Friday, April 20, 2007

100 days

I have a count down on my Google home page that tells me how many days until the San Francisco Marathon. It's the geek-meets-runner in me. Anyway, today at 6am marked 100 days left to train.

It is also nearly 4 weeks since we started official marathon training. We're doing a pretty standard ramp up of weekend long runs (up to 20 miles), mid-week medium-long runs (rising to 10 milers) that we kick into pace or tempo runs when the mood strikes, and two extra runs: one easy and short and the other a hill route. And in theory we're doing fallbacks, but we blew that off last week in favor of a hard trail run.

Today was our hill run. It's a route we've run plenty of times before because it's the perfect little but hard 3 mile workout. It starts with the climb -- a steady uphill for more than a mile -- from our house, up Park Blvd in Oakland, to Hwy 13. It's a somewhat busy road with a mix of sidewalk and use trail on the shoulder. (There's plans to put a multi-use path along here which would be great.) But in spite of the proximity to the road it is nicer than it sounds. If you can look past the occasional road kill and KFC boxes and other unmentionables, the run, at least the top half, has no houses to be seen. Ahead are the East Bay hills. To one side is a drop down into a tree filled canyon. To our back, when the weather is good, is a view across the whole bay and beyond to San Francisco.

Our route turns at the top of the hill and then takes a trail down into the canyon. Suddenly it is another world: a muddy decent through lush vegetation, beneath towering redwoods, down to a small creek bubbling with last night's rain. We cross a little wood bridge and then ascend the other side. This is still a steep hard climb to run, so much so that it usually reduces both of us to a walk. Even then my HR rises as quickly as the switch-backed trail itself. At the top we continue our walk to steady for a moment, then, once the world stops spinning, we take off down a fire trail that skirts the side of the canyon and looks across, between the trees, at the road we just ran up.

Occasionally we pass someone walking their dog, but on a week day there's usually not many people in there. It really is a little treasure that hardly anyone knows about. The fire trail eventually ends at a road. From there it's full speed downhill, or however fast our knees feel like that day, until we reach our home. Fun over.

We'll probably run this route ten more times before the marathon. And then, when the famous San Francisco hills come at us, we'll be ready!

99 days of running to go,
99 days to go!
Run across town, log it down,
98 days of running to go!

1 comment:

MK said...

Wow! 100 days! That's exciting :)

I envy you with the accessibility to hills. Here in FL all I have is a bridge and it's not even that big. It's boring to run back and forth over it too. I like a change of scenery and it sounds like yours is very delightful. Keep running!