Woke up early, with kind assistance from Callie the cat, who was desperately in need of nourishment and attention (not necessarily in that order), fully intending to get my 275 situps in before my 20 mile run. Came to my senses before attempting the former, laced up the "trainers", donned the Garmin and the iPod, the latter freshly loaded with the latest favoured podcasts, and caught the "G" bus to downtown San Francisco.
Grabbed a coffee, and headed out from the iconic SF Ferry Building, with visions of lunch at Marin Brewing Company, exactly 20 miles north, as my inspiration. I hear tell that those who ran in SF yesterday battled some mighty stiff winds. Today, same city, completely different conditions. The tv folks who guess about the weather are saying it's going to rain off and on this whole week. No evidence of that this day.
The Embarcadero was fairly crowded with runners at 8am....surprisingly so, I thought, for a Monday. I cruised through Fisherman's Wharf, gladly inhaling the smells of bacon, coffee, and the sinfully delicious aroma wafting from the Boudin Bakery, out to the Marina, across Crissy Field, past the Coast Guard station (mile 5) and out to Ft. Point, then back along the seawall to the fairly new steps leading up to the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. That's a hefty climb, densly populated this morning with a group of young women with stretchy straps wrapped around fence posts, doing some sort of workout thing. I would not have minded hanging out to watch, but I had accepted my mission, and chose instead to complete it.
The bridge itself was packed with tourists, as was Vista Point, all soaking in the postcard picture views of The City, digital cameras firing in quick succession, apparently eager to not lose the shot. From here it was what could have been a mad romp down Spencer Avenue, and I do mean down (for those who've never done it). This descent has to be carefully managed to avoid injury. Hit the 10 mile point in downtown Sausalito. Right here my time was 2:02. Took a short mental health break and then re-hit the road, counting miles down now, instead of up.
From this point on it was all about getting to Horse Hill, a steep little bastard that parallels the 101 freeway, leading to a roller coaster section in Corte Madera (that's way more fun on a bike than it is on foot), past Marin Joe's (where a waiter friend of mind says Carlos Santana is a regular), and down to the last 3 miles of this 20 mile route, past a mall, the DMV, past a couple of trailer parks (that, as far as I know, have NEVER been hit by tornadoes), then across an overpass to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and the aforementioned Marin Brewing Company, in Larkspur Landing.
My final time was 4:07, 2:05 for the second half, and 7 minutes slower than the last two times I've run this route. But it wasn't about the time today, it was about the distance...and the reward. My wife sweetly drove over to meet me for lunch and, hopefully (!), to give me a ride home. I dined on Ceasar Salad with shrimp and Raspberry Trail Ale, times two (just the beer, not the salad). She had a club sandwich and Old English Ale.
Once home I treated myself to a half hour in an Albany Sauna hot tub. I know I'm supposed to do ice. Not gonna happen. It's taper time, now.