Two Saturdays in a row I’ve gone into SF to work out with other guys training for the GoRuck Challenge. It has been a lot of fun (depending on your definition of “fun”) and a great experience. I won’t go into much detail about the first workout on May12th, because David was there, and he’s one of the few people who read this blog anyway. 😉 For my memoirs I will recap the highlights:
- Covered 10+ miles in about 4 hours.
- Some guy dressed like Captain America drove into the Sports Basement parking lot in a classic Mercedes roadster, so our team had our pic taken with him! Very cool.
- Starting from the Sports Basement on Old Mason St. near Crissy Field, we went down to the beach, warmed up with exercises, waded into the water to get wet, cold and uncomfortable, then hiked through the Presidio, up a hill to an old missile site, through Pacific Heights, into Golden Gate Park, and back.
- On the way to the beach, not a hundred yards into the trek, one of our guys had to stop because his non-GoRuck pack had a strap break! Just goes to show, the GoRuck bags are expensive but worth it, because they rarely break, but even if they do the company will fix them for free. So there’s my sales pitch…
- There are a LOT of steps going up into Pacific Heights from the north side, and we climbed them with our packs held above our heads. Lots of very fit looking people work out there or are just trying to be seen…
- It was a mostly foggy day, but the views were still spectacular, and the sun did emerge after noon or so.
- Only troubles for me were blisters on both feet, tendonitis on the outer part of my right knee.
- Oh yeah, I drowned my phone accidentally by forgetting to stow it in my ruck when we went into the water. It was in a ziploc bag, but still. so stupid of me… Those bags do NOT keep water out.
- Great group of guys — very supportive and team-oriented. The camaraderie is what makes this FUN and well worth the physical punishment!
OK, so after that workout, I seriously considered dropping out of the June 2nd Challenge, because the plantar fasciitis in my right heel was very painful for a couple of days afterward, and it’s ongoing, plus the tendonitis does not bode well for a 12+ hour Challenge. On the other hand, I needed to find out if better preparation and equipment would allow my body to hold up better, so I decided to go into SF again today (May 19th) for another workout. During the week I bought sock liners and Smartwool socks to prevent blisters and Rocktape to help with my plantar fasciitis and tendonitis. I considered better shoes, but I really don’t have time to try out and break in new shoes before June 2nd, so I gave my Avia running shoes another chance — I was confident that the socks were the major factor relative to the blisters.
Today was an even better experience than last week, except that David wasn’t there to share the good livin’. The highlights:
- Again, about 10 miles over 4.5 hours.
- It was a bigger group today — 16 guys (12 or 13 last week), about half of a full team. Some new faces had not met before were there.
- We hiked from Sports Basement on Old Mason St. all the way to Pier 39 and back, which was only a total of about 6.6 miles, but then some guys had to leave, and about 11 of us hike to Fort Point and then back-tracked a bit and went up some steps and over to the pavilion at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, then back to SB, adding about 3.4 more miles to the total.
- The team had one “coupon” — a 60-lb. sandbag that we took turns lugging. At one point I carried that thing up a long hill when some stronger guys were like, “Are you OK? Do you want someone else to take it?” But I toughed it out. And I was the last to carry it the last quarter mile or so as we finished up at SB.
- No blisters today! But my tendonitis on the right side was really flaring up whenever we ran, over the last hour and a half or so. Walking was OK. The good news is, it does not seem as bad as last week.
- The most fun part, and this will make David jealous, was that one guy named Alvin has two Japanese restaurants called Hana Zen in SF, and one is at the very end of Pier 39. We hiked out there past all the tourists, and he let us in the restaurant for free beer at about 10am! I had Guinness, as did some other guys, and some had Anchor Steam. (A couple of guys did not have any beer, which is cool.) But even some of the more experienced ruckers were blown away at how cool that rest stop was. Kudos to Alvin! And I would go back to Hana Zen; it’s a beautiful restaurant.
- We went in the water twice — once at the beginning, near Crissy Field, as usual, which was fine, and another time at some place I think they called Dolphin Cove. The water was not terribly cold (although it is cold), and we the whole team even dunked our heads under water! But the second water excursion did make me cold, so I had to keep moving. I also got really cold having the Guinness; luckily the sun was out when we resumed hiking.
All in all, I had a great time, and I didn’t even drown my phone, because I left the sucker in my car the whole time. I wasn’t going to let it get anywhere near the water.
June 2nd, here I come! We shall see if I can hold up for a full Challenge.