Trail Thoughts – Birds and Rocks

I went on a trail run this morning and saw a very cute bird a lot like this one:

Source: www.kcet.org

It may not be so significant in and of itself, but! Yes, there is a but! This is a bird that used to be considered a Western scrub jay… This year, the American Ornithologists’ Union formally made the distinction between this bird and another that had also been called a Western scrub jay. My pretty blue friend above is the California scrub jay while the “paler, smaller-billed jays in the far eastern reaches of the state are now officially referred to as Woodhouse’s scrub jay.” For more on this, check out this post from KCET. I was actually kind of excited – I think because I really used to like bird watching… Until I ran out of bird watching time. 😉

The other thing that kept me from obsessing over the actual run was thinking about all of the rocks I was artfully dodging. Why? Because not too long ago a friend of mine likened trail running to just running on dirt. Like, you know… Flat, easy dirt. While there are some of those trails around, I’ve been doing trails with rocks like these, along with 700-900 ft elevation gains (and those are the easy trails):

I’m not trying to sound particularly “bad ass” or anything, but I was a little taken aback by my friend’s comments. You have to work hard to earn those gorgeous views! Or, you could just spend a few million dollars and buy a house in the hills – Yes, a few million… This is California after all. Haha! Seriously, though, that was one of the many things that went through my head this morning as I was looking at the hills. Gorgeous, sweeping views of the bay, the mountains… Those people are lucky-ducky to have such great backyards. 🙂 And, they don’t have to drive to get to the trails!

Lots of rocks!

What kinds of things do you think about when you are running? Let me know… And, as always, stay healthy!

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Post-Run Coffee

I’ve read a lot about the benefits of coffee before running. For me, that’s not really feasible. I run early and I am not so keen on the idea of getting up any earlier. 

I recently read that coffee can be beneficial after running as well. Yay for me! 🙂 Caffeine increases how quickly carbs are absorbed, which can help glycogen replenishment. Especially if you drink your coffee with carbs that are quickly digested. Some options include bananas, grapes, watermelon, dates, peaches, some cereals. Caffeine can also decrease muscle pain – the theory is that caffeine blocks a biochemical that plays a role in the pain cycle, so you wont feel achy or sore after a tough workout. 

So, with all of this good news, here is a photo of my recently-mastered caramel latte. Mmm, mmm, good! 🙂

Caramel latte made by me!

Spiderweb Vortex – Eek!!

This morning, I went on a 4-mile trail run. I took a break from the trail runs while I was trying to get my knee back to normal, so it was really nice to be back out there. I went to Edgewood Park because it’s a pretty quick drive to get there and it’s very pretty. I have only seen one deer there before, but this morning I saw 3… And, the requisite lizards basking in the sun.

Today’s run had me starting on the Sylvan Trail. Not doing Old Stage Road at the start again! (More on that below.) I then took the Serpentine Trail to the Clarkia Trail. I didn’t get to the trailhead, but turned around after 2 miles and returned the way I came.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 3.42.35 PM

Edgewood Park Map

I’ve posted photos from there before so didn’t really think about taking any this time until I saw this:

Here’s the spiderweb vortex!!

It’s a spiderweb that goes into some kind of crazy spiral vortex that disappears into a hole in the ground. I mean, whoa! So, yes, that’s the photo I took today. Kind of glad I didn’t meet the spider…

Then, I felt like I needed to take a photo of something that wasn’t creepy. To make up for the spiderweb, here are some pretty flowers:

These flowers are prettier than the spiderweb vortex 🙂


Hilly trail runs are nice. A bit more challenging to me than paved trails due to all the rocks and uneven surfaces, but really worth it. I feel like it’s a great workout, plus it’s lovely, plus it’s peaceful. I should really do more hill work and this is a great way to do it – I’ve learned my lesson about starting off on a really steep uphill, though. The one time I did that, it ended up making me feel winded the entire run. So, a more moderate hill is a better choice for me. Still elevates my heart rate, but it doesn’t keep me from enjoying the rest of the run. I’m learning how to make my trail runs more enjoyable and still exploring different trails. Newbie at work! 🙂 Any trail or hill advice? Let me know!

