Saturday, January 6, 2018

New Year's "race"

A while back we decided to try something new - a timed race, with a relay option.  It was on New Year's Eve (into New Year's Day if you wanted the longer 24-hour version) and seemed like fun.  Something John could join us in for a laid-back group effort on a flat course.  We opted for the 12-hour event, that sounded doable.

Well, we were all still feeling under the weather, coughing and without a whole lot of energy to go around.  The only requirement was that each teammate had to do at least one lap.  1.065 miles.  OK, we're pretty sure we can all do that.  Let's at least go and see what it's all about.

The race was held at Crissy Field on the north end of San Francisco.  Quite a nice location, plenty of space to set up a little area next to the aid station, and an interesting loop with good views.

Getting ready to get started:

Sure, I'll take the first lap.  The guys seemed to think I might want to run the furthest so I should go first.  There's a big difference between "want" and "consider prudent", but OK.

Easy enough!  You're up, Kip:

Kip was the fast one of our group:

John is still under "no running" orders with his resurfaced hip, so he's been doing a lot of walking lately.  He took the camera with him for a loop to document the course.  Here's the side along the street, heading toward the Sports Basement:

It was great looking over at the bridge throughout the day, a nice shot across the pond:

The turn on the far end, with a slight uphill that provided a little walk break opportunity:

Another shot of the pond, and this turned out to be on the higher end of the tide.  It was neat tracking the exit of the water to the bay and the drop of the pond water level over the next few hours.

A well-marked course:

Coming back toward the start/finish, with San Francisco on the skyline:

The little path cutting back to aid station, with the Palace of Fine Arts over on the right:

My turn again, heading out across the timing mat.  We were allowed to turn around and run the other direction whenever we wanted, so we all tried a counter-clockwise lap, but we agreed we liked clockwise better (especially since it was way easier to see each person coming so the next one could jump up to take the timing band from them).

Kip brought chairs and blankets, exactly what we needed for hanging around and watching the festivities:

Another nice view of the bridge:

Well, we're still going, no stopping after 1 lap for any of us.  I think we all enjoyed the easy pace, the breaks, and the chance to leisurely peruse the aid station fare.  I've never eaten multiple bagel pieces during a race before.  And the Noosa yogurt samples were amazing.

A few more photos from the course, on a nice cloudy (but not too cold or windy) day.  Quite pleasant.

The backstretch, where lots of other people strolled by and tried to figure out what was going on.

The timing mat, where we missed recording a couple of our laps, oops.  We were handing off a timing chip on an ankle strap but mostly not actually putting it on our ankles since we were switching off every lap.  We'd usually bend over to swipe the chip over the mat but apparently missed twice.  Oh well, everything about this was just for fun, we certainly weren't here to set any records!

But we were here for some naps, apparently  :)  Yes, John can definitely sleep here:

No matter how I try, I haven't figured out how to center the camera AND put on a good selfie face, yikes:

Every hour that we were still there was an accomplishment.  Kip and I kept switching off every mile, and John walked a mile once an hour.  Finally Kip decided that 10 miles was enough for him, after the big 50+ mile effort the prior weekend.  I went for 16 laps since that would result in an extra mile for 17 miles total.  John spelled me for one more break toward the end, thanks John!

We finally got our "group photo" that I wanted for this blog post, yay!

During my last couple laps, the sun briefly came out and lit up the bridge.  Nice!

And - good enough!

We lasted way longer than we expected, almost breaking the 7-hour mark!  Our team total (including the 2 laps that didn't get officially counted) was 35 miles.  Good enough for 2nd place in the 12-hour relay category.  Out of 2 teams, of course.

OK, we might have to do that again sometime when we're all feeling well.  Running as a relay was quite interesting and different, between the breaks and the opportunity for faster running (or not), staying warm in between moving, and having lots of other runners around to watch.  Fun event, glad we tried it out.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Kip's hike from the Pacific Ocean

Kip had a fun idea for a hike recently - starting at the Pacific Ocean and following trails up and over the hills and across town back to the house.  Amazingly, there's a trail system that connects all the way across, using the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, through Big Basin, over to Castle Rock, and down to Sanborn County Park.  From there it would be roads/streets to return to north San Jose.  Neat!

