Last week, I skipped running from Tue to Sat to avoid bad air and to recover
from the Labor Day long run where I felt punished more by the 100-degree heat
than the 27.2-mile distance. Meanwhile, I kept stretching calves and lifting weights.
In parallel, I was trying to stay away from coffee. After three weeks, however,
my abnegation had not brought much better sleep. I was a little disheartened. I
need to investigate more. It is time to re-listen to "Why We Sleep." In addition,
I ate more carbs, even refined sugar and flour, these days. Chocolates, cookies,
and watermelon seemed to appeal more after each long run.
Overall, my body seemed to respond well to the rest, and on Sun, I went out for
a medium-long run, thinking maybe a half-marathon.
The air was still no good in spite of the optimistic forecast last night and
very few people ventured out on the trail. It was a nice break. Since a large
piece of land east to the hills was developed into new homes in the past two
years or so and families poured in, the trail had become much busier. The
cyclists must have felt it more than the runners. The solution for both groups
was to go further into the bay. Thank God for the exposed and unpaved levees.
The yearly summer visit by the sheeps and goats, however, was not affected.
As in the past, the goats were let loose in a big corral that took a length of
the creek at a time. You could smell them a mile away, grazing nonstop from
morning till night on the lush vegetations at the riverbed. The sheep, as I found
out soon, had a better place to go this year.
I followed the trail toward the sea, in due time turned left into the hills, coasted
down south on the bay side, and within a mile ran into a cloud of white furry
creatures. Thousands of them spread over the slopes, from the ridge all the way
to the water and going the same direction. Some were more timid than others, but
all made way for me. In avoiding me, the sheep proved to be great mountain
climbers, going up 60-degree slopes with ease. I was glad that they were
not territorial and we had no trouble with each other. After the mid-point where
the BayView Trail turned inward, ascending the Nike Hill was a piece of cake.
One limit was again my feet, or the right foot to be exact. Sharp pebbles on
rough trails and loose on the smooth ones gave me a hard time. My sole skin
seemed to improve much slower than other aspects of running. Stretching had
helped greatly, but it had been slow. As for my Xero shoes, the Z-Trail had more
cushion but lasted only about a dozen long runs. The Z-Trek were enduring but
had only 5mm soft soles. If only the Z-Trek were a little firmer! "What does a
pair of sandals made by a Tarahumara from waste tires really feel like?" I
wondered. After all, a 52-year (some say 55-year) old Mexican Indian was able
to win the 1993 Leadville 100 in them.
In the end, it was humbling to admit that after five days of no running, a
13-miler still made my legs sore and my sleep suffer.