It’s been less than a day since I’ve returned from my weekend escapade in northern California and already I’m missing the beautiful scenery, the cooler climes, and yes even the unforgiving mountainous roads that decorate the Bay coast area. Although I had every intention of running little and blogging lots while I was over there, due to some unforeseen difficulties with the cable service at the summer home we were renting for the weekend, I was left without internet access for the duration of the trip. Luckily, my lack of virtual contact did not interfere with either of my main agendas for the trip (seeing my cousin walk down the aisle and running my epic long run across the Golden Gate Bridge), which means that generally, the trip was a giant success!
The salient non-running highlights from my trip were being reacquainted with extended family I haven’t seen in quite a while, adapting to constant fog and cooler temperatures than I’m used to back home, and relaxing in style servicing as a witness to my younger cousin’s tying the knot of matrimony. In between these highlights, I also visited Sausalito with its picturesque view of San Francisco, ate amazingly fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf and danced the night away at Half Moon Bay. It’s my sixth time to this area within the last four years and everytime I’m here, I’m taken back by the flavorable culture, the magnificent views and the overall grandeur of the area. I can imagine if I was a bit younger, a bit more cavalier or less attached to my family and friends in NY, I could definitely see myself settling down here!
As for running, even though I was anticipating way less than 30 miles, I managed to log 34.7 miles in 3 runs during my trip. Here’s a quick description of my adventures on the road:
8/20 – 7.36 miles (8:15 avg pace): I hadn’t planned on running on the first day of the trip, but since my younger brother offered to accompany me on this short jaunt and I was super excited to check out the new sights, I found myself out on the road within an hour after my arrival at Half Moon Bay. Since I was not familiar with the surrounding landscape, we started by picking a general direction and just running. Unfortunately for my brother, who’s idea of running is two miles max on a college track, he was ill equipped to deal with the steep turbulent hills that awaited us seemingly at every turn. He moaned and groaned with each passing street and slowed the pace tremendously until he couldn’t take the beating anymore. I circled back the same way we came and dropped him off at 4 miles then ran another 3.36 at a much more comfortable pace on my own. Toward the end of my run, I spotted a trail that lead to unexplored wilderness and wondered aloud whether I should check that out the next time I run.
8/22 – 21.06 miles (7:37 avg pace): This was the run I had been anxiously awaiting for so long! After a short rest day, I took the earliest train into San Francisco on Saturday morning and began the same journey I had taken a year ago in th 2008 SF Marathon. Although the day started with wind and fog, I felt comfortable and rejuvenated by the cooler temps as I began my run near AT&T Park. From there, I ran to the Ferry Building, along the Embarcadero, over a steep hill to the Marina, then up through the steep ramp climb to the Golden Gate Bridge, where I crossed, returned and then retraced my steps to the Ferry Building and AT&T Park. Compared to the epic version of this run done a year ago, this year’s episode was a bit more subdued as the temperature never rose above 70 degrees and the sun never made an appearance hiding behind the dusty clouds. Still, the run itself was absolutely breath-taking, especially running on the Golden Gate Bridge under a significant fog. At times, I imagined I was an airplane, fighting through the thick fog. As I ran, I was glad the fog covered up so much of my view that I couldn’t see the water down below and be intimidated. I was constantly reminded of the last time I did this run, in the marathon a year ago. Although most of the details from that race have faded into distant memory, I remember distinctly running along the Golden Gate when night hasn’t yet sold out to day and watching the bay city skyline slowly unfolding in front of me.
8/23 – 6.32 Miles (7:37 pace): I got up the next morning before anyone else and snug out for a nice recovery run at the crack of dawn. Instead of running on asphalt, I decided to tackle the trail I found at the end of my last run here at Half Moon Bay. Although the trail itself was clearly marked, it was situated on a series of hills, which made running quite an adventure and a bit treacherous. Because of the ever changing elevation, I had to slow down my pace quite often. It was quite an effort to scale to the top, but once I paused and look back, the views from the bay was actually quite stunning. I trampled on for about a couple of miles before doubling back to where I had started from. I ended the run with a couple of easier miles on some soft trails before heading home.
Aside from the steady diet of hills and mountains, I really enjoyed running in California! Even though some of the natives tell me that due to the roughness of the terrain, running isn’t as popular in the Bay Area as cyling, I saw many locals out running the same routes I was during my stay. Although I have no immediate plans of going back, I look forward to my return there as soon as I can find another suitable excuse!