Weekend of Running

I realized somewhere around Wednesday that this weekend would be a weekend of running.  Ugh…or maybe yay…I don’t know. I like running, but I also like relaxing. Haha.

Saturday’s adventure was a run through the headlands. Well, I’ll use the term run loosely….it was pretty much doomed from the beginning.  I forgot my watch….I didn’t have a route planned, and looking back, I’m pretty sure I was dehydrated for some reason.   So, I decided to explore somewhere new….ended up going up a big hill, then down some random trails that didn’t really go anywhere. Just down….so I had to go back up. Good times. And while exploring was fun, it wasn’t that much fun without a watch or any idea if the trails were good or not. And it was hot.  Knowing I still needed to get mileage in, I decide to run to the end of a flat trail that runs along the road and maybe run out to Tennessee beach after.

However, at the end of that trail, I ran into another runner who asked me where I was going. I told him I didn’t know, and he suggested a trail across the street – ‘beautiful trail, meets marincello, and there’s really only one steep/hiking part at the top.  Or….there’s lots of stairs, steep, and sun.  And when I got to the top, marincello was nowhere in site….nor was any trail I knew would get me there. Awesome…thanks runner dude.  I wandered for a bit trying to find something, but at that point I was pretty dehydrated and feeling awful, so I decided to head back the way I came.

After some Gatorade and relaxing on the couch Saturday night, I was ready to think about tackling day two of running.  There wasn’t much to prepare, but I did prepare more than I have in the past.  Really, I just made sure I had clothes, shoes, and my race bib in some sort of order.  Though, I did arrive at the start line with a gu and my phone, and really no place to put either one. I didn’t sleep well, but for some reason was up with time to spare…..spent more time relaxing on the couch before we had to leave.

At the starting line, I ran into my friend Debbie and her friend Hans – our yearly second half SFM reunion.  Always great to see her, even if it was only for a few minutes. I also met a lady who was running with about 10 helium balloons tied to the back of her top.  Still wondering how that worked out for her. At about mile three, I ran into my friend Maya from work….somehow, we always find each other at these races, even amongst thousands of people.

The first eight or so miles felt alright….I think I had a decent pace going when I could. There were a lot of people, and in a bunch of places, it was pretty difficult to zig and zag around people. Oh well, pretty typical of the park at the start. The first few miles outside the park were ok too, despite that it was starting to get hot. I grabbed a gu at the gu stop in the haight, by that point, I had started to feel a little off, and wasn’t sure if I was hungry.  I had also eaten my gu back in the park and didn’t really like not having one on me.

I passed Brian and the SB cheer squad coming up the big hill in the mission, he looked like he was having fun cheering everyone on with a bell and a wig.  After that, I couldn’t tell if I was overusing my abs or if my stomach was cramping….not so much fun and definitely slowed me down. I took it slow the rest of the way, but still ran at least some of it. In the last bit to the finish line, I saw a guy down by AT&T park….between that and the guy down at the finish line, it brought back the sad memories about the guy that died at the kaiser half a few years ago.  Luckily, I think both of these guys were ok….maybe just dehydrated.

I got to the finish, not as fast as I had hoped, but not bad all things considered. Ksenya got some good photos of me coming in, so that was fun. They gave me boxed water at the finish line, interesting and a little different, and unfortunately, I was so thirsty and trying to drink quickly, I ended up wearing most of it. I got my medal and a few bites of a blueberry muffin, then headed out to meet Brian and our friends.

Post race, we headed to Barney’s where I consumed my weight in milkshake, chicken pesto sandwich, and curly fries…..amazingly delicious. I’m definitely more stiff than I thought I would be, so I’ve spent the rest of the afternoon napping on and off on the couch, watching bad movies, and contemplating how exactly I’m going to run 30 miles in a few weeks.  Granted, ultra training is completely different than a road race, but still….yikes.  Hopefully after some rest and maybe some wine and hopefully a successful 20 miler next weekend, I’ll feel better about it.

Everest Trek – The End of the Road

Annnnd, once again, it’s taken me forever to get back and update this….must. get. back. into. blogging. haha….

I guess I’ve just been busy…running up Mt. Diablo, traveling back to Buffalo for mom’s birthday, working on a bunch of stuff for my new job, signing up for a 50k run in august.  And, our lead Sherpa from our Nepal trip came to San Francisco to bring his son to school.  We were able to meet him for dinner, so we took him to Sam’s Chowder House – gave him his first experience with chowder, halibut, and key lime pie.  So much fun and so great to see him.

Anyway….on to the end of the trek….

And, we’re back in Kathmandu…it seems like, just like that – it’s over.

After dinner last night was pretty much a goodbye party.  We had lodge food for dinner, and it made us really, really thankful for our cooks on the trek.  Once we were done eating, the entire team came in to say goodbye and get their tips.  We got to see the kitchen boy who received the coat Brian donated.  He was so happy and proud of his new jacket – he had never had one before.  One of the guides took my shoes, I’m glad someone was able to use them, even though they’re small.  As we gave each of the groups their tips (kitchen boys, guides, porters, etc.), they came around and shook hands and gave hugs – some really emotional moments.

We finished the night with a few rounds of sherpa alcohol our guide bought for us, Everest beer, and a championship round of dominos.  A great ending to a great trip, and I still can’t believe it’s over.

As we left this morning, all of the porters and kitchen boys ran out of the kitchen tent to wish us one final goodbye.  As we walked further up the road to the airport, the guides met us to wish us goodbye as well.  A few more powerful moments as we followed our head guide to the airport.  After weighing all of our luggage and getting tickets, we bid farewell to him and our sidar.  He wished us well and told us he’d see us in San Francisco.

The flight out of Lukla wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the flight in.  Granted, we had to wait for them to clean up a bunch of popcorn kernels (the flight before us was carrying people and supplies)…quite funny actually.  Then, we were off – down the downhill runway, kind of like a roller coaster.  Our final guide got us to our van at the Kathmandu airport, and then we dropped him off at home on the way to the hotel, officially saying goodbye to the final person from the trek.

Now that I’ve been back for awhile, and had more time to reflect, I’ve realized how awesome all of this really was.  It seemed like each day kicked my butt more than the one before, and I truly didn’t think I could do it again, climb one more hill or one more flight of stone steps.  But, then I did…and I made it through the next day, and the one after that too.

The cough eventually went away, I got over the sick, and the ankle has pretty much healed.  But, the memories will last a life time, and the photos longer than that.  I’ll never forget Mr. Bean turning around at the top of Kalapatthar and telling me that I had two more steps to go.  My smiling photo at the top will forever remind me that I can do things I thought I couldn’t.