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Just when I pulled into the USS San Francisco Memorial at the Lands End Trail Head, the dolphins were there.  I got excited and shouted out “Dolphins!” and a guy coming up the Coastal Trail stairs was all, “Yeah, a whole bunch of them are out there, must be some good fish!”  I wanted to go back into my car and get a quarter for the coin operated binoculars, but didn’t.  I just observed them and tried to tweet them, but was having trouble with the API.  It was good enough to watch and also to note that today was an epic run and the dolphins and I were on track, converging on each other in a significant moment.

I was scheduled to do the Palace to Palace.  A run I’ve done before, years ago when I was training and smoking.  Approached this trail a little differently and thought to start at the Lands End Trail Head at the USS SF memorial and go up to the Palace of Legion of Honor first and then circling back once I reached the Palace of Fine Arts.  Before I even started I picked up a bunch of bananas at the corner produce store then stopped at the Starbucks at the gas station on 9th Street and got an egg mcmuffin and a breve latte.  I didn’t want to bonk on an empty stomach and this fuel did come in handy cos I made the entire 10.70 mile run with no troubles.

Had a nice long warm up and observed the park service trash truck coonts making drunken observations all sounding fucked up as a constant state of being and then some construction worker jumped out of his truck with no shirt and met his buddies in their coveralls.  Really enjoying the random scene at the lookout point and it was a good place to begin.

Took the back trails up to the Palace of Legion of Honor and ran through its colonnades surrounding the Rodin in the court.  Around the fountain and down El Camino del Mar and through the tony Mediterranian affluent residences of Sea Cliff.  Cutting through to the back gate of Baker Beach and slogging through sand until I got to the parking lot and started up the switch backs behind Battery Chamberlain.  Skipping the Batteries to Bluff stairs in favor of the shortest line, underneath the Bridge and through the tunnel at the Historic Battery and I’m on the stairs down to Crissy Field and the Palace of Fine Arts is in sight.  Made a layer adjustment and continued on at the end of the promenade stopped to take a piss in the Mens at the showers.  There were sailboats parked on trailers for some upcoming regatta.  Then under the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts and I’m on Lyon getting ready to cross Lombard into the Presidio.  Running through the sculptured garden at the Letterman Digital Arts Center and peeking through the windows at the entrance where the Yoda sculpture is to see if my client Matt was in there working.  Up to Presidio Boulevard and cut over to Lovers’ Lane.  Up the incline and down again to Julius Khan park where there is always a Bouncy House on the Lawn.  Connecting to the Bay Area Ridge Trail past the Spire and then took Washington where I cut down to the 15th Avenue gate so I could past the construction on the old Insane Asylum where Allen is the architect.  Then a straight romp on Lake back to Sea Cliff and El Camino del Mar and taking the Coastal Trail back at Eagle Point to go up the stairs where that guy came from who saw the dolphins with me and back to the Contour.

It took me a long ass time, just over 2 hours to complete this +10 miler and I’m trying to think what I can do to run faster.  I’m even tempted to start doing some flat road running out my front door and hope that the trail running goddesses don’t roast me on a spit over their campfire, but I have to anticipate that in Cologne the course is going to be mostly paved.  I’m also trying to think of how to do some more long runs but they take so long to do: an hour to prepare, an hour to commute, 2 hours + to run and an hour to get ready for work.  Run at 5 am, it looks like is what I’ll have to do, but for now I think I should probably do two five milers a 10+ and a recovery around 3.  That’d make about a 23 mile cycle which is doable and increase of 10% with each new cycle.

I took it rather easy on this run but felt remarkably strong.  I only had little breaks but they were important for self assessment and hydration.  My mind was in it today and I felt very focused.  I had been anticipating this long run for months so I was glad I hit it in top form.  Need to run faster is what I keep coming towards.  I also managed to set my heart rate zones between 135 and 153 bpm which represent 75-85% of my max heart rate (220-40=180).  I found myself in the zone pretty much consistently, unfortunately can’t retrieve stats cos website is down at Garmin.

  • 2:14:02
  • 10.70 miles
  • 12:32 avg pace
  • 1,295 feet climbed
  • 1520 calories burned

And just to compare, here is my blog entry of the first time I ran Palace to Palace in October 2006:

Palace to Palace is in the books!
Palace of the Legion of Honor Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

