Sunday, June 8, 2014

A weekend in the parks

The all-to-common running injury (patella femoral syndrome - aka runner's knee) has reared its ugly head and been giving me fits this past week. So in honor of National Trails Day, and an attempt to stay active while recovering I went for a few easy, mostly level hikes.  Saturday consisted of three county parks in the Santa Cruz mountains in relative proximity of each other, beginning with Sam McDonald.  From here I would venture through a wide variety of terrain including redwood groves and grassy meadows to reach the Hiker's Hut.  Click on the link for rentals from the Sierra Club.  Most of the hike was on the Heritage Grove trail with a nice array of redwoods.

Next was a stroll through Memorial Park to hike the short 1.6-mile loop to the Mount Ellen summit.  Memorial is the complex headquarters and is a popular area for picnics, camping and recreating within the park where swimming areas are accessible in Pescadero Creek.  Parking at the Hoffman Flat trailhead provided access to Pescadero Park, the areas largest at 5,700 acres.  I walked along the Old Haul road and may have found my new destination for summer long runs!

On Sunday I was in the East bay and made a side trip to Redwood Regional Park for an easy trek on the Stream Trail from one end of the park to the other.  This area is rich with history, from logging in the 1800s to the rehabilitation efforts of the rainbow trout.

Towne Road Trail - Sam McDonald Park

Old Haul Road - Pescadero Park

A few very tall redwoods in the upper heritage grove

Sunday, June 1, 2014

San Pedro Park 10K

San Pedro Park 10K Trail Run
Pacifica, California
Mileage - 6.14
Time - 43:35
AEG - 1,268 ft
Place - 1st Overall

The San Francisco marathon is eight weeks out and I wanted to get in a nice 50-minute workout this morning.  I began browsing the race calendar looking for a 10K that I could run at about 85 percent effort, preferably on trail, and found two options.  The DSE runners were holding an inaugural run in the hills of San Pedro Valley Park near Pacifica, which sounded like a nice option.  I've been wanting to get out to this park for the sake of hiking the Montara Mountain trail to the high point (North Peak), so I'll have to make a return trip sometime soon.

The trail run started at 9:00am under cloudy skies from the coastal fog though that burned off quickly and not long after the sun was blazing.  A few of us took are place in the front and Bill led the charge for the first mile up the Valley View trail. Upon the descent I found myself in front and held on until the finish.  Bill and another guy named Joe were hot on my heels the entire run so I really had to push the climbs.  To be honest, I didn't want to run that hard, but my competitive nature got the best of me.  Going up the Huckleberry trail was relentless, almost two miles of climbing switchbacks before we finally made our decent back to the park.  I did have a chance to take in the view and it was fantastic.  Steep hills visible at times through the clouds in one direction and the Pacific Ocean in the other.  I cannot wait to see what it looks like from North Peak!

Following the run Bill and I did a cool down and had a chance to chat about the local running clubs and races in the bay area.  I think that's one of my favorite parts about these events, meeting like-minded people.

Had to stop and check out the ocean in Pacifica