next was right there staring me in the face. It was like a giant logic problem figuring out the most efficient route. It was true parkour, and a hell of a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, I ruined my own fun in the classic way that fun gets ruined: I tried something bigger than I should have. About halfway along the wall there was an ~7 foot drop, which I though I could break up nicely with a tac off of one concrete thing and down to the next one. I stopped and contemplated it for a while, decided I could do it, and found out I was wrong. I'm not entirely sure what happened, but I lost control after the tac and wound up spraining my right ankle pretty badly. Luckily I caught myself before I slipped down between a few of those big things and into what would have been a much more serious injury. I'm limping right now, but some good old ICE (Ice, Compression, Elevation) have helped a lot. I read somewhere recently (probably here) that most serious parkour injuries happen when trying big things while training alone. That sounds a little too familiar to me right now.

I'm definitely going to have to give this sprain some time, and in the meantime I'll be viewing this whole thing as a lesson in what not to do. Regardless, the Santa Cruz seawall is a must if anyone happens down this way. So much fun, such great practice.

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Comment by Iliketovaultthings on June 7, 2008 at 8:54pm
well, that definately looks like a sprained ankle waiting to happen
Comment by Bio on June 5, 2008 at 9:51pm
The near death was really the second gap below where I wound up that I narrowly avoided falling into, which would have probably landed me in an ER somewhere. I also would have been covered in barnacles and starfish.
Comment by Anthony on June 5, 2008 at 6:12pm
hope you get better, yea i agree with msgr33 i was worried when i read the title o.O
Comment by Bio on June 5, 2008 at 6:45am
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that my original plan was to kick through the concrete thing after landing perfectly, shattering it to a million tiny pieces and covering the area with a fine dust. Then I was going to turn into the Incredible Hulk and use the lighthouse as a baseball bat.

As it went though, I sat down immediately and said something like "That's the end of the day right there."
Comment by SafeNSure on June 5, 2008 at 12:34am
On second thought: were you wearing your power-boots?
Those thing should have pulverized any concrete tetra-pod on your way...

If not, guess who you have to blame?... Lol!
Comment by SafeNSure on June 5, 2008 at 12:27am
...that some annoying kind of relative you've got there!
(My wife is an MD too... I never get away with!)
Comment by Bio on June 5, 2008 at 12:00am
Thanks guys.
I'm definitely not going to make it to GWHS this Sunday, and it'll probably have me out the following week as well, just based on how it feels now. I've got okay mobility, though I'm still limping. My dad and my brother (both doctors) have me worried now that it could be a minor fracture. Jeebus... So I'm going to see about getting it x-rayed tomorrow or Friday.

In the meantime, I'll be working on upper body stuff like Seng suggested. Maybe do a crapload of pushups or something.
Comment by Seng on June 3, 2008 at 8:40pm
Sorry to hear about your ankle- I was dreading from the title that it was going to be something much worse like a head injury. Training alone does have that danger. If you're not too immobile and really want stuff to do, it's not a bad time to work on upperbody strength/coordination or low-to-the-ground, no impact stuff like walking on all fours or rolls. Hope you heal up soon.
Comment by Chris on June 3, 2008 at 5:07pm
Thats a bummer man. But its good to hear you were able to take something away from it. How long do you think you'll be out?
Comment by SafeNSure on June 3, 2008 at 4:51pm
...sounds also like you may have been tired and not acknowledging it due to "overjoy".
Another condition when the most serious injuries happen...

Get well soon!

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