While I am not, strictly speaking, a northland runner, I am a big fan both of running and of the northland! I left the snowy woods for the California sunshine years ago, so most of my running takes place in San Francisco or Berkeley...but I do make it "up north" a few times a year. And just in case that's not enough to keep you all reading, I promise to share plenty of embarrassing childhood stories about Kris, who is my big brother. :D
September 17, 2010: 12k/half marathon training + more cow crossings
It had been awhile since my last cow showdown up on the Nimitz trail, so in heading up there last week I was a little perplexed to find a completely cow-less running trail. I was kind of disappointed -- I'd been looking forward to seeing those big ugly guys, although after the last time I wasn't sure if they were looking forward to seeing me. So I headed up again yesterday to see if I couldn't find my friends.
Besides the cow curiosity, the other good reasons for heading to this trail are the Nike Women's Half Marathon I am running in exactly one month, along with the Bridge to Bridge 12k two weeks before that, both in San Francisco!
Starting out on the Nimitz trail I was struck by the awesome view, as usual. This is a ridge trail, so you can see the San Francisco Bay on one side and the San Pablo Valley on the other. Some serious fog was rolling in as the evening started, making it a little bit fairy-tale-like.
Not long after I crossed the first cow grating into the pastureland, I found my bovine friends, trudging right down the trail toward me! This time, though, they didn't seem distressed or angry, so I went right on by, resisting the urge to reach out and skritch one behind the ears. Ugly as they are, they have a certain cute quality...
The fog turned out to be rolling in right on top of me, and I soon found myself in a thick mist in which only the trail and I existed. The approaching sunset gave the thick fog a pink-orange hue. Every now and then a cow suddenly appeared or disappeared into the pink mist, making for a trippy experience that made me wonder what was actually in that powerbar I'd eaten earlier.
Maybe it was the trippy cowscape, but folks on the trail seemed friendly that day. A cyclist slowed to ride with me for awhile as I jogged and she told me about some other nice local trails. As I rested after a big hill, a guy zoomed by me and yelled, "come on!" We finished the last mile together. I wasn't all that impressed with Roberto's tales of running grandeur and soccer prowess (actually he seemed to be breathing as hard as I was) but he kept my pace up for that tough last mile. I also wasn't impressed with his offer to buy me a drink afterward, but hey, it's nice to have some company on the running trail, at least!
This weekend the plan is a practice 12k, followed a couple days later by a serious hill workout -- some friends and I are going to Yosemite to hike Half Dome!! (No, I'm not planning on any sprints up the mountainside...)