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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


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