Last weekend I ventured out west, to San Francisco, to crew Mike through his first 50-miler, The North Face Endurance Challenge Championships. I haven't been out to California since 2002, so I was excited to get back, and to see my very favorite running partner in crime :)
The four hour flight got me there an hour early and I now had another four hours to kill while I waited for Mike's flight to land. My butt fell asleep sitting on the floor in the baggage claim area, but I was certainly entertained with all the people watching, managed to finish a copy of Runner's World I'd held off reading for a couple months, and made a serious dent in my latest book of choice, The Universe In A Single Atom by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Sidenote: I picked up this book after reading Mike Bouscaren's Ultrarunning: My Story (he suggested the book). It's very interesting and thought-provoking, but not recommended to anyone who doesn't enjoy the argument of science v. religion.
Once Mike arrived, we got a rental car and headed into the city to pick up his race packet at The North Face store and then get some food!
Once we found the hotel, in Mill Valley, Mike finished up some work and I laced up my road runners and headed out for a little run to get the legs ready for the next day. It was gorgeous! I had no idea where I was, so I strapped on my Garmin 305 so I could at least keep track. I ran down Redwood Highway (interior) and turned on a hilly side street that lead towards the mountains. This street dropped me directly onto one of my favorite surfaces...single-track, woohoo! I followed the make-shift dirt path as it wound through some marshy areas and then into a small peninsula area in the middle of a sort of inter-coastal waterway. Mt. Tamalpais loomed in the distance. There was a dog park in the center and a crushed gravel path that went around it. I took this until I reached about 2 miles and saw more single-track coming up that led onto the peninsula (also a national scenic wildlife reserve) and took this until it hit a dead end at the water's edge, then turned around and headed back to the hotel. The sun was setting and you could see it reflecting in the still water, and as it disappeared behind the mountains the colors changed quickly before it got dark. The run turned into just under 4 miles. Excellent. It felt good, especially considering I hadn't run in seven days while I rested my shins.
Dinner at this awesome Italian restaurant just north of where we were staying, and then we relaxed in the room and watched The Distance of Truth to get all psyched for the next day. Great documentary about the 2005/06 running of Badwater 135. We woke at 2:45 a.m. (!) and started making motions to head out. I'm glad we had organized everything the night before, and I went over directions for crew, pacing, etc. We had to meet at Rodeo Beach where we'd take a shuttle bus to the start/finish area. Once the runners started, the shuttles would take crew members back to the Beach to get our cars.