Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Havey Canyon

Havey Canyon
Wildcat Creek-Belgum-Nimitz-Havey Canyon-Wildcat Creek (6.3 (?) miles)

Havey Canyon. Yet another undiscovered jewel of Richmond's Wildcat Canyon. This is a gorgeous, challenging (albeit not super long) run with sweeping vistas, varying landscape, steep uphill and some great downhill--all within 5 minutes of the Solano Ave. exit off of 80 East. Is it Richmond's reputation? I have no idea, but I do think the dramatic views rival anything I have seen from other East Bay parks. (Ok, Marin might have something over Wildcat Canyon, but my house was much cheaper than it would have been in Ross...)

Anyway, I digress. The trail at Alvarado Park climbs from the parking lot and then continues to ascend up Belgum trail until reaching the San Pablo Ridge trail, as seen in the first photo. Belgum trail is named for the Belgum Sanitorium, now a collection of very interesting ruins that I promise to cover in another post--today I was too focused on getting up the hill to take pictures.

For the next two miles, the trail runs along San Pablo Ridge. It is almost always windy on this trail, making it an ideal trail for summer when Briones gets too hot. (As you can see here, Richmond gets the wind from the Bay, making summer barbecues annoyingly cold by 7:30 p.m.) This trail is (in my opinion) one of the most overlooked trails in the East Bay. From this
 trail, it is possible to see the Golden Gate, the Bay Bridge, Mt. Diablo and sometimes even the Benicia Bridge--all while standing in the same spot. It is also rare to see other people on this trail. Even on a Saturday afternoon, I might see two other groups of people. 

The Belgum trail ends at the paved Nimitz Way, which one could follow all the way to Tilden's Inspiration Point, but the Havey Canyon trail heads right, down into (funnily enough...) Havey Canyon. I love this section of the trail. Havey Canyon is sheltered, with abundant greenery framing the trail. (At this time of year, it has an abundance of poison oak as well-- be forewarned.) This 1.5 mile trail is a wonderfully fast downhill section as well--not too technical and steep enough that you can get up some great speed. And yes, I continued to practice my new downhill technique... 

At the end of Havey Canyon, the trail meets up with Wildcat Creek trail, which heads back to the parking lot. This is a great trail for dogs as well, with the understanding that there are cows on the loose at times... I have come close to having a bovine encounter or two. If you're not trying to run long but want to get your heart rate up, this trail is a wonderful option. Bring the puppies and get thee to Wildcat Canyon!

Monday, April 28, 2008


Just over a month ago, I ended up having dinner with someone who spent a good few minutes telling the group about how ultramarathoners, ironpeople, etc., were crazy, and people really "shouldn't" be running/exercising/whatever like that. I don't think that I ended up effectively expressing why I understand it and why, even if I never end up running Western States or a 50 mile race, I don't think it's a crazy thing to want to do. Today I came across a quote that sums up why I love running:

"The most basic, fundamental tool of magic is the body." (Vicki Noble)
All things physical, but especially trail running, make me aware of my body and the wonder that it is--that ALL bodies are. Yesterday I even loved the heat for the way it made my arms feel different than running on a cool day. So many nerve endings, so many muscles, so much that has to happen to even walk, let alone run for miles up and down hills. Excuse the cheese factor, but what a magical experience. (Yeah, what a piece of work is man and all that... apologies to the big WS)

Anyway, that's it for today. Enjoy the magic that is your body, whatever that looks like for you. 

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ohlone.....50 WHAT???

Ohlone Wilderness Trail
Sunol Trailhead
(13.31 miles)

Somehow I managed to talk Jen and Alex into coming along today to train on the Ohlone trail for the May 18th race. I'm very glad they came along, for I think my motivation to do any kind of long run would have dissipated quickly by myself, given the heat and the climb.

