Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Coastal Beer San Francisco Trail Week Run(s)

***Yeah, these pictures are pretty much backwards. The bottom is the Coastal Trail Run start and warm-up, and progresses backwards (up) from there, finishing with the interior of the Social Kitchen.

Big plans for this past weekend included a couple runs and a whole helluva lot of beer. Ben, Dave and I got things off right with a hearty brunch at Peg's before leaving town on Friday. We made a little detour at Beer Revolution in Oakland and pretty much blew my one-second-per-mile-per-sip theory to smithereens...13 six-ounce tasters later. This place is pretty sweet, but has pros & cons, just like any other place. PRO-One of the best tap lists you'll EVER see, and a nice bottle selection to boot. CON-parking sucks (there is none) and I got excited about a nice find in the cooler til Ben pointed out the "best by" date was well over two months ago!
Oh well. We hydrated well in anticipation on the Steep Ravine Run the next morning put on by Coastal Trail Runs. There was even an Elephant Bar near our hotel for pre-race eats.
I felt pretty good about things the next morning, even though I'd had more beer than ever before the night before a race. I was feeling no pressure, though. I know I am operating 10% or more slower than I was last year, so what's really the big difference between 10 and 12%, right? The only way I'd regret the beers is if I got outkicked down the stretch. Turns out, I didn't have to worry, 'cause I got my arse kicked! This course was possibly more ridiculous than the last CTR we did. It started at beautiful Stinson Beach, immediately went off road and started climbing. No mud this time (ok, just a tiny bit) but stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. I lost count pretty early, but you know if there are stairs instead of switchbacks, it's pretty dang steep. Up 1750 feet over less than 3 1/2 miles, and down 1750 in less than 4. Here's a pic from the staging area of about half the "hill" ("hill" = Mt. Tam...and yes, we got a Mt Tam Pale Ale)
The ocean views from the beach first thing in the morning were pretty stunning as well.

When the gun went off, I settled in in 2nd place, and stayed there pretty much the whole way. The other runner started to pull away less than a mile in, and I let him go. I figured if I had a shot, it would be coming down the other side.
I did NOT have a shot. I flew down the trail, but if anything, he still may have increased his lead in the 2nd half. It was rather reckless, probably a slight mistep from broken bones and or death on several occasions, but what FUN! My favorite part was noticing the forehead high branch that I ducked juuuust in time to avoid decapitation. We had jungle, clearings with ocean views, tons of climbing and decending, and, for good measure - a ladder, right in the middle. I took my camera on the warm-up, so the views are from only a third or so of the way up, but man was it awesome. I wracked my brain to think of any other runs I've done that were this scenic and this cool, and only TRT and XTerra Hawaii came to mind.
Definitely one I'd like to do again. The only hitch was poor markings (poor meaning no ribbons at several forks or intersections, or markings a couple minutes after the fact) on the second half of the downhill. At one point I missed a right that was not marked at all, and only figured I was off course because the trail I stayed on was so steep that I couldn't even walk down it. Two-and-a-half minutes later, a local guessed the right way and we were off. First was way out of sight, but had been anyway. I ran the last 9-10 minutes as hard as my legs would allow and put a minute-thirty gap on my helper. I finished in 62 and change (woulda been just under or just over an hour) in 2nd place. The funny thing about a run with a long downhill finish is that the lungs & heart were immediately recovered, but man were the legs trashed. I went back up with Dave and pranced him to the finish (sorry, no prancing pics). We had a baby wipe/surf shower clean-up, quick change and bit of fruit, and were on our way to the Double IPA Festival at the Bistro, where Pliny the Younger and 50 or so other hoppy adult beverages waited for us.

the start

Even the drive there and back was ridiculously scenic. We saw more bikes than cars.

Having too much fun drinking to even think to take pictures. There's on in here somewhere of the Social Kitchen, where the 2nd Annual Beer Run started the next morning. There was a basic 5 mile course from SK to Magnolia Brewing through Golden Gate Park, and back. I think Dave & Ben did just under four, and I did about 6. Not feeling super, but definitely not hung over. We hydrated well and ate well between the DIPA Fest and "It Came From the Wood" that night. Social Kitchen was the belle of the ball, though. This was a place I'd never heard of til we looked up the beer run. Nice looking place with good food, but only six taps. However, those six taps were of such high quality that this will be a staple on future visits to the Bay. And, did you guys know there was a waterfall in GG Park? I didn't know that...

Anywho, we hoofed it from Social Kitchen, back to Magnolia, and further to Toronado (we had a good-FREE-parking spot we didn't want to give up) and back in time to get Ben to the airport 45 minutes before his 7 p.m. flight. Dave and I stuck around til Monday and hit up Triple Rock in Berkeley for lunch before heading back over the hill. I lost count at around 70 beers tried for the three of us, but most of em were very good, and my liver ain't done any complainin. Yet.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mythbusters starring Tusker Lager

Quick recap.
May/June 2010 I was comfortably* running 5-5:05 pace for 5k. Then my Achilles went to poo (again). After time off, still poo. With me so far? Good. It took til December 23rd to get under 5:30 pace (5:28) for a 5k again, and I got very very sick two hours later. Haven't been anywhere near that pace for longer than a mile since. Over the last week, the Achillessesess, heels, knee, and back (as of this morning) were all pissed at the same time. YAY! But, I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. No. Not really. In reality, I had a Kenyan beer (the aforementioned Tusker Lager) after dinner, and if Kenyan beer doesn't work, I don't know what will. So, I went to Lakeridge (and to the same treadmill i'd run 15:29/16:56 on) to go for broke...and broke the treadmill. So much for that idea! Moved to another of the same model...11 mph til the very end, sped up a little the last 200...16:54 (5:27 per). Still a ways off, and I'm walking funny now, but hey, it's my best in nearly two months. For the record, I'd have been walking funny even if i just did a freakin aquasize class this morning.

*regularly, not comfortable. That pace feels better when every joint isn't cranky, but has never been and will neer be "comfortable".
ps-YAY Kenyan beer! BTW...I scored it a 2.4/5.