Hiking-Trails, Run!

Wednesday Wandering- The Pinnacles

The day before Thanksgiving, my dad and I headed out to the Pinnacles.  The Pinnacles is a state park located in Monterey County, about 90 minutes from home.     The weather was supposed to be in the high 40’s low 50’s and that is cold to this California girl so I dressed in a few layers which included 2 pairs of socks.   Once we arrived, we parked on got our gear ready.  I had my Nathan vest with 20oz of water and 2 Extend bars.   I didn’t think I would need the bars for what was likely going to be a 3 hour hike.   Insert theme song to Gilligan’s Island.

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My pops has had some pretty gnarly injuries over the years so he kept telling me to go ahead.  The trail was pretty straight forward and well marked.  I would go ahead until I couldn’t see or hear him anymore then stop and wait until I could.  It gave me time to take plenty of photos.  The scenery was amazing.  That combined with the chill in the air made me feel like I wasn’t in California anymore.

The first 2.5 miles gained about 1500 ft in elevation but 98% of that was very user- friendly.  All trail, nothing technical.    Just great views.   The wind was picking up and my ears were getting cold.  I can’t stand when my ears or toes get cold.  I stopped to pull my headband out of my pack to put it around my ears and waited for pops to catch up.  I made a snarky comment about how silly it looked with my hair sticking out and he commented that it’s not like anyone was looking.   HA!   I hit the first summit around 1.5 miles up and who was there?  A crew of firefighters.  Working out.  Seriously?!

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After that fun run in, I just kept going up until I thought I was at the top.   I was wrong.  My parents had done this trail in the past and I remembered my mom mentioning a set of freaky stairs but I hadn’t seen anything so I figured we took a different path.   Nope.  There was more to come, I had just missed it.  I was looking for actually stairs.  Not holes in rocks.

 

So yeah, I was a little nervous.    At least this section had a railing.  The last section to the top was a lot of hand over foot.   But the view was worth it.

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After a little rest on the top, we headed back down the other side.   This series of “stairs” was even hinkier and interesting going down.   Once past that though, we hit a nice path and going down was fairly easy.   I was still super cold, my toes and ears were felt frozen.  We went down like we went up, I would go ahead until I couldn’t hear my dad then wait til he was in sight again.    As we were nearing the bottom of this particular trail, I admit I was tiring.  While the path was walker/hiker/runner friendly, the elevation gain then loss was tiring plus I was freakin’ cold.  Pops was fading too.   We were just past 5 miles when we hit the trail head.   And wanted to cry.  We were 3.5 miles from the parking lot.  😢😢😓

We could do this, we could.   This path was along the river bed and pretty in a different way.   We were paying close attention to the trail as well because there was a trail head and accidentally taking it would add another 7 miles to the route.   Umm, no thank you.

However we had one last decision to make.     The trail split in 2 one last time.   You could choose the Balcony path for 1.7 miles to the parking lot or the Cave trail for 1.3 miles to the lot.    The park guide said you needed a flashlight for the cave but that was it.   We figured it was more a tunnel and took that route.  I was tired and my dad’s feet were hurting pretty badly so half a mile less sounded great.

Coming up on the cave, I started to doubt our shortcut.   We were climbing rocks and boulders just to get into the cave.   I was getting nervous.   Things opened up and flattened out once in the cave.  And turned pitch black.  I busted out the flash on my iPhone in time to arrive a wall of stone.   Ummm, where were we supposed to go?    I kept moving the light around the cave wall and I found a tiny little reflective arrow pointing up.   Moving closer, there was a hole in the ceiling.  Seriously?   And it was raining water so the rocks were slippery.     We made it through that only to find more rocks to climb up and out.    So that half mile less must have been in elevation and the shortcut was that we were climbing it instead.   Once out of the main cave, there was a narrow corridor to traverse.   Which was fine as long you were cool with boulders being wedged above your head.   Granted they’ve been there for hundred and hundreds of years but this is California and the ground does like to move from time to time.  😄

From there it was a much easier hike back to the lot.    My Garmin clocked in at 9 miles and I know I lost signal a couple of times.   I was completely out of water and hadn’t actually eaten anything for the 5 hours we were out there.    My feet were freezing and my dad was hurting too.   As we were climbing out of the cave, I glanced at my watch and even though there was no signal it showed a lap pace of 58:something.    Haha!  I didn’t even think it was possible to do a mile that slow!

