Sat, Tim and I visited the Marin Headlands. At Golden Gate Bridge's north
end, it took us a while to find the underpass that led to the SCA trail on
the west side. Upward to the left, the Conzelman road took us to Battery
Spencer, a place which used to host heavy guns. It offered a stunning view of
the bridge from a higher elevation than the popular vista point. It was amazing
that we found it after living nearby for 13 years. We also hiked the SCA itself
to where it joined the Coastal Trail, which gave us each a good sweat. I was
imagining long runs from the Crissy Field on the south end, across the foggy
bridge, uphill, and then down to the beaches. It must feel fantastic.
Sunday felt wrong from the start. I overslept and lingered in bed much longer
and, after getting up, felt groggy. I sat at the desk and didn't want to do
anything. I knew this feeling. It was a virus attack.
So I took it easy, canceled the day's run, turned to the dictionary, did lots
of calf-stretching, and watched GingerRunner videos. By the end of the day,
things improved dramatically. I felt ready. I had two chocolate-chip cookies,
lots of sweet fruits, two cans of sardines, and one fast noodle with lots of
vegetables and double doses of spices.
I woke up Monday morning weighing 150.0 lbs. After yoga and one more cookie, I
put on the hydropack and went out at 7:30am. The plan was to run on the Alameda
Creek Trail, then on the levees, across the Dumbarton Bridge, all the way to
Menlo Park, and back for 27.2 miles.
The sun was already out but the sky was hazy. Very few birds hang around except
for two lone giant pelicans patrolling a salt pond. A little
further from the north end of the Coyote hills, a cone stood in the middle of
the trail in front of a ramp-like structure made of plywood and a sign said:
"Warning: Rough Trail Ahead." Down the road, every little bump or pothole was
circled with traffic-green spray paint and no doubt life-saving intentions. My
thought was "What's the big deal? Is this just to create jobs? What's happening
to the home of the brave?"
It was a warm windless morning. As I left the trail, trotted on the dirt levee,
passed my dueling site with that kamikaze goose a few years back, it felt great.
Avoiding hard-packed lanes formed by bicycles, my feet loved the puffy dirt
cushion. This happy condition lasted for about four miles before I reached the
Scaling the bridge was cake-walk. I focused on breathing and the road
and rarely thought about how much running was left. I found this
practice very relaxing and making the distance feel shorter or irrelevant. I
arrived at the Starbucks on Willow street in good shape.
So far, I had only sipped twice from my hydropack, leaving most of the 1.5L for
the trip back. A short coffee (that broke my three-week coffee fast), one cookie,
and one cup of water with ice refreshed me. I must have sat at the bench outside
the shop for ten minutes.
The return trip was going to be tough. I knew that and was bracing for the
after-mile-20 race but I under-estimated the heat. After the bridge, the
sun beat down full blast. No birds remained in the ponds. No one else was
running and I only met three cyclists. I was lucky that for the next five miles,
I was heading north with the sun at my back. Again, I was very thankful for the
dirt cushion. My feet were faring OK until meeting the tarmac.
As I turned south-east, the next three miles before Union City Blvd was the hardest.
No shade anywhere, the brutal sun launched 100+-degree relentless full frontal
assault. My feet hurt in the Z-trek and the right one hurt more but the worst
was yet to come. After Coyote Hills, the water was gone. I lost my cool and
started to look foward to the finish, which made things unbearable. I never
thought it would come to this but I had to walk. I must have walked more than
one mile before I could assume a form that could barely qualify as running.
The body must have minimized my ability to run to save water. Another evidence
for its intelligence was that no tears came though I wanted to cry. In this
miserable state, I reached home just before 1:00pm. The whole thing took me 5.5
hours and I lost 9.0 lbs. The recovery was swift, however. By 6:00pm, I felt
almost normal again. The improvement on the right calf and foot was evident.