Monday, March 30, 2009

St. Paddy's Day Weekend

Wow, we packed it in! I did 2 5ks, celebrated St. Patrick's Day both Saturday and Sunday, went cabbage bowling and hiked Mission Peak.

The first race was in Stockton. While Stockton is inland, it's connected to the bay-area by the San Joaquin River and the Stockton Deep Water Canal. The u-shaped race course hugged the marina and park in the downtown-area. The boats and sails, the greenery of the park and the new buildings in the marina and in the downtown-area were pretty amidst the ag-industrial surroundings of Stockton.

The race was made up of a nice sized crowd of about 300 participants. My goal was to get a better feel for running a 10-min mile and I succeeded. After the race, we bowled, had our complimentary beer at the festival and watched the award ceremony. After a stroll around the festival and a bite to eat, we got in the car and went to Mission Peak for a hike.

We arrived at Mission Peak to find it surprisingly crowded. It was overcast, windy and cold but that didn't stop the throngs. And neither did the elevation gain on the trail! It was rough! After looping around the lot until we got a parking space, we did a 3.2 mile loop that took us up to an old oak with a great view and past many cows who roam the park. There were a few spring flowers peeking out, some milk maids and buttercups but the rest were waiting for more sunshine and warmer weather.

The next morning we headed back to the East Bay, to Dublin, for the Shamrock Fun Run 5k. There were more runners for this race. Runners were staged by mile times and there were a lot of dogs. The course went through downtown Dublin and down a few streets in surrounding neighborhoods. It finished on a trail along the Alamo Canal where runners entered the festival after collecting their goodie bags.

Runners were served pizza and cake while being entertained with live music followed by the awards ceremony and raffle. We usually stay for the awards because my partner generally wins something. Today, I got my first ribbon:).

The town of Dublin turned out for the festival. The park area, flanked by fountains, was in front of the City Council Chambers Building. It was Sunday and the building was open to the public (nice warm bathrooms!). I was looking at the display of gifts from foreign dignitaries and was momentarily fooled by the sculpture in the corner. Ha!

There was another stage on the other side of the building and the parking lot was filled with vendor booths. By the time we left, folks were appearing in droves.

The drive home is always a little challenging because the body gets stiff. We've been up since 5-something in the morning, and this weekend we pushed even harder by doing 2 races and a hike, oh, but it was fun. A little sleep, some food, some water and we'll be ready to do it all again next weekend!

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