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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Let me first begin by describing just how frustrated I am.  Yesterday I had a challenging long run of 12.47 miles from Fort Funston to the deYoung Museum and back.  I used my normal gps application for my iPhone, RunKeeper, and my Garmin Heart Rate Monitor.  Had some curry chicken katsu in Daly City, drove back to the City and had a really nice recovery spa at Kabuki Springs.  Wore my Garmin while I had my spa, get home and there is water underneath the crystal and a small crack.  I just threw away the box for the Garmin last week so I can’t return the unit to Target, and I’ve been on the phone with customer service for Garmin all morning.  I’m waiting for the representative who helped me call me back.  Garmin is going to give me a “good will resolution” and replace the watch even though I got it wet.  I thought it was water proof but apparently its just water resistant.  I have an active lifestyle, I train hard and I need my gear to be able to keep up with me.  This Forerunner 50 didn’t.  It wasn’t a huge investment but I need my HR monitor for training.  Lesson learned–its not safe to wear accessories in the spa, one should be fully naked.  However, I’m concerned that I’m a little more pissed over this than I need be.

But as far as the run is concerned it was ok.  Couldn’t classify it as epic because it is along one of the most boring trails that I run.  Long run scheduled and I didn’t want to pay a bridge toll or a park fee so since running at Fort Funston was so thrilling a few runs back I decided to start from there and go down the Great Highway and loop it through Golden Gate Park.  Strapped on the heart rate monitor, for probably the last time in awhile, geared up with a tank over a long sleeve technical t and tights to complete that streamline wind protection.  2nd oldest pair of Adidas: I need new shoes.  Started along the trail headed north past the Battery and was jumped by a rambunctious St. Bernard puppy.  Fort Funston is dog walk central.  Ran out of trail and had to cross over into a protected area and I felt awful about that, native habitat restoration going on there and I just crushed it, but that was a trail there before.  Then I’m cruising past the Zoo and over to the median trail of the Great Highway running on the side on the bridle trail.

My shoes are flat.  These Adidas Kanadia Trails so need to be replaced.  This sport is starting to be costly, and I am fucking up my money and am broke until payday.  I’m trying to save up for the Gay Games 2010 but am running into setback after setback.  But then that is part of the sport, right?  Gains, gain, plateau, setback, setback, gain, gain, gain, major epic setback.  As in trail running as in life.  Trail running as a sport lets me know that some of it is gonna suck, but overall I have traveled some distance and I have control over most things but really I fuck things up for myself and I’m aware of that.  Gotta be a better friend to myself and stop hiding things.  Oh my goddess, the things that I fuck up for myself are the things that I should be more aware of.  Can’t take credit for being stupid, but at a certain age, change is a concept that when practiced is limited by established habit.

Hopefully I’ll be able to overcome some of that.

Rather boring Great Highway, cross over into the park.  Nice and steady but notice I’m slow but stable. The Museum, The Tea Garden, back along the trail parallel to Lincoln.  Slow, stable. Coming out past the windmill and then a group of teenaged boys running cross country in a pack was enough to motivate me for awhile, but they were fresher and passed me.  Wondered if I kept on running since high school how epic I would be, but thats a causeless fantasy.  Coming to the end of the median on the way back feeling strong, but slow again and had to run alongside the highway as to not go off limits with cars speeding by at 50 miles an hour with my back to them was not my idea of safe, sane or consensual trail running.  At the bottom of the staircase at Fort Funston and was done.  Wanted to walk it out to make sure I cooled down well.  Then the chicken curry katsu.  Then the spa.  Then the #fail.

  • 12.47 miles
  • 2:27:43
  • 11:51 avg. pace
  • 625 ft. climbed
  • 1569 calories burned

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Had the rare opportunity of going to work late on Saturday, so I wanted to finish up the run I started out and back with Oscar the day before by continuing on and looping it through.  I’ve run this route pretty regularly: Ridge Trail, Wine Bunker, Immigrant Point, Connector, Batteries and Bluffs, Coastal, Underneath The Golden Gate Bridge, Historic Battery, Chrissy Field cutting across the marsh, Halleck, Ecology Trail and Inspiration Point.  I also like running out onto the little fishing pier there to see what people are catching and making it look as if I took a swim on the Google Map.  At 5.56 miles, I’d call this course moderately challenging for the hill work and pretty damn beautiful for the scenery.  Its a course to work on my speed.  Still waiting for them to open up the new trail behind the National Cemetery which will take about a month to complete.  They are thinning the trees and widening the course so it will be ADA compliant, looks like, if you had some mag wheels on your wheelchair.  This course I’m really familiar with and am never bored doing.  There is enough trail over in the Presidio to get creative, one  just can’t mind too many hills.

