26 September 2005

A weekend on the Peninsula

I used to live in the SF Bay Area for near on six and a half years. Over that time, I got to see many of its beautiful areas and attractions. Being a runner and a bit of a cyclist, my favourite way to spend a few hours was always out on the wonderful trails and paths in and around the foothills.

With my Open World commitments over and a weekend on my hands, I've been able to get out and about and visit some of my favourite places all over again.

I went for a run on Thursday with my IronMan colleague Tug (well soon to be IronMan). We went out to Edgewood park -- and did a 40min run on an old favourite trail. Even at the end of summer, it was still a very nice place to run. It was dry and quite brown in patches, but the trails following a few of the little ridges there were all shaded by lovely trees and it was great to be back. Tug spanked me on the uphill portion of the run as evidenced by my Polar HRM which showed me running at 98% of my max heart rate on one portion of the trail.

I have a Polar Heart Rate Meter which I wear when I run and ride. It's got an amazing array of features which allow it to measure the heart rate of a wearer using a wireless transmitter and a chest strap. The version I have also works with a bike by placing a speed-sensor on the front fork. It then can keep track of the speed of the bike, allowing speed v heart rate comparisons to be made. Even better, it has an altitude sensor, so it can plot speed v heart rate v altirude -- which makes for very interesting viewing once a run/ride is over. Finally it allows the captured data from the watch to be uploaded to a computer so it can be easily viewed and stored.

On Saturday I went to what I think is my favourite run in the bay area -- Woodside. It starts on Woodside road at the Woodside school and winds its way through the quiet backroads until you reach Huddart County park. This place is sensational. The path I take follows a creek until it reaches the end and then climbs up and around a ridge. It then winds back down to the creek following a trail surrounded with majestic redwood trees, with the trail being soft underfoot from all of the fallen leaves from all of the trees. I could run there forever. The run then follows the way out to the starting point. It takes about 58min at a pretty good clip. When I lived here with my wife, we'd always do this around mid morning then head off to the Roberts store at Woodside for a Smoked Chicken foccacia for lunch. We'd have it every time we ran at Woodside. As much as I loved being back there this weekend, I missed running next to Jules, and my great mate, Dirty Rickster. He's worth an entire blog on his own.

Today I headed out to another favourite run -- Crystal Springs (or Sawyer Camp trail). It's a paved, marked (every 0.5 mi) trail which has an out and back trail of 6 miles. I took a shorter run today and just went out 3mi and turned around for a total of 6 miles. I ran quite hard today and pleasantly found that I was sitting quite comfortably on around 6:30 min/miles, giving me a total time of 39:15 for the 6 miles. I was very happy with that as my previous best time on that length was 39:46, which was in the midst of marathon training. So I was quite pleased -- pleased enough to go and get sushi and sapporro for dinner.

I have a few busy days at HQ to meet up with all the people I work with, before heading off back to Australia. I am not looking forward to the 15hr leg from SFO to SYD in cattle class. But I'll be stoked to see my little boy Sam and Jules at the airport when I get back.

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