Tag: trails

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.

Vacation- Birthing Cave

The Birthing Cave trail in Sedona is nice, short, fairly easy trail to do. Unless you do it the same day you do Soldiers Pass and you’re overweight and out of shape.

Oh, wait, that was me.😆

Honestly, getting to the trail head was probably harder than the trail was. My GPS disagreed with what AllTrails said. And I didn’t actually find the trailhead. I stopped too soon and parked along the road near the Mescal trail head. Which is also how I learned there was another route to Devil’s Bridge but I’d already been there the last time I was in Arizona.

We started out on the Mescal Trail thinking we were just going to go a mile or so in and see what there was as we knew we weren’t in the right spot. Luckily a quarter mile in, we hit a trail junction that included a branch off onto the Long Canyon Trail which is where I had been trying to drive to. So we took it. It was a nice single track with some elevation drop.

Once at the Long Canyon trailhead, we headed back towards the Birthing Cave. Or, at least we hoped, this trail doesn’t have signs and there some places you could another direction. We ran into others just as confused as we were. Good thing was that this trail was pretty flat, wide and actually runnable if you wanted to.

After a little more winding back towards the cliff walls, you start to climb. I had to take a break, I’m so out of shape.😂. Then you start to scramble up, careful you don’t try to use a cactus as your handhold. The cave is cool but also not as big as you think it will be and it fills up quickly. It’s also very slippery and I was too tired to try climbing all the way in. I didn’t need to break my face.

After a short time in the cave enjoying the views, we headed back to the car. With the extra we tacked on with parking at the wrong trailhead, we came up just under 3 miles. Like I said, short but still good.

Vacation- Soldier’s Pass

I love dirt. I really do.

Getting sick in January may have derailed my original vacation plans by a lot, I was still planning on adding getting in some miles on new to me trails. So I headed back to Sedona.

First trail up was Soldier’s Pass.

AllTrails calls Soldier’s Pass a moderate, 4.5 mile out and back trail. There is a small trailhead parking lot but will likely be full. We parked in overflow about a mile down the street at a school/ bike park location. There was a nice trail that ran along the road so it was nice warmup.

I love the color of the rocks and desert in Sedona. I know it gets hyped up a lot but there is a very valid reason for it. That also means be prepared for crowds. Everywhere. From prepared, experienced hikers to people in flip flops.

The beginning of the trail brings you to a cool sinkhole to check out. Then about a mile in (or 2 from overflow) the trail brings you to the Seven Sacred Pools. Maybe I was tired, but this part was a little underwhelming. Were there 7 pools? Maybe. Maybe I was blind. The trail starts to climb a little here but nothing strenuous.

The path was nicely shaded actually as we made our way to a little plateau. From there the real climb begins and things start to get hard. The path narrows and gets steeper as you make the last climb to the rock wall and the caves. The caves are cool. Getting up an into the big one is sketchy but I am proud that my claustrophobic self managed to climb up to the cave level. I spent some time up there for a bit- only almost fell once, ha! It does get crowded up there though and how more people don’t fall, I don’t understand. I did slip on my way back out of the caves and wrenched my shoulders a bit but I didn’t fall, so win!

From there, it was back down to the plateau then on to the Seven Sacred Pools again. Took a few moments here to take a sit and eat a snack or 2. It was a little warmer than I figured for March, even in Arizona.

All in all, round trip from the overflow lot to Soldier’s Pass was 6 miles with around 800 ft of elevation gain. Most of that in the last .25 mile or so. Totally worth it.