I was hoping to accompany him for part or all of it, but that turned out to be challenging when all of us developed a cough/chest cold during the holiday week.  At least Kip was feeling well (except for a nagging cough).  John and I were more "under the weather."  I decided to start the hike and see how far I could keep up.

Pre-dawn start at Waddell Beach, just off route 1:

It was cold so we didn't spend much time getting good pictures.  Down to the water to "touch the ocean" as a starting point:

And a half-decent picture I ruined with my headlamp, sorry John:

Back to the parking lot to find the trail:

Welcome to the Skyline to the Sea Trail!

John got some better beach photos after we started hiking.  The waves were really crashing and we could hear them echoing up the valley for a couple miles.

Lovely sunrise on a beautiful day:

A hawk, maybe?  John took this one to send to Mom:

Kip carried an excellent trail map and we easily followed it past various intersections:

There was a minor creek crossing near the start; we found a decent place to hop across rocks and sticks to keep from getting our feet too wet.  The rest of the trail was in superb condition.

Wonderful bridge across a side creek:

Not sure what this is - an old trebuchet?

Let's go that way:

The map had little symbols for all sorts of things, including one that we couldn't quite read.  A "bike rock"?  "Bike rack"?  What would either of those things be doing out here.  And what is a "bike rock" anyway?

OK, it's a bike rack.  I guess you can lock your bike here and continue on on foot.

Another curious bridge:

There was very little trail work needed - except in one spot.  John, bring a chainsaw:

A glimpse of a pretty little waterfall in the background:

Hiking through the top of Big Basin Park:

I love the redwoods!

Posing with the bench marked "MB" - for Rabbi Morton Bauman:

Which is right next to bench "JB" - Docent June Bauman:

MB and JB on the map:

An actual overlook with a view near the top of the first ridge:

More trail, always in great shape - who maintains all these miles of trails?

And one last picture, quite an anticlimactic end to this post, sorry.  At least it's somewhat curious:

Between my chest cold and the PF in my foot starting to act up a bit, I decided I better call it a day after ~20 miles.  John picked me up at Waterman Gap Trail Camp (thank you John!) and Kip continued on.

Kip spent the rest of the day and evening following the trail to Saratoga Gap, then on the Skyline Trail to Summit Rock where he descended to Sanborn Park.  He popped out in Saratoga and made a beeline back across Santa Clara/San Jose to return to the house in the middle of the night.  We were asleep.  Sorry for the lack of finish line photos.

Congratulations on a 50+ mile accomplishment, Kip, that was impressive!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Roaming around

While collecting pictures for a couple "real" blog posts, I came across a few random items.

So, a sprinkle of this and that...

In downtown San Francisco - a statue of one of the greats:

I ran from downtown, through Golden Gate Park (the long way), out to the ocean.  I've never taken that route before, that was neat.  I had no idea that there's a long, wide beach on the west side of the park, I'm used to seeing high cliffs along the Pacific.

Someone practicing on dry land (didn't see anyone in the water, which I assume is cold):

Sing-it-yourself Messiah in a beautiful hall in downtown San Jose, fun!

Hill training with John - we're up over 1200 feet of climb at a time.  On this day we completed a "partial Mission" on Mission Peak:

Eventually we'll get all the way to the top:

Decent views that day, the wind must be blowing the haze away for once:

Enjoying the sunshine and a bit of respite from the wind:

A fun long run to Palo Alto, including finding Mr. Tesla along the way:

Destination = Draeger's Market, a store I'd heard about in a podcast about making decisions when there are lots of choices.  There certainly are a lot of interesting options to choose from in this store (but I actually bought something at Trader Joe's down the street).

An excellent bike ride across town on the Los Gatos path and up to Lexington Reservoir:

Kip lives a short distance from Levi's Stadium, and we finally got ourselves out the door during a 49ers game to mingle with the crowds a little.  And watch a bit of the game on the Jumbotron:

I hear there was a really big game here a couple years ago:

Sack him, John!

Mom discovered an online auction sponsored by the Green Mountain Club in Vermont, where people could bid on signs that used to hang on the Long Trail and other trails around the state.  Our Dad had made one of those signs many years ago, that was a pretty special item.  Kip got in on the action and managed to outbid a few other people.  So he won Dad's sign!

John took care of sealing the wood and hanging the sign in Kip's kitchen.  I got to stand here and grin about the whole thing:

Happy Holidays, y'all!