Run for Amma is a charity run around the spectacular mid-Peninsula trails. Starting at Alpine Inn, the course winds through many Open Space Preserves, including Windy Hill, Coal Creek, Russian Ridge, Skyline Ridge, Monte Bello, Foothills Park and finally Arastradero. I’ve run most of these trails, but never connected them in this particular way. The little drizzle the day before left the trails moist and soft and it was only muddy in a few places. This whole month, I’ve been pretty jet-lagged with back to back International trips. I’d just come back from London on Thursday, drove 8 hours to pick up a puppy (more below) on Friday and showed up bleary eyed at the start. Here’s my Strava activity.
Run For Amma 50K
I didn’t see the course until 10:15 at night. Loaded up the GPX to my Ambit3 so I can follow the route. Given there were only 15 or 20 runners on the course, the route following in Ambit3 helped tremendously. So about the puppy. As a family, we’ve been entertaining the idea of a dog for almost two years now. Given that me and my 12yo are both allergic, we were leaning towards a Poodle mix of sorts. Things is my wife and I never grew up with dogs, so there was a little bit of the unknown we had to face.
About 4 months ago (I think), we saw a Labradoodle at a soccer game nearby and we totally loved it. Researching into that breed more, we learned that Labradoodle’s are mostly hypoallergenic, super friendly with kids and pets (we have a cat too), and pretty smart. The temperament was right up what we were looking for. My wife found a breeder in Bakersfield (about a 4 hour drive), did lots of research on getting a new puppy and finally put the deposit down. From everything we read, it was like getting a new toddler, only without the diaper changes.
Clouds Rest Trail was probably the muddiest of the lot. The fog was all around us, temperatures cool, but not chilly and perfect weather for running 31 miles. In December we heard that there was a new litter. Given some of the travel planned we were debating whether we should pick one from this litter or wait for the next. When we saw the pictures, our hearts just melted. These were the cutest things in the whole world. Since there was a waiting list, we weren’t sure which one we were getting.
Since I had the Ambit3 in route following mode, I never looked at the time or pace for the whole run. Just ran by feel mostly munching on Clif Shot gels and the occasional potato chips. Monte Bello was the last full aid-station and it was around mile 20. Down Grizzly Flat, up Canyon Trail, down Los Trancos and Arastradero and I should be at the finish soon. But back to the puppy story. After the families at the top of the list made their pick, we were left with two puppies: Chippy & Snowflake. The breeder sent us a video and the pick was fairly unanimous. Chippy it was going to be. Here’s a picture of him when he was just a 5 weeks old.
Isn’t he just oh-my-god cute? It was a fairly unanimous decision, though the breeder warned us he was fairly vocal and a bit on the active side. Adorable, nevertheless. We started reading Ian Dunbar and Sophia Yin and getting the whole house ready for our new toddler. In some ways reading about puppy training and what happens in the first few months felt like reading What to Expect When You Are Expecting. You know, all the doomsday scenarios, but it got us prepared nevertheless. It was the homestretch now.
The last 10 miles went by fairly uneventfully, though the Page Mill trail was a bit slow to my liking. The jet lag was kicking in and I was ready for dinner at noon. Made a fair bit of time on Los Trancos though. So Friday was the D-Day and we started driving early. We kept talking about how we was going to be in-real-life (all we’d seen until then were just pictures). What if he didn’t like us? Was he going to be okay on the drive back? How were we going to introduce him to the cat? Turns out he’s just ultra social! Wants his Instagram account on day one, ‘cos you know, he can’t wait to post all those awesome InstaPuppy pictures.
I finished in 5:53 and 5th or 6th overall, not that it mattered. When we met Chippy, it was absolutely love at first sight. He was so comfortable with all of us and definitely a bundle of energy. During the drive home, he was totally cool just hanging out, cuddling around. This morning when I left for the run, the cat came back and they kinda stared at each other and were totally cool with it. And at the end of the first day, he’s already learned to “sit” and we can’t imagine what life was like without him around. And yes, definitely like having a toddler around the house.
One thing I noticed during the run was how most of the trails were dog friendly. I can’t wait to bring him out on the trails with the whole family. I heard labradoodle’s are quite the runners too. 🙂