Hiking-Trails, Run!

Sunday Summit- A Little Lost

Finally.

After 11 days off (stupid flu!!!) I finally got out there and did something!  I also made it to work on Thursday and Friday.   Wowza, Thursday was rough, I was exhausted.  No lie, I got through the day with a lot of Diet Coke.  But anyways, on to Sunday.IMG_8590

With the 25k 7 days away, eek, Sunday was my last day to get in a trail run/hike.   Plus I needed to test run my race day gear.  Because of the narrowness on the trails and the chance for ticks, I am wearing clothing that is a little more form-fitting than usual.   I also had a new hydration vest I needed to test.  The first one didn’t work out so well.    It didn’t fit right with water in the bladder and just didn’t feel like it was made well.  I replaced it with a new one a few weeks back but hadn’t been able to test it yet.  This one doesn’t have a bladder but has 2 water bottles in the front.  I stashed snacks in the back pocket and filled the bottles.   Success!  Well, except I haven’t figured out how to easily access my phone.  But I’ll work on that.  🙂IMG_8603

With me being sick and my mom being slightly hurt, we have readjusted our general time goal for the 25K.  Sunday, the plan was to head out to the race course and hike part of the last out and back.  According to the course map, that section is 8.4 miles.   We had troubles finding the right trail head but we were near another one that my mom had hiked before and really wanted to again.  The sign said it was 3 miles and it looked to be all fire road.   Fine by me, 6 easy miles was probably all I was up for anyways.IMG_8621 IMG_8626

It was freakishly warm!  High 70’s and I was burning up!   Being a fire road, the trail was easy but I was still coughing a bit.   The trail ends near a worn down, beat up, old barn.  It was equal parts creepy and cool.    So of course we had to take a few pictures right?  IMG_8634When we headed back, we passed a tiny, almost hidden single track trail head.  My mother insisted she had hiked it before so we should do it too.  Holy mother of incline.   We gained 700 ft over the next 1/2 mile.    Once we finally made it to the top, we found a picnic table.  We took a break and ate a few snacks.   And enjoyed the view.  🙂   We headed back down another way, hoping it was shorter way back.  Ha!IMG_8639 IMG_8666

Since we weren’t positive what mountain we were on, I pulled up a park map on my phone.   It didn’t really help.  Or maybe I just don’t know how to read it.  Eventually we found our way down to a trail intersection.  According to the map, the right trail led to a dead-end and the left trail was the backside of Hazard peak.    We went left which meant we then had another climb in front of us.     My mom’s knee was just starting to hurt and we coming up on 6 miles and we weren’t even at the top of the mountain.   Our pace had slowed but we mad it to the top once again and enjoyed more views.  There were some mountain bikers at the top discussing trails and I overheard one say that the trail we had not chosen led to another fire road.  Really?!  That would have been so much easier!  Where were they when we could have used directions?IMG_8645 IMG_8670Then it was time to head back towards the parking lot, down the front side of Hazard Peak.  So at least we were able to check out the race course from that direction.  Down hill it’s not too bad, but I am wondering what the uphill will feel like after 8 miles.   Guess I’ll find out next weekend!  We finally made it back to the parking lot- 9.65 miles later.   We survived, haha!  IMG_8701 IMG_8703Even with getting a little turned around, going farther than planned,and getting a little sunburned, it was a good hike.  I don’t think I would have hiked that far without getting turned around but some coughing attacks aside, it was great to get outside and do something again.    Plus it was a good practice run for next weekend.  It gave us a general idea of what kind of time to expect.  Sunday’s hike was just that a hike and we covered 9.65 miles with 1400 ft gained and maintained a 17:00 pace.  Next week the race will add some speed on the downhills but a little slowness when we climb Valencia Peak, but that’s only 1.5 towards the beginning, so fingers crossed?IMG_8734 IMG_8746Sunday’s route took us from fire road to single track, packed dirt to loose shale and then loose sand.   The surroundings changed from scrub brush to trees then to a Eucalyptus grove.   The sun was shining and sometimes we could hear the ocean.  I’d call it a pretty good day!

How was your weekend?

