Monday, October 03, 2005

August part I: Helicopters and Mean Hills

Left: Huddart Park (aka BIG hills)

Oh dear! I haven't updated the blog since August. How time flies when all you do is work, run, eat, and sleep (in that order...). I'll try to do an overview of our last month of training, plus our helicopter ride.

First, I just want to note that we celebrated our four-year anniversary on August 16th!

Now, I'll backtrack to the weekend before our anniversary, when we were supposed to run our 18 miler in Woodside. Yes, once again we ended up going further than our planned mileage, this time stretching 18 miles to 20! However, it wasn't actually our fault this time -- due to a downed power line at the beginning of our run we had to do a detour that added two miles to the length!

The detour was only the beginning of our fun.

We started in the picturesque Woodside town center (Oregonians think Sisters), ran past the firetrucks and downed power line into Huddart Park where the pain began since the elevation climbs 1,000 feet in parts of the park! We ran by some amazing houses in this area with personal basketball and tennis courts. I can only imagine how much these estates cost in the bay area.
We then ran along I-280 for awhile in an area called "the beach," not for it's gorgeous oceanic view, but for the sandy texture of the dirt. Because it was boring and flat, this was my favorite part of the trail. Soon, we would be running through "hiking trail hills" that were only one to two feet wide, eroded (in some parts eroded away), and covered in bramble. If you regularly drive along I-280 (I know, most of you dont, but if you ever do...) look to your left when you are driving north from Palo Alto to San Francisco, and you'll see where we were running.
We entered Edgewood Park, and by this time it was starting to get pretty hot. There were a few nice shaded areas on this trail, but mostly it was burnt grass. I was really hoping the local mountain lions weren't ready for lunch, because I would've been an easy catch! We did the Serpentine loop, and realized that there were more hills waiting for us. I actually almost started crying when I saw some of them since I was already so sore at this point.

Left: Edgewood Park (aka Mountain Lion Territory)

After Edgewood Park, we crossed under I-280 and ran along the other side of the freeway before heading back towards Woodside. By the time we returned, I never thought I'd be so happy to see Woodside. It wasn't until we returned that we learned we had actually gone 20 miles. We were so relieved since this run took us four hours and 10 minutes! Our goal for the marathon is 4.5 hours!
All in all we ran through three separate cities during this run: Woodside, San Mateo, and Redwood City! No wonder we hurt so bad!

Helicopters: the fun part

Since our anniversary fell on a Tuesday, we had to celebrate on the weekend. Sunday, we went up to SF to take a helicopter tour of the city. The view was amazing, and we got to fly really close to all of the buildings. We started at the executive side of SFO airport (really nice bathrooms) and took off in the helicopter from there. Adam was excited because we got to wear headsets to communicate during the flight. We started by flying over Ocean Beach, past Golden Gate Park and the Presidio toward the Golden Gate Bridge. Because the weather was cooperating, we got to fly under the Bridge and then did a loop back over it. That was by far Adam's favorite part. We then flew around Alcatraz Island and by Sausalito. We headed back toward the city, going in and amongst the buildings, which was my favorite part. It's amazing how low a helicopter can go. It's so different from riding in an airplane. As we left the city, we flew by the Bay Bridge and along SBC Park (Giants) and Candlestick Park (49ers) back to SFO.

Left: The Helicopter View of Golden Gate Bridge

20 hilly miles and a helicopter ride later, we were thinking "what a weekend!"

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