  • 5.56 miles
  • 1:07:35
  • 12:09 avg. pace
  • 750 feet climbed
  • 767 calories burned

I have a best friend at work, Oscar, and I always try to get him interested in trail running.  Oscar usually goes and works out at the gym, primarily weight training, but he started working out on the treadmill and I’ve been encouraging him to run more.  I even got him to buy some trail running shoes from the Adidas Store after he came into the shop complaining about soreness and I diagnosed it as shoe.  He’s been saying that he wants to go running with me one day, and finally last Friday that opportunity presented itself.

I thought I was going to go run at like 7am so I woke up and texted him but he never texted back.  You know I’m a slow starter, so it really wasn’t until 8 and I was out the door and Oscar called and he wanted to run.  So I clean the water bottles, newspapers, plastic bags, cassette tapes and other crap that resides on the passenger floor of the Contour and drive to pick him up on 18th and Church.

He forgot water, so we stopped at a Chevron on Fell so he could pick up a liter. Drove out to the Presidio Golf Course clubhouse, parked and I described the route that we would be doing while we were getting our gear set up.  I took Oscar on my original training run in this regime: about 2.75 miles out and back to Immigrant Point.  Oscar explained how he was nervous, and I told him don’t worry about it, if you need to stop we stop.  We’ll just take it easy and get it done.  Then he was exhibiting guilt for smoking a cigarette and I did not dissuade him to stop but rather encouraged him to enjoy it.  I remember how nice those pre-run cigarettes used to be and the post run cigarettes, delicious. Coincidentally, its been just over a year since I ceased smoking by doing the drug Welbutrin to kick my addiction.  I didn’t need my iPod cos I was going to talk to Oscar for the run.  First time running with someone I know.  I found myself liking it.

When one has a pastime that they derive so much pleasure from, its hard not to feel proprietary and proud and that described me as I took Oscar on the trail.  The impressions that I usually internalize I was able to verbally share: the mist through the eucalyptus and limited visibility or the magic of a muddy course.  Oscar was impressed about how different running outside is from running in the gym and each positive comment from him further crystallized my love for my sport.  I’d describe what was coming up next on the trail so he could know how to prepare and when we got to single tracks I fell behind him letting him set a pace.  Oscar held up well, and I was really proud of him.  I thought how these first 2.75 miles were a challenge after my downtime and now just 5 months later I’m doing half marathon distances for training.  We passed the Wine Bunker and I told him how the playground reminds me of Terminator and by then we were halfway finished, at Immigrant Point.

I couldn’t help but get into personal trainer mode.  Its a mode I rather like being in seeing as I train myself and I think what I’m doing is pretty successful for me.  Coach K.  I wanted Oscar to sprint on the downhill trails on the way back and recover on the uphills.  I wanted Oscar to feel the freedom that I do descending at breakneck speeds at the limits of ability, strength and agility while screaming at Gravity in the face, denying her her attraction and keeping myself aright.  I wanted Oscar to get a taste of what I enjoy on a regular basis, hook him and addict him to the drug and joy of trail running.

  • 2.72 miles
  • 0:32:47
  • 12:03 avg. pace
  • 277 feet climbed
  • 377 calories burned

Lately I haven’t been knowing where I’d be running. I’m still in this program of 2 short runs of about 10 kilometers followed by a long run of about twice that.  After that ass kicker on the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands, I was looking forward to doing a short run, something I could accomplish and feel good about.  Its been awhile since I visited Fort Funston and thought I’d may as well start there.  I didn’t really want to pay for park fees or bridge toll, so this was a good course.  I had planned on going and running down to Ocean Beach from there and do a loop of about 6 miles.

Fort Funston is a hang glider spot more than a surf spot.  Hang gliding is so ’70’s I love it and one day I can see myself doing it.  But then you know I have an aversion to expensive sports, although this one, trail running does have costs which add up.  It was a cool foggy day with an ocean breeze: perfect day for hang gliding.  I prepared for it by suiting up in the tights and the long sleeve Reebok technical shirt.  I explored around the parking lot a little bit, looking at trail markers, park info, and found an observation deck and I decided to go there and stretch.

I get out and I see hundreds of dolphins off shore cavorting in the surf.  I was so amazed, it was a dolphin show.  I regretted not having a camera with a zoom or my field glasses.  The pod was moving in a southernly direction, so I looked down there and saw a trail and decided to run as far down the beach as I could to catch the dolphins.

Sandy trail takes one down to Thornton Beach.  Was pleased that the tide had gone out and hard packed wet sand on the shore was nice to run on.  Saw ruins of a pier passing by and then the carcass of a seal.  Further on I could see a promotory in the distance and before it an outcropping in the shallows with an assymetric figure on the top of it.  I started noticing sad balloons, popped and deflated tangled in ribbon and string that probably floated to the beach from the zoo.  I thought to start a cause and call the zoo and have them stop selling balloons because they harm marine life.  Then came across a whole lot of chewed up jellyfish washed in with the tide and another carcass of a seal, this one a baby, missing its flippers, bitten in half at the guts.  The choppy waves looked red as if the sea were of blood and I had to stop and take a picture of that.  Continuing on down the beach, I came to a sea wall constructed of boulders with a path above it, so I scrambled up it to continue down the trail.

