We Moved to Mill Valley …


… thirty years ago today … August 22, 1984, Sandy & I and our four children moved into our new home on Morning Sun Drive in the Tamalpais Valley area of Mill Valley, Marin County, California.

This move culminated more than a year of planning and preparation which had started during a visit to the Bay Area for me to run in the San Francisco Marathon and check out the trail on which the Dipsea Race is run. During that visit, we had driven through Mill Valley on Cascade Drive … surely one of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods in the world … and I had asked Sandy, “Why are we living in Orange County when we could live here?”

The answer to that question, of course, was that we didn’t have to … and so, here we were moving into the house on Morning Sun Drive.

Uprooting the kids from our home in Irvine, California, was not, as far as they were concerned, the most popular thing we had ever done … No. 1 son Douglas was about to start high school and was being dragged away from all of his friends … but we thought it best to make the move before school started, rather than waiting until our Irvine home sold, so that we wouldn’t have to move during his freshman year of high school.

No. 2 son Matt was about to start 5th grade, daughter Risa was starting 2nd grade and No. 3 son Sean was starting kindergarten … Sandy & I were confident that they would make new friends, but it was still a tough move for all of them.

Fortunately for Doug, we moved in directly across the street from another prospective Tamalpais High School freshman … who also happened to be, like Doug, a redhead … and who became the kind of best friend for life that most people only wish they could find … his name, of course, is Toby George.

Because the Irvine house had not sold, I remained in Southern California until it did … which meant that I didn’t actually move to Mill Valley until the following summer … and saw Sandy & the kids only during visits to Marin County. Once the house finally did sell … in June 1985 … I left the Orange County DA’s office, moved the last of our stuff to Mill Valley and went into private practice.

I have now lived in Marin County twice as long as I have ever lived anywhere else … and looking back over the past 30 years, I remain of the opinion that there is no better place to live than the San Francisco Bay Area and, in particular, Marin County.

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Running …


… it was 34 years ago today that I began my adult running career … coincidentally, at age 34 … after having not run at all for more than 10 years.

Spent the next five years in heavy training and road racing …  in the process dropping from a high of 183 pounds to 139 … my college wrestling weight! … and often doing major training runs with fellow deputy DA (and later judge) Dave Carter … Superior Court Judge Jim Smith … and my best running friends, DDA Doug Woodsmall & county engineer Al Nestlinger … until I moved to Northern California in 1985…

Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County

Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County

… at which point I got into trail running … mostly on Mt. Tamalpais … and did very little racing.

During the 5 years of frequent racing (1980-85), I managed to run my first sub-5:00 mile since college (4:55.39 in 1984) …

March of Dimes 5K 1st Overall

March of Dimes 5K … 4-29-84 … 16:28 … 1st Overall

… finished 1st overall in a 5K race … The March of Dimes Run for the Gold 5K in 1984 …

… and ran lifetime PRs of 32:59.14 for 10K (in 1985) … 1:14:37.40 for the half-marathon (1983) … 2:40:33 for the marathon (at the 1982 Fiesta Bowl Marathon) … and — also in 1985 — 54:41.8 for a 10 mile run … what I consider my best race ever, averaging 5:28.18 per mile.

Also ran in some interesting races …

The 1983 Boston Marathon -- Finisher's Medal, Pin & Patch

The 1983 Boston Marathon — Finisher’s Medal, Pin & Patch

… including the 1983 Boston Marathon (2:43:05.83 when I died in the last three miles after running sub-6:00 mile pace for the first 23) … a 24 hour track run (covered 75 miles) …the Lake Tahoe 72 Mile Run (dropped out after 43 miles and 6.5 hours, due to a combination of altitude sickness and severe shin splints) …  the Bay to Breakers several times (best time 44:54.69 in 1983) …and finally the Dipsea Race across Mt. Tam from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach.

And ran in some other interesting non-race settings …the Humboldt National Forest redwoods in Northern California … Muir Woods National Monument in Marin … Point Reyes National Seashore … the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

The Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

The Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon

… down & up the Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon … down & up the Sandia Peak Trail in New Mexico … around the rim trail of Walnut Canyon National Monument in Arizona ..

Meteor Crater, Winslow Arizona

Meteor Crater, Winslow Arizona

… and around the Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona … to complete this loop, had to run past signs prohibiting visitors from going any further … sh-h!

And hundreds of runs on Mt. Tamalpais here in Marin … with, at one time or another and with some frequency, sons Doug & Matt, Toby George, Eric Nygren & Tom Hurst … and four-legged friends Cairo, Oski & Nano

Nano on Mt. Tam Trail

Nano on Mt. Tam Trail

… all of whom proved worthy training partners … eventually, I was able to run every trail on the mountain at least once from end-to-end in each direction … all 160 trails covering more than 200 miles … 

Tamalpais Trails by Barry Spitz

… all carefully documented in one of my copies of Barry Spitz’ excellent book, “Tamalpais Trails” (of which I own six copies) … and the origin of my personal email address “RunTam”.

Age, a knee injury and the dysfunction of my thyroid gland eventually put an end to my running career … but I credit the tens of thousands of miles that I’ve run with my relative good health … and, in my mind, I often re-run my favorite Mt. Tam trails … Matt Davis TrailNorthside TrailSouthern Marin Line Fire Road … the Dipsea Trail … and my personal favorite …

Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway

Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway

Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway Patch

… the Old Railroad Grade, once the course up & down the mountain of the Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway.

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The Piggy Bank 10K, January 27, 1983 --- 10K PR 32;59.14

Piggy Bank 10K … 1-27-85 … 10K PR 32;59.14

Finished 4th Overall & 1st in 35-39 Age Group

4th Overall & 1st in 35-39 Age Group

Age Group Piggy Bank Prize

Age Group Piggy Bank Prize

Collection of Race Pins

Collection of Race Pins

Farewell Gift ON Leaving DA's Office ----- Running Art by DA Investigator R. Skelly

——–  Farewell Gift on Leaving DA’s Office in 1985  ——– Running Art by DA Investigator R. Skelly