San Francisco Day 3
Marin Headlands – Tennessee Valley
Thursday, March 19, 2009

The third and final day in San Fran was by far my favorite. The running was primo and it reminded me of some of my favorite runs back home. We parked at The Tennessee Valley parking area and headed down the Valley Trail to the beach. The beach is made of loose gravel and polished stone. The cliff sides continue to erode as the waves continue to batter against their fragile walls. The views were magnificent, the sky a deep blue and the sea a wonderful turquoise. As we ran down the valley trail I looked up at both sides to the sights of mountains with trails winding their way up and around.. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

After checking out the cliffs and not being able to resist the urge to climb, we headed for what looked like a trail but was nothing more than an old fence posted area still dug out. Regardless, we followed the “trail” to the top of the ridge at which point we discovered like old bunkers built and used during the Second World War. We were treated with distant views of the Golden Gat Bridge with the City nestled behind it. It was a gorgeous warm day as the sun beat down on my back. We ran across the ridge and then headed back down into the valley.

After running back down into the valley I decided we were far from done for the day. Views earlier treated us to the sights of trails on the other side of the valley and up to the opposite ridge. We were treated with much of the same. Immaculately “paved” trails without a rock or root in sight. I tried my best to run as much of the uphill I could and made it about half way. I was huffing and puffing for sure, knowing that it was to be my last uphill of the week in San Fran. After that, we ran along the ridge looking out over the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean. As the sun beat down on and reflected off of the water, it was hard not to work on the sun burn I always wanted. Ick. After topping out on the ridge, I got tire dof holding back and decided to smoke the downhill back to the beach. I ran at 6:30 min mi – 6:00 min mile pace for as long as my legs would allow, at times feeling as though I was about to lose control and topple over in a heap. Luckily I still have the great leg control I’ve always had on downhills and enjoyed every quad pounding minute. Alyssa and I met up back at the beach where we soaked our tired and roasting feet in the water one last time before heading back up the valley to the car. The amazing running in San Fran had come to a close. I accomplished all of my goals.. I ran on Dipsea and on the Miwok 100K courses. I dipped my legs in the Pacific ocean for the first time and rubbed my hands against the sands of time. It was an amazing adventure this west coast trip and as always, these western adventures allow me the chance to reinvent myself. That source of self discovery once again rises to the surface to shine some light on your darker days. This is why the West is for me, and I long for the day when I get to pack up my belongings and move in the direction that the sun sets.
Thanks Alyssa for being an awesome host!


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