Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spectacular morning run

With such a title, you are going to ask for some pictures to believe me. Unfortunately, I knew I was going to miss the camera, but I was too much in a rush before my flight to Europe to engage in another ultra-photothon or photo safari, so you will have to get with my word and words.

I had to leave home by 11am to catch my flight at SFO. Still, I wanted to squeeze a long run this weekend, 2 weeks before Rio Del Lago. Not as long as I wanted but, with the circumstances, better than spending the weekend in an airplane, playing "flight-potato" or "seat-potato..."

I left home by 5:20 am and it was still very dark when I passed the Stevens Creek Reservoir. A deer in a bush close to the road scared me, and vice versa as we were probably both thinking of mountain lions. I hit the bottom of the cloud/fog at Swiss Creek on Montebello Road, on my way up to Black Mountain. Then, a few turns later, the marvel: emerging above a sea of clouds, with the hills floating like islands on both sides of the Bay and the sun slowly rising as a huge ball of red fire over Mission Peak. It was like being at 20,000 ft in an airplane and I was only at 2,000 ft.

The first part of the run under the fog was chilly and the first sun rays warmed me and felt so good. As I was approaching the summit of Black Mountain (~2,800 ft), the sun was still low, making my shadow as long as 100 ft at time.

Because of the time constraints and I had still to pack (and shower!) before leaving, I decided to get back home through Rancho San Antonio Park. On my way down, I crossed several runners and hikers, including David (Pearson) from Sunnyvale. Always nice to see a known face on the trails when we spend most of our time on our own.

Quickly after the summit though, I got back in the cloud and the rest of the run was less spectacular, overcast. After the long downhill from the Duvenek windmill and pasture area (Chamise trail), I decided I had time for another loop before heading home (Rogue Valley and Upper Wildcat Canyon). Total on my Garmin 205: 28.3 miles in 3:59:58.98 (yes, I did sprint to get under 4 hours, kind of a Michael Phelps finish, isn't it?). Average pace of 8:30 with 3,200 of total climb and descent. Not super fast, but enough homework to remain in shape.

I got upgraded on my way to Frankfurt with the new flat beds in United Business, pretty cool. 2 x 3 hours of sleep and 18 miles on the Coulée Verte on Sunday afternoon, less than 2 hours after landing. As usual, no room for jet lag, going to bed now for two days of important business meetings in Paris and flying back to the Bay on Wednesday.

As a bonus track especially for the ones who have read my post to this point, I was going to offer here is a panorama taken last year, on the other side of Black Mountain (Montebello Open Space Preserve), on the Old Ranck Trail, before Bella Vista. Again, not this weekend, but in September 2007, with a much different clear sky. Actually the image seems too large for Blogspot (22929 x 599), so here it is, with a lower quality unfortunately, as a movie so you can scroll in all directions with the mouse. Oh well, now the movie got turned 90 degrees by Blogspot... So, the old way, here is a link to the 360-degree panorama (beware, large file!)... Enjoy the clear and friendly skies! And sorry for the lack of pictures this time.

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