Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Force Awakens...sigh (but not the movie)

Being a huge Star Wars fan, I was excited for the new episode seven, The Force Awakens.  I'm also a fan of JJ Abrams and liked what he did for the Star Trek reboots.  I very purposefully spent the preceding year avoiding any news articles and spoiler talk other than the officially published teasers and trailers.

Unfortunately, I couldn't go opening day Friday due to my kids' schedules but got seats for the first Monday afterwards.  Anyway, I'm at my son's basketball tourney on the weekend lounging between games - two kids are sitting next to me and before I know it, one of them blurts out the major spoiler of the movie (which anyone who's seen it would know!).  Sigh, so much for no spoilers.  I felt like the dad in the World Cup "spoiler" commercial last year.

Ah well, still a great movie IMO.  Yeah, I get they "rebooted" it but I thought it was cast well with a lot of nice refs to the original.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Road Warrior Year

I've logged a pretty eye-popping 5000+ miles driving the latter half of 2015.  This included vacaction road trips from Chicago to Florida and Michigan, as well as one from mid Florida to Northern California (to move my parents nearer).  The vacation ones were more for my kids' experience as I had fond memories of road trips down to Florida from Michigan as a child.  As an adult, yes, it's a haul, but still great family time.  That said, I probably have a limit of "road trip" miles on me and we'll resort to flying for the next long hauls!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Montara Mountain Hike at McNee Ranch State Park

As today was a holiday for A9 (unfortunately, not for Amazon), I decided to embark on a hike.  I was in awfully poor shape for my last hockey game, with way too much huffing and puffing after each shift, so decided to do something a bit more strenuous.  After scouring the internets, I decided on McNee Ranch's Montara Mountain [1].  It was a bit longer than I had wanted (at around 8m) but the literature said it was "moderately strenuous".

I learned a long time back that if you need to go up Highway 1, avoid 92 like the plague unless you go really early (like before 8AM), otherwise it gets packed and it could take you 2h to just reach HMB.  Thus, I came in from the north and promptly parked at the wrong trailhead (Grey Whale Cove) and started my ascent.  I fortunately realized this within about 5m and headed back down to my car and drove another minute south to the proper trailhead "lot" (more like a pullout with space for 5 cars), which was full.  Fortunately, there's another larger lot on the west side of Highway 1 a bit south; this was pretty empty at 8:50AM.

After a careful, but short, walk up Highway 1, the hike was on!  The hike is mostly a fire road and about 8m round-trip.  It's not overly steep but steep enough to feel :)  I did some running bursts on the way up at times, but didn't want to blow my legs out given the length and unfamiliar territory.  You get some really nice views on the way up and at the peak.  Unfortunately, it was a bit fogged out on the ocean side on this day.  Here's a pic at the peak:

It took me around 1:10 to reach peak and less to come back, though I was also jogging at times on the way down.  If you were just hiking, it's probably be 2.5-3h depending on how fast you can go up steep hills :)  This is not a good trail running hike though as the ground is pretty uneven and very hard - be careful if running.  Also watch out for mountain bikers on the way back.  There weren't many today but I read they sometimes come barreling down.

Overall, a good workout hike and some nice views to boot.  While longer, the difficulty was close to Mission Peak, but without the ridiculous heat.  Not as hard as Black Mountain.  Finally, I'd recommend getting to the lot at least by 9:30AM on weekends - when I got back around 11, the lot was completely full.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Trail Running at Edgewood Park in San Carlos

If you live in the peninsula (SF Bay Area) and like to trail run or even brisk hiking, check out Edgewood Park in San Carlos.  It's a great alternative from having to drive to the East Bay or South Bay where there a more popular trails.

I prefer to do interval type training (bursts of high intensity alternating with rest) because it closely matches "cadence" of my hockey games - you skate hard for about a minute, then rest for 1-2.5 minutes.  While indoor options can suffice, it's more fun to get outdoors and certainly much more difficult. You also get a lot more out of 25m IMO.

I've been to Edgewood a couple of times and really like it.  The incline is not overly steep to run up and it doesn't kill your knees on the way down.  There are short loops so you can do 1 mile to 4+.  My first time I intended to do a modified version of Trailstompers Big and Small Loop (cool site btw) but took a wrong turn and my increased my intended 3m trail run to about a 5m one.  This weekend, I did the Sylvan Loop, a 2.5m route which can be done without a huge time investment while still getting a good interval workout.  

Quick note on Sylvan Loop - head over to the trail head near the wire link fence.  For a more difficult start, head right on the Baywood Glen Trail for a series of 6-7 switchbacks and steeper incline.