Foggy Trails

On Saturday, I got to run some trails. Jen and I started exploring different parts of the Bay Area about a year ago – first at Lake Chabot, then the Peninsula Redwoods, then the Marin Headlands and then San Bruno Mountain. It was Jen’s turn to choose our location and she chose Mt Tamalpais. Jess and KP were able to join us, I planned a route…we all got excited.

And then Jen got injured.

By Thursday, it became apparent she wouldn’t be able to join us. It felt mean to still run the route she’d requested if she couldn’t be there, so KP stepped in and offered to guide us on some of the Headlands trails she runs regularly – along the coast, where Jess and I haven’t run before. So we changed our plans and got excited again.

I dropped the Dude off at his wonderful babysitters at 7am (they are stars) and drove up. Because I don’t get to do this kind of thing very often, I’d planned my outfit carefully – my black skirt and a cute black vest/tank top. I was going to be a trail running ninja. But as I drove north, the clouds descended, it got colder and the fog got deeper and deeper. Over the Golden Gate Bridge, I couldn’t see the tops of the towers. I knew I was going to freeze!

Just at the turnoff to Tennessee Valley Trailhead, where we were meeting, is the San Francisco Running Company. They don’t open till 10.30 but I knew they had a group run at 8am, so I drove up and explained my predicament, looking as pathetic as I could. They VERY kindly let me go in and buy a long-sleeved top. I really appreciated their kindness.

We met at the trailhead. I hadn’t met KP before, knowing her only from social media but as expected, she was awesome. It was very foggy and pretty chilly, but we were all in great spirits. We set off down towards the ocean and then started climbing up Coastal Trail. The climb was significant. I would have plodded up, but KP is an ultra-runner so she encouraged us all to walk some of the bigger hills and our legs definitely thanked her!! We wound our way up, spotting a vulture pretty close to the trail. Then we bumped into some of KP’s trail-running friends up there, which was quite surreal!

Jess and KP on the trails
Jess and KP on the trails
I was pretty happy today
I was pretty happy today
Super-close to a vulture
Super-close to a vulture

The fog got denser but then we plunged down a scree-covered trail to Pirate’s Cove. I suspect the views on today’s run would be spectacular in the sunshine but even today, with limited visibility and grey skies, they were beautiful and the fog lent the day a sense of mystery. It was very quiet out there.

Happy...because I have long sleeves
Happy…because I have long sleeves
Pirates cove
Pirate’s Cove
The photo doesn’t do justice to the colours here!
Interesting bamboo-like flowers in the hedgerow
Marin Headlands Coast Ocean
Beautiful coastal views…just a little foggy

From Pirate’s Cove, we ran down Coastal Trail to the little town of Muir Beach, crossed Highway One and started up Dias Ridge. This climbs about 800 ft in 1 1/2 miles but was all pretty runnable in terms of gradient, although we alternated walking/running to save our legs. Back across Highway One onto Miwok Trail which led us up and then down and back to the car-park. KP headed home, but Jess and I snuck off to the Dipsea Cafe for a well deserved brunch.

trails headlands
Jess and KP head into the fog
trails Marin headlands
Magical Eucalyptus grove…

I really loved this run. Yeah, the weather could have been better but the company would only have been better if Jen had been with us and the trails were beautiful! I was buzzing for the rest of the day. We did about 10.5 miles – not sure of the speed but it doesn’t matter at all. Just a load of fun.

Fun! Photo Credit: Jess

If you’d like the details of our route, it’s here.

A quick note about fueling.

I recently bought the book Feedzone Portables. It’s a recipe book aimed primarily at triathletes with healthy, home-made food to eat on the go. Gu is all well and good but it’s not real food and I was intrigued to see if ‘real food’ would work well. My first effort was Date & Almond rice-cakes.  They were VERY easy to make and the mixture tasted amazing, frankly. I ate one on the run today. It was GOOD to eat actual food, I really liked that, and I remarked to Jess at the end that I felt I could have run longer. It wasn’t our longest run and we climbed conservatively, so both could have been factors, but the rice cakes were definitely a good thing. The Husband used them on his 90-mile bike-ride and said he felt stronger than he had last week over 75 miles using gels!

Looking super-foxy as I devour my rice-cake
Looking super-foxy as I devour my rice-cake

I’ll test them out a little more and then write a book review, but so far, so good.