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I wish I had better pictures of the cave but it was so dark.  Kind cool after the fact but it was way harder than I thought it was going to be.  😄  Overall it was a great day just a few hours and miles longer than planned.

Ever gotten turned around on a hike?

How about climbing out of bat cave?

 

Hiking-Trails, Slacker

Sunday Summit- Reservoir Canyon

A few weeks back I came across a challenge on Instagram called #PixonPeaks.   Hike/run the specific peaks on the list, post it on Instagram and get a shirt.   Ok, it’s a little more than that but it peaked my interest.   And we runners like our shirts right?

Truthfully, I’ve been missing trails.  I love trail running/ hiking but it’s been a long time.   Summer heat kind of kills it and I like sleeping in.  Plus, you know, rattlesnakes.  Throw in a crazy schedule, training for a “goal” race and trails get ignored.    Stress has been getting to me in a major way and I just wanted to get lost.   I like to power hike up the mountains and then manage the fine line between running and falling down hill.  It’s impossible to over think and stress about life when you are throwing yourself down a hill.  😜  Lots of fun and a great way to de-stress.

IMG_2305IMG_2304Sane runners taper 7 days before a goal half marathon but I never claimed to be normal.   One of my mom’s tennis players is in a Geo class and they have to hike 10-15 miles a month outside of class so we picked her up along the way.   The plan was to hike up to the top and run down, nice and easy.  It should have been around 4 miles.   I had never hiked Reservoir Canyon before but always wanted to.   I am not sure why I thought it was going to be a walk in the park.  I had heard that there was a swing along with a teepee and nice stone seating are at the top.    How hard could that be?  Plus I kept seeing pictures of some pink metal thing on Instagram and I wanted to find it.

IMG_2294-0The trail started off through a wooded area and crossed a river bed.  Granted we’re in the middle of a crazy drought so there was no running water.   But the bridge was cool.  😄   The trees were probably as close as we are going to get to fall, so that was nice.  We only gained 200 ft in the first mile so how hard could it be?  I should have checked the trail sites.   The trail narrowed and started climbing.  There were 2 sections that were so eroded that there was no trail- you had to jump to the next section.   It was awesome.   And we gained 1100+ ft in the next mile and change.

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Luckily, the swing and the teepee were a nice distraction part way up.  How the hell did they get all that metal up there?  I was starting to wonder if I was even going to make it to the top.   Indulging in a little swing time was pretty awesome.

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But we weren’t at the top yet!   I started power hiking to the top pausing for picture breaks along the way.   1/4 of a mile from the top I thought I heard my name being yelled.  I paused, heard nothing.  Started up again and there it was.  I texted my mom and S to see if they were ok.  No response.  Well crap.  So I turned around and jogged down to find them.   Turns out they just wanted to make sure I was ok.   They could have texted- grrr.  And back up I went.   The dirt was super loose and rocks and roots were all over the path.   I made it to the top!  Then made a wrong turn and headed down a utility path that appeared instead of the actual trail.  Oops.  Turn around.    I eventually met up with my mom and S at the seating area.  My Garmin only registered 2.25 miles up so I was feeling pretty good.

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I still couldn’t find the pink thing.  S spotted it off in the distance so we decided to go for it.  It only looked about a 1/4 of a mile away and mostly flat.  All lies.    Little rollers all the way out, and I mean way.  It was closer to 3/4 of a mile away.  Oops- but we made it!.

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We hung out a bit before heading back down. I was looking forward to opening up my pace on the way down.  I love flying down a mountain.    Remember those rocks and roots I mentioned?   After I almost tumbled off the path for the fourth time in less than 1/2 a mile, I knew running wasn’t going to happen.  Plus my head hurt each time I landed hard and let’s face it, everything was a hard landing.  Guess I hit my head harder than I thought.    I made it back to the swing and hung out there waiting for my mom and S.  My legs were literally vibrating on their own.    If I stopped moving – they started shaking.    Truth- this trail kicked my ass and kept kicking.    It was awesome.  😝

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With the doubling back, making the wrong turn and adding the pink structure I was a little past the 4 mile mark.  By the time we got back to the car, my Garmin registered 7 miles.   Oops.   And I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten breakfast.   But it was awesome.  Have I said that already?  Supposedly there’s a waterfall somewhere but I never saw it.   Something to look for next time!

