Categories
running

Palo Alto / Cruiser

At around 4pm, the Stan­ford cam­pus is always filled with run­ners, cyclists, and ath­letes in car­di­nal red. I appre­ci­ate this, and yet, at the same time, I feel like I'm run­ning among high­ly-intel­li­gent pod-peo­ple who have sin­is­ter inten­tions beneath benign good looks and have assumed the forms of innocu­ous, white-bread ath­let­ic types in order to Blend In. I imag­ine that they detach their low­er jaws and con­sume god knows what when my back is turned, and per­haps some­day I will stum­ble upon a fly­ing saucer deliv­er­ing giant eggs. As always, this run was sus­pi­cious­ly unevent­ful.

Categories
running

Palo Alto / Dish Loop

This run kicks my ass. Almost every time, I expe­ri­ence infer­nal car­dio and quad pain dur­ing the climb from the Stan­ford Ave entrance. The best stretch of the run is imme­di­ate­ly after this climb — it's an S‑shaped quar­ter-mile head­ing due west (usu­al­ly into the wind) and it pro­vides a great view of the dish against the coastal range. But I'm usu­al­ly fight­ing to catch my breath dur­ing this stretch, and spend most of it just try­ing to keep my shit togeth­er. This par­tic­u­lar run was okay … I keep think­ing that I'll get back to the good old days when I reg­u­lar­ly clocked sub-50-min­utes on this run. But I'm a long, long way from that right now. I ride my bike more. I run hills more. But can it be that I'm just not as fit as I was in those love­ly, peace­ful days of July 2002? I will remem­ber July of 2002 as a series of qui­et evening runs through the Stan­ford cam­pus, punc­tu­at­ed by bliss­ful­ly fast, fast times. Ah, to be young(er). Sim­pler times. Sim­pler, faster times.

Categories
running

Palo Alto / Dish Loop

I haven't done the dish loop in months … per­haps since before the New Year. Is that pos­si­ble? In any case, I nev­er expect­ed to have such a ter­ri­ble time with it. My PR is in the high 48's, and, in com­par­i­son, this one (54:44) just seems pathet­ic. I should prob­a­bly sub­tract 3 or so min­utes from the time, though, because I had to run down to the secret entrance after get­ting to the Stan­ford Street gate a cou­ple of min­utes after 5pm. So this one was real­ly in the 51 range, though that still sucks in com­par­i­son. I was in pain for some of the run, as my new Adi­das big-boys were killing my feet while I was at the dish. And it was a beau­ti­ful day, not that I was even notic­ing that.

Categories
running

City Summits / Bernal

I haven't done this run for a while, and tonight's was a hap­py return. I con­sumed a lot of caf­feine at around 7pm, vio­lat­ing my only iron-clad self-med­icat­ing pol­i­cy: no caf­feine after 3pm. Ever. Or, almost ever. I was a gold­en god from 7pm on, and my run took advan­tage of this artif­i­cal self-esteem and turned it into an all-con­sum­ing delu­sion of ath­let­ic indomitabil­i­ty which became espe­cial­ly acute as I neared the top of BH. I wasn't even close to my PR of 28-some­thing, but I felt great and the run felt like an extra­or­di­nary suc­cess because what else mat­ters, real­ly? It was moon­less and misty, and the top of Bernal Heights was dark, dark. In fact, I couldn't see the trail at all, which didn't both­er me because I WAS A GOLDEN GOD. Plus, I was the only per­son up there, giv­ing me a real­ly good chance to belt out Ween's song "Piss up a rope" and "Jolene". So I raced up and down, got my heart rate up there, and arrived back home ready to solve all the world's prob­lems. Was it pos­si­ble to solve them while play­ing Grand Theft Auto? I guess we'll find out.

Categories
running

City Summits / Tank Hill

Of course I decide to run on Sun­day. Sat­ur­day was clear, warm, and easy-going in this way that I always knew Cal­i­for­nia would be, and I spent most of it work­ing on my law school per­son­al state­ment. Sun­day was rain. Rain and wind. Can any­one blame me for not being inspired by rain and wind? Or cold? Did I men­tion cold? My hands got cold near Tank Hill, and then I got one of those ter­ri­ble nether-region numb­ness­es that forced me to do some pro­vi­sion­al warm­ing with my hand while I ran. Any­way, I turned back after I hit Tank Hill, going back through Cole Val­ley, Bue­na Vista Park, and the Cas­tro. NONE of this would have hap­pened if I'd run on Sat­ur­day.