Ever got lost in the woods?  (yes, I wasn’t in the woods but still)  🙂

Hiking-Trails, Run!, Slacker

Sunday Summit- Cerro San Luis

December put a monkey wrench in my run/ hike a trail every other week plans.  I feel like I blinked and it was January.   I originally planned on hiking on New Year’s Day but quite frankly it was just too cold.  At least for this California girl.  I mean come on, I use a space heater every day, even in the summer.   After working in the morning and a rough, abbreviated 5 mile run on Saturday, my mom and I headed out Sunday for Cerro San Luis.IMG_8401Cerro San Luis is located in SLO and otherwise known as Madonna Mountain.  It overlooks the Madonna Inn and has a large M painted on the side representing Mission High School.  And I think it may be my new favorite view.  I just realized I took 165 pictures!IMG_8345 IMG_8353The mountain has a series of interconnecting trails, so I never actually found the M.   Guess that’s something for next time!  We wanted to add some distance so we parked at a nearby park and headed for the mountain via a trail there.   The trail wasn’t very technical and ranged from a dirt trail to a horse path.    Could have done without the horse poop everywhere but it was really cool being that close to the horses.  I had no idea you get that close to them on the trail.  It had an elevation gain of 1160 feet.  Which wasn’t that bad until the very end.  IMG_8373 IMG_8382There were quite a few times that the trail branched in different directions and we had to choose left or right.    At one point my mother chose right and holy crap, that was hard.  It was super narrow and super steep.    I was about ready to start hand over footing it when a woman came down on a bike.  Then I was jumping out of the way wondering if I was going to have to call for help.    I was afraid she was going to crash.  As she passed me she admitted that she should not have gone down that way.    She did not look comfortable or confident at all.    There were a ton of people out on the trail that day.   Bikers, walkers, runners, families and dogs.

Look- it's Bishop's Peak!
Look- it’s Bishop’s Peak!

It was a very warm day which was great but man we felt like we were working.  We finally made it to the top!  Talk about an awesome view!  We then did have to hand over foot some to get to the top of the rocks.   I could see another trail down but we weren’t sure where it went.   We could have investigated but it was way past lunch and I hadn’t eaten anything all day (stupid stomach) so we just headed back down.  We took our time going down because my mom has been fighting a knee thing off and on since we hiked Cerro AltoIMG_8409

Either stupid or daring
Either stupid or daring

This slacker forgot to charge her Garmin and it pretty much died at the top of the mountain.   Oops.  But it was 3 miles up and I think it was around 3 miles down but we went a slightly different way.   The clouds rolled in and the wind picked up as we got back to the park- perfect timing!  Oh and randomly, someone was base jumping off of one of the hills.    It wasn’t that high but umm, no thank you.

Oh hi there.
Oh hi there.

IMG_8444It was great weather and a great hike.  I look forward to going back again and exploring the other trails.  I want to find the M!   I like to call hiking my training and cross training all in one!    It was a great way to end the weekend!  The plan is to hike part of the 25K route this weekend but that also depends on how my mom’s appointment goes in regards to her knee.

How was your weekend?

Hiking-Trails, Run!

Sunday Summit- Cerro Alto

Since the 25k is all trail, I gave myself some wiggle room in my training plan.   I can sub a climbing hike in as one of the longer runs.  So with that in mind, my mom and I headed out early Sunday morning to hike Cerro Alto.  We had last done Cerro Alto in January of 2013 and I remember it being a climb but pretty easy.IMG_7519 IMG_7523Either my memory is seriously faulty or I am completely out of shape, that climb kicked my ass.   Maybe my legs were tired from the previous day’s 5 miles or I was just tired but man that uphill seemed to go on forever!  In reality the hike we chose was 3 miles up to the top of the mountain and 3 miles down.   According to my Garmin, we gained 1700 in elevation.  However my Garmin crapped out for a 1/4 mile on the way up and 1/4 mile on the way down, so who knows.    The trail is measured fairly well and we have done it before so I know it should come in around 5.9 miles.  I never could tell where exactly it was that my watch had troubles, I was paying more attention to where I was putting my feet but I know it was after the 1.7 mark, because it was dead on until then.IMG_7538 IMG_7554 IMG_7564My mom and I kept pace together and power walked/ hiked up.  I honestly don’t think I could have gone any faster though.  In the end we got to the top in 58 minutes.   Which we were both kind of butt hurt about.  But looking at last years time, I noticed that we were 10 minutes faster, so woo hoo!   Did I mention that my mom wants to run the 25K too?  Well, hopefully.IMG_7571 IMG_7590 IMG_7596 IMG_7603After hanging out at the top a bit- and of course taking pictures- we headed back down.   The views were amazing, and the skies were clear but the top is super windy.  You get cold really fast.  No one really spends too much time at the top, as opposed to Valencia Peak where people often eat lunch at the top before heading back down.  IMG_7659 IMG_7612 Coming down is where things got sketchy.  We were looking to increase our pace and get a good idea of what we could maintain for the 25K.   About 1/4 of a mile down, the trail narrows and gets rocky and even more uneven.  You really have to watch where you put your feet.   At some point my mother stepped wrong coming off a rock.  Not sure exactly how it happened, but she went to walk ahead, froze and let out a 4 letter word.  Uh oh.   Stretching out and shaking it out didn’t help.  Every other step down the mountain was accompanied by pain and some colorful language.  I felt bad that I couldn’t do anything to help but also bad because listening to her was kind of funny.   She later agreed that she probably sounded interesting to anyone else on the trail.   But hey, at least we weren’t the 3 college age girls stopping to crack open beers at the mile 1 marker at 11 in the morning.  Nothing wrong with the beer but get to the top first! Or better yet, get to the top and then back down first.  Every mountain we’ve hiked so far has had memorials on it.  And the news frequently has stories about hikers having to be rescued from the local mountain trails.  IMG_7619Even with my mom being in pain, we were able to get back down the mountain in about 45 minutes.   Not too bad considering she was limping.    In fact, that was the only thing marring a great hike!  Unfortunately, she couldn’t rest just yet.  She and I then moved on to SLO to do some shopping while waiting to meet my dad and brother at Olive Garden for dinner.   I was treating my parents for an early birthday dinner.  Their birthdays are only 2 days apart in December.     I told her to make sure to RICE once home and take it easy the next couple of days.

