Thursday, January 30, 2014

East Potrero Farm Recon

Today: 3
Present: 958
Count: 132

I just wanted to get out onto the road. Out on my feet. I'd been reading about this property over in East Potrero, even walked it. So I ran over to check it out and now want to build the farm. The biggest urban farm.

Blueberry farm.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Maintenance, Lactate Dislodging

Today: 6
Present: 955
Count: 131

I've found this great little six mile loop, up my hill, down around the ballpark and back. Its mostly flat, I can avoid traffic when I need to and just shut it off. Its not the prettiest route in the city but it gets the job done.

But tomorrow, it all changes.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Showing Maura Heron

Today: 7
Present: 949
Count: 130

I'm writing these updates almost two weeks after the runs. So much has passed since this run. It didn't have anything to do with it, but it kicked off the bad feelings. So many bad feelings.

Maura liked the run, she liked my park. But I didn't like what came next.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Huddart to Purisima, X2

Today: 25
Present: 942
Count: 129

Some mornings, you just feel like running. And besides the fact that I have WTC coming up, its been a while since I've just run, and run.

I drove down to Huddart in the morning with Luchi, unsure of exactly how the day would shake out. I do enjoy running with other people, but its hard to get your ideal training run in when other people are there. The pace, the mood, everything. But the flip side is that the right training partners can push you further than you thought you could go, drag you up the hills.

KJ met us at the park and promptly said that 20+ miles was not in the cards today, having just gotten back from a month-long vacation. So two laps it was.

It hasn't rained in what seems like years, and my recollection of Huddart dark and brown and green and wet was anything but. But the trails were just as soft and quiet, a strange emptiness on this silent Saturday.

In addition to putting in miles, I also wanted to find the connection between Huddart and Purisima. Easy to find at the top, a quick jaunt across the road. We dropped down the fire road and I realized that unless you're committed to going all the way around the loop, dropping down to Purisima is pure masochism. So I did it twice.

We raced down Chinaquin, KJ taking the lead. Luchi lagged a bit but its understandable, turns out there aren't that many people who can keep up with with KJ down the hill.

I dropped them off at the parking lot, refilled my water and set back off. I did my best to conserve water, knowing that I ran short on lap one. For a moment, I considered adding in the loop at Purisima, but pushing 30 miles was not meant to be. I wasn't prepared, and at that distance it turns out you need to have your act together.

I felt good grinding up to Skyline, but started to lag as I approached the top. I dropped down into the valley and hit the bottom, just behind some bikers. The climb back out was brutal. Long, slow and I knew I was short water. I did my best to keep my momentum and run when I could, but the hill seemed forever. I stayed just behind the bikers most of the way but couldn't seem to pass them.

Maybe I shouldn't put so much credence in it, but I still hate getting passed by bikers up the hill.

I finally hit the top and was beat, didn't have much water left and just wanted to be back home. I cruised back down but when you're exhausted and out of water, even the best descents don't seem that fun. I couldn't get to the parking lot fast enough. My legs hurt. I was thirsty. Hungry. I didn't want to be running anymore.

But I finished. And with just about the hardest training run I've done since some of KJ and my old school jaunts from the Marina to the headlands and back, my confidence bloomed.\

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Long Way to Breakfast

Today: 4
Present: 917
Count: 128

I am starting to dig this Thursday tradition of running to breakfast. This morning Dmitri was painting the mural at 3266 24th Street and I wanted to see just how this would go down.

Up the backside of Bernal the long way, around and down, reminding myself just what a special neighborhood that is. And someday, if I stick around, I'd like to get back there. Even though the secret is out and it really is the next Noe Valley.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Kick Out the Cobwebs

Today: 3
Present: 913
Count: 127

Big day today. Going down to the ole MP for a tough conversation, one where I have to be sharp and on my game. I don't need a lot of mile this morning but need a clear mind. Need to unwind the string inside my mind.

That, and every little hill charge helps.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Purisima Loop With Dad

Today: 10
Present: 910
Count: 126

What a find, this Purisima. And I still haven't fully explored what it has to offer. This 10-mile loop can be hiked or jogged or I don't even know what else. Then the spur out to Bald Knob and beyond. So much potential.

I am fortunate on so many levels to be able to go on a 10-mile trail run with my dad. I sure as hell hope that when I am 65 I can do the same. And we weren't exactly going slow either. He's a pretty tough guy to get to open up, which I guess is where I get it.

But midway through the run I probed a bit about what it was like to run after kids. He explained how he actually started running more once he had me. How time becomes more dear and if something is important, you find a way to make it happen. It was not only refreshing to hear that not everyone becomes a fat slob once they have kids, but just to hear him tell stories about his life.

There is something special in this place, I felt it the first time I stepped foot onto the mist-shrouded trails. I can't wait to go looking for it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Extended Intervals Breed Morning Epiphanie

Today: 9
Present: 900
Count: 125

I'm running well right now. Running smart and running hard. I have my routines down and its working well. Just need to keep putting in the time.

I charged hard this morning, looking for the CR at Heron's Head. I missed by a few seconds. Then later read that Jim Harbaugh would laud me as the first loser and deserving of derision. If you really want to leave it all out there, couldn't you have gone a bit faster? A bit harder? I could have. Another great mantra.

