What I think about when I am running

Last week I did not get out on a run at all. The long ride a couple of Sundays ago left me feeling quite depleted, and I felt like I was on the verge of getting sick for a couple of days. I rested and took care of myself as best I could, and that meant not thinking about stretching my energy. It also meant that for the first time, I did not run around the route for Roaming Zen ahead of time to get it firmly in my mind and body. Since it was a very local outing to me, I wasn’t especially worried, and did go early on Saturday morning, as part of taking care of an errand, to see how a couple of the staircases and alleys joined together, just to be on the safe side.

Last weekend saw a mini-heatwave; it was almost as warm as the previous Roaming Zen, but there was less shade on offer on the way round. We had a smaller group, and the first two places we stopped didn’t offer quite the amount of refuge I had hoped, with a lot of people out, and sirens, planes and helicopters in evidence, but I think everyone settled when we sat in the last hideaway, Al’s Park on Corbett.

My ride last Sunday was relatively gentle, so on Monday it seemed safe to go out for a run in the afternoon. I also had an eye on next week, when I will be at Tassajara for a few days, and thought I should remind my legs what they might find in store for them if I do get the chance to go running while I am there. In the end, I retraced my steps a little from Saturday, over to Kite Hill, up the curiously named Iron Alley (half of which is a steep flight of wooden steps), but then, instead of heading across to Tank Hill, I took a left and made for the familiar ascent of Twin Peaks.

The weekend’s heat had dissipated; although the sun had burned through the morning clouds, once I got to the more exposed heights the wind was blowing quite cool, carrying the dampness of the fog with it. As so often, the high points overlooking the ocean were acting as the buffer to the marine layer, so the sky at the top was grey to the west, blue on the leeward side. The lower temperatures did not prevent me from working up a sweat on the way up the many staircases; the even ones taking me up between the stacked houses, to the uneven wooden spars laid across the open hillsides. It felt good to be out, stretching myself a little, but not too much, this time. Perhaps the real reward is that it feels so normal to be going out and doing a course like this.
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The last few yards to the top of one of the Twin Peaks, made harder by the uneven stairs

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The entrance to Kite Hill

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Kite Hill

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Jean sent me this picture of the group at the end of Roaming Zen last Saturday; it was our smallest group yet, but as I find with all the teachings I have been doing this year, the size of the group is not the most important thing.

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