Friday, July 18, 2008

A Vacation to Remember - July 2008

<- 4 runs to remember (Top to Bottom, Left to Right): 1) Outside Yosemite Park on a beautiful 5 mile dirt road, 2) Monterey CA, 3) San Fransisco downtown, 4) Grand Rapids MI downtown

We left for a 6 day family vacation to California on Thursday July 3rd. My wife had a conference in San Francisco and we turned it into a family vacation.

We started with two days in Yosemite. We stayed at a lodge just outside the park. We arrived on Thursday afternoon. Friday morning I went for a run on a local country road. It was 5 miles, mostly uphill from our lodge, ending in a campout site up the mountain. This was a dirt road with no traffic. Regular shoes were OK but trail shoes gave a bit better traction.

I started around 6:30 am, with the temperature at 50F. It was absolutely beautiful! I crossed streams, meadows, and beautiful vistas in the rising sun. I was inspired with this nice run that the next day I did the same thing but took my stereo camera to record the beautiful scenery and my audio recorder (Olympus LS-10) to record the sounds of nature (birds, etc). So I took my time combining photography and running.

<- Scenic Monterey CA run (click for a more detailed map)

Saturday afternoon we left for Monterey where we stayed 2 more days. On Sunday morning I went out running and right away I saw a group of runners along the seafront. I joined them for a long run. They were part of a local running club, doing their long Sunday run. One fellow (who happened to be Greek, like myself) was training for a marathon in 3 weeks so he was doing a 20+ mile run. It was again a beautiful route along the Monterey bay, a combination of roads and dirt trails, with the rocks and waves on our side. Part of the route was along the famous 17 mile scenic ride.

One runner expressed surprise that so many runners showed up in that “cold” and “rainy” day. Well, this day was perfect for running, beating the hot & humid days we often experience in Ohio. The next day (Monday) I went running alone, 10 more miles.

<- I would not mind running in SF every day! (click for details)

Monday July 7th we left Monterey and arrived in San Francisco in the afternoon. Another beautiful city! On Tuesday morning I went for a long run by myself. I followed Market street to the Bay, then towards Fisherman's Wharf and I ended up at the Golden Gate bridge. I ran half way through the bridge and then back. Total of 15 miles. Again, gorgeous run. This is the best way to see/experience a city: Run through it! I was again carrying my camera and stopping to take pictures along the way.

This was only the highlight of my runs, not including all the walking, tours, shopping, eating, and other family activities. Overall, a memorable vacation. I came back with 20 rolls of film (stereo pictures) and interesting audio recordings. In 5 days I ran 65 miles: 10 + 10 + 20 + 10 + 15. This must be a new record.

I returned to Ohio on Wednesday July 9th. The next day I left for Grand Rapids, MI, to attend the NSA (National Stereoscopic Society) annual convention. During the convention I ran a total of 4 x 5 = 20 miles in 6 days. This was fun too. I also did not eat much so I lost some weight, but gained it all back, while carbo-loading in preparation of the Buckeye 50K race tomorrow.

I have dropped all my film (20 + 17 = 37 rolls) for processing and I look forward to mounting the stereo slides and re-living this memorable vacation.

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