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I had a bonus day off on Friday so I thought to put together a long run in training.  Before I left to run across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Marin Headlands I checked the gym schedule and found that there was a 4 o’clock Iyengar Yoga class, so I packed my gym bag thinking how nice a long hot shower and a nice steam before yoga would be the perfect balm to my body after completing what I figured would be about a 13 mile run.  I set out in my Adidas speedsuit, the burgundy onesie, and was good to go.  I had to stop and get gas at $3.25 a gallon.  Pretty expensive, I only allowed myself 4 gallons at this price and will fill up at the cheaper station.

Free Bridge lot above Fort Point was pretty full, but there was a spot for me.  Warned everybody where I was going by tweeting my intended course, stretched and set off.  Summer brings tourists to the Bridge, so I had to stop a bit and wait for the groups to get their digital pictures taken by a friend or family member.  Had to weave through kids and hand holding couples while avoiding getting hit from behind by cyclists.  Pretty congested on the walkway, but happy that people enjoy it so much and the foresight of the designers and engineers who envisioned the necessity of multiple access.

It was misty and tropical.  A Hawaiian weather system clashing with an Alaskan.  San Francisco was caught in the middle.  A light ocean breeze on the exposed ridges but none in the protected valleys, and even on the Bridge there was no wind, only a persistent clinging cool humidity.  Visibility was only about 50 feet so I was running in a concentrated bubble rimmed by haze.  Running under cover of trees that were dripping condensation and through the overgrown plantings on the trail combined with my own sweat soaked my speedsuit through.  I ran through a puddle and worried about my shoe getting too wet, but deep in the trail from all the water from the plants I ran through my Adidas Marathon 10’s became soaked anyway.

My trail yesterday took me on the Coastal across the Bridge and then I hooked up with the SCA Trail in the Marin Headlands.  I’m simultaneously running portions of the Bay Area Ridge Trail in doing this and I need to make a conscious effort to run the whole BART one day in my trail running fantastic projections.  SCA Trail hooks up to Alta and I’m excited by this because I’ve only run it the opposite way and this is my first time down it.  I come to a trailhead and make very sure that I’m getting on Bobcat and not continuing down Alta.  Up Bobcat a male cyclist in canvas shorts on a rented bike asks me how to get down to Tennessee Valley.  I regret not having brought my map like I intended, but I tell him its Bobcat to Miwok and down Old Springs.  This is the route I took before, but then I recall that Old Springs has staircases.  He’s all, oh no there’s a way down there, I couldn’t go the way I wanted because the road is closed up there… Where exactly the road was closed wasn’t clear to me then, but became evident 6 miles later.  His pale white form rides into the mist and eventually I catch up to him at the next trail head.  He’s stopped there trying to put together my bad directions which is frankly quite obvious: if you want to get into a valley, there is no sense riding up hill.  He’s at the trailhead for Marincello, and I tell him, Marincello is the way you want to go.  In fact that is where I connected the trail before: Miwok, Old Springs, Marincello, Bobcat, Alta, Rodeo Valley.

He goes his way and I continue up Bobcat.  The trail splits, Bobcat goes up over a summit where there is a white fenced stable or radio tower, I couldn’t tell in the mist.  Miwok is north via a short connector.  I take Miwok to stay on course and it circles the summit and when I get around see that there is a short single track, more of a rut really that connects Bobcat on the other side of that summit.  Soon I’m descending Miwok and it is super steep.  Because of my strained back I don’t haul ass down the trail but try to restrain without over braking.  I pass Old Springs trailhead and stop to soak it in and remember it as well as the Wolf Ridge trailhead.  continuing down Miwok I’m amazed that I ran up that steep bitch of a trail and honestly I felt quite proud of myself for doing so last year.  Then I’m down in the valley where Miwok and Bobcat meet up.  From memory I assume I go up Bobcat and pick up the Rodeo Valley Trail and from there am able to cross over and back to the Coastal Trail, but I don’t have my map and I’m feeling lost.

Heart pumping from the descent, I decide to cool off a bit and pull a pear from my pack.  I’m getting confused and this is causing me stress.  Whatever I do, I don’t want to have to run up the Rodeo Valley Trail.  But before I even finish my fruit, the trail splits and I’m making my way to the Highway.  I see a trail marker and I investigate it and its a trail to the Golden Gate Bridge, next to it, however, is a sign stating a road closure, but deciphering the legend it says it is not a full closure, just expected delays.  I continue up, and the Upper Fisherman’s Trail to Black Sands Beach is fully closed and I’m thinking I’m cool and continue up hill.  I’m seriously bonking right now and running out of fuel, so I pretty much just hike up this connecting trail.  I come to its end and at McCullough and Conzelman and the road is closed.  There are two mountain bikers and a construction worker up there and the worker is telling me no pedestrians are allowed to go down the road only cyclists and cars.  I had to get black and ask what the consequences were and eventually he relented and I was able to follow the pilot truck down the hill and run on the shoulder.  I was not going back up Rodeo after all that, I was seriously gassed.

My heart rate was seriously spiking coming down that road with all the construction trucks.  Another worker radioed ahead that he had a runner coming down and that made me feel proud of myself, I’m breaking trail baby.  Then its the turn off for the Coastal Trail through the trees to the Bridge and I’m so almost there.  The Bridge is just a gradual slope and then down.  Even more congested than when I started.  The toll booth clock says its 3:35 and I’m thinking I can just make it to Yoga, but when I get to the Contour I realize that its quite impossible and some vodka, soda and lime at home with a roasted chicken sounds alot better than another 1.5 hours of working out.  I’m content to drive home after my near 3 hour run and when I get to my flat my gym bag is sitting on the bedroom floor.  I had forgotten it and wouldn’t have been able to do yoga in my sweaty speedsuit anyway.

  • 4 July 2010
  • 12:37 – 3:57pm
  • 2:58:02
  • 12.90 miles
  • 13:48 avg. pace
  • 4.35 avg. speed
  • 2230 feet climbed
  • 1887 calories burned
  • 153.2 lbs.

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