to the Palace of Fine Arts.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

After stretching and warming up to some Hawaiian music, I began my run at 8:40 a.m. at the Lands End trailhead in Lincoln Park. I figured it would take me 2 hours to complete this circuit from Palace to Palace in about 2 hours because I estimated the distance at 12 miles and I seem to be running a 10 minute mile pace. I ran past Eagle Point at the start of the trailhead, past the marker for Mile Rock Beach, cut back up some wooden stairs and switched back over a small wooden bridge and up the trail to where it lets out at the parking lot behind the Palace of the Legion of Honor. This is an uphill grade with the links of the public golf course and the sea on my left, the Palace on my right. Up the wooden stairs that warn “no golf shoes” and down a courseway until I hit the stairs that lead to the gated courtyard of the Legion of Honor with the Rodin “Thinker” sculpture. I hit the Thinker pose, and ran back down the main entryway and sprinted around the fountain and back down El Camino del Mar. This little loop took me past my car where I took off my long sleeve outer layer and drank some water cached behind my front tire. I was feeling a little winded from the up-hills and the stairs during this little loop, but running down hill back to my car, I started hitting the zone and my breathing, heart rate, and stride became synchronized.
I continued downhill through the residential district of Sea Cliff feeling like a yuppy roadrunner. I noticed that o’hia lehua are planted in rows down the sidewalk along Scenic Drive. Cut up 25th Avenue then right down Lincoln Boulevard and through the parking lot for Baker Beach, stopping at the water fountain there to re-hydrate. I noticed the sea lion that was playing with the dolphins the other day, probably hoping to talk to them as much as I do. Then hit a new part of the trail which I haven’t run before, past the battery on the beach and up a winding service road to get back on Lincoln Boulevard. I noticed that the trail maintenance that they have been doing recently on the coastal trail includes route markers to let one know the distance to the next significant scenic landmark. Good work nature corps. Then cut off the trail, downhill through the cypress and past the bunkers to come back on Merchant Road which takes me under the Golden Gate Bridge Through the little garden there and now I’m on my downhill descent to Crissy Field with the Palace of Fine Arts visible against the San Francisco skyline, my Palace 2 halfway mark before me.
Crissy Field is nice and flat with alot of other runners and dogwalkers and early morning strollers there. At the end of the beachwalk there is a bathroom where I take a piss and get another drink from the waterfountain. There is even an outside shower there. Then I cut through the park and The Palace of Fine Arts is right across the street.
I run through the collonades and past a class of elderly sketchers drawing the Palace pond and the mallards and domestic swans lazily swimming around in it hoping that these artists brought them some treats, and finally through until I’m underneath the great dome and yell, “Palace!!” because it is also an echo chamber. I run further along the pond, but can’t circumnavigate it because they are doing a remodel on the east side. I’m halfway and feeling strong. Absolutely no pain and am continuing on in the zone. The flat part of Crissy Field is a breeze, but I’m getting cold so I put on my longsleeve top. I go up a steep flight of wooden stairs that are a part of the new trail restructuring that just been reopened. Underneath a brick tunnel that is cool to run through and finally past the jasmine in the Golden Gate Bridge parking lot. I go take another piss in the bathroom there, but there are no waterfountains, but there is a Bridge cafe that serves water and hotdogs at, I’m sure, exorbitant tourist prices.
Under the bridge again then I’m uphill Merchant Road and just as I am running through the bunkers, my problems start nagging at me. Its distracting and it takes some mental effort to suppress the anxiety and regain my concentration. Thinking about how the dolphins may be at the beach kind of helps to put these fears aside until I can deal with them. Anyway, that mental nagging affected me because I felt like I wanted to puke when I got to the top of the ascent and coming down started to get a stitch in my side.
I took the downhill on the service road really easy until my guts started to feel normal again. Ran on top of the bunkers at the beach through a social trail that cuts through the ice plant and stopped and had another drink in the Baker Beach parking lot.
Familiar territory again and now its all uphill, but its only a slight grade up Lincoln to 25th where it intersects El Camino del Mar, and I realize I only have 6 blocks to go. I pick up my pace a little and get to my car. Woohoo!!! Palace to Palace is in the books!!! I’m back at 10:45, just what I estimated.

I cool down by wrapping myself in a lava-lava and go to Eagle Point to look for dolphins. I do the dolphin call, but only a grey and brown spotted pinniped surfaces to see who’s yelling. Come back and do the nice local thing of taking a group picture of tourists from Nashville and Ireland with the Bridge in the background. It was so misty one could hardly see it on the digital camera’s screen.

Comments:
I’m kind of confused now what to do. This is the longest run that I’ve been on (2 hours) and I felt just as good if not better as I did on my shorter base runs (1 hour, 1.5, and 1.75). I’m gonna have to adjust my program and figure out what I should do. This takes too much time in the morning to make it a regular base. On the way back at the beach I figured I should do maybe 2 shorter runs and a long one at this distance. The next long run will be from Lands End to Fort Funston which is about the same distance 12 miles. Problem is, I’m running out of trails in my city.
Water wasn’t an issue because I knew where the fountains were. And also pissing wasn’t because when I was running where people go there were always going to be a public restroom coming up. The Fort Funston Route won’t have any of these, so, hell I guess I better drink alot the night before and the morning before I go.
My gear was perfect, totally covered and no breakout of hives from cold moisture.

Problems:
Starting is a struggle, but it is good to get those harsh uphills out of the way and then its a long downhill cruise where I get into the zone.
Cold toes came and went, I kind of psyched them away, but I do need a better fitting pair of shoes.
Anxiety sucks! It makes me sick! Running helps to alleviate this but I do need to take care of my shit. Better Life=Better Runs.
That first cigarette I had when I was driving home tasted like shit. I better consider quitting, yet here I am, blogging away chain smoking like a volcano.

Positives:
I did exactly what I intended to do in the time I meant to do it.
Getting encouragement from online friends and talking about my intention with the gang at baytrailrunners.com helped to make it a reality. Positive support=positive results.
I just fucking ran a half-marathon for breakfast!
Scenic natural beauty and neo-classical architecture and sculpture makes me feel like I am an individual of mythic proportions.

Tomorrow, avoid running!

Posted by polynesian_metal on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 – 1:35 PM

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