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Peak 1- Done!  ✅

I was looking to get lost metaphorically not literally but it’s all good.    Even if I foam rolled and cried on Monday.   😅

Do you get lost on trails?  On purpose or not?

Do you like running down mountains?  I love it and always think of that horse scene from Snowy River. 

Ever done something you shouldn’t do close to race day?

Run!, Slacker

Changing it Up

I hope everyone had a good weekend!

Last year I went on numerous hikes/ trail runs.  I would power walk up and run like a crazy person down them.  It was fun.   🙂   This year, with so many races and wanting to PR  a few, I was leery of trails.   Too afraid I would do something stupid and hurt myself.  Ego got in the way of fun.   😦     With my recent inability to maintain pace, I have decided to treat it like  good thing and get back off-road.  With that line of thought, I went and bought myself something pretty-trailshoesI figured that maybe an actual pair of trail shoes would be a good idea.  A little more traction for the times I careen wildly down a hillside.    Plus the purchase would help me guilt me into following through when I am feeling like a slacker.   🙂   Trails are the place where I have fun and don’t mentally berate myself for my pace.   I took my shoes for 3.5 mile spin around the lake in the dirt on Tuesday.   They felt great, so today is was time for a baby trail.

The easy part
The easy part

I was looking to start small, so my mom and I headed to the trail from the Firehouse 5K run.    It’s around 3 miles, give or take.  We headed up the back way, thinking we would hit the switchbacks on the way down.  Fine by me, switchbacks suck.     My shoes felt great in the loose dirt.  The only problem was my huffing and puffing.  It wasn’t humid so I thought I could get by without using my inhaler.  No luck, but I also hadn’t been stupid enough to leave it behind.    Gaining 500 ft in 3/4 of mile didn’t help either, but after using it I was fine.   The rest was mostly downhill, ha!

We made it! ( a little windy, too!)
We made it! ( a little windy, too!)

IMG_6789 IMG_6759The view from the top* was great as usual.  My mom wanted to go down a different path just to see where it went.   I think we lost most of that 500 feet in 1/4 mile.  I like downhill but this was ridiculous.  The sand was so loose, we kept sliding.  We slowed to a crawl-like pace but we made it.   Thank you shoes.  We came across a Y in the trail so we just picked one.  It led to another Y and again we just picked one.  The mountain’s not that big so we figured we wouldn’t get too turned around.  Plus this leaves more trails to explore another day.      IMG_6762

Where I started sliding
Where I started sliding

A little past 2 miles, we could see the road and figured that we had accidentally cut the hike super short.  It was getting pretty hot so we decided that we could deal with that instead of heading back the way we came.  Coming down the trail we came across 2 rows of white stone boxes on the right side and a few more on the left.  One was open, empty and a little broken.     Being the smart asses that we are, we start cracking jokes about the X-Files and vampires.

very large and ominous looking
very large and ominous looking

It looked like we were coming into the back of a park.  As we got closer we realized it was a cemetery.    Ok, the boxes make a little more sense.  But still stone?  Bad form for our previous wise cracks.   It was very pretty as we walked through to get back to main road. But I was also confused because the headstones seemed really close together.   I did Google it later and found that due to flooding over the years, not only have headstones moved but some graves have as well.  Some were moved to other cemeteries but the records are not the best.   IMG_6784

We came out on a rural highway.  We were actually about 1/2 mile away from where we parked but the road had wide shoulders.     Walking back put us around 3 miles.  It took us about an hour though, so it felt like a good workout.   So now it’s on to the next trail.  🙂

*I took a pretty cool panorama but it refuses to load-ugh.

How was your weekend?

Ever get turned around and end somewhere totally random on a run/ hike?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve encountered?