We started at the Sunol trailhead on the Indian Joe Creek Trail, which quickly turned into the Canyon View Trail. From there, we took
 McCorkle, but it becomes the Ohlone Wilderness trail. This trail runs from Mission Peak to Del Valle Park in Livermore, and you can read more about this area here

From Sunol, the trail climbs immediately. Jen's comment: "That wasn't much of a warmup!" True, but muscles being warm enough quickly fell from our minds. The trail climbs through some foliage on the Canyon View trail, and by the time it turns into the McCorkle 
trail, trees fall away to leave the trail baking in the sun. Don't get me wrong. Sunol is beautiful, and I definitely want to come back here to bring the dogs and explore Little Yosemite. (Sunol is an off-leash, voice control park in undeveloped areas-- yay dogs!) Today however, we were on a training run, and I was too worried about having enough water for myself to carry water for the dogs. 
For the next 7 miles or so, the trail climbs (and climbs and climbs) over rolling, still-green hills to Rose Peak (eventually to Del Valle). We did not make it all the way to Rose Peak today, but three things became apparent through the course of the run.

1) This is a tough trail. I remember why the uphill seemed to go on and on. It DOES go on and on. With a few exceptions, it's runnable (i.e., not crazy-steep) for most of the trail, but it is a relentless uphill that leaves one hoping for a respite at the top of every hill, only to find out the trail continues to ascend just over the ridge to the NEXT ridge. 

2) I need to eat more on runs. My body feels great now, having had a brilliant 6-course meal for dinner (who wouldn't be feeling great after that?), but just over 2:15 into the run, I felt like I hit a wall. Note to self: EAT MORE. Normally this would not be a problem (food being one of my guiding passions), but I often forget to eat when I run with other people.

3) Downhill running technique makes a difference. After DNFing at 9 trails last year because of knee pain on the hills, I decided that I needed to train more hills and work on my downhill technique. I have trained more hills, but today I was worried because there was much more downhill- pretty much half the run. I practiced staying relaxed with a quick turnover,
leaning forward as much as my scaredy-cat self would allow, and I had not a bit of knee pain. Yay!

Sunol is another area which might be best for spring runs. Right now, the wildflowers spill off the trail and green still colors the grasses covering the hills, but the heat promises to turn this area blazing hot in a few months. Sunol is a huge park though, and definitely worth more exploration runs. Count on seeing more runs in Sunol, perhaps just not until September or October...

One lovely part of today's run was spending a moment in Calaveras Creek which runs right by the trailhead parking lot. Alex and I waded around for a minute, the cold water doing wonders for our sore feet. Jen did us one better and submerged her whole body. From there, we hit old town Sunol for some much needed blood sugar raising.

Finally, I will leave you with a raaw-ther silly picture of me looking very dirty (and maybe just a little flirty) taken by the fabulous Ms. Jen. 

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hot Trail, Happy Dogs

Briones Regional Park
Pereira-Deer Creek-Briones Crest-Abrigo Valley Rd (4.5 miles?)

After hosting a Rioja tasting party
last night, it was time to give the puppies some attention. I didn't want to run too far because we're running looooong tomorrow on the Ohlone Trail, but the border collies needed to move!
I parked by the side of the EBRPD Bear Creek Staging Area entrance, but still on Bear Creek road so as to avoid paying the entrance fee. From there, I ran up Deer Creek to Briones Crest. This led straight up to a rolling trail that offers 360° views as I ran along the ridgeline. The lack of foliage meant this was a very hot run however, and I would not recommend this
as a summer run, particularly if you are going to take dogs for longer than an hour. It's not even May and it was very warm already this morning. My running companions were panting two miles into the run. (This did not stop them from enjoying every minute of the run, however!)

Once off Briones Crest, the trail drops fast into the canyon, passing by two group campsites. In my former life as a middle school teacher, I took a group of 6th graders here once for a very successful beginning backpacking trip, and if you are ever looking for a place to take a group of kids on an overnight, this is a wonderful option. We stayed at Maud Whalen and from the look of Wee-Ta-Chi this morning, I think MW is the better campsite.

Again, this run might get very warm in the summer--I would keep it as a spring or fall option, unless I was training for a race in a hot climate. Briones is a great place to run with dogs though--they can be off leash if they are under voice control, making some very happy dogs today. Neko even found a marshy pond to jump into just before we got into the car. Fun. Smelly wet dog in car.