This path leads to a chain link gate that is opened.  There is a promontory with a huge arch blasted in the rock, something that must have been done for egress for coastal defense.  The outcropping in the sea was a pelican rock and the assymetric figure some broken, abandoned sign.  Making my way back, a little tired, couldn’t outrun the waves so had to finish in wet shoes.  A flock of comorants were squawking and diving from where they circled above a school of fish.  I thought to myself, could I have mistaken these birds for dolphins?  But I realized it doesn’t matter if what we see are illusions or delusions. We still respond to them. They still require us to act.

  • 6.59 miles
  • 1:22:27
  • 12:31 avg. pace
  • 717 feet climbed
  • 913 calories burned

IMG_2259Sticking with the training and a scheduled long run.  Problem was I didn’t really know where to run that day.  Heard rumors that the weather was going to be nice so I got out the cooler for a post-picnic at some beach.  Realized I had a great time in the Marin Headlands, so I printed out a map of the trail system there and plotted a course.  I wanted to start at the Miwok Livery and head to Muir Beach and back up ridge trails named for mid sized carnivores, but as it turns out I couldn’t drive to the stables.  The road ends at Rodeo Beach and its all trails from there.

Fortunately trail heads are clearly marked, so I walked up to the barricade at the road closure and looked at the marker that read Muir Beach is 5.5 miles north on the Coastal Trail.  An 11 mile out and back.  Perfect. I went over to the posted map to get an idea of the landmarks and trail junctions to expect so I could stay on course.  Was quite cool, and chilly in the morning at the beach around 9:30.  Fog, mild breeze with chill condensation.  Misty visibility of about 100 meters.

Rodeo Beach is a surf spot, and I never bothered going down here because its not known as a nude beach, but the surf was up that day and the parking lots were full.  So many hot surfers going out or coming back in skin tight black neoprene daintily walking barefoot  to cross the scarred asphalt roadway of Fort Cronkhite, long or short boards carried under arm. Or in the ocean, floating in the line up, paddling back to it or riding a choppy wave.  Bathrooms, changing rooms with maybe a shower?  I didn’t go to investigate.  I shot pictures of the surf and got myself warmed up and mentally prepared to scout this new trail.

Starting at Rodeo Beach, the Coastal Trail gradually ascends about 200 feet the first mile and passes Battery Townsley.  There is a side trail which takes one down to a series of batteries that are beautifully camoflauged in lichen and ice plant.  There is a promontory out in the ocean and is positioned in such a way that it creates a whirlpool in the water, a compelling frothy vortex. The trail that leads past these bunkers is a scenic vista that doesn’t continue on so I looped back to the main trail and continued up an asphalt road Past Battery Townsley, up a series of stairs cut out of the local serpentine and at mile 3 came to a convergence of trailheads at an elevation of 900 feet.

At this juncture The Miwok Trail runs west downhill to Tennessee  Cove and the easterly downhill trail is Wolf Ridge.  The Coastal Trail’s broken asphalt road continues upwards at .08 miles to Hill 88.  It was to short of a jaunt to miss out on, so I continued up hill and came to a rusted, open chain link gate, beyond which were the ruins of a helicopter landing pad, barracks and an air control station.  I could see Sutro Tower across the strait, a distant ship on a sea of fog and thought to myself that days before I was looking at it from the summit of San Bruno mountain and how these mountains have become my stomping grounds.  I went to go investigate the abandoned buildings and found that this spot is a haven for taggers and the graffiti in the ruins are top notch; an unexpected street gallery.  I spent some time taking pictures of the art there, impressed by the quality and the content.  I found that this spot was an outdoor echo chamber and had some fun beatboxing a little bit, but couldn’t get my phone to record the delay.

It was time to continue downhill, Miwok trail to Tennessee Valley.  Looking down, oh boy, I knew I was going to regret having to climb back up, but a trail is a trail.  One mile of a  roughly 900 foot descent to Tennessee Valley, where the Miwok Livery is and also Tennessee Cove, then back up the Coastal Trail climbing about 500 feet then dipping down into some old school coastal single track at Pirates Cove. Another huge ascent and then dropping down to Muir Beach where I ran to the end just to do so.

Coming back was going to kick my ass, I knew that.  I was also worried about running out of time, but I figured that if I just kept moving I could do it.  I had a massage scheduled at 3.  I had to walk up the steep ascents and ran out of water in my hydration unit on the way back between miles 10 and 11.  I was thinking to myself that I’d never have to run that trail again, but really I keep thinking I want to.  It took me over 3 and a half hours to get the job done, but as far as this routine with the long runs I will definitely be back to challenge myself on this awesome hill course.