Ambassador, Recap, Run!, Slacker

April Recap

April was a busy month.  Not just for me but most people I think.   I mean taxes and Boston in the same month, right?  Or in my case, the SLO Marathon weekend.  So my month brought me this-aprilrecap

Miles- 70.4
Races-2 – Firehouse 5K & SLO 1/2 Marathon
Money spent- quite a bit
Toenails- 1 almost gone 🙂

I actually felt pretty good after Sunday’s race even with all the hills.  I took Monday off, both from running and work, planning to return to both on Tuesday.  Work went great on Tuesday and I was looking forward to my run.   What I did not account for was the freak heat wave we have had lately.  Even work town was friggin’ hot and it rarely gets above 70 there.

I went to the lake after work hoping for an easy 4 miles.   I was warm, not hot but uncomfortably warm.  It was 88º when I set out.  I called it after 5K and just walked back to the car.   I didn’t see a need to push it.  It was a bummer because my legs felt good but I need to acclimate to the coming summer heat a little better.4-29-14

For some reason, I thought Wednesday was Thursday all day long.   Not cool. I had planned on running after work but for the first time ever, this Slacker forgot her running shoes.  How does one even do that?  I do have a spare pair in my car (and socks, shorts, shirt and sports bra) but it was hot again, so I decided on another rest day.  I did just run 13.1 right?  Sadly it meant that my monthly mileage stalled at 70.4 and I had really wanted to get to 75.  But I am still on track for my yearly goal, so yay!timeout

Thursday, well yeah.  I felt like Thursday turned into a mayday, and not the fun dancing around the May pole kind.  Work bordered on insane and the town was crazy.  My original plan was to run 3-4 miles in work town before heading to SLO for packet pick up for tomorrow’s race.  But there is a huge car show in town this weekend and people were pouring in so I just got the heck out of dodge.   I was halfway to SLO when it occurred to me that I had lost $200.00.  I could not remember what I had done with it but I did not have it. That was the final straw and I burst into tears while driving down the highway.    😦  Once I made it to packet pick up (Sports Authority), I was texting all of my co-workers in a panic.   No one could remember seeing it.  There was nothing more that I could do about it then, so I dried my eyes as best as I could and went to get the packets.  I figured I would be in and out and hardly anyone would see me, so the red eyes wouldn’t be so bad.

Wrong.  This pick up was for Run or Dye.  The line was wrapped around the interior of the building.  I was in line for over 30 minutes.  Seriously?!  I am still on the fence about this race as it is.  Then when I was picking up my bib and for 4 friends, the Run or Dye staff told me 8000 people registered.  I’m sorry what?   How do you fit that many people in a smaller park and where do they all park?  I was still super cranky so I think I may have given the poor guy the look of death at that news.  Sorry!

New stretching equipment?
New stretching equipment?

I was still so frustrated that I was torn between getting a pizza on the way home and eating it all or trying to run it out.   I chose the healthy choice and took the freeway exit to run town.  I was running behind on time so I was thinking 2 laps of the lake would be good.  Apparently there was some function at the pavilion because I had to circle around a few times and ended up parking on the backside of the lake.   Which was weird but I jumped out, walked a quick warm up and then just ran.   2 miles later, time had run out but I was feeling a little better.

Rebel without a clue
Rebel without a clue

I am something of a clean freak about certain things, so I am really not sure how I will handle people throwing colored dye at me as we leisurely ramble through the course tomorrow.  Plus, I am wearing a tutu.   I had always promised C that we run a race in tutu’s.  Why,  I am not sure, I always feel awkward in costumes or outfits.  I am still just getting used to running in shorts.   But, I did buy a bright pink tutu and I will be rocking it tomorrow.  Along with all black.  🙂   I’m picking NikeC up early so we can hopefully get a good parking spot.  Then it is time for a Team Slacker meetup!  On the upside, I think we have a group of 10 or more running tomorrow!   Plus no pre-race jitters.  🙂

And the lost money? Found today, I have awesome co-workers.   🙂

How was your week?

Ever done a Run or Dye or Color Run? Any advice?

Good luck to anyone at Wildflower this weekend!