Tag: trails

Oakland Hills Trail Race

4 days after getting my stitches out, I was back at another race. No one said I was smart.

I had looked at Oakland Hills for years but never run it. Since this seems to be my year of doing the Inside Trail races, this was the year. My brother was going to run the 35K and I was going to slow roll the 10K again.

His race started at 8:30 and mine 9:00. I knew I was still not 100% and also was having tummy issues all morning. I think this race takes the all time high for the number of times I used a porta potty before the race. This course is the opposite of most of my trail races. Here, runners go mostly downhill for the first half and then climb back the last half. It’s a trap.

Everything started out pretty well. I may have enjoyed the downhills a little too much, ha! It took about 2 miles for me to decide I was an idiot who overdressed and was regretting my long sleeves. Even under the shade of the Redwoods, I was heating up.

The trails were my favorite kind, hard dirt, surrounded by tall redwoods with views for days. The was the sun cut through the trees sometimes was just awesome. I think I took a couple hundred pictures while I was out there. Mile 3 started to take us through a more user friendly section of the park but it was just as pretty. However I also knew we were in for some serious uphill to come as we were fairly flat at that point.

Reader- I didn’t know. I was not prepared.

No good pictures of the up because… up.

Holy hell, the last 2 miles killed me. I was taking back everything I had ever said about any other hill in a race. I stopped to take off my long sleeve because I was seriously overheating and go stuck in my shirt. It stressed me out. 1/2 mile later, I fell on my ass. One second I am trying to just keep putting one foot in front of the other without looking at how far I still have to go, the next I am on the ground. Apparently I made enough noise that the hikers I had passed about 50 yards back turned around and asked if I needed help.

People- miles 5 and 6 were 22 and 33 minutes. Strava shows my moving time was around 16 minutes for each mile, ha! Mile 5 averaged a 19% grade and mile 6 was 20%. I was freakin’ toast. I was so done. My stomach was starting make me question things as well. I was no longer enjoying the pretty trees.

I finally crossed the finish line in 2:07:11.

I’ve run a half marathon faster than I finished that 10K. I’ve never been so done in my life. Meanwhile my brother finished the 35k in 3:38:20 and took 3rd overall. Who is he?

Don’t get me wrong this was a great race, I was just so not prepared. Maybe next year?

Berkeley Trail Adventure- Recap

This may be my year of trail races.

Way back in September- Berkeley Trail Adventure took place up in Berkeley in Tilden Park. I actually registered super late for it- just a couple of days before the race. Turned it into a family affair- my mother, brother and I all headed up on race morning. That meant a 4AM leave time. It was rough not gonna lie. I was registered for the 10K and my brother was registered for the 35k.

The 35K started first with the 50K’ers and then I had some time to wait before the half and then the 10K started. The half ended up starting 15 minute early so I thought maybe the 10K would but nope. We started on time, which normally is great, I was just confused, ha!

The race started by running up a little hill and then through the parking lot to get to the trails. I am torn on how I feel about these trails; parts I loved and other parts felt like I was in someone’s backyard. Because we kind of were. Parts of the trail backed up to a neighborhood or overlooked a golf course. Other parts made you feel like you were in the woods far away from civilization.

I had had crap week and was planning on taking it easy for the race. A look at the course elevation showed that we climbed for 3 miles and then ran downhill for 3. The incline didn’t look too steep- my favorite kind of course. The first 2 miles lived up to the course profile. I was feeling decent about the hills and making decent power hike time.

Then the last part of the hill to mile 3 killed me. I felt like parts were vertical and was trying to figure out where the hell this had been on the elevation profile. I was dying. I felt a little better when what looked like a super fit half marathon runner passed me – they were moving slightly fast than me but also showed they were struggling. Solidarity.

Not the actual hill, an easier one from earlier in the race3

Once I finally made to the the top, I had to walk more than I would have liked just to bring my heart rate down. I was also struggling to get my water bottle back into my pack for some reason and it was making me cranky. So of course I look up and see the race photographer. I shouted out seriously?!? Then I just to run by him without any other issues.😂

I don’t look like an idiot!

