Well, I didn’t write an entry for Friday, the 1st of May. I wasn’t especially busy, but there was just a lot of things I had to prioritize. That said, there wasn’t too much that happened on Friday of note. The memorable events included:
- Successful end-to-end testing of a swath of bugfixes and enhancements that I added to my product codebase. The last round hit some bumps, so I’m glad that everything went without a hitch this time.
- A virtual happy hour farewell to a colleague that I’ve worked with for the past year. In normal times, we would’ve organized a real happy hour or dinner. It was a little weird to think that, despite other coworkers and I telling him that we should all get together in person “when this is all over,” that the last time we’d see him could potentially be through a screen.
Furthermore, there were (virtual) meetings right afterward, and pretty much at the end of the hour, we were like, well, time to go switch over to that other virtual meeting. There’s definitely a benefit to being able to switch meetings so quickly, but today’s switch felt even more impersonal than ever. I’m over it (but there’s nothing I can do about it.)
- After work, I texted Lucas asking him if he was still going to attempt a 100 miles around the Emeryville Marina (for the Around The Block 100), and if he was, when he was going to start. I wasn’t feeling particularly good, but I knew I needed a run to clear my head and hopefully cleanse my body (whenever I feel bloated and mildly unwell, running often does wonders for me).
In the end, I head out to meet him and ran 9 miles in total. More than I expected, but overall, it felt too good to stop. “You’re making me run!” Lucas jokingly told me, hahah.
- I should also note that despite doing everything virtually now for the past month, I still haven’t gotten my shit together in terms of scheduling. After I got back from my run, I realized that I had missed a game night with Christie, Avi, Pat, Michael, etc. Last Friday we had said that we might do another game night today (i.e. “next Friday”). But because it wasn’t confirmed and no one mentioned it all week, it didn’t even occur to me that it would happen. Oh well.
As for today, the only thing of note I did was run. Well, running was the vehicle. What I did today was another edition of exploring my neighboring.
For that, I’ll just copy/paste my notes from the run below…
Bit off a little more than I could chew today, despite not running that much farther, or higher, than diablo run last Sunday AND drastically cutting the volume and vert I had originally planned for today. Mistakes were definitely made. 🤣
- Merriewood. Second time exploring this part of North Oakland. During the first time, I took what I thought were unlisted fireroads. This time, I wanted to take the “foot path” that takes me more directly up to Skyline Blvd. According to the maps, this footpath starts with a left turn soon after entering the North Oakland Sports Center.
This turn seemed obvious, so I took it. But the farther I went, the sketchier the path became. I knew there was supposed to be a 30% grade climb somewhere, so I had to backtrack. Finally, I found a “path”. I’m still not sure if it’s the right one, but it took me up to the top. It didn’t last too long, and the dose of bushwhacking was nice enough. If only that was all the trailblazing I needed to do today. LOL
- A few days ago, SFRRC hosted a conversation with Frank Shorter. One thing he mentioned was having a personal Loop, a route that you’re super familiar with and can use as a benchmark for future runs. It’ll feel shorter than it actually is, he said, because it’s familiar.
Well, I’ve run up to Sibley enough times now (twice! hahaha) that the trails there feel familiar.
What I wanted to do today, though, was explore. So after blazing through Sibley, I went right instead of left (I’ve always gone west back up toward Claremont/Grizzly Peak.)
As it turns out, it’s private property! But I saw people on the other side, and I needed the trails on the other side to get down to Orinda. So I hopped the fence.
Everyone on the other side knew they were technically on private property because everyone looked at each other a little suspiciously, as if someone there was a spy. Or maybe that was just how I felt.
- At the end of the private property section, there was another gate. There was a sign. EB Parks Property. I didn’t know there was a park here (I always thought Sibley connected straight to Huckleberry). The sign said “Area Closed.” Again, I saw people on the other side so I hopped the fence.
- I felt lost soon after I entered. The trails were unmarked, and I was in new territory. But my mission today was to explore, so onward I went. Fortunately, there was a way down and I took it. There was another locked gate along the way. I hopped it. 😂
- I don’t spend much time in Orinda at all. That’s why I made it a point to include it last week, and today. The “problem” with Orinda, though, is that it’s so darn suburban. For me, that means that I have to either add mileage solely to get resupplied (like last week) or go longer on the supplies I have. I had to take the latter option today.
- In any case, I was looking forward to my next destination: Mulholland Open Space. It’s a small but nontrivial patch of green just east of the East Bay Ridge, and south of the Lafayette Reservoir (I thought about going there today, but it’s fully closed — it reopens on Monday, 5/4!!!).
Was it what I expected? Yeah! It was nice. I didn’t quite go inside (there were hella people going to the water tank I wanted to check out), but I went up the trail starting from the Orinda Oaks Park.