Categories
running

Palo Alto / Cruiser

The stan­dard cruis­er with noth­ing real­ly spe­cial to note except that, even after three years of run­ning through a cam­pus that is easy of the eyes: Stan­ford doesn't do it for me. The ster­ile insti­tu­tion­al­i­ty, the park­ing lots filled with BMWs, the lame sand­stoney build­ings, the false impor­tance, the Step­fordy aspect of the stu­dents in their lux­u­ri­ous sports­wear. It's all of these things, and none of them. There's some­thing unname­ably cheap about it; some­thing that hits you after­ward, like a bad smell. Either way, it's not a bad place to see at 8 miles an hour. Plus, there are always run­ners, like me, who look seri­ous about what they do, like I'm sure I do. So it's like get­ting a very mild stom­ach ache from food that you like, and then just eat­ing it again and again.

Categories
running

City Summits / After Dark

It's called After-Dark for a rea­son; okay, for a few rea­sons. I take 19th Street through the peace­ful, fam­i­ly-friend­ly envi­rons of Dolores Park through the beef­caked Cas­tro, and then cut through that lit­tle park on Seward, skirt Kite Hill and final­ly corkscrew up and over the foot­bridge that dumps onto Romain in Twin Peaks. And from the cin­e­mat­ic, we move to the panoram­ic. Romain dead-ends into Gray­stone, or some street like that, but I main­tain max­i­mum veloc­i­ty and keep head­ing straight and go up up up the side of the hill. No trails. Just me, the black­ber­ry bush­es, and the pain. With­in 100 yards, I'm in the park­ing lot of an ele­men­tary school, and with­in anoth­er 50, I'm on a real trail that switch­es back all the way up to the view­ing area atop Twin Peaks. This is where it gets quite lit­er­al­ly very dark. The trail to the top is usu­al­ly unevent­ful, except for the amaz­ing views as you take the last lit­tle switch­back before the top. After deliv­er­ing the GE design work at the lit­er­al — LITERAL — ass-crack of dawn, I was very, very ready to run this evening. A love­ly, love­ly evening to run, too.

Categories
running

City run / Diamond Life

A lit­tle light rain always kin­da spices up a run. It sprin­kled on and off this evening as I did anoth­er lit­tle tour of the alley­ways of Glen Park, and then some­how end­ed up in a hous­ing project on top of Dia­mond Heights. It was sur­re­al, real­ly; I kept climb­ing high­er and high­er, and the hous­es were get­ting big­ger and big­ger, and then I noticed glass from a bro­ken car win­dow on the ground. The hous­es didn't look par­tic­u­lar­ly like pub­lic hous­ing, but they def­i­nite­ly were not cut from the same cloth as the hill­top palaces around Twin Peaks, Bue­na Vista Park, Coro­na Heights, etc. But it makes a weird sort of sense — being stuck on top of a hill isn't too dif­fer­ent, real­ly, from being stuck out near the air­port, or just — away — from essen­tial things, places that peo­ple don't have to pass through to get any­where else. When I got back down to Glen Park, I found the best alley­way yet … it was right below the pub­lic hous­ing, and it was a good 300 yards of dirt road that leads to an awe­some, secret-feel­ing lit­tle park.

Categories
running

City run / Nebraska

a hill-less run from fol­som street to glen canyon park by way of precita park. i did a lit­tle explor­ing, and found anoth­er great unpaved alley called ohlone way near glen park. i also came across a sin­is­ter lit­tle sum­mit park near the inter­sec­tion of bosworth, con­go and elk streets. it's called dorothy w. some­thing park, and in the soft focus of this evening's rain and fog, it looked like el gre­co meets the broth­ers grimm — rocky and uneven ter­rain, droopy trees, ringed by a crap­py, root-rid­dled trail. on a gen­tler note, the lit­tle flower hut at 23rd and shotwell was open tonight, bright light and flow­ers burst­ing out the door, mak­ing hap­py haloes in the mist.

Categories
running

City run / Tank Hill

When I was in Cuba, I kept hear­ing a Span­ish ver­sion of the Car­pen­ters' song about the kind of husssshh all over the world .. tonight .. etc. The Span­ish ver­sion was an exact copy: "Hay un tipo de silen­cio sobre todo el mun­do .. esta noche .." and it seemed like I couldn't turn on the radio with­out hear­ing it in 15 min­utes. For some rea­son, when­ev­er I run dur­ing the sun­set, I always think of this song, and tonight it was going through my head on an end­less loop as I skirt­ed along Tank Hill and down through the Upper Haight.