Week 33: Pinnacles National Park

After Saturday's race, Sunday is off but even on Monday I feel wiped out and have post race blues. I force myself to do 12k and it's a pain.

On Tuesday it's even worse and I really don't feel like running and decide not to. I'm already in my PJs, getting ready to sleep but then I think, that's not the type of training that will get me through the finish line of the 100 miler in November. I put on shorts and my running shoes and go for an evening run. Afterwards of course I feel better but that moment of switching from PJs to running shorts... tough life.

From all my writing on this blog it may seem like running is pure joy and fun. It is a lot of the time and that's why I like it. But there are times, more often than I admit here, I guess, when I really don't feel like running and kinda have to force myself to do so. Actually I don't have to, as I'm running just for fun, but if one wants to be in reasonable form and compete in races at a reasonable level, then one sometimes needs to do workouts when one does not feel like. I certainly do that every now and then.

Wednesday off, then I do a steady run on Thursday and Friday again off. Not a strong week but I'm hoping to make up for it on the weekend.

It starts on Saturday when I decide to go to the Pinnacles National Park; this place was on my TO-SEE list for a long time. It's a 1.5h drive and I grab some breakfast on the way.

I get to the park later than I was hoping for but I learn that it's open 24h and I have my headlamp with me so I should be good. When waiting to buy the entrance ticket the lady before me has an animated conversation with the ranger, trying to figure out where to go and what to see. When it's my turn the ranger asks me if I need any advice. I say I don't. My plan is simple: I want to do all the trails available in the park. My only concern is how to do that without too much backtracking; but I know better than to ask him that.

I start at the Bear Gulch and head south to Bear Gulch caves. They are kinda cool but it's crowded and there's no question of running; it's more like walking, slow walking at parts. I get to Bear Gulch Reservoir, which is very picturesque and there's a group of kids splashing around in water.

Then I get lost and do parts of the caves again until finally reaching High Peaks and from there heading to the Chaparral Range Station at the west entrance. That's where I take my first break, refill water bottles and have a snack.

Afterwards a short run and back underground: Balconies Cave. After the cave I'm back on the trail and quite frankly it's not very interesting; monotony sets in. By the time I reach my second stop close to Hawkins Peak I start wondering whether perhaps Pinnacles is overrated?

But then after the break I make a small loop along Tunnel Trail and High Peaks Trail and those are by far the best trails in the park, if you ask me. Although quite technical, this part is great for running and the views are truly spectacular.

Few more kilometers and back in the car. I'm not sure where to stop for dinner and my phone died so I cannot consult Yelp and I end up driving all the way home and going to IHOP, just like I did after the recent run with Yohann. I also order pretty much the same thing: chicken crepes, strawberry milkshake and side of fries; a total of almost 2000kcal :D. Who knows perhaps this will become my new culinary default after long runs? :)

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