24 Comments Add yours

  1. Helen Mearns says:

    Love the new yellow addition. Gorgeous post! I also like the whole real eating while running vibe. The thought of something real yummy in my camelbak just makes me want to go a bit further so I can have a delicious treat! Will be great when you’ve tried a few more goodies to share your thoughts and recipes. I must admit I just buy a granola bar or make a sandwich but am quite tempted to try making some fun snacks.

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’ll make some more recipes and then def do a post but so far, so good!! It was def nice to eat real food although maybe difficult in a race!

      I LOVED the top. It’s a Patagonia shirt with the shop’s branding and I wasn’t too hot, it just kept me perfect. I was unsure about the colour initially but seeing the photos, I really love it!!

  2. Sherry says:

    Ooh those trails look lovely, and the fog adds so much atmosphere!
    Those rice cakes sound great, I don’t mind gels but prefer the idea of real food so will be interesting to hear your verdict on the book!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, the rice cakes were great yesterday. As I said to Helen, I think they might be challenging in a race, but they were awesome for training. Maybe I make the rice cakes smaller for a race and like balls? We’ll see.

      You should come and run here…you’d love it.

    2. Cathryn says:

      Sherry…Grace sent this link if you’re interested.

  3. Grace says:

    Brr, foggy! Triathlete mag had some of the sample recipes from Feed Zone Portables here and they all look good – I hate gels and most commercial cereal/ energy bars are too sweet for my (maybe non-American?) palate! Looking forward to your review.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you for sharing that link!! I’ve emailed the author to ask if I can share a few recipes (I’m uncomfy doing so without his approval) but these are great in the meantime!!

    2. Helen Mearns says:

      I wish blogs would let you like stuff!! These ideas are great. I wonder how many of these types of recipes though you could make and then freeze for use later? Not sure how much time I have to prepare this before a Saturday morning long run! Imagine waking up at 4am just to make snacks hehe. Not going to happen in my sleep zone.

      1. Cathryn says:

        You know, I made the rice cakes on Friday evening. They were good on Saturday morning and then this morning (Wednesday) I had the last one for ‘breakfast’ before an early morning run when I didn’t have time for actual breakfast. It was a little dry but totally edible and fueled me really well for 9 miles before 8am. So you could easily make them the night before a long run and they’ll be good the next day.

  4. Naomi says:

    That fog looks heavenly and you looked so happy! I need to make it out there one day! I have both Feed Zone books and have tried the recipes – they are awesome!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Oooh, you have the other one too? I may well end up buying that too! Is is more ‘meal-y’ than ‘portable’?

      Yeah, I was pretty happy on the run. I don’t get to do that kind of thing much due to the Dude (not complaining, just saying) so I’m always super-excited to run and explore!

  5. BT says:

    Sounds like a great day! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Come with us next time x

      1. BT says:

        I’d love to. Gimme details!

  6. Cathryn says:

    Yay. No details at the mo but I’ll include you in the doodle when i send it round later this week. x

  7. You are so funny! I am sure I wouldn’t have dared going to the store and ask to buy something before the opening. But you were right and, actually, worst case scenario : they would have said no. No harm. Also, I love the yellow T-shirt 🙂

    The route looked nice. It was foggy, but it looks quiet and peaceful.

    You know I love baking and cooking my own stuff, so I am more than interested in this book. Let me know when you would have tried more recipes. If they are as good as this one, I’ll buy it too.

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’ll make a few more recipes and then do a review – loads of people are interested, I love how everyone wants to fuel with proper food these days!

      I’m always in favor of asking (like at the shop). If you ask nicely so people feel comfortable saying no, then it never hurts to ask. I was SO grateful for that top, I would have been cold otherwise!

  8. Jen says:

    So glad you all had fun, even though I couldn’t make it. That is a really tough trail – and I only know it from hiking it! Hopefully I’ll be 100% next time. 🙂

    Looking forward to the portables review! (like everyone else already said…)

    1. Cathryn says:

      We missed you!! Mt Tam next time. x

  9. Paulette says:

    So pretty! I love it out there but I haven’t done all of the ones you did yet. Thanks for sharing the route! Next time, I hope I’m here…

  10. AGH these photos make me wish my ankles were stronger so I could join you guys out on the trails!!!! This looks so incredible!!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was would have loved it! Strengthen that ankle…loads of PT exercises on my blog actually if you use the search engine. I was bambi-ankled too earlier this year!! Then you can run with us.

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