Wednesday, May 15, 2013
So I signed up for "The toughest Trail Run in Solano County". Thats how it was first presented to me and I've been stuck on it ever since. If it's the toughest then I want to test myself against it. I searched the web to confirm this claim and found very little in the way of reviews on this race. I went to the website and one thing jumped out at me immediately, Dave Mackey was here. For those who aren't familiar with Mr Mackey he is a Boulder Colorado ultrarunning elite having won more races than I have ever entered. He is the current course record holder for the half marathon distance. Now I know why the race offers free New Balance shoes to anyone who can set a new course record. Good luck beating Dave's 1:31:28! For the ladies it is Penny Macphail that holds the record at 1:46:20. That too is smoking fast for a trail half no matter what gender you are.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Waking up in the morning and stepping down with my full weight on my left foot I noticed my Achilles tendon was tight and quite tender. A few steps later the pain and it's accompanying limp started to subside. By the time my shower and morning routine were over the pain was basically gone. Must be the result of the back to back races last week I thought and paid it no more attention. I had just run the Napa Valley Marathon and then six days later ran the Way Too Cool 50k so I deserved some lingering effects.
I received an email recently about this run and was instantly intrigued. The subject of the email read "Lynch Canyon Trail Run: The toughest trail run in Solano County". I like to search out tough runs on tough course and yet somehow this one has slipped by me over the years. The other reason for me to get out there and give it a go is the fact that I have never run in Lynch Canyon before. New trails that are challenging... who could refuse! So far my running in the North East area of the bay has been brutally difficult so to say that this is the toughest is hitting me in my sweet spot. I have recently drove I-80 on my way to the Vacaville Outlets and took a mental note of the beautiful rolling hills just outside of Vallejo. Just before you come into Fairfield you will see the sign for the Lynch Canyon Open Space Preserve. When I saw that I thought "Well that's a hell of a coincidence!" I took it as a sign that I was meant to run this race. If you are like me, looking for a challenge on trails you've never run, then read on my friend!
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Brazen Racing has 2 offerings in the month of May:
- Western Pacific Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k & 5k- May 4th- Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area- Fremont
- Wildcat Half Marathon, 10k & 5k- May 18th- Wildcat Canyon RegionalPark- El Sobrante
- Cinderella Trail Run- 50k, Marathon, 30k, Half Marathon, 10k- May 11th- Joaquin Miller Park- Oakland
- Horseshoe Lake Trail Run- 50k, Marathon, Half Marathon, 5mi- May 18th- Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve- Palo Alto
- Wild Boar Half Marathon & 10k- May 11th- Mt Tamalpais State Park- Mill Valley
- Coyote Lakes- Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k & 5k- May 18th- Harvey Bear entrance on San Martin Ave
- Armstrong Redwoods- 50k, 30k, 17k & 9k- May 4th- Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve and Austin Creek State Recreation Area- Guerneville
- China Camp- Half Marathon, 10k & 5k- May 25th- China Camp State Park- San Rafael
- Mermaid Run East Bay- Sirena 18 mi, Half Marathon, 10k & 5k- May 11th, Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area- Fremont
- Mothers Day Run- Half Marathon, 5mi & 5k- May 11th- San Pablo Dam Resevoir- El Sobrante
- Quicksilver 50mi, 50k & 25k- May 11th- Almaden Quicksilver County Park- San Jose
- Miwok 100k- May 4th- Stinson Beach
- TCRS#5 - 5 mile- May 12th- Bahia Vista- Novato
- Ohlone Wilderness 50k Trail Run- May 19th- Ohlone Wilderness- Fremont
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
This weekend the vast majority of runners will probably be running the Big Sur Marathon. That road race is a major event that draws people from all over to run it. The Leona Divide ultra is taking place down south as well so that's going to draw the runners away from the Bay Area too. For those reasons I thought we wouldn't really have a lot of trail races to choose from but we do! Four great races are spread all over the Bay Area and every distance from 1.5mi to 50mi is available this weekend including the odd 18.8 mile race in Los Gatos. So, if by chance you aren't running one of the big name races, come on out and get a little dirt under your feet at one of these local races.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
A few "members" of the running group I founded, Mid Peninsula Runners, have signed up for the HorseShoe half coming up in mid-may. I have run most all of the trails around this area but not this exact route. I was excited about the idea of running "new" trails so I signed up too.
The course starts in the Skyline Ridge Open Space Preserve just off of Skyline Rd in the mountains above Palo Alto. From the main parking lot, just south of the Page Mill Rd and Skyline Rd intersection you run south along the Bay Area Ridge Trail. About 4 miles down the trail you switch to Long Ridge Trail and take it to the one and only aid station at Ward Rd. That's about 6.5 miles of running all together and then you turn around and run it back. The elevation gain over the course of this run is 1800' ft. This is pretty standard if not a little low for most of the trail halfs put on in the Bay Area so if you love trail halfs this is your course. If you haven't run many trail halfs you may find this a bit challenging but still very runnable.
|Half Marathon follows the pink route.|
Conformations and confusions; an update to the Horseshoe Lake Half Marathon route
After studying this and other maps of this area all last week I decided to run these trails on Saturday. The first thing I noticed is that only at the preserve map can you find the trails real names. Both online and in the park the trail you start out on is called Sunny Jim. After that the name becomes either Ridge Trail or just Trail. The key to the right path is to simply follow the arrows pointing you towards the Tree Farm Trail. Follow it 3/4 of the way down the length of the tree farm until the Chestnut Trail comes up on your right.
Like I said before, anywhere you look you will not find a trail named Chestnut in this area unless you are looking at an official O.S.P. map. Instead it will have been called Ridge Trail. Which is short for the Bay Area Ridge Trail. Here it gets interesting. The Chestnut Trail exits Skyline Open Space Preserve and enters Long Ridge Open Space Preserve. On the Long Ridge map the trail is referred to as Ridge Trail. Why not Chestnut? The next two trails Long Ridge and Ward Rd are labeled accordingly wherever you look.
I discovered just how confusing this can be for a first timer in the park but now that I know it I am going back for another run on these trails today. I can pay attention to the surroundings a little more without taking wrong turns and back tracking like I did for most of my time out there yesterday.
My opinion has changed a bit!
I just got back from running the full half marathon course. Having only run the first 3 miles out and then turning around I had no idea what I was in for. The first two notable hills come early in the course. They are runnable but taxing. The next hill of note comes at the 4.7 mile mark according to the race website. That is where you make a hard right onto Long Ridge Trail. That trail begins at a very steep pitch and continues to climb for quite some ways. I was forced to walk this. The next hill of note would be at the aid station about 6.5 miles into the run. The climb out of this area is a bit of a struggle but it did not force me to walk. On my way back to the start I noticed Chestnut Trail was a somewhat difficult climb towards the end and that makes sense as it was a nice descent on the way out this morning. The last section of trail near the tree farm around mile 12 is a walking section too. It comes late in the run and is very steep. I ran the course at a relaxed pace of 10:55 per mile and feel like 10 minute pace is possible on race day.
See you in the woods,
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
With the weather giving us plenty of trail time lately I have been able to log many more trail miles than in months past. I'm really excited about racing on some of these trails as it has been several months since I have done a "local" trail event. I've decided on one so far (Horseshoe Lake in May!)and am quickly narrowing down my choices thereafter. If your not already running one of the big road races being held this weekend (Presidio 10), then take a look at whats coming up this weekend to help fill up your race calendar.