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Yesterday’s plan was to scout out the course for the 9 mile trail race around Lake Chabot hosted by Coastal Trail Runs, an offshoot of Pacific Coast Trail Runs. Its been revealed that I am a slow starter and as it was, I wasn’t out the door and in the Contour until at least 9:30 am. Thinking to myself, this is good, if I were working, I would have just gotten up about now. Still I was trying to avoid the midday sun but I wanted to be prepared for the course by printing out trail maps and getting good bearings so I wouldn’t get lost.

I had to use the Maps application on my phone as it turned out my Google Maps info I printed out last week was wrong. Drove to San Leandro and took the wrong turn into town, but found a Target and thought to come back later. Reversed my direction and headed east past a Juvenille Detention Center and an Animal Care and Control Shelter, went over a ridge and finally spotted the main gate into Lake Chabot Regional Park. Verified that there was a $5 vehicle fee, a $3 boat inspection fee and also a $2 dog fee, so made a U-turn before the Ranger Kiosk and parked on the street like all the other local users seemed to be doing.

Staged out of the trunk and passenger seat of the Contour. Took off my shirt and used the last of the Aveda sunscreen which I can’t recommend. Found out I had a hydration unit debacle as it leaked out half of its contents through the open valve in the trunk. Fortunately I came prepared with extra water and I had to dig around for something to protect my iPhone from the moisture and found some bio-hazard ziploc bags from a urine sample kit that I always neglect to fill up and drop off at Kaiser. Geared up, I crossed over to the park and tried to get my bearings, looking for a decent trail map posted but couldn’t read it for the glare so I went into the tackle shop and got a park map brochure and figured out where I was and studied it while I took a crap.

Warmed up and stretched on the grassy lawn. Was totally digging the goats grazing on the hill and the Canadian Geese squonking on the grass, but looking closely at the lawn I saw that the geese had shit everywhere and its not a good idea to let my bite valve touch the ground or lay on the grass without protection. Really eager to begin the trail I set out.

My high school buddy Leah had warned me that the trail around the lake was mostly paved. I saw that, and was glad to see that there was just a little bit of cambered bridle trail on the lake side of the blacktop pathway. In some areas the bridle trail was rutted out, so I found myself switching back on and back off from trail to asphalt. Running in my old Adidas felt kind of flat, and dealing with that knee was a constant discomfort but not a debillatating setback. Felt kind of good to actually pound it out on the trail. About a mile and a half I hit Cameron Loop and stopped to memorize the trail markers and a short bit after a left must be taken to cross a wooden suspension bridge that looks like it would single file out on race day. Then the connection is to Honker Bay Trail which is a wide fire road and then a gnarly 500 foot ascent around mile 3 to connect to the single track of Columbine which is truly delicious epic single track trail running. This portion of the course makes the race worth running. I was loving it up there. At a hairpin turn, Rangers were bulldozing the trail and I had to stop until the one in the tractor noticed me. Another shirtless trail runner came up behind with a toy poodle chasing him which got the tractor operator to notice us and let us by. I let the trail runner and his poodle pass me up. I was so impressed by that little toy poodle tearing up the trail with his little legs. So damn cute! Must have been doing 10 minute miles.

Columbine winds and grinds and then lets out to Bass Cove Trail; a wide unpaved fire road. A little bump and an ascent and a decline then its the West Shore Trail and after crossing the dam one can see the Marina and the finish line is in sight.

Running this, I didn’t know so much if I was going to actually register for the 9 mile race, but the closer I got to the finish, the better I felt about it. Worried about money, was wondering if the $30 entry fee would be better spent on new shoes. I think $30 is better spent on getting experience on the trail. As it turned out, I completed the day by getting shaved and faded at Emilio’s Barbershop, then after a fitting at Fleet Feet in the Marina by a cute boy with good, but not clean smelling curly hair ended up getting a pair of Saucony Progrid Trail at the Sports Basement in the Presidio because Fleet Feet only had 1 style of trail running shoe, Mizunos, that probably were designed for people with wider feet than me.

  • 7.97 miles
  • 1:36:10
  • 12:04 avg. pace
  • 958 feet climbed
  • 1091 calories burned


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