Saturday, October 3, 2015

East Bay errands: Oakland and Alameda's shoreline

It was our first Cal Parents weekend and, despite being in the Fall and a year in which we expect El Niño, it was a hot and sunny one! As a matter of fact, it was our first parent weekend because, for various reasons, we never managed to make them for Yale and Georgetown for Max and Alex. Better not miss this opportunity to experience another American tradition!
We only live 50 miles away but there is always some traffic on our local highways so we decided to stay overnight in Oakland. Friday was too busy with lectures, visits and the dinner to squeeze a run in and I had some catch-up to do on Saturday morning (and more this Sunday before leaving for Chicago and tapering for next weekend's Folsom Lake 68-mile race).

We stayed at a hotel which had 'waterfront' in its name and I was really looking forward to a scenic run in the morning. Unfortunately, with the millions of people living in the Bay Area, it's not quite a continuous trail along the Bay's shoreline, see for yourself:
And in more details in the Oakland area, you can better see all the holes in the shoreline:
Preparing for my run on Friday evening made me work on my local geography... As much as I've run a lot in the area, there is so much to learn and explore. In this case, I had heard about Alameda when driving on 680, but I had not realized it was a city on an island, in front of Oakland. Our hotel was actually facing another island, the US Coast Guard one, albeit a smaller one, and definitely not a place for a run (Federal property, no trespassing!).

Long story short, there were a few hundreds yards of boardwalk but it took me about 3 miles to reach a significant stretch of bike path, entering the Martin Luther King on Tidewater Avenue. With the sun rise, and the birds busy looking for fish, that was a really nice run and, before I knew it, I ended up close to OAK, the Oakland International Airport. Rather a busy and unwelcoming place to run but the traffic wasn't too bad so I ran the 1.5 miles on Dolittle Drive, toward Alameda.

But, before going though Alameda, I thought I had time to go around the loop which I had see on the BayTrail map. I had promised Agnès I will be back at the hotel by 9:30 but despite running sub 7 min/mile it was 9:30 by the time I finished this 5-mile loop, oops! I wasn't sure how far I was from the hotel but it took some sprinting to get back at 10 am, just in time to grab a breakfast before it closed, phew! You can see some of that stress in the pace getting faster and faster below... ;-)
By the way, there was some fog preventing me from seeing much of San Francisco but, otherwise, the views from the West side of Alameda must be gorgeous!

After a quick shower and check-out, we managed to see part of the Centennial celebration for Cal's Campanile.
The campanile has a carillon with 61 notes!
After that, Agnès and I split, her going to see the Amélie musical at the Berkeley Rep, and I going to the homecoming football game. It was quite a good fight and we were delighted to see the Golden Bears winning their 5th straight games this season, amazing debut!

Yesterday was more academic with lectures on 'The Stress and your Brain", "Research on self-compassion", "Music: Art and Science" and "Neuroscience: your Brain at Berkeley". Amazing professors and amazing students which make Cal Berkeley the number one Public University in the World. It felt great to get back to school for this occasion, a nice break from work.

Have a great week!

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