I meant to get this up Tuesday but time just got away from me.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Anyone running a Turkey Trot?  I wanted to but the nearest one is an hour away and that just won’t work on Thanksgiving.  😦

Gone on any hikes lately?

Hiking-Trails, Run!, Slacker

Trail Tuesday!

I have to say that I am liking Mondays as rest days.  Even when I didn’t do anything on Sunday to warrant it.  🙂IMG_7381With that being said, I was ready to do something on Tuesday.  Just not too early.  🙂  The temperature dropping at night combined with a new set of flannel sheets makes it really hard getting out of bed in the morning.  But eventually I managed it.  I headed down to SLO for a little shopping and a good lunch.   From there my mom and I headed for a trail that she has done before with my dad.IMG_7286 This trail is at the top of the grade, and you just pull off the freeway and park.  You literally have to climb a fence and gate to get to the path.  The fence is more for livestock than people and the trail sites actually tell you to jump the fence so I’m not that much of a rebel.  Still, I was spooked for 2 miles for some reason.  I knew there were other cars parked so there must be people on the trail but it was over 2 miles before we saw anyone.  IMG_7299

Hmmm, they look smaller close up
Hmmm, they look smaller close up

Now trail may be a misnomer.  While the sites claim it’s 4.6 miles up with an elevation gain of 1200’+, the trail is actually a dirt road.  A well maintained dirt road.  Why so maintained?  TV towers!!   Can’t lose access to those right?  🙂    Also I forgot my Garmin.  Fail!!   According to my Nike+ app which is kind of working again, it was 4 miles up with just under 1200′ elevation gain.  IMG_7294On the way up, there is a steep drop to the right as you wind up the hill.  You can see 101 but eventually the cars turn into ants and then you can’t hear them at all.   I won’t lie, something about the climb and the trees bordering the side, I was waiting for the something to jump out at us.   I am not sure what I was expecting more- a very real mountain lion or some mythical evil creature.  You know you watch too much Supernatural when you start cracking jokes about wendigos and Sasquatch’s.    Then a woman rode up behind us on a bike.  I shrieked like a little girl and jumped 3 feet in the air.   Seriously Fallon?!  Get it together!IMG_7403IMG_7370 IMG_7309We power walked up and power walked down enjoying the views along the way and at the top.  It was overcast and chilly but still had great views.  From the top we could see all of SLO.   This put into perspective just how high up we were.  I could see all of the two most well-known peaks in SLO- Madonna and Bishop’s Peak.  They looked so small!  At one point on the way down I looked west and realized I could see the rock and stacks in work town too!   Kind of awesome!   isWatermarked IMG_7415 isWatermarkedI wasn’t feeling well, so we kept the pace easy and stopped to take pictures and I usually didn’t pause the Nike app because it’s kind of a pain.  Even with that we still completed the 8 mile trek in 2 hours.  That’s not too shabby!  I would like to go back again and try running it next time.  And maybe keep my cool a little more.  🙂   I also need to remember my Garmin for more accurate data.  I am trying to figure out where the other .5 mile is.   There was a point when the trail went 3 possible ways right near the end.  Plus we lost the mountain biker for a while.  She ended up passing us on the way down.  She had to have taken one of the other 2 ways.  IMG_7292 IMG_7394

All in all, I’m happy with an 8 mile day.   🙂  Now if I could just get to the treadmill.

What about you? 

Ever jump a fence?  With or without permission?

Afraid of things that go bump in the woods?