From the beginning.....

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Smelled the roses.

So yesterday I headed out for a trail run on my favorite trail, Edgewood. My first trail run since February I think, and it was a good one.

Totally not what I expected. I planned on running my normal route, on the outside loop, about 4.5 miles. My normal pace? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even planning on being close to it. Good thing too.

Taking a moment to explain my first couple of years running (starting in 2011), I've been obsessed with time. I was also obsessed with having the right equipment; my watch, my mp3 player, wristbands, headband/hat, socks, sleeves....all of it. Oh, and don't forget: BODY GLIDE. Some things you really do need, but the occasional run you can go without.

I've also been obsessed with not stopping while I'm running. No walking. Feels like a big fail if I walk part of a run. Now though, I don't have issues with walking while I'm on a run, but it's taken a long time to get there. There can be a very fine line for me, between walking for a good reason, and walking because you're just pooped. Not easy to discern sometimes.

In the last few months, I've really had to let go of some things. What, you say, besides the equipment have you given up? Well, unless I'm training, I've given time less of an influence on what I'm doing. In giving up time, I've also been able to smell the roses.

I ran Edgewood yesterday with no watch, no wristband, no headphones.

Edgewood is a trail I've run at least a dozen times, and this time I actually saw a deer. I know they're out there, they seem to be everywhere around here, but I'd never seen one out there. Before I get to the deer though, let me get back to the start of the 'run'.

My expectation for the run was pretty set: one continuous loop, same as I always do, but slower. I gave myself plenty of leeway mentally, for walking. I've only run a few times since my marathon in April, and frankly I didn't run very much in training for the marathon (less than 30 miles a week, two days running a week). Edgewood can be very difficult if you try to run it hard after taking time off, or just being out of shape in general.

I wasn't even a half mile into the run (which does start with a little uphill grade) and I stopped to walk. My arch/foot was pretty sore right off, and I didn't want to injure it further. I figured I'd just warm it up by starting with a little walk/jog. So, I kept going, jogged a bit more, with the intent that I was going to run the majority of the rest of the trail.

When I finally got up the path to where the loop actually starts, I was pooped again. Breathing hard, straining on my foot, and my legs were heavy with each step. Things were just sore, and I started to realize that the run was going to be much less ambitious in the end, than it started out to be.

The final realization that I was going to have to run/walk/jog this trail was when I got just up the trail, in some trees, right before the first big clearing. I caught something out of the corner of my eye and turned to see what it was.

This isn't new, I'll turn to look at things all the time, but I won't stop. I like to take notice of things, because it really enhances the run. Stopping is not a great feeling, so I rarely do it.

Yesterday, what I saw was cool, for Edgewood. I saw a little doe about 20 yards into the trees. As a side note, deer are very common on the Sawyer Camp Trail. So common, that they are within feet of the trail and don't run when you come by. Not only have I not paid attention most of the time at Edgewood, if I did see something, I just passed it on by.

At this moment, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to smell the roses, so to speak. I was in a fair amount of pain, and needed to warm up the old, creaky bones. I was also on a short time frame. I decided that the whole loop was out of the question, so I ran until it was uncomfortable (I have a high threshold, so it was pretty uncomfortable) then walked. I tried stretching out my foot while I was walking, and it seemed to work ok. I then I chose to start running uphill, then downhill, then uphill. Really a lot of walking.

Oh, wait, I lost track of the deer. So I stopped, and it was just staring at me. I started trying to call it over. I realized after that there was a much smaller companion. I mean tiny. Probably not 2 feet tall. I actually don't see fawn's all that often, and especially ones this tiny. As much as I tried to make friends, it just wasn't going to happen, and they trotted off back into the trees.

As I continued through the first mile, I arrived at the point where the trail splits, and you can go up to the scenic viewpoint, or at least one of them. I was looking over the south bay where the trail splits. You can see the Dumbarton bridge, some of the bay, and some of the lower part of the peninsula. There is a big mountain directly out across the bay too, which I mistakenly guessed might be Diablo, or Hamilton, but I think it's too far south for the former, and too far north for the latter. After some intense google map searching/reviewing, it appears to be Mission Peak. By the looks of it, maybe a good place to get to the top of, at 2500 feet, and not too far from the peninsula.

At any rate, I've ran through this view many times, and it was great to just stop and give it a good look-see. I decided at that point, to go up the trail I always skip in lieu of completing the run efficiently. I headed up to the top of one of the hills in the park.

The view from the top was good, but in actuality the view from the trail split was better for the south bay. The view west was cool, but mostly more trails, some forested hills, and almost directly below, the 280 freeway.

What I did learn though, was that you can really make the run challenging by heading up some different trails. All I have to do is remove some of the time constraint, be willing try something different, and be ready to work!

Edgewood has such a great mix of open trail, shaded trail, a bathroom/drinking fountain a short distance in (or right where you start, depending on how you do it). I did see what I think is poison oak, in a LOT of places, so stay on the trail. The weather is almost always sunny, and apparently there is plenty of wildlife, if you stop and smell the roses.