Training: Week 14, Angel Island

The view of the Golden Gate Bridge from near the top of Angel Island.

With my husband and son away, I had the rare opportunity to do whatever I wanted with my free time. So what did I do? I ran a 12k trail race on Angel Island. Of course. Doesn’t everyone get up at 6:00 AM to run races, even on days where they can finally sleep in? No? Just me, then? Maybe I’m doing this vacation thing all wrong.

The Plan

  • Monday, 8/23: 30-minute run
  • Tuesday, 8/24: Kickboxing
  • Wednesday, 8/25: Cycling (canceled due to 107-degree temps)
  • Thursday, 8/26: Kickboxing
  • Friday, 8/27: Mandatory rest
  • Saturday, 8/28: Angel Island 12k
  • Sunday, 8/29: Cycling, yard work

We’ve had no summer to speak of in northern California, but it appeared for three very intense days this week. On Wednesday, the temperature was well into the triple digits, and with spare the air and air quality warnings, I thought it best to skip the outdoor activities on Wednesday, and use the opportunity as an extra rest day in preparation for the Angel Island race.

The Angel Island 12k was a crazy race, filled with firsts for me. I’ve never before done a 12k. I’ve never done a trail race. And I’ve never tripped and wiped out midrace before; I was mortified, but otherwise unscathed.

The race features a nearly 700-foot elevation gain over the first 7k or so, concluding with about 5k of downhill where you’re just plain flying. Unable to control my downhill speed, it was here that I literally went airborne after my toe met the tree root. I spent the entire return ferry ride picking brambles out of my running tights.

My post-race self-portrait. Note the high visibility OSHA-orange shirt and the crazy striped arm warmers.

It was also my first race to use arm warmers instead of an extra layer of shirt, and my one big question is this: why didn’t I do this before? These things are the perfect way to keep warm in in-between temperatures, although my new friends from Kansas swear that you’d never need such a thing in places where you don’t have the cool, foggy mornings. Maybe they’re just particularly well-suited to the bay area. But I love them. Sure, I look ridiculous in them, but I don’t care. They work, and that’s what matters most. And I have to say that at least a dozen people asked me where I found them and if I liked them. Thanks to REI for having them on sale this week! Yet another reason to profess my eternal love for that store.

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One Response

  1. Greg O. says:

    Yah, I’ve wondered whether arm warmers are just a new fangled fashion accessory or serve a real purpose. Of course now I see runners wearing compression socks, too. Wonder if there’s some sort of biodegradable body covering that dissolves as the temperature (and sweat) rise.

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