"The Week After" ...PACT

I have all kinds of time on my hands now that PACT is over. I'm also a happier person in general.

I hope I pass.

Anyway, I run solo now, but I've been getting hit up by folks who want to start running and need a running buddy. Least I can do is pay it forward. Plus, I love the company! It gives me an excuse to talk to (or listen to) someone for an hour-ish straight.

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4/7/11: 5.3 mi

I told my roomie that I would meet her at Ikea at the end of this run. I was a little nervous heading out to the shoreline... It was only my second time doing that run and my first time doing it solo. The trail itself seems so secluded and long-winded -- what if I get tired? Or thirsty? Or I need to go to the bathroom? Or... I don't know, it just seemed like such a big commitment to take on by myself.

I puttered around my apartment like I usually do when I'm nervous about something: lather on an extra layer of sun screen, drink more water, use the bathroom, re-tie shoes, change hair tie, walk out of the apartment... make it all the way down the stairs, and then head back up to use the bathroom again...

Finally, I was on my way!

The leg to the track is not so bad any more (that is, as far as first and second miles of a run go). There were a lot of people out on the trail in twos. It was quite romantic, actually. I don't know if the couples were couple couples, but I still think it's romantic for two friends to take a walk along the shore.

Since I needed to be able to find my roomie after the run, I brought my phone along. Since I had my phone, I was able to do this:

The sun was a bit harsh on my eyes as I was running westward at sunset, but once I was on the trail, I couldn't have asked for better running conditions. The sun was (literally) at my side (because I was South bound); the wind was on my back, carrying me along the trail; the misty sea breeze felt and smelled just right. Lovely.

And then there was Emeryville. G'lord, do not get me started with that ish. HELLA stop lights every few steps. HELLA cars and drivers all frantic and confused and frustrated at the curvy streets that do not take you where you want to go. Rush hour traffic. Oh, and of course, I got lost, as I always do in Emeryville.

Anyway. The run ended with a celebratory meal of mashed potatoes, a veggie crepe, and a pile of grey-ish, luke warm Swedish meatballs with coagulated gravy. In addition to never running in Emeryville again, I'm also never ordering meatballs from Ikea again. Just say NO, April! I don't care that it was only $3.99 for 25 meatballs!

4/9/11: 3.7 mi

I've been trying to psych myself up for a run to College Ave. and down it, but as soon as I hit the pavement, my feet tend to take me elsewhere. I finally did it today. Man, did that run kick my butt. It took hella days to get all the way to College Ave. I had to carve and carve away at the street the way that I were ski down a slope (except, obviously, run uphill rather than ski downhill). Uphill, right turn, uphill, right turn, uphill, uphill, uphill... I turned my every whimper into a Tim Taylor grunt. I was determined to make it to College Avenue.

When I finally got there, I was met with relief and a sense of accomplishment... for about 5 seconds. On the 6th second and thereafter, I was met by pedestrians, traffic, shoppers, and Ici customers. Ugh.

So I turned back. So much for that. On the way back, I ran into -- get this -- a chicken. A real, live chicken struttin' along the pavement. It wasn't like, crossing the road or anything (ha), but it was definitely pecking around on the sidewalk. Weird.

I followed Telegraph upwards rather than crossing it. I wanted to pick just the right street to take home. I randomly turned onto Derby and, damn, I'm glad I did. Freakin' gorgeous. Very residential, lots of trees, minimal traffic. Love it.

And that was my run to College Ave.

4/10/11: ??? 3 mi-ish? (route in red)

This run was supposed to be on the Berkeley Fire Trails. Brian and I wanted to work on some hills today, and work we did. My gluts were sore for 2 days after this run.

Unfortunately, we never actually found the Fire Trails because there are so many trails up here and very few signs. We did what we could. We followed a shaded dirt trail along Strawberry Creek, gaining height little by little. That was nice. We eventually reached a fork in the road. Left or right? Up or down? Are we ready to go home yet? NO! Up it is!

We ran one hill up and up and up until I was ready to pass out. I'd be interested to find out what lies at the very top of the hill and over on the other side of it, but I'll have to find out another day because I was exhausted mid-climb. We had to turn back.

We took our time coming down because the incline was so steep -- Brian was worried about his knees and I was convinced that with one wrong move, I'd tumble all the way down to Berkeley civilization. No bueno. On this downhill stroll, we spotted a wild turkey. The turkey was quite skinny, especially considering how it was a turkey and all.

The view was spectacular. Reviews on Yelp and all over the Interwebz all talk about how great it is that you can see all of downtown Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, both bridges, and the bay all at once... but you just don't know until you see it. We caught the view around 5:50 pm. So romantical. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, this view is so... panoramic." As if that makes any sense. Turns out the street we were on is called Panoramic Way. Womp womp. It also turns out that Dwight Ave. goes all the up into those hills. Who'da thunk?

Lastly, Brian and I found a secret staircase that unlocks all the secrets of the universe. Awesome.

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