Sunday, April 19, 2009


Did the Redwood Peak trail run this morning. It was a 15K trail run in the hills overlooking Oakland, sponsored by XTerra. I had done an XTerra 12K on the Dipsea trail during the summer of 2007. It was horrendously hard, but I liked the organization and experience. So I thought I would come back for more.

I had trained on the hills in the city, running up and down some of the larger hills in Pac Heights and Nob Hill area. Two of my longer training runs finished with the California mile -- uphill on California Street from the Financial District up to Grace Cathedral.

The run turned out to be beautiful, I'm glad I did it. But it wasn't easy. We had an unusually hot day in the East Bay Hills, so dehydration was a risk. They even ran out of water and gatorade at the finish. They also did a last minute change to the trail, extending the course. The final distance was somewhere around 9.5 miles.

The race began with a 1 mile relatively smooth downhill, which jacked up the speeds for everyone. Around the 4 mile mark, just after the first water stop, we finally hit the first real hill. Very nasty. Nobody among the group I was with could jog it, it was way too steep. Afterwards was a 3 mile relatively flat section along the ridgeline. Seemed easy on the surface, but it turned into the most frustrating section of the trail. It was completely exposed to the sun, so the heat beat everyone down. Also, at that point my legs no longer had any snap in them -- so I couldn't run with a long stride. It turned into a slow 3 mile long slog in high heat.

The most interesting thing about the day was that those God awful quad exercises that I had to do in the Krav/Crossfit class (squats, burpees, lunge steps), and the stairclimbing I did last month for Climb California, helped me in the last 2.5 miles. About 2 of the last 2.5 miles were a very steep uphill. It was like stairclimbing. While it was painful, it was familiar. For others it was rougher. One girl that I passed was walking uphill with her feet pointed diagonally and with her legs in a wide walking stance -- big waste of energy. She should have kept her legs close together, her feet pointed straight, everything moving straight forward.

As I passed her she said to me "This blows!" I told her to look at the bright side -- we were under the trees now, so it was very shady and cool, unlike the previous 3 miles in the sun.

As I drove home from the race, the thing that hit me was that I missed these types of events a great deal. Triathlons and the three races/events that comprise it were the sports that during the past 5 years made me feel 10 feet taller and 15 years younger. As much as I like Krav/Crossfit/TRX/etc., those workouts are just that -- workouts. They aren't sports, they don't have events or competitions associated with them. They also don't bring you outdoors. Having the wind and sun in my face -- even if I'm getting roasted or chilled, adds to the experience. I miss that feeling of being outside dealing with nature.

Now where do I go from here? I feel committed to Krav, but I miss my old sports.

1 comment:

  1. It seems like a combination of Krav and Crossfit could help you train for some of these competitions. No need to choose one over the other.