As a final note, one of my favorite blogs has a much longer description of "Brionesland" as he calls Briones. Read it for some history about and gorgeous pictures of this (yet again) underutilized East Bay park.

Friday, April 25, 2008

An Experiment of One

While perusing RW forums yesterday, I came across a quote from another runner, giving advice on improving hill speed: 

"I am not advocating a particular program--only stating some generalities about long running as guides--there are no etched in stone training methods. We are each "an experiment of one" and there is no guarantee of my training working for you, or yours for me." (John M.)

I like this in terms of my own training, and it's another example of how everything (like running) connects to, oh, say, everything else in the universe. It is a good reminder (for me, at least) that whatever each of us does (or doesn't) in the world is just part of our own personal experiment. No more, no less. One of my fellow doctorate students cautioned us against "comparing our insides to other peoples' outsides." Too often I spend more time involved in comparison or deciding what I think I *should* be doing (eating this or doing more weights, journaling, calling people more often etc.) instead of reveling in the experience of being an experiment of one. I snapped this picture in the middle of Wednesday's run, and it reminds me to look around in the midst of the experience. I could have just ignored this tree that has a very funny face (big eyes and pouty lips!)... but now I have a picture of a tree that makes me smile just by being itself.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Midweek Redwood

West Ridge-Stream-Canyon-East Ridge
(8.37 miles)

I'm just getting to know Redwood, I must confess. I have only hiked here a couple of times, but the past three weeks, this has been the Wednesday rendez-vous, and I'm definitely becoming a fan. The only problem is coming here after work and not taking Neko, because Redwood's trails are very dog-friendly. You can have your dog off leash! Yay Redwood!

Redwood's trails alternate between exposed ridge and shady, um, well, redwoods that line the stream running along the floor of the canyon. This means that it is impossible to run in Redwood without doing some hills. Fortunately, the hills are almost entirely runnable. The French trail definitely gets steep in sections, but the steepness is short--this is no Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, the parking lot is at the top of the ridge. This means that every trail in Redwood ends with uphill of some sort. The East Ridge trail never gets steep enough that you would feel truly justified in walking, but every time I run it, I spend the last 3/4 of a mile thinking, "Where is the f*****ng parking lot??"

The West Ridge trail heads right from the Skyline Gate parking lot and gently winds downhill for 3 1/2 miles or so, at which point it drops into the canyon. Having read a discussion on techniques for running downhill today, I was practicing my technique for Ohlone. Look ahead, stay relaxed, lean forward and not back, let yourself go, pick your feet up behind you, be light on your feet-- it was
a little overwhelming and I do not feel anyone would have mistaken me for a mountain goat today. (Honestly, I hope that
I would never be mistaken for a mountain goat-- I like to
flatter myself that I am cuter and I smell better... except for maybe after Ohlone...)

West Ridge ends at Stream in the bottom of the canyon, where the shade keeps the flora green all year; springtime is even more extreme, and small blue flowers illuminate the shade from the trees.

We even saw some fauna today-- a deer and this rather large banana slug. (Does a slug count as fauna?)
We took Canyon trail up to East Ridge. Canyon has become a quiet time for Alex and me. Perhaps I should rephrase that. Canyon is a no-talking time for Alex and me, because the sound of us sucking air is anything but quiet.
Anyway, this is a great midweek run, and will probably make me even more sad when daylight savings time ends and I cannot run in Redwood after work.

I will end with a picture of one of my favorite plants. This is sticky monkey flower,
and it grows all over California. It reminds me of hiking with my parents in Santa Barbara and backpacking when I was growing up. I learned today that the Miwok used the roots to treat fever and dysentery, and the leaves to treat sores and burns. Great example of form meeting function...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

La vida es un carnaval...