Went to bed cranky as hell and woke up feeling settled but still nasty.  I realize its because I miss Ionass and have been dreaming about him and thinking about him constantly.  What’s really going on is that it is now just about the year anniversary of when we split up.  I know he’s not coming back, but my body and my heart feel his absence.  I’m also menstrual, on the rag.  So my ovaries are acting up making me a bitch all around.  I can handle it, I’ll get through it.

It especially sucked because rather than sit around the flat tweeting grumpy, I went out to Chaps II for what I don’t fucking know.  Call it a drink.  My mood was made more sour when the bartender looked right through me and told two guys behind me that they were the hottest guys he’s ever seen and would give them a shot if they took their shirts off.  Hey, bartender, I’m sitting right here with my shirt off, where’s my shot?  He reluctantly ceded me a shot and I cheered with them, but still was in a funk and I still would like to know how somebody can fuck up a vodka soda.  I put on my shirt and walked home.

Woke up and deleted my worse tweets and admitted to myself what this is all about.  Had some coffee and drove out to San Bruno Mountain to run the Ridge Trail.  It was clear on the ridge with fog below, I’d be running into the mist.  Started out in my new SuperNova shorts and my Adidas tank, but about 6 minutes in discarded the shirt.  I was having some trouble breathing.  It felt like I had asthma, or had smoked too much the night before but I think the shortness of breath is a symptom of my clinically diagnosed broken heart.  I eventually worked it out.  I passed a foraging skunk, sped by, then hit the mile marker quite rapidly.  The 2 mile marker came up even faster and I was surprised I was only 26 minutes down the ridge.  Curious about how this trail bottoms out I continued down the ridge.

It got steep and I knew I was going to regret this coming back up, but was starting to already regret it on the way down.  San Bruno Mountain is an ass kicker and the Ridge Trail is the most difficult part.  If I felt as if I wasn’t getting a good workout by mile 2 but this portion of the trail outside of the boundaries of the park assured that I did.  I turned around at the 32’nd minute because running down a hill  that disappears and straight down is nothing but  freeway isn’t gonna do much for my fitness.  I turned around and came back, having to walk portions until I got up to just before the 2 mile marker and was gassed.  I ran the ridge trail back up to the summit poorly, pushing my shadow ahead of me when I could but I was proud I got this done.

  • 5.44 miles
  • 1:17:33
  • 14:16 avg. pace
  • 1,114 feet climbed
  • 787 calories burned
  • 138/161 avg./max bpm

Mercury Retrograde in full effect. Thursday I tried to return my Adidas Kanadia Trail 2’s back to the Adidas Store in the Westfield Center.  I didn’t have the receipt but had the box because I was going to use it to sort bills.  I came to the conclusion that those shoes sucked and weren’t going to get any better so I wanted to at least get store credit.  I brought the shoes to work in case I had some time in the afternoon to go to the Adidas store and exchange them.  I got there and asked the shop clerk that I would like to return these shoes and I don’t have a receipt and that I performed in them.  She was all, “hold up, wait a minute! You come in here with these shoes in a Nike bag, with no receipt and they’ve been worn and you want to get your money back?”  She scolded me and shamed me into wadding up the Nike bag and stuffing it into the cargo pocket of my TDU’s.  She gave me a scathing look and disappeared into the managers office.

I was duly chastised and she came out and said that after speaking with the manager and without a receipt and because the shoes had been worn she couldn’t  do much for me.  I appealed, “…listen, when you buy products from Adidas online they have a satisfaction guarantee.  I’m a competitive runner and I don’t buy these shoes to look good walking down the street, I buy these shoes to win races.  These shoes under performed.  I shop here all the time…”

“I know that.  Hold up, let me see what I can do.”   So she disappeared back into the managers office to plead my case.

She came back out with the manager and he was willing to work with me and explained that if I could come back with a statement showing when I bought them that he could do a receipt search but could only provide an in store exchange on the same day.  I was, “Great.  I just live right around here, I’ll be back in 30 minutes,” and was already scoping out what I would get from the shop.  I leave the shopping center and stop to think if I could just pull up the date using the internet on my phone, but thought better of it and decided to go home and print it out.  Get to my front gate to realize I had left my keys in the drawer of my station back at work.  Go to work to get my keys and print out my statement at the front desk.  Go home and get my bike and go back to the Adidas store.  Realize that the date that the charge cleared was not the date that I bought the TR 2’s and the manager was looking through the cash register data base for it and couldn’t find it so finally he gave me  store credit.  Mercury Retrograde means we keep moving backwards.  An apt demonstration of that remark.

So I came back with new gear.  I got a light, zip up technical jacket, the Gazelle Wind Jacket, size Small marked down from$75 to $52.50.  The credit I had was $49.99 plus the tax so this was the perfect exchange and now I’m getting into winter gear which is what I was planning on sorting out in the exchange.  Then I came across a pair of  Supernova Split Shorts in black with a super nova detail on the side and a zip pocket at the tail that I just couldn’t pass up marked down to $25 and a size large.  With a 1.5″ inseam, plenty room to move and a nice loose perforated liner to help keep my junk cool.  Spent a little extra money, but I think I really needed to upgrade on the shorts so I look good and feel good on the trail.

