Redemption at San Pedro Valley County Park

Back in January I ran a trail half-marathon in Pacifica. At the top of the first mountain, after a giant climb, I twisted my ankle badly on the way down. It was the third ankle twist in three months and I realized I needed to take some action to strengthen it and very sadly made the decision to drop out of the race half way. I didn’t regret the decision for a second once it had been made!

Having said that, I had this nagging curiosity about the trails I didn’t get to run, especially Hazelnut Trail which sounded idyllic. I’ve been meaning to go back and run those trails ever since. And on Friday, I did.

Pacifica is really gorgeous. Beautiful green mountains slope down into the ocean and in the scorching October heatwave, the sun sparkled in the distance. I always mean to run here every time I come.


My cold was pretty rough on Thursday and I nearly cancelled on my running buddy Brianna several times but I took myself off to bed at 8pm and slept till 6.30am and woke up feeling like a different girl. Still snotty but suddenly not ILL. So I dropped the Dude at school and headed over to Pacifica to meet Bri. She very kindly agreed to run at a snail’s pace with me!

We set off up Valley View trail first. All the trails were lovely and smooth and the climbs were pretty runnable for normal people but I felt fairly weak and ‘stopped for photographs’ on a regular basis and walked a little too. Valley View wound up and over a hill and then dropped us back on the valley floor on the service road for a short distance, and then we turned right up the long-awaited Hazelnut.

The view from Valley View trail

Hazelnut was TOUGH! I have no idea how well I would have run it during the race if my ankle hadn’t twisted! It was very pretty, and looked quite English in places, but wound its way gently but mercilessly up numerous switchbacks. I ran out of water fairly soon and again my legs felt tired and weak but we continued slowly and eventually we were at the top. The views were pretty awesome.

pacifica brianna
Bri at the top
A little snippet of England?


The downhill always makes the uphill worthwhile. I even struggled a little on the downhill on this run as I got the first stitch I’ve had for years, but it didn’t take away from the beauty of these trails. And then we popped out at the end and were back at the start.

It felt REALLY good to run these trails at last. They were beautiful but it also reassured me again that I’d made the right call not to soldier on with a bad ankle. And to be honest, having already run a massive mountain in the first half of the race, the second half would have been pretty brutal. Today we run about 5.5 miles including 1,100 ft elevation gain so it was a pretty good workout. But this run was good for my soul…thanks for a great morning, Brianna!


I still haven’t decided whether or not to run RnR tomorrow. On Friday I was feeling better and was psyched to run it slowly and for fun, but today, Saturday, I’ve been feeling rough again.  However…a good night’s sleep and I may yet change my mind! Oh the drama.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m thinking about RnR tomorrow as well. I’ve been struggling with my IT Band since last sunday and have a marathon in 3 weeks. But I’m feeling good and think i’ll start and drop out if there’s any discomfort. Hope we both make the right decisions. I’ll be there regardless.

    1. Cathryn says:

      I ran – were you there? How did your race go?

  2. Angela says:

    I am adding this place to my wish list!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, it’s lovely. Check out the half-marathon route from PCT in January – it was pretty perfect if very hard.

  3. Brianna says:

    I had a great time and look forward to running again together soon! Hope you’re feeling better!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Much better thank you!

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