Monday, February 27, 2012

A Month of Beautiful Runs

February turned out to be a month where I got in some beautiful trail runs!  After running the Skyline to the Sea Trail, we spent two weeks in the SOMA/Tenderloin area of San Francisco.  Except for a couple of days, the weather was stellar.  Just about every other day I made my way across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands, where I ran the Headlands 100 course (just one loop though); a high circumnavigation of Mt. Tamalpais on a lovely foggy and drizzly morning; what I call the Slacker Hill Run -- from the Presidio across the GG Bridge, up Slacker Hill and back; a Muir Woods-Pantoll loop; and my favorite, a 25 miler at Point Reyes National Seashore.
Because I had never before visited Point Reyes and wanted to get the most bang for my buck, I consulted Leor Pantilat's fabulous blog, where I discovered the awesomely cool loop that I ended up running, my version modified a bit to add a couple more miles.  I love the Bay Area for its spectacular scenery and diversity of ecosystems and miles 'n miles 'n miles of TRAILS.  In no other area have I run through giant redwoods on smooth, needle-covered singletrack and sandy beaches on the same day.  Alamere Falls was my favorite part of this particular loop in spite of the rope-assisted (!) rappel/scramble to get down to the beach.  (Then I still had to climb back UP.)  Imagine a waterfall right at the ocean's edge.  It was way cool.  No photos, though, since I don't usually carry a camera while running (but check Leor's blog).
On the days we were stuck in the City, we enjoyed jaunts in Golden Gate Park and the Presidio as well as just walking all over San Francisco.  We even acted like tourists and did the Cable Car ride one night.  Fun!  The Federal Court of Appeals happened to be located diagonally across the street from our hotel, and on the morning of February 7th I heard loud cheers when it was announced that California's ridiculous Prop 8 had been repealed.  I cheered as well and look forward to the day when same sex marriage is legalized in each of the United States (and continue to be SO proud of my homestate of Vermont, the first to legalize civil unions way back in 2000).
On our way back home, Chris and I spent a night at Pinnacles National Monument.  This is a neat area with about 30 miles of trails that surpassed our expectations -- lots of cool rocks, caves, tunnels, and plant life -- and a howling coyote who woke everyone up in the campground around 6 a.m. which was pretty funny.  Can you find me in the picture below?
Back in the 'Nard and somewhat caught up on things on the home front, my friend Scott and I did the Fishbowls 50k this past Saturday.  You won't find that "event" on Ultra Signup; it's a lollipop loop in the Sespe Wilderness that I'd been wanting to run for a year or more.  Two big climbs and kind of  "back there" (no one seen for miles 'n miles... on a beautiful Saturday) but not as hard as I'd expected it would be.  Just a nice long run in solitude.
I hope you are finding some beauty as well, whether on trail or not.  Until next time...

Monday, February 6, 2012

Skyline to the Sea

Chris has a gig in San Francisco for the next couple of weeks, so with some free days, we seized the opportunity to leisurely drive up gorgeous Highway 1.  After dinner with friends in Pismo Beach, we spent Thursday night camping at San Simeon State Park - in the back of the Honda Element of course.  Friday morning we checked out the amazing elephant seals nearby, then continued up the coast.
Our destination was Big Basin Redwoods State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a nice base for my run the next day.  Yep, I was able to do it just four days after gashing my knee...  "it" being the ~28 mile long Skyline to the Sea Trail.  What a trail runner's dream trail !!
The weather was stellar for running - sunny and 50s mostly.  Chris was able to meet me in three spots and got in a few miles himself.  I was very careful not to fall - opening the stitches would have been very ugly.  Surprisingly, the knee didn't hurt a bit.

The trail climbs about 700 feet total, descends about 3800, and goes through some stunning redwood forests.  At times it felt more like I was running in the Pacific Northwest than Coastal California.  (Portland's Wildwood Trail came to mind a few times.)  Just a lovely trail.

Made it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


A few days ago I was thinking how long it had been since I'd tripped and fallen while trail running.  Three years?  Four?  My luck ran out yesterday.  I was flying (for me) down Ray Miller with my music probably too loud, feeling great, when all of a sudden I caught a toe and went airborne for what seemed like 30 seconds of slow motion as my brain registered the inevitable.  Crap, this is gonna hurt!  The left knee took the brunt of the impact, with a chunk of soft tissue left on the trail, but my right elbow and hands were both a bit scraped.  No biggie there; however, the knee kinda bled a lot (don't worry:  no photos), and the wound was very irregular and jagged.  The weird thing was that it really didn't hurt at all.  ???

My next-door neighbor is a nurse, so I had her look at it when we got home.  "Uh, this needs to be really cleaned out, and you're gonna need stitches."   Crap again.

After finding an urgent care clinic that my insurance would cover, I was seen by a very nice older doctor who had been a medic in Vietnam many years ago.  Cool.  He numbed it up, scrubbed it out, and then proceeded with the stitches.  After a few minutes I asked him HOW MANY STITCHES ARE YOU PUTTING IN ANYWAY?!  He replied that he'd lost count.  I think there were about 20.  After that came injections of an antibiotic (in the butt - haha) and a tetanus shot.  Good grief.

So I am a bit gimpy and taking it easy today.  I have a big run planned for Saturday and hope to still be able to do it.  Of course, I won't tell the doctor.   A funny juxtaposition:  Ten years ago tomorrow (2/02/02!) I ran my 100-mile PR at Rocky Racoon (16:51).  Still not sure how I pulled that one off running only ~30 miles/week!  Oh to be 10 years younger...