Saturday, 18 June 2016.Marin Headlands (25-mile) Loop Counter-Clockwise
This jaunt marked the 4th time DD’s traversed this trail, and my 2nd (account of my 1st here). The challenge – start at 2pm and finish after dark (~10pm), and do the loop in the opposite, counter-clockwise direction. Our plan:
On Sunday I did my usual long run (~12.47 miles). Because of an upcoming hilly Half in Livermore, I chose a route (quite standard, really, especially when I was training for the SF Marathon last spring/ summer,) that took me through the park, up Strawberry Hill and eventually down to Great Highway and up and Land’s End. Relatively “hilly” with lots of downhills and flats in between.
Though this will be my 4th year running, I still don’t know a lot about what to do/ how to improve. If I make the effort, and make it a point to go to track workouts, I might get better.
This year I vow to overcome my fears, to do things that scare me.
Wow, it’s truly been a while. The last time I posted I was just starting training for my first marathon, ever, and that was back in September, when I managed to run 46 miles in a week – my highest mileage week ever (even during the “peak” of my cycle). I achieved this 46-mile week was only because I started Labor Day Monday with running the Zombie Runner/ Zoom Running Lake Vasona Half Marathon in Los Gatos.
Now, I find myself 2 days before my first-ever 26.2.
It’s been a while… but before I get sucked up into other matters yet again, I need to get this down to help with future training.
16 miles is the longest run I’ve logged yet, ever, and it went surprisingly well. I attribute its success to a number of factors.
The Day Before
Though I woke up early (6:45am) to take the car in for service, I snuck in a nap around mid-day. I also bought a pastry and soymilk chai and had somewhat of a breakfast on the walk home from the dealership. For lunch I ate an ear of fresh corn and the leftover Santouka miso ramen which still had a goodly amount of noodles. Perhaps my body was trying to tell me something but I was constantly hungry and snacked a bit throughout the rest of the afternoon until dinnertime, when we had some Bun-Cha Rice Noodle Salad and Vietnamese meatballs for dinner. Bedtime at 10:30pm. Continue reading →
Running through the park and down along the Great Highway brings us to the end of the N Judah line by design. We’re usually too lazy to run back uphill through Golden Gate Park and would rather take MUNI back home. What’s great about this area is that in the recent few years a number of quaint little cafes and restaurants have sprung up – Outerlands most distinctively, Trouble Coffee, and, from the owners of the venerable Java Beach Cafe – Beachside Coffe Bar & Kitchen.
My long run one beautiful January Sunday was for 13 miles. Usual course through the park, down Great Highway, but this time with the addition of a loop around Lake Merced and back up the Highway. I remember not feeling good that day. It might have been psychological. I managed to run part of a DSE 10k course and kept getting passed up by too many folks bent on their speedy 10k pace… DD was also not with me, having run his first really intense trail – Steep Ravine – with Owen on Saturday. Though miles 5-7 is when I usually hit my stride and begin to feel comfortable, I was tired and felt sluggish. At around mile 9 (I was looping Lake Merced by then), I needed to stop completely. I took a GU and drank some water and pretty soon got going again. Eventually I made it to 13.01m and headed home on MUNI. Continue reading →
I have to admit being nervous for the Kaiser race. I think it might have been because this was my first “big” race of the season – I hadn’t run an official Half since last November’s Quarry Turkey race. Then, I had jumped from my longest training run of 9 miles to a 13.2+ mile race. I did decently, finishing at 2:11:27 (though I had secretly hoped to come in under or around 2:10).
I had signed up for Surf City initially, which fell on the same date as the Kaiser Half. Though what was distinctive about Surf City was that the website was up and fully-featured in October, and Kaiser’s remained blankly, enigmatically silent until sometime in the new year. So, chomping at the bit and wanting to have a goal to strive to match DD’s Marathon on March 4th, I signed up for what I thought was going to be my first Half in Southern California on Feb 5th, 2012. And then Kaiser announced itself. Continue reading →
One of my favourite restaurants in town, I’ve been going to Blue Plate since it opened in 1999 and began serving its wonderful, hearty neo-American fare with plays on old classics like Meatloaf and Fried Chicken. Today, it can still pack in a crowd, so that last-minute reservations on a Friday night yielded only a 9:15 opening, but we were able to get seated around 9 or so by arriving around 8:45 and waiting for a couple of the counter seats.
Ok, I’ll admit it, Wakuriya only hit our radar after it received its first Michelin star. I have a horrible fault of usually turning a blind eye (with a few exceptions) to anything south of San Francisco, preferring to focus on wine country or Oakland/ Berkeley instead. DD had tried to get reservations before, but had called too late for a birthday dinner.
We wish we had gotten to Wakuriya sooner. I’d go every month if we could.
flour+water had been popular right out of the gate, spurred by a buzz going even before it opened – with Chef Thomas McNaughton boasting a resume listing La Folie, Quince and Gary Danko; a number of stages at Michelin-starred establishments in Europe, including an artisinal pasta apprenticeship: “…basically Tom and a bunch of old ladies with rolling pins…” according to David White, one of the partners at f+w.
DD and I have been jonesing to go back to flour+water but trying to get a decent online reservation in advance lately has been quite difficult. On 98% of my attempts, I’ve usually encountered nothing earlier before 10pm. Once in a while, if I looked out far enough, I’d spot a listing for 9:15 or 9:30pm. For a Tuesday or Wednesday. Sheesh! They opened in May of 2009, and 2 months thereafter garnered 3 stars from The Chronicle’s Michael Bauer. Accolades followed from the other local food press, and soon there was even a blurb in the New York Times. The restaurant purportedly holds back 1/2 of their seats for walk-ins, but we’ve been hesitant to try this tactic, not being from the immediate neighbourhood.
Saison’s website proclaims that there is no dress code, and urges folks to “come as you are.” While the food is elevated, there’s a nice dichotomy between the white-tablecloth cuisine and the service and warmth of the staff. We had finally made it – after a couple of years and one pop-up when Chef Skenes was away.
How to describe Saison with words of praise that have already been said in a style far better than mine? DD and I had a wonderful meal here, full of beautiful and delicious moments. Sometimes, it might be better to just let the food speak for itself.