Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Back from Summer into the Ice Age

Back from Summer (in the Southern Hemisphere) and in to the Ice Age

Its been a while since have blogged or trained properly. I've been literally all over the world in the last 2 weeks. I have trekked all over San Francisco California, Sydney Australia, and Wellington New Zealand.

A thirteen hour layover in San Francisco before the next leg of my outgoing flight had me take the BART train to downtown San Francisco. After taking the obligatory trolley to Fisherman's Wharf I walked the entire length of the boardwalk down to the Bay Bridge and back to the Market Street trolley where I caught a bus to the Golden Gate Bridge. I walked more than half its length before turning around so I could have some dinner and catch my evening flight to Sydney.

I had an awesome hotel in the Circular Quay area of Sydney for my one night layover to New Zealand. I immediately changed my clothes and ran out around the Government House to the Sydney Opera House around the Circular Quay, through the street markets on Argyle Street and found my way up to the Harbour Bridge and did an out and back there before returning to the hotel.

In the morning I ran back to the Opera House and around to The Rocks and under the Harbour Bridge and back to the hotel. After a quick trip to Bondi Beach I was on my way to Wellington, NZL.

My early arrival and subsequent working day in New Zealand kept me from a run around the beautiful bay city of Wellington until the next morning. In the morning I ran out east along the boardwalk to the stadium at Wellington where the New Zealand Sevens rugby tournament would begin on that Friday. I ran a quick pace back and saw many fellow runners in the crowd. I later found out that the west bound route from the city center is a much better run, but oh well.

I didn't run any more during the trip, but proceeded to hike or as the New Zealanders call it "tramping" all over the immediate area. My first trip took me to the Botantical Gardens by cable car. I had an easy, beautiful walk back down to Lambton Quay and the Beehive.

On my last day in Wellington I sought out some awesome hiking trails. I took the train to Petone Station and did a three hour hike up the Kokoro Stream Track. I caught the bus back to Petone and walked around the Hutt City Trail until I could catch a bus to Days Bay. I had lunch and then took the Kereu Road track up the mountain, along the main ridge and down to Ferry Road - a two hour fifteen minute tramp.

The latter hike was really steep at times and harrowing at times. There were times when I had to question where the trail was, mud and shallow water covered certain areas, and I even saw what I thought were boar tracks. But, the walks were beautiful and it felt good to "go walkabout" alone. I caught the ferry back to Wellington in time to run into the celebrations for the first day of the rugby tournament that was making the town look like a giant, drunk Halloween parade.

The way home was not lacking in adventure. My flight into Sydney from Wellington was late due to some serious rainfall attacking the east coast of Australia. After cooling my heels in the airport for nine hours, I finally caught my flight home and found out about the snowstorm bearing down on my home. By the time I arrived back in the US I knew it would be unlikely that I'd get home that night. Indeed my flight was canceled and I was put up in the Embassy Suites hotel in Burlingame, which I must say is awesome. Beautiful indoor courtyard and just what a person who has been traveling for 36 hours needed a free happy hour, indoor pool with sauna, and a free well appointed breakfast in the morning. And, it was no continental breakfast with crossaints and coffee, but custom cooked pancakes, omelets and a wide array of juices and coffees.

I was fortunate to have the same ticketing agent who sent me out the Australia handle my re-ticketing to DC. She took pity on me and moved me slyly from the standby list to the only booked flight to BWI that day. I arrived only to find that most cars couldn't breakout of the long term parking lot, but my SUV and determination got me free so that I could cautiously drive on barely plowed roads at 3AM past stranded cars and fallen trees to finally get home!

Now things are back to normal. Well, as normal as the DC area gets when buried under more than three feet of snow with a second storm burying us as I write.

Training update

I did 6 miles in 52:24 on my basement treadmill. The run was done to train negative splits. I started off at 6.5 mph and after the first mile I ran one tenth of a mile faster each half mile topping it off with 8 mph for the last 800 meters. Good workout.

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