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I got off early on Thursday night and because I was going to Larkspur that evening to meet my old roommate, Hunter, I thought to squeeze in a run in the Marin Headlands where I ran last year’s North Face Endurance Challenge Championship. I got home around 6 and realized that it was going to turn to dusk at some point in my run.  I showered, geared up and packed a canister of pepper spray as a cougar deterrent.  I got caught in Golden Gate Bridge rush hour traffic, driving down Lombard and up Doyle Drive blinded by the low lying sun, the automobiles before me burned out silhouettes.

I got to the trail head, realizing I was falling behind schedule.  I told Hunter that I’d be leaving the City at 8 but really didn’t start until 7:45.  I diddled around with the pepper spray canister trying to find someplace on my hydration unit I could stow it with easy access and wouldn’t have it jangling against me in an uncomfortable way.  I realized I didn’t think to bring any lights.  It was absolutely majestic on Bobcat Trail as I snaked up the switchback turning to look behind me to watch the sunset in the Pacific, blazing the sky and making the golden headland mountains look burnt.  I slogged a bit, walked when I had to but felt my pace was adequate.  I was at Alta Ridge Trail before I realized it and by then the sun was down, the trail just dimly lit.  I stopped to take pictures of Sausalito Bay and the sunset behind me: an orange blaze against the deepest vibrant blue framed starkly by mountains that had turned black.  I was struck  how such complementary colors could exist together without merging into a murky neutrality.

By then Hunter had texted where I was and I messaged back that I was on the trail and would be at the Larkspur Marriot in about 40.  Ridge running through a Eucalyptus grove, the crepuscular trail grew dark brown and moist. Pooled water in ruts revealed themselves as black silver reflections.  Emerging at the top of the Rodeo Valley Trail, the night had grown dark.  I ran blind letting my feet do the seeing.  For the most part I could only differentiate the trail as a smooth shiny strip against the fuzzy silhouette of scrub, peppered with rubble.  I flew downhill averaging 7:31 splits, blind and in terror, not only from wiping out epically but also from maybe being attacked by a puma.  I was thrilled with the anticipation of either and in the tension that exists between surged with emotional rushes signifying love and danger.  I had to remember the pace I was setting because it felt like a personal best.  To make it to the podium in the Gay Games VIII I’ll have to replicate this tempo.  By the time I was back on Bobcat again I sprinted to the trail head in bursts. The evening had embraced full darkness and I was hallucinating figures.

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One Comment

  1. what a great writing and sounds like a great run. Keep up the great work and the great writing. Hopefully that Puma didn’t catch up with you.


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