Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bear Creek Trail Run - Briones Regional Park

Um, that was hard. Really, really hard.

The alarm went off at 5:50am, as usual, I wondered what the hell I was doing getting up so early to go running, and a trail run? Really, what had I been thinking. As I rolled out of bed and checked the outside temperature it said 68 degrees. What? 68 degrees at 6am, I didn't even want to think about how hot it would be at 8:20am when the 5k started.

Arrived at the park around 7:30am and promptly found mt running friends Myla and Mary Sue. We were all nervous about the run and then I looked at the elevation chart on the map, what? Had I really signed up for this? Again, what had I been thinking. I tried to put it out of mind and not think about the hills. But as the horn went off it was hard to ignore the hills as the first 3/4 miles were uphill. I ran, I ran slow, but I ran all the way up the hill, I slowed to a walk when we got to a level service to catch my breath. It seems like a weird strategy, run the hills and walk the flat part. Well, I would be walking the entire course if I only ran the flat parts. It was hot and dusty, no shade to speak of. I found myself passing some folks, which felt good, even though I was barely running. As we came to the top of the hill and it leveled out I could see the turn-around! Awesome, I thought, until the photographer at the turnaround told me I had almost reached the one mile marker. What? That's it? Good thing he said that after he snapped my photo. The awesome part, was the rest was downhill, I ran most of the downhill portion trying to gain some momentum.

We than came to a turn and I could see the trail looked shady, finally! I asked the guy, hey, this part looks shady. He told me it was his favorite part of the course. I could see why, it was downhill and nice and shady. We were still on gravel fire road and so far I was having no problems with the trail itself. Than, all of a sudden, all I saw in front of me was uphill. and steep uphill. Seriously? Damn, this must be the halfway point uphill that I saw on the elevation chart. It seems like it went forever and ever.

As we came up to a flat portion I was never so relieved to see an aide station. I don't normally take water on a 5k, but I was dying. I took a cup of water and a cup of gu and went on my way. Just as I was catching my breath and had started running again, we entered the single track portion of the track. I noticed the flags indicating that all runners, 1/2 marathon, 10k and 5k runners were now on the same trail. Single track is hard, especially singe track downhill with leaves. I nearly lost it on the first steep downhill portion as I took it a little to fast, that was scary. I slowed down and made sure there would be no tumbles or injuries on the course. I had been by myself mostly along the single track but about halfway in I could hear runners coming up behind me. I tried to stop and pull t the side to let folks pass. But on my right was a steep ravine, and since most people pass on the left, pulling to the right would send me over the edge. This was one of the reasons I didn't bring my i-pod, I wanted to hear people coming up behind me so I would have enough time to find a safe spot to pass. I had one jerk who yelled "on your left" and then "your other left" as I tried to find a good place to stop. I refrained from yelling any obscenities and my desire to not fall over the edge as he passed me. I bit my tongue and called him names under my breath, I do know my left from right. Other than every other 10k runner said "thank you" as they passed. The single track kicked my butt. The downhill was hard and when I hit the uphills I felt my legs burning. I knew I was getting close when I saw the 13 mile marker and 6 mile marker for the other runners. I could hear the announcer at the finish line, but we weren't there yet. I still had to navigate stairs, yeah, trail stairs. down the stairs than up the stairs, it seems endless. Finally I saw people and someone calling out numbers to the announcers as we rounded the corner. I booked it, we were so close to the finish line and it was finally flat!

I'm not going to lie, I was dripping in sweat, it was the most difficult run and most difficult workout I have ever done. But I got a nice finishers medal and technical shirt and now I can say I've done my first trail run. The jury is still out on whether there will be another trail run in my future. Maybe I should make the decision tomorrow when I see how much pain I'm in.

Friday, August 14, 2009


We just got back from Lake Tahoe. While I brought my running shoes and gear there was no running taking place, it was all about the bike.

We started out our first day with what we thought was going to be a short ride from our campground to Fallen Leaf Lake. The sign as you exited the campground said 1/4 mile. Well, we must have missed the unmarked turn off because I looked down and realized we had gone a mile. So we figured we would just ride Fallen Leaf Road to the other end of the lake, of course we had no idea how far that would be. It was lots of uphill at the start, so I realized that meant the return would be downhill, which pleased me. As we continued more uphill we came to a sign that said Fallen Leaf Lake 2.5 miles, we were already 2 miles in to the ride. At this point we had been riding mostly flat with some rolling hills. I could tell from here on out it was all uphill and the road narrowed so much that we had to slow and pull over to let vehicles pass us. As we approached the other end of the lake it was one more brutal hill climb and then a quick right and downhill to get to the small sandy beach. I was feeling good, but glad to get off the bike for a rest. We let the girls play in the sand and water for about 45 minutes before we made our journey back. I knew it was going to be brutal and I was getting worried ad the traffic coming in was now growing and folks were not driving as slowly as they should be for a one lane road with lots of blind corners.

Getting up and out of the parking lot, nearly killed me it was so steep, thankfully there was the steep uphill that I now got to go down once I made it out of the parking lot. We continued back towards the campground with lots more walkers and vehicles on the road. We had to pull over many times until the road widened. I thought about all of my tri-athlete friends and thought to myself "there is no way in hell I could go run after getting off this bike". I was ecstatic when I looked down and saw that we only had 1.5 to go, that meant it was all downhill from this point. We reached speeds up to 19 mph (which scared the crap out of me) before having to slow down as the vehicle traffic picked up again. As we made it back to our campground we had logged 8.5 miles, for sure the longest ride I've done post babies. I worried about how my legs would be feeling later in the evening and the next day. I was pretty sure that I would not be able to make the same ride the following day.

After lunch and naps for the kids. We decided to take the girls to Baldwin Beach at Lake Tahoe. It seemed like the best option was to bike it. Really? Was I getting back on my bike again? It looked that way, this time I was in a bathing suit and a beachy dress cover-up. It was another 2.25 miles to the beach, but well worth it since it was $7 to park at the beach. We hung out for awhile before riding back to our campsite.

Total miles logged for the day - 13. Really? Who am I?

So, my legs ended up doing fine, it was my butt that was not a happy camper. We rode the next day only about 2.5 miles and yeah, I really couldn't have done any more than that.

I'm excited to have done so much riding because it has reminded me how much I love my bike and riding. I wish it were easier to get out and ride around my house. Will have to figure out a way to get more bike time into my routine.