Monday, January 25, 2010

Garin / Dry Creek Fat-Ass Run and Family Hike Sandwich

Hayward, California, Sunday, December 20, 2009

I met Lloyd Thomas when I went back to Ohio to run the Mohican 100 Mile last June. Someday I'll elaborate on this, when I finally finish that race report. Anyway, Lloyd grew up in Hayward and used to run the trails of Garin/Dry Creek Park all the time, so he proposed holding a fat-ass run there when he came to the Bay Area to visit his brother for the December holidays

I was considering running Rodeo Beach 50k on Saturday the 19th and was on-call for work Sunday the 20th, so I couldn't commit 100% to the proposal. I emailed the select few of us planning to show up that I would try to show up Sunday by 5 am and start running before the semi-official 8 am start.

A cool thing about fat-ass runs is that if you sleep in, well, it's not the end of the world, or even the end of the race, since it's technically not a race.

But I still wanted to get going, since I might have to go to work, and if I wasn't working early, didn't want to sacrifice any quality family time--the plan was to run until my wife showed up with the kids, and then we would do a hike in the same park.

I drove into the park's main entrance just past 7. The only runner I spotted was Keith Blom getting out of his car. He lamented that he was only a few minutes late for the suggested semi-official 7 am early start. Since I knew the route, I reassured him I could guide him through the first loop, a clockwise loop of the high ridge, and we would be sure to catch up with everyone. (link to official park trail map) On the ridge we caught sight of the other starters.

Here's Keith and me running on the ridge, caught by Chihping Fu.

Soon we caught up with the three others.

Back at the start, we all decided to throw in a quick extra loop to kill time before 8 when we would check if anyone else was coming. (No one did.)

The next loop was the northern (Garin) part of the park. When it rains a lot, this part gets a lot of that really sticky East Bay mud that cakes to your soles making your feet weigh 10 pounds each. But as the rain has subsided by the latter part of the week, the trails were in decent shape, though there were still some stream crossings to keep our shoes dirty enough.

At 8:30 I called my work, and was told the 4 pm to midnight fast track doctor had called in sick, so I would have to go in then. : ( Well, at least I didn't have to start work at 10 am or noon.

Pierre-Yves Couteau had gotten a lot faster in the past year, so he and I pulled out front, though we weren't trying to really race.

I guided Pierre through this convoluted (and even looking at the map, confusing) single track wooded section. We did a short out and back so the others could catch up. Unfortunately, Chihping, pictured below, and took several of the photos in this report (thanks) had dropped back and never caught up with us, but I was sure he was still enjoying himself.

I started texting my wife to see when she was going to arrive with the kids to do a hike. We got back to the start, about 16 miles / 3 hours into it. Since she wasn't close yet, I went out with everyone to do another small loop. Pierre and I went ahead, as he also needed to get back home. He accelerated more and dumped me as I slowed to do more texting with my wife.

Heading back, I got her arrival call, and we met by Jordan Pond, close the main entrance. We headed back southeast on Dry Creek Trail, acutally a network of parallel, crisscrossing single track trails going along the not-dry Dry Creek. Crossing the series of narrow bridges was fun, though one of us lacked the leg length to straddle the sides.

On the return, we took the lower ridge with views of the hills, as well as the East Bay and Peninsula to the west.

My older son was the usual trooper, getting a little sleepy at the end, but making it all the way. My younger son too hiked almost half the distance, but then got put in the Ergo carrier on my back and took a long nap.

Hike summary: miles 20.4 to 25.1 (on the clock 3:52 to 6:51) including rest stops to refuel.

Back at the barn near the main entrance, we ran into Lloyd, who had just finished a hike with his wife, and was headed out. Thanks for organizing!

My wife then left with the kids. It was then 2, and it made no sense to go home only to drive back out to Hayward to work. So I thought I'd start running again, and make this an unofficially official ultra run. I didn't have time to do the southernmost Tolman Peak loop (on which I'd done trail maintenance several hours last summer).

If I had, I would have pretty much have covered every single stretch of trail in the park, but was at least able to fit in two loops up the high ridge with ascents of the steep Meyer's Ranch Trail.

The sports drink from powder I had been drinking all day along with the sandwich and snacks I ate during the hike were not enough to compensate for my depleted glycogen reserves. I started to feel really dizzy as I came in. I used this as a perfect excuse to extend my run even further, and explore an unofficial trail going up and past this kite flying hill. I was able to make it up and down the extra mile without passing out or dying, which would have inconvenienced and possibly pissed off my colleagues at work. And then I would've felt stupid.

Summary of final post-hike solo run: 9.2 miles, very hilly, in 1 hour 41 minutes. Felt great to push myself to depletion.

Summary of day: total time out there: 8 hours 33 minutes, 34.3 miles recorded (I probably ran more since the signal isn't always strong in the woods). Not bad given that I had no idea how the day would unfold and wasn't anticipating the post-hike run.

I had one of those canned protein-energy drinks cooled with an ice-pack waiting for me in the car, which hit the spot. (And allowed me to drive to work without crashing and dying).

I wiped myself down as well as I could in the bathroom before my fast track shift (like my final run, done solo away from the other docs working the regular ED. If any of my patients was grossed out, they hid it pretty well. Or else I was feeling too good and sore from a great long day outdoors to notice.....

My Garmin Forerunner recorded map and splits

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