This weekend’s training schedule ended with a gorgeous 25 mile trail run on some my favorite trails in the Marin Headlands. I needed the mileage to cap off my running week while D needed to log more miles on the Headlands 100 course before race this September.
The race course includes four 25-mile loops, every other loop ran in opposite directions (washing machine style) running under the Golden Gate to the SCA trail and then through Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach. Headlands has such a beautiful course with views of the beaches and the city (SF), not mention tons of elevation gain — a little more than 5,000ft per loop!
I originally considered running the marathon since Pacific Coast Trail Runs offers this distance along with a 50 and 100-miler option, allowing me to pace D during his last loop of the race, but I mistakenly committed to running Mt. Pinos 50K on the same day. I feel bad about that but I am now excited for my own adventure and still fortunate to go with him when I can to train on that course.
It had been a while since Ash and I had a full weekend planned out for ourselves so I was excited when we planned a run/hike at Mt. Baldy on Saturday before heading to check out a portion of the Leona Divide 50 course on Sunday. Just late last year we were on the go and I kind of missed that. We started with Cuyamca 100k in San Diego at the beginning of October and finished that month with Javelina Jundred in Arizona. In November I crewed/paced for Ashley’s 100-mile Chimera race before we headed to Joshua Tree to to do some trail exploring and then to Utah to log in some miles on the Zion 100 course. Finally, we left Utah and then headed to Vegas for Christmas to log in some miles around the city and in the Lake Mead area. Phew…that was exhausting but SO much fun! You just can’t compare a girl’s only road trip to anything else — we hop in the rental, turn on Google Maps, get a little lost, eat to our heart’s content and log in as many miles as we can. Oh, and we takes lots of photos. 🙂
So far this year, we have both been a little bit busy with different race agendas but we were still able to travel to SF for NF50 and Catalina for our 50-miler race in January; this past month we headed out to Lake Elsinore for the San Juan 50k and Old Goat’s 50-miler. Beginning this month until the end of the year, we won’t be running any races together but we will be there to support eachother in any way that we can.
Leona will be the first race that Ashley will be crewing and supporting me so I was really excited that she was taking her duties seriously and wanted to get me out on the course so I’d know what to expect. We got out to to the course on Sunday morning, familiarized ourselves with the logistics (pretty simple) and of course crewing and aid station strategies. We left exhausted from our two days worth of excercising and still have plans on getting back out there at least once more before race day. This is what I call a true friend.
This past weekend I had 28 miles to clear my head and refocus. I decided I would do some exploring and also prove to myself that I don’t always get lost. Well, I didn’t get lost but I did lose my car key out there. Seriously.
Anyway, it was really the first time I had ever gone trail running alone (Peter’s Canyon doesn’t count) and I absolutely loved it! I think I need these types of runs every now and then.
This quote sums it up quite nicely:
“I have never found a companion that was as companionable as solitude.” –Henry David Thoreau
You know what really amazes me about running? It’s that I seem to love the sport more and more with each passing year. And still, 23 years later, I am able to discover new passions within…Like trail Running. What excites me about trailrunning is the opportunity to discover hidden gems within the boundaries of our our everyday confinements. Take this past Saturday as an example. While in Fresno, I was pleasantly surprised (again) to find a beautiful and challenging trail less than twenty minutes away. Seriously, what do you typically think of when Fresno pops up in your head? Probably nothing, which is exactly what I thought until a few months ago when I was introduced to so many beautiful trails along the outskirts of the town.
So rewind to two weeks ago and I was just finishing my first ever 50-mile race at Avalon. I had a great time, and was beyond happy with my results. My body, however, definitely needed some time to recover and that is exactly what I am still doing. During the first week I dedicated my extra time spinning and riding my road bike alongside D who needed to log long miles in preparation for his upcoming ultra. My second week of training included more spin and an extra Body Pump class. Now on one hand, I wasn’t in a big hurry to start training for another race (my next race isn’t until the end of April), yet on the other, trailrunning is so fun and exciting that I want to rush to get out there again.
On this Saturday, I was beyond excited to run for the first time in two whole weeks! We were going to run this new 13.5 mile trail D had discovered the week prior with his friend Jason Wara. What I liked about the start of this trail was the two-mile,very smooth downhill fire road that served as a nice warm-up. Trying to take note of my body and aches and pains, I discovered that I felt really good. My sore achilles felt fine. Everything was good. Just passing this two-mile mark we turned onto a trailhead that would take us parallel to the San Joaquin River (gorge) with lots of ups and downs. It didn’t take much time for me to realize my legs were extremely fatigued and probably from the Body Pump class a few days before. Or maybe, from spin — using all these different muscles surely had an effect on me. I struggled for nearly the entire run but was fortunate enough to be distracted by the great views of the valley around us. This trail continued until we crossed the final bridge that took us across the San Joaquin River. This bridge was massive and allowed us an even better view of our surroundings. We paused here for a while making conversation with a gentlemen that runs a dog rescue. He was accompanied by several other people and together must have had at least 15 dogs amongst them. Finally, we headed back to the car. I found that my knee was really annoying me during the steep downhill decents. I think this is just another side-effect from the downhill pounding I experienced at Avalon (imagine running the last two miles of a 50-mile race downhill on pavement). With only two miles to go, we headed up that slow incline to the car and I was relieved. It was a great day, we ran pretty hard, the trail was beautiful and I decided that I would take another week off and cross train — no big deal, my running shoes will be there waiting for me when I get back. 😀