Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Playing and Training Hard

"Karyn what are you doing down there?!"

The group looks up and I recognized two other people, her husband Mike and Jerome, there was also another runner with them who I didn't know.

There's a section of the Dipsea trail that is off limits due to a slide that happened early last year that has yet to be repaired. It's tricky navigating that section especially that there is now a large pipe going through there that you have to scramble over. These days I just prefer to run the short detour on the road that runs above the trail to bypass the whole thing, the same detour that most people use. Besides no one is supposed to be down there, there is a sign informing runners and hikers not to proceed down the trai. I was running with the Northface training group Saturday morning, runners who are training for the 50k / 50-mile event in December. I was supposed to train on the Dipsea again but I decided to join my friend Samantha and get in on the group fun. I was looking for some company on my weekend long run. As it turned out I would have had a lot of company on the Dipsea anyway. There were a good number of runners training on the course for the Quad event, at least for the brief moment that we were on the trail. The Northface group had it's own routes and it utilized part of the Dipsea.

So yeah there I was, running with folks, looking down on the washed out / ruined part of the trail from above and saw these guys clambering over the obstacles. I thought, "must be some of the trail newbies from the group who didn't know you were supposed to take the detour instead", but I was wrong haha! Just a group of ultra veterans ignoring signs and clambering over stuff like kids. We talked for a bit at a trail intersection where our group rejoined the Dipsea. It was a brief meeting and then they took off, they were moving fast. Had I been there by myself I doubt I could have latched on to their train, not after the night of celebrating that I had...oy, more on that later. Despite following right behind them with our group, they were out of earshot in a couple of minutes.

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Admiring the scenery and thinking to myself, "I will never, ever over indulge on wine the night before a long run again, especially one that starts early in the morning". Photo courtesy of Sammy.

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Yours truly, with Keira and Jenny in the background. Photo courtesy of Sammy.

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Sammy and Jenny.

The run itself with the Northface group was a lot of fun. Start / Finish was the parking lot at Pantoll ranger station. There was a water fountain and bathrooms. The coaches had planned out a three loop course, each one exploring different areas and had each loop finish back at parking lot. The weather was foggy in the morning and showers in the early afternoon - great running weather. After two consecutive of weekends of running at Mt. Tam I've decided that for next year I'm going to do most of my training there and take the time to learn all the different trails. I know some but not many. Mt. Tam is further North than my usual training grounds in the Marin Headlands and usually by the time I make it there it's already time to head back to San Francisco. I'll just bus it up there and not waste any miles running from the city to the trailheads. While the southern part of the Marin Headlands is much more exposed, less trees and more shrubbery - which makes for great views, Mt. Tam's trails are tree covered, lush, fern lined in some parts quite technical. I'm enjoying the change of terrain and eager to extend my knowledge of the area. Jan, Feb and March should be wet and cold months, might as well be with the trees.

The birthday celebration the night before was a lot of fun and I was well behaved the whole time. I remember everything:) It was after the party was over however did I sit in the bar and tossed down a few with my friend Karen who was the last survivor of the night. Drinking wine too much too quickly is never a good idea for me but come 6:30AM I was dressed and ready to be picked up for the run. Good to know I'm still not too old to do something stupid and survive it gracefully....somewhat gracefully. It only hurt for an hour into the run but my legs felt tired and heavy the whole time. They are ready for the taper. Recently I've also been working with a great trainer in my gym. She has gotten me off the machines and more into exercises that not only strengthen my muscles but improve my balance and shore up my core. She had me do "air squats" and "twisting lunges" with a medicine ball on Thursday, amongst other things, which I still felt on the legs Saturday. Heck my whole body was still sore on Saturday; arms, shoulders, back, core and legs. She's cute and a taskmaster and I would recommend her to anyone. A big plus that she's also a runner, devising workouts that will hopefully increase my speed and stability. The training sessions was a gift to myself, you know for the birthday thing. It's kickin' my behind big time and I'm excited because every weakness she finds I have an opportunity to address. Fortunately the running on Sunday was better and I got to do a little speed work, got in a few accelerations that felt great.

Lastly, Happy Veteran's day. I have a lot of respect and love for our military, a sentiment that was already there before I came to live in this great country.


  1. Rick, sounds like an excellent birthday celebration, and way to gut out the long run the next day on tired legs! You know, those trails look quite similar to the trails in northeastern Minnesota, as least as far as the terrain and dense vegetation are concerned. You have some beautiful places to run!

  2. Awwwhhh man it looks so purty there *sigh*

    Sounds like a most excellent (and well behaved) Birthday ;-)

  3. How lucky are we to live in this beautiful area, eh? It doesn't get any better than this, I'm sure.

  4. I need to be closer to these type of trails. If you want flat, Delta runs, I've got you covered. Too far from the mountain trails. Sounds like you had a perfect Rick G birthday weekend - wine and running the trails. Good luck with the last couple weeks preparing for Quad.

  5. you have an open invite to run with NF group anytime! it was great having you with us newbies. :) and yes, though i DID complain BRIEFLY, the day was perfect for running. and the company exquisite. have a great time in AZ!

  6. You are getting old, dude, well behaving is not what youth is about, so you're past that stage...but the birthday gift to yourself was a smart one! Cute is always a bonus, you know:) Have fun this weekend!!!

  7. Anxious to see how you do at North Face 50 miler. There will be some fast runners there...but I bet you do well. This is in your stomping grounds.

  8. Well if she's cute she's gotta be good! : ) ; )

    Those pics remind me of Forest Park here in Portland.

    I can only post here at my computer at work...so I better get back to it! : )

  9. Jean: It turned out great and lots of good wine. I don't know if you're a chocolate fan but I also got a ton of dark chocolate. Unbeknownst to me, my friend Jessica who organized the whole thing sent a message to folks to bring chocolate presents.

    Marcy: It's so beautiful and cushy to run on.

    Jo Lynn: Aren't we? I love it here.

    Mike: My weekday runs are flat for the most part. Down the Marina and into Crissy Field, your new favorite running spot:)

    Sammy: It was good hanging out with you guys. I wouldn't have made it out there on Saturday if it wasn't for you. Wha? Jessica was the only one I told of you being a Whiney McWhinerson, haha. C'mon it was fun making fun of you.

    Olga: True, true, it's youth tempered with the experience of really bad mornings:) Looking forward to having fun this weekend, have fun volunteering at your race. Save a massage for me you massage student you.

    Dave: To be honest Dave, I'm going to get the snot beat out of me. These guys showing up are a few levels above me. Plus I'll be tired from the Quad the weekend before, regardless however I'll give my best shot and I look forward to running with the big girls and boys.

    Sarah: Haha, she's a hard ass and I love it. This past Tuesday she could clearly see I couldn't do any more situps and she had me do two more. Or that time my triceps were killing me doing plyometric push ups so she got me doing "dips" right afterwards, working the same muscle group that was killing me. Oy but now I have two complete sets of exercises that I'm supposed to alternate every time I work out in the gym. Both work upper and lower body and address core and stability besides strengthening. Four months of this routine and I may just be faster besides being stronger. I'm excited, I got my homework for the off-season.

  10. I am impressed that you got up early after being out drinking!! Glad you had a good run! Now that you are here you can see why I drool over all of that greenery!