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Playing and Training Hard

Posted Jan 23 2009 5:59pm
"Karyn what are you doing down there?!"

The group looks up and I recognized two other people, her husband Mike and Jerome, there was also another runner with them who I didn't know.

There's a section of the Dipsea trail that is off limits due to a slide that happened early last year that has yet to be repaired. It's tricky navigating that section especially that there is now a large pipe going through there that you have to scramble over. These days I just prefer to run the short detour on the road that runs above the trail to bypass the whole thing, the same detour that most people use. Besides no one is supposed to be down there, there is a sign informing runners and hikers not to proceed down the trai. I was running with the Northface training group Saturday morning, runners who are training for the 50k / 50-mile event in December. I was supposed to train on the Dipsea again but I decided to join my friend Samantha and get in on the group fun. I was looking for some company on my weekend long run. As it turned out I would have had a lot of company on the Dipsea anyway. There were a good number of runners training on the course for the Quad event, at least for the brief moment that we were on the trail. The Northface group had it's own routes and it utilized part of the Dipsea.

So yeah there I was, running with folks, looking down on the washed out / ruined part of the trail from above and saw these guys clambering over the obstacles. I thought, "must be some of the trail newbies from the group who didn't know you were supposed to take the detour instead", but I was wrong haha! Just a group of ultra veterans ignoring signs and clambering over stuff like kids. We talked for a bit at a trail intersection where our group rejoined the Dipsea. It was a brief meeting and then they took off, they were moving fast. Had I been there by myself I doubt I could have latched on to their train, not after the night of celebrating that I had...oy, more on that later. Despite following right behind them with our group, they were out of earshot in a couple of minutes.

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Admiring the scenery and thinking to myself, "I will never, ever over indulge on wine the night before a long run again, especially one that starts early in the morning". Photo courtesy of Sammy.

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Yours truly, with Keira and Jenny in the background. Photo courtesy of Sammy.

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Sammy and Jenny.

The run itself with the Northface group was a lot of fun. Start / Finish was the parking lot at Pantoll ranger station. There was a water fountain and bathrooms. The coaches had planned out a three loop course, each one exploring different areas and had each loop finish back at parking lot. The weather was foggy in the morning and showers in the early afternoon - great running weather. After two consecutive of weekends of running at Mt. Tam I've decided that for next year I'm going to do most of my training there and take the time to learn all the different trails. I know some but not many. Mt. Tam is further North than my usual training grounds in the Marin Headlands and usually by the time I make it there it's already time to head back to San Francisco. I'll just bus it up there and not waste any miles running from the city to the trailheads. While the southern part of the Marin Headlands is much more exposed, less trees and more shrubbery - which makes for great views, Mt. Tam's trails are tree covered, lush, fern lined in some parts quite technical. I'm enjoying the change of terrain and eager to extend my knowledge of the area. Jan, Feb and March should be wet and cold months, might as well be with the trees.

The birthday celebration the night before was a lot of fun and I was well behaved the whole time. I remember everything:) It was after the party was over however did I sit in the bar and tossed down a few with my friend Karen who was the last survivor of the night. Drinking wine too much too quickly is never a good idea for me but come 6:30AM I was dressed and ready to be picked up for the run. Good to know I'm still not too old to do something stupid and survive it gracefully....somewhat gracefully. It only hurt for an hour into the run but my legs felt tired and heavy the whole time. They are ready for the taper. Recently I've also been working with a great trainer in my gym. She has gotten me off the machines and more into exercises that not only strengthen my muscles but improve my balance and shore up my core. She had me do "air squats" and "twisting lunges" with a medicine ball on Thursday, amongst other things, which I still felt on the legs Saturday. Heck my whole body was still sore on Saturday; arms, shoulders, back, core and legs. She's cute and a taskmaster and I would recommend her to anyone. A big plus that she's also a runner, devising workouts that will hopefully increase my speed and stability. The training sessions was a gift to myself, you know for the birthday thing. It's kickin' my behind big time and I'm excited because every weakness she finds I have an opportunity to address. Fortunately the running on Sunday was better and I got to do a little speed work, got in a few accelerations that felt great.

Lastly, Happy Veteran's day. I have a lot of respect and love for our military, a sentiment that was already there before I came to live in this great country.
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