So on Friday morning I wanted to run someplace where there would be alot of people recreating to show off my spiffy new gear.  We are having a heat wave and San Francisco is hot.  I ran from Upper Fort Mason to Fort Point.  I wore my Supernova’s with my Gazelle and my oldest pair of Kanadia Trails, which need to be retired as soon as a replacement is acquired.  The weather was great and it was already hot at 8 in the morning so I didn’t even have any pretense to wear a shirt. I just warmed up and left my new wind jacket in the car, strapped on my heart rate monitor and hydration pack and ran to the bathroom to take a dump before the vagabond who regularly uses it first thing when it opens got in there before me.

I had a great run, recorded some nice splits and just soaked up the day and the great morning.  When I was done I shot some pictures of what’s growing in the Fort Mason Community Garden and found a pumpkin patch.  My old shoes definitely felt old, but the new gear looked and felt new and I felt hot.  I was experiencing some inner thigh chafe from the long run in the Marin Headlands and since I’ve been powdering it down its getting better.  Finished up my run and headed off to work.  I forgot my little bike at work, but the Nail Ninja fell in love with it after riding it around SOMA on some errands so I ended up selling it to him for $65 and now it no longer clutters up my foyer.

  • 5.98 miles
  • 1:01:06 (57:27)
  • 10:13 avg. pace
  • 263 feet climbed
  • 809 calories burned
  • 147/160 avg./max bpm

Epic. I had all day to do just one thing but it took a while to get my shit together and still be able to hit the trail while it was still morning. Enough shit done, I packed a cooler with a water bottle of ice, a couple of cans of ginger ale and a quart of tea I made the night previous because after I did my long run in the Marin Headlands Wednesday morning I was going to have a picnic at Black Sands Beach.

Had to get gas down the street and it was $3.21 a gallon. Drove to the Marina Safeway and got a bento of California Roll sushi and three fried chicken wings. The deli couldn’t scan the code for the chicken so I got them for free and ate two of the hot wings right out of the bag before I got into the Contour.

The fog had me going, I couldn’t figure out what the weather would be like and pessimistically, I thought it would be worse. It was still and muggy in the Marina, a hot mist. Driving over the bridge the fog looked like it was going to fuck my beach day. Driving up Conzelman Road in the Marin Headlands was like driving through a cloud. I couldn’t even see the water down below the bluffs. A black vulture emerged then disappeared back into the mist as I drove down McCullough to park in front of the warehouses across the road from Rodeo Lagoon.

Because the lagoon is open to the sea, the ocean wind flows straight to the trail head. It was quite cool when I went to go check the maps to confirm and lock in my route. I was planning on taking Miwok then cutting west down Old Springs which at the Miwok Stables ascends as Marincello connecting to the ridge at Bobcat to Alta and finally descending down Rodeo Valley to finish the loop. Using my fingers as calipers I estimated that this would be a 10 mile loop. As it turned out it was only 8.82 miles which I completed in 1:41:27, not counting the time that I stopped to take pictures on the ridge.

I suited up in my second oldest pair of Kanadia Trails, my old Adidas baggy running shorts and visor plus the North Face t. I kept my Nike Vapors in my CamelBak because it was so misty in the valley I couldn’t see the summits above. The Adidas shorts were a nice change, lots of room to flop comfortably, unlike the tights or the Nikes, but its probably only safe to wear those on a less traveled trail. Once I got into the protected valley, I realized that a shirt was unnecessary and irksome so I stopped to strip it off and stowed it in the compartment with my hard shades case. 10 minutes into the trail, I spot a coyote foraging in the field. I stopped the GPS on my phone so I could take a picture of him and at first he ignored me but became so annoyed he trotted off. I thought to myself how the coyote’s coat resembles all of the fur, scales and feathers of all the little animals they eat and the larger kills they scavenge: greys from mouses, beiges and whites from bunnies, silver from lizards, red from deer and blacks from the headdresses of quail. That communion over, I continued up Miwok, running as naked as I was legally comfortable doing.

I hit Old Springs pretty quickly and was relieved to know that I would avoid the steepest portion of Miwok. The Old Spring is exactly at mile 2 from the Miwok trail head and it is represented as an old, white, PVC pipe that goosenecks out of the ground and trickles down a gulley. I had to stop and taste, cautiously, for I don’t know the source or quality, but the water was fresh, cool. Old Spring’s trail is single track with beautifully decomposing wooden bridges built to cross over where the spring’s waters flow. Park Service had installed wooden beams in the trail to prevent erosion and they were spaced just widely enough that I could glide and propel quickly down the trail at full throttle. I ripped it, yelling to keep my balance and startled two lady hikers. The Miwok Stables were before me and I was loving how rustic it was looking and enjoying the horsey smell and thought that right here would be a good staging area for exploring new trails in the Tennessee Valley.

