Braving Briones

On Saturday, I met up with Jen and we hit the trails again. So far, we’ve explored Lake Chabot in the East Bay, Huddart and Wunderlich Parks on the Peninsula and the Headlands in Marin. These trail runs where we explore different parts of the Bay Area are fast becoming my favourite things about being a runner! Today’s run was back in Jen’s neck of the woods in the East Bay…Briones Reservoir!

We had an amazing day for it. We had a back-up date in case of the torrential rain that is common here in December  But this year is worryingly dry and sunny, and today was warm and beautiful. We both wished we’d worn short-sleeved tops!


Briones isn’t far from the big city of Oakland but is very rural and very quiet! We set off running Bear Creek Trail which winds its way through beautiful oak woodland. Really lovely.



We came out of the woods after about 3 miles onto an unpaved road and were running along chatting when suddenly a very familiar agony shot through my ankle and I found myself sat on the floor, rolling around a little and trying not to say rude words. Yep, my ankle had twisted again, and it HURT!

Having said that, it stopped hurting much quicker than last time, so after a while I stood and tried walking (okay). As we stood there, a group of 6 or so not-unattractive Dude Runners came towards us. I circled my ankle and made ‘pain’ faces so they would know we were injured and not just unfit, and they checked if we were okay when they ran past, which was nice! Eventually, we decided to run on slowly to the next car-park where Jen could, if necessary, leave me, run back to the car and collect me. By the time we got there, it was okay. It ached a little but I wasn’t in any pain, so we kept running.

The elevation profile of this route had ill-prepared us for the run. From the profile, I expected one big hill, then lots of flat, then another big hill. In reality, we got a decent climb and then miles and miles of up-and-down roller-coaster hills which really took it out of your legs. I am far from as fit as I should be, and Jen was having an off-day too so we plodded along, walking some of the uphills and running the flats and the downhills, and focussing on the beauty around us, the gorgeous weather and the deliciousness of Salted Caramel Gu to stop us getting dejected. The place IS beautiful!

This was not an ugly place to run!!
You can see how worryingly low the water levels are here
Sunny! Happy!

Having said that, we were both delighted to get back to the car after 13 miles and stop running! I was really proud of my gammy ankle for running relatively comfortably, and also really proud of Jen for battling through tiredness to get to the end – although, as she noted, she didn’t have much choice 😉

Most of all, today, I just thought what a wonderful wrap-up run to the year this was. 2013 has been the year that the siren call of trails really got me. I started the year having done one short run in Huddart Park, and here I was a year later, really into the magic of the trails. I’m grateful to Jen for her company during many of these miles and for organising a lovely run today.

Every good run deserves food…so we refuelled at Portal in Oakland which was excellent…


…and then I came home to the bestest cuddle from my favourite ginger. I call that a pretty brilliant morning!

Totally superfluous photo but I really love it.

(My ankle was less enthusiastic the next morning).

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Paulette says:

    This looks like so much fun! I love trail running, I’m in a total road rut right now but excited about trail. 🙂 Sorry to hear about the ankle though, I hope it’s better fast.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Healing much faster than last time, thanks. Ugh..ankles, eh?? Next time we go trail running, we’re going to try and get a group together, I’ll drop you a note.

  2. Looks like so much fun and what a great way to in 2013 with a 13 mile run. Be careful with the ankle. Can’t wait to hear/read about your adventures in 2014.

  3. Jen says:

    What a great recap – I especially enjoyed the parts about the “not-unattractive Dude Runners” running past while you were recovering from your ankle mishap. Thanks for being my running buddy in 2013, and here’s to many more trail adventures in 2014 hopefully!

    1. Cathryn says:

      We would have looked so awesome to the Dude Runners if they came across us as we were running along chatting!

      Bring on the 2014 trail adventures!

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