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