Old Springs does not loop. The trail that takes one back up to Bobcat and the ridge overlooking Gerbode Valley is named Marincello. This is a trail that takes one up a southern ridge so that at the summit, which connects to Bobcat to the southwest is Mount Tamalpais and below, Tennessee Valley. Richardson Bay is in view with boats in harbor. This looks like an old well traveled trail with old oak trees and pine. A lush habitat as it is protected from ocean wind and gets Marin County heat. The downhill at Old Springs allowed me to recover and I was out of the mist and into open sun my mood was lifting as I powered up the hill, then my power song, Ain Elhoim by CELTIC FROST played on my shuffle:

Lay thy hand on the neck of thine enemies.
Devour their flesh with thy sword.
Bring down the slain from among thine adversaries.
They shall fall to rise no more.
Tetragrammaton.
Thy wrath inflame my passion.
Tetragrammaton.
Against all sinful flesh.
Let thy wrath consume all of thine enemies.
Scourge them with flames of fire.
Lay thy feet on the pile of those slain by thy mysteries.
We shall be cleansed by their blood.
Thus said the Lord: I am Sabaoth.
Feel my holy wrath.
I am glorified.
I cannot be denied.
I am he who is.
Punishment for wickedness.
I am the one you dread.
You are as good as dead.
There is no God but the one that dies with me.
I have no life but the one I take with me to the grave.
We come into this world alone.
And we will die on our own.
I live.
I die.
Ain Elohim.

CELTIC FROST: “Ain Elhoim” from MONOTHEIST (2006 Century Media Records).

…to which, reaching the summit I responded in prose:

Humankind, as we now know it, was created from dust and grease. The dust from the bombardment of angels falling from heaven and the grease from all of the wildlife which burned to extinction in the oily fires of the last apocalypse.

…well, what else would I be thinking of listening to Black Metal and running through an imagined wilderness alongside raptors and carnivores?

I wrote that passage in my phone to remember it, and because I liked it I published it, then shot some pictures of the trail and markers before resuming my GPS and starting down Bobcat to Alta. It was bright on the ridge, so I used the break to put back on my Vapors. At the connection to Alta ran into a guy and his dog and on Alta, an old man hiking with two poles. Out to Morning Sun to catch the view, and in passing thought of carving my user id into the bench there. Then its down Rodeo Valley where I finally realized how much my new shoes sucked compared to these old ones and took the descent down the trail technically and powerfully. Back at the trail head with a really good work out.

Pumped, I said hi to another runner who was watering her dog and asked her where she was going to run. She responded that she had just run up Miwok and back down Wolf Ridge. I told her the course that I just ran, realizing how smug and conceited I must appear to her, especially because when she rolled out in her Mercedes SUV, her license plate read, “DPSEQUN.”

Done, now just cruise to the beach. Driving back up McCullough I was all, “umm, uh oh!” about the fog because it was still high on the strait facing hills, but as I began to descend I got under the marine layer. Parked and looked at the beach and it was brilliantly clear. A buff thug daddy in baggy jeans with his boxers showing and not wearing a shirt came puffing up the trail and went to his old beige and white camper van, opened the back door and pulled out a bag. I got my cooler and backpack out of the Contour, said hi to thug daddy and continued down the trail. Got a short way down and realized that I forgot my sunscreens back up in the parking lot. I retrieved my sunscreens and thought to stuff a throw pillow in my pack so I could really chill down on the beach. When I got to the end of the stairs down to the beach I could see thug daddy walking down to the west end where I was headed, and I was hoping he was gay and was gonna cruise because he was so hot, but it turned out he was a fisherman and was out for a day of sport with 2 or 3 of his friends and family.

So I go to my favorite spot down at the west end, thats where thug daddy and company were fishing off the promontory. I found a nice spot by a set of low rocks, where if I lay down would give me some privacy while sunbathing. I laid out my lava-lava, stripped and got out my bento and bottle of iced tea. There were a dozen pieces of tuna and avocado sushi and by the 7th piece I was feeling full, but wanted to eat the whole tray before it spoiled. Then it was time for a stroll down the beach. I took my phone with me and shot the scenery on the way down to the eastern end. At the stair, I passed a group of hipsters picnicking and they giggled as I was passing by. I was just self conscious enought to think that they were snickering at me. For a moment I thought to myself, “I’ve become that naked old guy walking down the beach,” but really, I think its more important to be a proponent of naturism in appropriate places. Black Sands is a traditional nude beach and needs to remain so for all to enjoy. I passed a gay couple that looked a little tweaked and were setting up a badminton net. I got to the waterfall and shot the water trickling down, thought for a second that it might be better to camp out at this end near the gays, but thought better of it and walked back to my favorite spot.

What a great day for the beach!