- Incidentally, I saw Phil for the second time at the top. We saw each other at the beginning of my run on Claremont (on the west side of the East Bay ridge). Now to our surprise, I was now running where his group was biking… on the east side of the ridge! This time we took (socially distant) selfies. 😛
- Fortunately, the water fountain worked at Orinda Oaks. By that point, I was down to from 1L of fluid to about 300mL (that’s what I consider “low”). Unfortunately, because the fountain’s bowl was very shallow, I was only able to get maybe another 300-400mL of water.
This meant that I had to stop at the Moraga Safeway.
- I made my first big mistake at the Safeway. At my rest stops last week in Orinda and Walnut Creek, I bought Naked juices, each with about 340 calories. While I did ultimately run low on gas, I never felt like I was seriously bonking (I actually only consumed maybe 3 Gu’s last week because I was getting so many fluid calories!).
This time, I thought I’d try a low-calorie, no-sugar-added protein drink…
- One trail I was looking forward to on the Moraga side was the Lafayette-Moraga trail. It’s not particularly special: it’s just a paved road along a creek through residential neighborhoods. But I’ve never run it before (I think), so I was eager to expand my repertoire.
But, when I got to the end of the trail, there was a fence. In fact, there were TWO fences! One after the other. They REALLY didn’t want people to hop over. Unlike the previous fences, the reason for these fences was visually obvious: the trail beyond was pretty much totally gone in a landslide. All I could see beyond the fences was tarp. So… I didn’t hop these. Backtracking added about a mile to my run, I think. :-/
- Something else I was looking forward to, today, was running Redwood Regional again. I’ve not run there in MONTHS — maybe even this year (since I was in SE Asia in January, and New Zealand in February).
I’d also be entering via a staging area that I’ve never seen — Valle Vista.
- Since the trailhead’s parking lot was closed, cars lined the roads as I approached. For a relatively remote trailhead (albeit a relatively major one), there were quite a few people. Including me, there were three people who took the trail up toward Redwood Regional (instead of down toward the San Leandro Reservoir). This would be my last big climb of the day!
- OK, here was my second BIG MISTAKE. After crossing Pinehurst, I was to climb up to East Ridge Trail via some switchbacks. But somehow, I missed the turn-off; the single-track here was SO GOOD. So I kept running and running. Until the “trail” became less and less defined, i.e. sketchier and sketchier. I checked my phone. I was wayyyyyy off. I had to decide whether to backtrack or forge on.
At this point, I actually didn’t know how far the East Ridge Trail was, or how far UP I’d need to go. But it seemed manageable. So I went into the bush.
- In hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t have done it. But I don’t regret it. I’ve been tempted to head down questionable “trails” before, and now I was. I’m telling myself now that, it wasn’t that bad. There was a LOT of dense branches and beds of leaves to step through, and LOTS of spiders to avoid (before stepping through a narrow space, i.e. between trees, I always had to check). I was also worried about ticks.
The silver lining was that there was only one correct direction: UP. I couldn’t get more lost than I was — but I was on the clock: my water and food supplies were dwindling. I knew I’d have to conserve for the final 8 miles — not a comforting prospect.
- FINALLY, after what felt like an hour (it was actually only half an hour, and about 500ft of gain over half a mile), I saw the golden glow of the East Ridge Trail. I emerged from the bush… to coincidentally see one of the hikers who had seen me at Valle Vista.
He said: “I saw you at the bottom. You went the hard way!”
- For sure, going up through the bush was hard, butttttt I increasingly felt like the real hard part was about to come. With the supplies I had left, I was going to bonk before I’d get home. The drinks I had bought at the Safeway were not doing me any favors. In fact, they had artificial sweeteners that (I think) were tricking my body into thinking it had calories it wasn’t getting. Lesson learned the hard and stupid way.
- There was one more section I was looking forward to: Huckleberry Canyon Preserve. I had a chance to run this while training for the 2018 Skyline 50K, with Jeanine. But during that run, I felt ill and had to bail at Skyline Gate.
I wasn’t feeling so good this time… but I really wanted to finish the run. So I continued.
- I wish I could’ve enjoyed Huckleberry more, but running gave way to walking and walking gave way to lots of stopping and resting. But I could never rest too long: it was hella windy on the ridge, and stopping meant I wasn’t generating enough heat to stay warm.
- Anyway, there were a lot more people in Huckleberry than I expected, which kinda sucked. But I got through it. I’ll have to go again when I’m not on the verge of bonking.
- I think I was able to run a lot of the way down even as my stomach was growling (my water and food was now virtually finished) because I was familiar with the route (cue Frank Shorter’s “Loop”). It was also downhill. In future projects, I think I might design routes with familiar final miles. I mean, it’ll still suck, but at least I’ll know how much more it’ll suck, hahah.
I think I’m going to take a break from long runs next week. During both my Diablo run last week, and today’s run, I lost about 8 pounds, more than any race including my 50-milers and 100K’s.
It was worse today because I was starting from a lower weight (I’m literally the lightest I’ve been in at least a year, but not because I lost that much fat today). My left hamstring, which I injured last May, has also been complaining. But, iono, these runs are a lot of fun, despite “the suck.” Who knows what I’ll be thinking next weekend?