…the trails remind you that you’re pretty mediocre, really!
Last Friday’s unexpected 11 miler at Windy Hill was a lot of fun. I came away pretty chuffed with myself. I’d climbed over 2,000 feet, I’d done two big climbs and I felt pretty strong. I spent that weekend searching for trail half marathons and found a good one in November with a lot of climbing. Yes, I thought. I can handle that. I’ve got actual trail running shoes, I’m a proper trail runner now.
Enter Redwood Regional Park.
This Saturday, I drove over to Redwood Regional Park in Oakland for the latest trail exploration with Jen. This time, we were joined by LOADS of other local running bloggers and twitterers. It was SO good to see everyone – it was lovely to have a big group together. We split into two groups – the runners and the hikers.
Off we set. There were 7 runners and fairly quickly we fell into mini-groups with others at our pace but there was a fair amount of stopping and regrouping so we got to see everyone quite often. I ended up running with Jess. She and I are running Ragnar Napa Valley this weekend so we had a lot to chat about.
The trails were beautiful. Really lovely. Wooded, foresty trails which, every now and again, opened up to show expansive vistas over to Mt Diablo. However we were plunging downwards. The running was effortless at this point, but I thought about the climb back.
Soon enough, we started climbing again. The climb was so steep and technical that for a lot of it we hiked. My thighs were screaming, it was a really tough workout. Once the trail had levelled out, we started running again and Jess went flying, landing on her knee. Girl down. She recovered and we ran on.
There was a very surreal moment. We were running through the forest and a guy ran towards us. He was dressed in a very dapper outfit – a nice shirt with a tucked-in tie, a fedora on his head. ‘Good morning ladies’, he said as he ran past us. We were all too surprised to reply. Where he came from, where he was going we had no idea.
The turnaround point was the Sibley Staging Area. A couple of runners headed back – four of us ran on another mile. This mile was all downhill. So when we turned around, we had a long uphill to drag ourselves up. Just past Sibley, as we ran down the little lane to the trail entrance, it was MY turn to go flying. I twisted my old bad ankle and crashed down. It was nowhere near as bad as last November – I knew I’d be able to go on and fairly quickly, we were running fairly delicately back down the trails. At one point, we got lost (the signage wasn’t great and the park map was atrocious) but with some luck, we were heading back to the car park.
By this point, I was struggling. The trails had been very steep, both up and down, and my legs were drained. I hadn’t fuelled properly – I’d made some apple pecan oat bites from Feedzone Portables and whilst delicious, they didn’t give me the calories I needed. I was desperate for a good old-fashioned Gu by the end. By the time Jess and I jogged down the final trail to the car park, I was spent.
It was a humbling run. We only covered 7.4 mils but I was utterly done for. I could not have done much more. I definitely couldn’t have done a half-marathon. It was a good reminder not to get too cocky as a runner – the trails always humble us. Having said that, Redwood Park is BEAUTIFUL! Really gorgeous.
Despite the relatively low mileage, I was RAVENOUS at the end. We retired to the Montclair Egg Shop where I inhaled french toast. When I got home, I had a second lunch.
I’d planned to run a few extra miles on Sunday but my ankle ached still so I ditched that plan. A wise move…I was in no discomfort by Sunday evening.
This week is all about NOT getting injured for Ragnar. Our team doesn’t seem to be the ‘luckiest’ so far but I’ve been blown away by how everyone has pulled together and supported each other and we haven’t even started running yet. If you’d like to be part of this, we have two spaces in our van and we would LOVE you to join us 🙂