Wednesday, September 01, 2010

New Trails in the Usual Places

Like finding money in your pants. I run trails like the way I live in the city. San Francisco is a vibrant place with many unique neighborhoods but I've gotten used to my "usual" places, visiting the same places and areas over and over again. It makes for a nice surprise when I venture out.

This past Saturday I caught a ride with Brett Rivers and Larissa Polischuk to Mt. Tam. After two weekends of running back and forth on the Dipsea trail by my lonesome I was eager for a change of venue and some company. We joined Jim Vernon and his Endurables for a few miles before splitting off to do our own workout. Larissa and I were hoping for something around the 26-28 range. Now I know most of the trails between the Golden Gate Bridge and Mt. Tam but North and East of the mountain I only know a few. I would say that about 60% of the trails that we ran that Saturday I had never set foot on or was unfamiliar with. Ken Brunt ended up joining us which was a great thing because he knew the area well. He even showed us the wreckage of a WWII era plane that crashed on the mountain. Only thing visible from the trail is the engine and what looks like part of a prop, interesting. I had no idea where I was for a majority of the run and we were on some pretty neat trails too. No excuse for it really now that I am willing to travel north before starting my run. In the past I would always start and finish my run in San Francisco. I could only go so far north before having to turn around and head back. Furthest I've gotten? The top of Mt. Tam. They were 10 hour 50-mile training runs which I no longer do. These days I prefer the double long runs on the weekend for shorter distances.

Sunday I headed out with Brett and Larissa again, this time in the Marin Headlands with Charles Lantz and Meredith Terranova who was visiting from Texas. Meredith's husband Paul had just finished the Transrockies multi-day stage race the week before, finishing fourth with his partner in the open men category and was in San Francisco to race the San Francisco Triathlon at Alcatraz. He placed fourth in his age group which I thought was phenomenal given he had just done Transrockies. Anyway what was that I said about knowing well the trails between the bridge and Mt. Tam? I'm wrong there too. At least I knew about this particular trail I just never took it. We went down this long downhill, past lots and lots of trees, it was like being on Mt. Tam trails but in the Headlands. Now I know what I've been missing this whole time. Thank God for friends, I now have a new favorite trail in the Headlands.

I'm not sure what this next weekend will bring but I am looking forward to my last long run before starting the taper. Time flies doesn't it? It moves faster than any runner I know.

Larissa, Charles, Meredith and Brett, posing with their Montrails.

They do love their Mountain Masochists, apt name for trail shoes.

Meredith and I post run, about 16 miles for the day.


  1. What an awesome run! So many trails I hadn't been on before either, but I don't actually live in San Fran :)

    I promise to catch up on my blog tomorrow and will be including these pics! Thanks for taking them, and I can't wait to be back in October!

  2. Hey lady, it was great running with you! At least you got to the start of the Headlands 50k even though the race was cancelled. Perhaps it will be a better year next year and the race continues.

    Had no idea you had a blog, actually blogs. Good to know.

  3. You have a good crew. I love exploring and finding new trails.

    Why was Headlands canceled?

    Also see you in a couple of weeks. I cant wait to run in Oregon!

  4. Yay for new trails...sometimes we just need to look over the horizon a wee bit more!

  5. Finding new trails is always an awesome fun! Makes heart go wild. Looks like the weather is pretty darn good too!

  6. Evan: Headlands 50k was cancelled because of budget cuts in the park service. From what I heard there is only one ranger working the region, permits take forever to approve and sometimes extra funds is needed to make sure a race goes on. Not sure how Miwok 100k and PCTR races do it. Last year RD for the Quad Dipsea had to pay an extra $3k to keep the race going. At last year's Northface race the park service didn't even know the race was still going on. They might have been fined. This is all second hand info. Headlands 50k is put on by a Marin based running club and either their permit was denied, wasn't file in time like last year or didn't have the funds for extra costs - my best guesses.

  7. Stuart: There is a lesson in here somewhere:) So easy to fall into the habit of running the same trails especially if they are great ones. I do need to explore more so I can be a better guide to visiting friends.

    Olga: Last week we had a two day heat wave then it cooled off again. This time no heat wave but several days of warm weather, our Indian Summer is on! I have an early morning Thursday run group and we could have run that route shirtless at 5:30AM, it was warm at 4:45 when I left the apartment to meet my carpool. Great, great weather. The view of the city from the Headlands on a clear cloudless sky is pretty spectacular too, in the dark or light.

  8. And you look skinny, my friend, you sure do:)

  9. Thanks for saying so Olga. I'm actually up a couple of pounds since San Diego, just good living you know - good food, tasty beers with great friends.