I sped off through the future of San Francisco, breezing past Pier 80, then 70 on down into China Basin. The past knocking around in my mind from A Negotiated Landscape, a fascinating account of history of the San Francisco Waterfront. Amazing to watch the past transform into the future.

Around the stadium after a fast mile and straight up Rhode Island, breathing hard at the top and coasting down. These interval runs are phenomenal, an amazing mix of cruising, pushing and sailing. I finish spent but refreshed. What a way to start the morning.

And given the roller coaster of negotiations at work, I need these runs to clear my head - to chart the path. Such is my role as skipper.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Run Back Through Time

Today: 5
Present: 891
Count: 124

I'm slowly getting the hang of this getting up early thing. And while early for me may not be early for others, its a milestone nonetheless.

I ran back through time this morning. Through Bernal Heights and past Lundys Lane, marveling at how quickly somewhere can cease to feel like home. Back over Dolores, brushing past memories of hazy days and Jetta dreams, when running was the furthest thing from a priority. I ran, from time to time, back when my body didn't care what I put into it.

Having found the Fear and Loathing San Francisco Ultra, and seen the octogenarian sporting an "I train while you sleep" sweatshirt, I have found a new mantra to wake me in the morning. I ran this morning to our weekly breakfast, arriving early to read the paper. To actually read the paper.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Bayview Recon, Part 2 - Deeper

Today: 13
Present: 886
Count: 123

My recent obsession with the nexus of urban farming and Bayview industrial real estate grows, leading me deep into the heart of where I should not go. This time I ran all the way to Candlestick, the soon-to-be resting place for my childhood dreams, pigskin fantasies.

Gazing out over Hunters Point, the sheer size and scope of what it could be is nearly overwhelming. But the dream, anyone's dream, will take decades to realize.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday Wife

Today: 4
Present: 873
Count: 122

Maura has been sick all week so we wanted to get out there but take it easy. Crisp morning but given what the rest of the country has been dealing with weather-wise, I'm more than thankful that I can run in the morning in shorts and t-shirt and am just a bit chilly at the outset.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prehike Warmup

Today: 4
Present: 869
Count: 119

Nice and easy morning run, I've got a race this Saturday and I'm feeling good. My regular four mile track up and down the hill, around past my now old office and out to the water.

I'm reading a book about the history of the San Francisco waterfront and I'm starting to see this urban coast in a different light. Amazing how knowing just a little history helps connect the dots and these derelict, absolutely beautiful buildings start to whisper the future.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Family Bonding, Levy Fartleks

Today: 6
Present: 865
Count: 118

After a long day of hauling our office up the hill, Maura and I drove out to Stockton to spend the night with my parents. We didn't exactly wake up early, but joined them on their morning run out on the levees.

Talk about flat.

We jogged the first half of the run all together, joined by their golden retriever Gracie. Turning off the levees to run along an irrigation ditch, my dad sped up and we ran together at around 7-minute miles for half a mile or so. He turned back with Gracie to run with the ladies and I turned it up, doing my best to hold sub 5 for as long as I could.

Didn't last long, but it felt good to open it up. I chased the dog and determined that she can out-sprint me. I guess I shouldn't feel too bad about that though.

I circled back and hung with the family, winding through orchards and hearing stories of Pam being chased by coyotes. As we neared the final straightaway, electric poles dotted the right side of the trail about 50 yards apart. My dad took off at the first and when I caught up, he said he likes to sprint between them through the end of the run.

Almost 65 and he's still sprinting. Love it.

I hit my first pole and was off. I don't really open it up like that very much these days and wow. I was back up on my toes and for a split second felt like I was in high school again. I felt fast. Really fast. I kept waiting for my hamstrings to tear but they held together. Man it felt good to be running like that.

The next couple poles were fast, but not as fast as the first. Turns out somewhere deep down there, I may still have it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

De Haro Hill Repeats x3

Today: 4
Present: 859
Count: 117

Having resolved that my weakness is the ups, I started hill training today. I read up on hills and it seems like the general consensus is that there a handful of ways to use hills and that hills, more than anything, will make you faster. I can't wait.

1) Long hill runs. I do this already by virtue of where I live, so no need to change anything here.
2) Long repeats. 1/4-1/2 mile ups, run at 5k pace. De Haro is perfect, half a mile up either side.
3) Short repeats. 100-200 yards hard. Wisconsin by the Mews will be my proving ground.
4) Fast downs. See above, jog up.
5) Bounding. Not sure about this one yet, need to find the right grade but I get the explosion and power that can be gained.

De Haro from the north is this long, gradually steepening monster that peaks 2/3 of the way through with a final, long and deceptively steep final stretch. I ran into Nicole and Lucia on my first ascent, a welcome respite. I glided down the other side and hit almost exactly one mile from 17th to 26th. Quite a training track.

Up the other side is shorter, but steeper with more of the up early on. Its faster, but more intense with a longer rest back down the other side.

I felt like I was running too hard, breathing too heavy at the top. But the point is to push, I think. I did three repeats, my goal is to work up to six within the next month or two. So long as I keep at it, shouldn't be too hard.