  • 8.82 miles
  • 1:41:27
  • 11:30 avg.pace
  • 1,655 feet climbed
  • 1,184 calories burned
  • 144/166 avg./max bpm

Its kind of sad to have a BBQ for your 50th birthday fall at the end of summer and then out of nowhere, thunderstorms.  No one left the cake out in the rain so it didn’t melt and the party was mostly in the garage.  I did fulfill my mission of meeting new guys, but only that.  I’m definitely trying to expand my social net and am working on overcoming my solitary agoraphobic tendencies.  A lonely loner, the man on the mountain comes out of his cave and  he notices, hey, some cute guys down there!

But after that Sunday run in Golden Gate Park, I went to see my body worker and told him how the training was going well and how I got food poisoning in the Castro.  He really sorted me out and even included a moxa box on my tummy and the burning herbs helped restore.  Afterwards I drove out to Guerneville after stopping at Whole Foods to pick up beverages for the ride.  Chad’s place was easy to find, right off of Armstrong Woods Road.  I was impressed with the property: a ranch house that rambles in a valley of redwoods with rusting weight equipment in the carport–a man retreat in the rain forest.  He told me how his grandparents bought the land back in the 60’s and the property line extends all the way back to the ridge.  There are a network of fire trails that connect eventually to Armstrong Woods State Park.  An almost pristine un-trammelled wilderness for a hungry runner.  Fruit trees were planted by the Grandma years back and Chad maintains an organic garden. There’s a dog, couple of cats and 3 boys from teen to tween–spaced in age like the Brady Bunch, but all fair like the Brady girls.

Oscar was straightening the oldest’s hair with a cream solution of sodium hydroxide when I came in.  Chad was roasting pork for his boys and I chilled in the kitchen and had a drink with the adults.  After dad duties were discharged, we rolled into town in Chad’s construction truck to the party.

The birthday boy, Taylor, was turning 50 and his place is right on Main Street across from what all the locals and regulars resistantly still call Fife’s.  Not many people were there, due to the weather I’m sure, but his few guests were well behaved and pleasing to meet.  I allowed a gent named Bryan to insist he knew me somehow.  Oscar, Chad and I had fun for a short time, drank wine and beer, had some pot luck salad (we brought a Thai Cucumber Salad that the 3 of us made together using Chad’s homegrown produce) then sat and shot shit around the bonfire.

Left shortly after that but stopped at the Safeway for some drinkos. I bought a case of Hefeweizen and when we got back to the ranch house I fell asleep before my beer was empty–I did get up at 4 am on Sunday morning and had been going non-stop all day.

A good thing I got that much sleep, I needed it.  I intended to do a run in the Marin Headlands before going back into the City and sparing a toll.  Chad got the oldest son up at 6 am, and I had woken up on the couch just before.  I was eager to get on the road so used the bathroom when it was vacated, put on my boots and t’shirt and gave Oscar a hug while he was still in bed to say goodbye.  Chad offered me coffee, but I was eager to go knowing it would be tight with Monday morning traffic on the 101 and a time crunch to get the trail done and make it to my Docent gig by noon.

It was almost 9 am by the time I got to the trail head and crunching the numbers and estimating the mileage I figured I would be done at about 10:30 on this unexplored trail.  It had rained over the weekend and the track was firm packed and wet.  Totally appealing.  The marine layer was puffing up over the Headland ridges but strayed clear of the valley floor.  I suited up in Nike shorts and layered an Adidas tank under last year’s North Face Endurance Challenge Championship technical t but soon realized I wouldn’t be needing shirts at all, so I stripped  them off and  stowed them in my hydration unit.  Felt much more comfortable then cos the valley was muggy and steamy and protected from any ocean breezes.  Working hard I sensed movement behind me and turned around to see a 4×4 coming up the trail behind me.  I moved to the side and let it pass and got a thumbs up from a grey haired nature lady riding in the back cab.  Made me feel tough so I gave them a show pursuing them up the hill.  Had to work kind of hard because my lung capacity was shot from partying the night before, but soon my body settled down into its rhythm.  Kept climbing higher and higher ascending up and looking down into a mist covered valley.  Eventually I spotted the truck at the Wolf Ridge trailhead and went to read the note attached in the window which said that the occupants were volunteers studying migration patterns.  Of what, I wondered?  Birds?  Small mammals?

Was really enjoying the newness of Miwok.  I made a point to investigate every new trail head that spun off it and kept on wondering when I was going to reach the top.  I was running strong uphill by then and got to a point where looking back, the incline was steeper than 45 degrees.  I came to a fork in the road, one side of which looked rutted out and the other the clear trail.  The rutted out trail led to a paddock that was corralled with a low, white fence. I could make out the silhouette of a gas storage tank and a transmitter tower but could not clearly see a structure.