The next mile or so was an awesome runnable downhill and I suddenly felt like I was in the zone. I felt I could have stayed there all day. But we couldn’t, the course looked back round to first mile or so and now we were running those rollers the opposite way.

And my body let me know it was toast. So I walked a lot. Which was fine but I was missing that zen feeling I had a mile back. We came back to the finish through the parking lot and then had a small uphill to the finish line. Boo.

Finish- 1:39:32

Once across, I got some snacks and waited for my brother to finish his race. I had an idea of what I thought he would finish in and just kept looking for his bib color. I was realizing that if I was right, he could very well place. And he did. 4th overall and third in his age group. Hell yeah!

While I didn’t like this course as much as Santa Cruz, I would definitely run it again. Just wish it was closer.

Santa Cruz Trail Run- Recap

Oh, do I have a weekend to tell you about.

I’ve already said I planned to run Santa Rosa Half marathon on Sunday but what I didn’t mention was that my brother had decided to make Santa Rosa his first road race. As long as I also ran his first trail race with him. The day before Santa Rosa. Hmmm. But, ok- hello Santa Cruz!

He signed up for the trail half but I knew there was no way I could do that the day before Santa Rosa. I signed up for the 10k instead. Smarter, right? So my brother started running a month ago. But he’s been a crazy mountain hiker for years. So, in other words, 13 miles is a warm up for him.

Race morning dawned all too early after a drive up to Santa Cruz post work on Friday. I was suddenly grateful for the late start of 8:45 for the half and 9:00 for the 10K. We got to the race with plenty of time to get ready, get our bibs and overhear some very interesting conversations, ha!

The races started a little late but honestly I’ve never run a trail race that has started on time. Brother’s race started first and mine a little later. I had no goals for this race other than to enjoy the scenery and have fun. Knew I couldn’t push before the next day.

This course was amazing! The Redwoods and the trails, I could have stayed in there for days and days. I stopped at one point to just take pictures, the views were so good. The climbs were easy other than a lot of them had soft sand and I hate soft sand. I may have posted some cranky stories to Instagram, haha. The course took you through shaded trail, up hills, on some asphalt fire roads/ trails- it was awesome.

Being slower meant that sometimes I was out on the course all by myself. Which, while awesome sometimes I was concerned I missed a trail marker. I’d be running down a hill, lost in my own world and suddenly realize I hadn’t seen a yellow flag in while. Oops. Luckily, I never got lost, I just need to pay more attention. I don’t even wear headphones on trail races but this course was just so cool.

Around 3.5 miles in I felt a sharp sting on my left hip. So sharp, I actually came to a complete stop and may have yelled “what the f**k” out loud. It hurt so bad I also pulled my pants down on the trail. Ha! There was a large welt on my hip but I never saw a bug. What the hell? Now, over the years bugs seem to like me but I have never had a bite hurt this much. It hurt for the next few miles. I actually stopped and looked at it again around mile 5.

There was a hill around mile 5 that I could have done without but that’s my fault for being out of shape. I crossed the finish line around 1:41 and was fine with that. Strava has my moving time around 1:35ish, like I said I stopped a few times.

Once cross the finish line, I got my medal and shirt and started waiting for my brother. He had been training around 2:30-2:45 so I figured I had some time to go back to the car, maybe lose my pack and change my shirt. The top 3 male half finishers had just finished. I was walking near the finish line towards the parking lot not paying much attention when I looked up and saw my brother. Wait, what? I may have hollered out “what the f**k?!” again. Runners who had finished were sitting nearby at picnic tables busted up laughing.

My brother pulled a 2:01 on a 13.5 mile course with over 2000 ft elevation gain. He was 6th overall. What the hell? So, yeah he had a good race.

Overall, I loved this race- low key, with good medals, swag and good finish line area. I will definitely run this race again.