Ended up running on the treadmill in San Jose today. I hate the treadmill. I hate the gym. It's rather confining, and people don't seem to know what to do with someone who is actually sweating. Someone needs to let certain members at my gym know that 5 minutes of the treadmill won't technically do much for their level of fitness. (10 points to the older gentleman who comes with his sweats pulled up so high he might as well have been in "Revenge of the Nerds" and then tucked into his long ankle socks. You, sir, rock the Casbah.) 

But I DID have a Celia Cruz moment and almost started dancing in the gym. I have been known (by Neko and some cows) to have a salsa moment on the trail when this song comes on. Despite having to take Neko to the emergency room yesterday (she's fine now), this is how I'm feeling:

Todo aquel piense 
que la vida es desigual,
tiene que saber que no es así,
que la vida es un hermosura, hay que vivirla.
Todo aquel que piense que la vida siempre es cruel,
tiene que saber que no es así,
que tan solo hay momentos malos, y todo pasa.
Todo aquel piense que esto nunca va a cambiar,
tiene que saber que no es así,
que al mal tiempo buena cara y todo pasa....

One of the greatest compliments I ever got from a student was when he said this song reminded him of me. There's more to the song and if you don't know it, get thee to iTunes! I do realize there aren't a whole lot of salsa dancing trail runners out there... but you never know!

Monday, April 21, 2008

FYI: Poison Oak

Avoiding patches of scratches...

So no running today. But I have a confession for you: I've never had Poison Oak. (Shhhh! The Poison Oak gods will descend upon me if they hear!) After doing extensive (ok, 10 minutes) of research, it has become clear that there is no such thing as true immunity. With time and frequency of contact, I'm supposed to get it at some point. However, up until now (knock on wood please), I've been pretty lucky, and for someone who grew up in Santa Barbara hiking all the time and now runs trails 4-5 times a week, that's saying something.

And yet, as Alex pointed out, there are people who move here from places without poison oak (gasp) who have tragic experiences with this plant because they don't know what it looks like. In the Bay Area, trails (especially this time of year) are COVERED with it. If you do not know what it looks like, you are probably headed for some uncomfortable moments... and even if you DO know, it's a distinct possibility. So here's my poison oak primer, with the understanding that I have never actually had it-- I'm not sure if that makes me more or less qualified to dole out advice, but here goes.

1) The oil of poison oak is what makes it contagious. As a result, you can get poison oak easily from bare branches, because the oil can stay on surfaces for up to five years. Do not pick up branches if you do not know what they are.

2) Dogs can pass oil on to you from their fur, but generally don't contract dermatitis because of their fur. In exposed areas like their underbellies however, it is possible for them to react to poison oak. If you have had an allergic reaction to poison oak, make sure your dog stays out of the bushes, and wash thoroughly after touching the dog if you are unsure.

3) Wash with Tecnu if you have developed poison oak. There are a bunch of other products out on the market, all with varying degrees of success. Perhaps the gentle readers who have experience with poison oak would be so kind as to leave their best remedy in the comment section. As I said before, I have no real experience in this department.

4) What I AM good at though, is identifying poison oak fast. Here's what my botanically inclined mother taught me: Poison oak comes in leaves with three clusters. (The old adage, "Leaves of three- let them be" does not really cover it, because there are several different plants in the hills of the Bay Area that also grow in groups of three.) The leaves of poison oak are slightly scalloped, like a holly leaf with rounded edges instead of points. The leaves are generally shiny, but I have seen poison oak I might describe as matte.  Those leaves can be reddish (a gorgeous red, and if I didn't know how much pain it would cause me, I'd be tempted to pick them for a fall bouquet) or green. Poison oak can also be bare branches, as I said earlier, so do not assume that simply because there are no leaves around, you are good to go.

5) This means that off-trail shenanigans might be a terrible, terrible idea for you if you are not an expert poison oak identifier or if it's during fall or winter. I have heard horror stories from people that thought they were having a titillating moment only to find out the moment became inescapable as they itched and itched in places they didn't really want to scratch in public...

6) Go practice. Look at these pictures, find more on the internet and then 
go out and see how fast you can identify poison oak. This might not help (my brother is highly allergic and he is an expert poison oak spotter) but you might save yourself some icky itching.