Eventually I rounded some corner and hit upon the trail marker for Bobcat.  Miwok trail marker was on the other side of the post.  These two  trails, Miwok and Bobcat connect to form a loop.  I was happy now because I knew I had done all the toughest work.  The uphill was out of the way.  Found myself on a ridge overlooking Sausalito and Richardson Bay and it was just too scenic I had to stop for a photo shoot.  The mist was blowing down into the bay revealing and concealing the boats in harbor.  Then I repacked and began the descent down Bobcat.

Miles 3-4 along a ridge with a moderate incline and then picking up speed for miles 4-5 which is much sharper on the switchbacks down.  I wasn’t gliding or flying.  I was working technically on planting and propelling, hitting the ground with a solid side foot stomp and concentrating on elevating through the knees.  Felt really good and finally got to the last mile which is pretty much flat out and concentrated on sprinting and recovering.

That was an amazingly beautiful and challenging course I ran on Monday.  I made it to my Docent gig right on time.  Was kind of slow at the Visitor Center because its pretty much the end of high season.  I used my time to plot a course for today’s long run and I’m estimating its about 10 miles.  What I intend to do is start out on Bobcat and then cut over to Old Springs, which will take me downhill then up connecting to Marincello, Bobcat, Alta and Rodeo Valley.  This is just 3 miles short of the North Face Endurance Challenge Championship half marathon course.

  • 6.16 miles
  • 1:13:37
  • 11:57 avg. pace
  • 1,097 feet climbed
  • 927 calories burned
  • 135/159 avg./max bpm

I got up early at 4 am, couldn’t go back to sleep.  Really, I went to bed early because I cried myself to sleep.  I was thinking about Ionass the last few days and had been texting him and found out he was in Puerto Rico with friends.  Was happy for him, but realized that I’d like to be there with him but it isn’t possible.  Last night I accidentally (at will or subconsciously intentionally?) texted him that I was going to a BBQ in Guerneville with a mission of meeting some new guys.  I meant to send it to ChefJamesO, but it ended up in Ionass’ inbox due to my own user error.  Oh well at least he texted back to have a good time.

I realize its been almost a full year since we split up.  He had been living in New England for a year and came to visit me for Folsom and to pack and ship some of his remaining shit.  We had a beautiful week together and then went on but remain friends.  Still I know I’m not quite over him. He is the 3rd love of my life and I got a little melancholy with longing and heartache and that caused tears. Tears are tears that weep from a torn heart.  Its medically proven that mine is broken but its not a life threatening condition.

So I tried to sleep, but I’m still suffering from a little food poisoning that I got on Friday night at the Sausage Factory in the Castro.  Kermit has it too and the likely culprit is the Sausage Pizza.  Still feel like I have acid reflux of the ass.  Did as well as I could and since it was nearing 5 am I thought I should run.

Stuck to a 2 day recovery and now I’m on my 2 short runs.  Got a breve and drove down to Golden Gate Park for a 6 mile.  Warmed up and waited for the sun to lighten up the sky.  By the time I started, the sun had risen and I could see clearly on the trail.  The Park Service had barricaded my usual start on the paths behind the Academy of Sciences so I had to improvise.  Miles 2 and 3 were strong with sub 9:30 splits.  I was feeling crampy like I had to take a shit, but the bathrooms were still locked so early in the morning.  Then by Lindley Meadow the need was dire and like magic up sprouted 2 PortaPotties off the curb.  Ran to it and they were padlocked.  A passing cyclist motioned up the road and around the bend I could see 2 more, one a roomy handicapped.  The shit was overflowing the rim in the ADA stall so I went to the able bodied outhouse and dumped.  Relieved until I found there was no  toilet paper, so I crab walked across to the handicap stall and they were out too so I ended up wiping my ass by tearing up the cardboard box that the seat liners are packaged in and ruffed up my asshole a little bit. Ouch!

But relieved I continued my run.  Got to the de Young and stopped to photograph a heroic statue in bronze.  I realized that this is how I want my body to look, and what I thought was a fat gut is really not, as this statue is pretty close to my body type and he is filled out through the abdomen. He is thicker muscled and most likely younger, but I think I’m doing good and combating my anorexia if I can look at this statue and think of the model as well proportioned and not fat.  I’ve been pleased at the morphological transformation that dedicated running has produced.

So after shooting the statue in bad light, I walked out the rest of the way to my car and stretched well mindful of not cooling down tight as my body worker suggested I not do.  Had to go to the Castro to pick up a pound of coffee and decided to treat myself to breakfast and called ChefJamesO to see if he wanted to join me, but he invited me over and made me breakfast instead.

So now, massage at 1 then that BBQ in Guerneville.  Spending the night with Chad and Oscar, driving back to The City but stopping for a probably longish run in the Marin Headlands up Miwok and down Bobcat. Then I have my docent gig at the SF Maritime.  And then a Giant’s game with my bbgff Connie Champagne. Oh what a great weekend!  Kind of wish I had just a bit more sleep last night.

  • 5.79 miles
  • 1:04:29
  • 11:08 avg.pace
  • 350 feet climbed
  • 835 calories burned
  • 130/150 avg./max bpm