Stay healthy!

Across the Bay 12K – Beautiful San Francisco

I took a taxi into San Francisco this morning for the Across the Bay 12K. (I took the taxi so we’d only have 1 car in the city as my hubby and son were coming later.) As we approached the city, it really hit me how much I love SF. Since I moved to the Bay Area in 2000, I’ve been smitten with this city and still am. It’s an interesting time for SF… I feel like it is a city struggling to find itself (it’s identity) after much change – So many new companies, so many new techies, so many company shuttles, so many artists and people being displaced due to rising costs. I watch and wonder what will happen… I do hope it settles into something I still love. At its core, I feel like SF is beautiful, graceful, accepting, loving.

* San Francisco view – Not my picture

The 12K was a point to point run – Ft. Baker in Sausalito to Aquatic Park in SF. We had to catch shuttles to the race start, so I squished my long legs into a school bus and off we went. As we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, I saw a whale breach the water! It was amazing. I saw water spout up and then saw the dorsal fin and the tail – yes, actual whale tail! I was so excited! It could have been a blue whale or a humpback whale – I couldn’t tell. And, the weather couldn’t have been better. Sunny, somewhere around 55F – just gorgeous. There were times I was completely in awe of the views (and I forgot to take pictures because I was totally in the moment).

After getting to Ft. Baker, I turned over my gear to bag check and waited for my wave to start. While waiting, I saw 2 whales! I was giddy. Probably too giddy for someone my age, but it was so cool.

At the start

View from Ft. Baker

My wave started and I was off to the Golden Gate… Pretty steep incline to get up to the bridge, so I ended up walking the last third. Plus, I was worried about my right knee (been giving me trouble for a little over a week). After that, I was on the bridge and… I got to see the whales again. They were apparently just hanging out at the bridge. I was watching them breach as I ran and I almost ran into a light post (or 3 or 4).

Golden Gate Bridge

Crossing the Golden Gate

The rest of the run went better than expected. Meaning, my knee didn’t really bother me. I tried to keep a slightly slower pace, though, because I really didn’t want to mess it up to the point where it would impact my training schedule for my half marathon in October. I was pleased.

Then, I got my medal, my post-race snack, and my gear.

All done!

Took me a while to find my hubby because he didn’t pay much attention when I told him where the finishing line was. 🙂 On the way, I found this guy… Looks like Deadpool was in the run! 😉

ummm… Deadpool?

After I finally found him, we took off so I could come home and change. We had a 3-yr-old’s birthday party to get to. My son had a blast. After the party, we came home and played with his Matchbox cars… Which means, we crashed them. That kiddo loves to crash his cars. Hahahaha.

I did take a small nap after all of that. And, in a little while, we are going to dinner to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. Our anniversary was on Thursday, but celebrating on a weeknight just doesn’t happen in our worlds… Although I did convince my hubby to go to a soccer match on a Friday night. San Jose Earthquakes played FC Dallas. We lost. 😦 Oh, well! At least we got out on a Friday. 🙂

Stay healthy!

 

Not sure about this 12k…

Hello! Just a quick update on this windy Friday afternoon. I am participating in the Across The Bay 12k on Sunday – I signed up for it because it goes across the Golden Gate bridge and I think that is pretty cool! The route starts in Sausalito and ends in San Francisco. However, last week, I hurt my right knee. I tried to do a 7-mile run on Saturday only to find myself walking 3 miles because my knee was killing me.

I’ve been doing indoor cycling this week to keep some pressure off. The knee is feeling better, but I’m still concerned after this morning’s 4-mile run. I slowed down and even walked a bit here and there, but the knee is still giving me a little trouble. I’m going to hope for the best on Sunday. I’ll be wrapping it, etc… But, I’ve acknowledged that I may need to run/walk this event. I hope not…

Have a wonderful weekend and stay healthy!