Hilly Adventures

I can feel myself falling more in love with Berkeley with every passing day.  I feel like the sun is baking into my bones, and that each corner holds a new breathtaking view or adventure.  I’m not a stop and smell the flowers kind of girl; I’m much more likely to forge ahead to be first to the finish line than I am to stop and take it all in. Yet somehow Berkeley seems to slow me down.  I can grocery shop for hours, meander along the bike path, or fall asleep in our backyard on my yoga mat.  I have the tan lines to prove it.  I’ve even been known to run without my watch (not a lot, but you know, occasionally).

I mapped out my long run for this week using the Gmap Pedometer hack.  I figured I’d go straight up into the hills, and then turn around at the top and head back down.  My plan had me doing some trails, which I was excited for, plus I figured I couldn’t get that lost if the plan was just go up to the top and then go back down.  Just pick the turns that either slope up or down, right?  (While this may sound like poor logic for this navigationally challenged girl, it did actually work for me this time.)

I learned a valuable lesson about checking the elevation profile of a new course.  Having no real reference, it didn’t occur to me that gaining 1200 feet over the course of a half mile was a lot.  Well I can now safely report that it is quite an elevation gain, but at least I have a reference for next time!  I ended up hiking a good chunk of that half mile portion, but when I got to the top of the ridge, I was rewarded with the most gorgeous view I’ve ever seen.

The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect for running, and I could see the entirety of Berkeley, Oakland, the Bay and San Francisco laid out before me.  I had perfect views of both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate; there was no fog or haze in sight, and I swear the Bay practically sparkled.  I only had my sad little phone with me, and there was no way a camera phone picture was going to do this view justice, so I went the mental photograph route instead.

The checkerboard grid of Berkeley homes, Ashby Avenue blazing a wider trail than the other east/west streets, the towers on the Cal Campus, the Golden Gate shining in the distance, the tiny island of Alcatraz snug in the middle of the Bay.  Absolutely gorgeous.


My running plans busted up when I twisted my ankle coming back down the hill just a mile later.  No permanent damage was done, but I knew better than to keep running on it.  While I was sad not to finish the run, I was still thrilled that the day had gifted me such a gorgeous view.

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