Friday, November 11, 2011

East Bay to Disney to Chattanooga to Nashville!

It's been a whirlwind past couple of weeks.  Work has been tough and the travel is on.  I am gonna post soon about all of the great things I'm working on...I think yall will find it interesting.  I am very fortunate to have projects and conferences in beautiful places around the country.  When I start planning a work trip I immediately look for trail running spots.  I try to stay close to those and everything else falls in place.

Work recently took me to Tracy, CA, and the San Francisco bay area has no shortage of trails.  Typically I head to the Marin Headlands but this time I was focused on the east bay trails.  I hit Redwoods and Garin/Dry Creek Regional Parks for some great runs.  The two areas are completely different.  The Redwoods Park is forested with a tall canopy formed by the beautiful Coast Redwoods and other big trees.  Consequently it was dark at 5PM during my run.  All I can say is those big ol' stately Redwoods own that place!  I wish I had pictures but I forgot my camera but here is a panorama of the French Trail (my favorite of the trails I ran).

The Garin/Dry Creek Regional Park, on the other hand, is exposed, rolling, Dr. Seuss-like hills.  Consequently it was bright and hot during my run.   But both places had two things in common - they were spectacular places to get submerged in and they were very hilly.  I've yet to find a flat spot to run in the bay area....which is fine by me.

Work then took me to Disney.  Not much to speak of running-wise since it is flat and fairly confined around the Disney compound.  But I got to take the family for a few days over halloween and good times were had by all.  It was certainly exciting to see the kids so happy. 

Then we immediately turned around and went with our crew to do the Ragnar Relay in Tennessee.  Our stats: 12-people, 195 miles, 28 hours.  If you are a runner and haven't done a long relay event, then you are missing out.  It is a great way to be a part of a team and really feel the importance of contributing to a common goal...just like grade school.  Running is typically a pretty singular, and arguably selfish endeavor.  But with a relay, it is a chance to be a part of something bigger and not let the rest of the team down.  My favorite part of these relays is the late night/early morning run....cruising down the backroads in the moonlit darkness carrying a bracelet from one person to the next.  Plus Tennessee is God's country as far as I'm concerned....maybe growing up there has something to do with it.  But I really do think it's under-appreciated in it's beauty.   This time of year is no exception with the leaves changing.  It's rolling hills are perfect for a runner or cyclist, good enough for a challenge but not so demanding that recovery takes days.

The race went from Chattanooga, up, down, up, and down over the Cumberland Plateau and then through the rolling valley that is decorated with stone steps, cedars, and hardwoods all the way to Nashville.  Our team - the Alt Fuel Cell Assassins - is sponsored by my company, CTE, and consisted mostly of coworkers and my wife.  We had a blast and even beat our team's average 10k pace....not bad for an even where everyone ran a total of 18 miles on average!

Next up: A local 9 mile trail race and then Grand Canyon R2R2R on Nov 19!  Super psyched about this one.

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