JUNE JUMPED

I feel like I stood on a cliff on June 3 and jumped. Then it was July. Anyone else?

Let’s see…

Training for Santa Rosa in not where it should be. Luckily it’s early stages still but it doesn’t fill me with confidence for July and August. I ran way less miles than I had originally planned. Or even thought I did. I felt like I had a better month than the numbers show. And the numbers show next to nothing. I set up the most basic of training outlines which mostly just highlights how many miles my long run should be each week and somehow, I am already off track. Crap.

Part of the lower miles was heat related- it was over 100 for a couple of weeks. I never managed an early run as I slept like crap for about 2 weeks too. There were a couple of nights of no sleep. Even my watch was like are you ok? The first night I actually hit 7 hours in June, it gave me a congratulations. Ha! That didn’t stick around though. Boo.

I also wasn’t feeling so great in June. My chest still hurts and normally by now, my allergies start to ease up. I can’t sleep or even find a good position to lay down when my chest feels inflamed. Went for my annual chest x-ray and it shows nothing. Which is good but also annoying.

I did manage to get in some good trail miles though. A couple of which I looked like Ranger Rick for. I am trying to work out more sun coverage for the longer time on my feet days. Can’t find a good hat with decent airflow that covers my face and my ears.

On the work front my boss quit. WTH dude. Don’t worry I said that to his face, no talking behind his back. Then after a couple weeks of thought and stress, I took the jump. And now I have a promotion and a new title. Yay? Now I just need to get my ducks in a row. Thankfully I have an amazing crew, so we will make it work. July is our busiest month though so this should be interesting. Actually it’s the busiest month for the whole city so double yay?

While July is shaping up to be busy, I also have some PTO coming. Not as much as originally planned but still some. I am torn between hiding in a dark room for those days and decompressing or getting out and doing something. May depend on the weather… and the gas prices. There is also a local race I may sign up for. I am not in 10k shape but I do love this race and haven’t run it in years. Oh, and I have a birthday.

Here’s to July- Fingers crossed?

Point Buchon Trail

I’ve heard good things about the Point Buchon trail but never managed to follow through. Which is also silly as the Jurassic trail I’ve done multiple times uses the same parking lot. Granted Point Buchon was closed for a chunk of time during COVID and as the entire trail is actually on PG&E property, that was a hard closure.

To get to the trail head, you park at the very last lot in MDO and head for a tall fence. The small gate in the fence is only open on certain dates and times. Once through there, it’s short uphill paved drive to the check in. You have to sign in and out at the ranger station and you have to be off the trail by dusk. Like I said PG&E property and technically part of a nuclear power plant, so they take that pretty seriously.

It is also probably due to those reasons that this is the most well marked trail I have ever been on. There is no way to get lost, zero. Numerous trail markers along the way, signs warning you when the trail was going to end. As well as numerous look out points along the way with benches to sit and just enjoy the views. There were also multiple signs which would talk about the native wildlife, the Native American tribe- Chumash- who used to live there and what PG&E is doing for conservation. There was a sign referencing that the lighthouse used for the original Pete’s Dragon used to stand on what they call Disney Point. It was only up for a short period of time but it’s cool story. There is also still a working ranch on the property and part of trail takes you though cow pastures. There were babies!! Oh, and a sinkhole!

The trail is just under 8 miles out and back and very user friendly. The first 2 miles is nice and wide, very runnable. The last 2 miles turn to single track and on windy days you will get pushed around. There is also a half mile stretch in there of very soft gravel, your feet will sink but still very manageable. There was also access to a porta-pottie at Windy Point. We went all the way to the end before turning around. The views were amazing and it was a nice clear day when we started. Once you hit Windy Point, you can also see the power plant in the distance.

For a bonus, as we were almost back to the start, we found an offshoot trail that led to a private beach. It had some really cool rock formations as well as a cool cave to explore.

This was a great trail and I have no idea what took me so long to get to it. Except for the snake. I hate snakes and I had my first snake sighting about 6 miles into the trail. I still do it again, haha.