Funniest sentence I came across today? "Some products, such as poison oak tablets and droplets, have been withdrawn from the market because of severe allergic reactions in hypersensitive people. In fact, the side effects in some people, such as severe anal itching, were often unacceptable." Yeah, one might be tempted to stick with the poison oak in this case... 

Note to self: Am I doomed now that I have the words "flirty" "dirty" and "anal" all on my blog?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Briones Reservoir Loop

Briones Reservoir Loop
(13.25 miles)

Wow. This run was amazing. I call this a "secret" run not because it's hidden but because so few people seem to know about it. I've lived in the Bay Area for about 15 years now and I have never been on this trail, and I can honestly say that this is a tragedy. We ran for 13 miles and we saw 3 other people total. That's right. 3 other people. The rest of the time it felt like we were far away from civilization, in the Sierras instead of 10 miles from downtown Richmond. The Briones Reservoir Loop starts at the EBMUD Bear Creek Staging Area, just across from the EBRPD Bear Creek Entrance to Briones Regional Park. Confusing? Only until you remember that you want to run around the water and that will re-orient you. 

A couple of important notes for this run. You need a permit. You can get one online or you can buy one in person from the EBRPD kiosk across the street from the Bear Creek Staging Area. Day use permits are $2.50, year long permits $10. 
 I would not recommend skipping this option however-- in the time that it took for me to get out of the car and use the port-a-potty, an EBRPD police officer drove up to check our permit. You also need to sign in as you leave the parking lot, and given the paucity of hikers or runners, this is probably a good idea. No doggies on this run, either. Apparently there are areas of the Oursan trail where dogs are permitted but they cannot go around the whole reservoir. This is also a great run for late spring or early fall (before the rains)-- much of this trail is exposed which might be ideal in the summer if you are training for Badwater, but for the rest of the mortals in the Bay Area, there are better summer trail options. The ruts left in the road from dried mud suggest that this area might be extremely muddy post-rain. 

However, we hit the jackpot with the weather this morning. It was sunny and clear but cool enough that we enjoyed the sun as we started off on the Bear Creek Trail (go to the left as you get on the trail). This trail climbed up and down (never very steeply), showing glimpses of the reservoir through the trees. After crossing the reservoir, Oursan trail led away from the reservoir and up to El Sobrante Ridge, affording some absolutely stunning views. At one point we could see Mt. Tamalpais on one side and Mt. Diablo on the other...and green hills spread out all around us. Then the trail winds down to the edge of the reservoir, where it gently rolls through grassy fields and large oak trees before winding back to the parking lot.
It doesn't get much better than this run. Enough climbing convinced me we weren't wimps, but we could run the entire trail (no uphill Cataract trail, in other words!). Views of the reservoir and of surrounding vistas kept us continually surprised this trail is not more popular with the Bay Area. Bear Creek Road is one of the most popular bicycling routes for the roadies-- trail runners should take advantage of this little-known treasure.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Why Flirty? Why Dirty? Why Both?

From the inexorable

(some verbs)
1. To court triflingly or act amorously without serious intention; play at love; coquet.
2. To trifle or toy with, as an idea.
3. To move with a jerk or jerks; dart about.
4. To move quickly.

(some nouns)
1. A seductive woman
2. One who flirts

Some etymology:
"The noun is first attested 1549, with the meaning, "stroke of wit."
"...flirt had come to mean "a pert young hussey" [Johnson] by 1562..."

(Selected meanings)
1. Soiled, as with dirt.
2. Apt to soil with dirt or grime.
3. Scandalous

Put 'em all together and you have a sometimes silly, sometimes scandalous woman who moves quickly from place to place, from idea to idea, who might often be found covered with leftover trail dust. Et voilà-- c'est moi!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Alpine Lake Beauty

Alpine Lake-Cataract-Rocky Ridge
(12.5 miles)

This run has tempted me for some time. Shady and Sunny Sides of Bon Tempe Lake are two of my favorite trails ever, but the lake on the other side of Bon Tempe Dam is a large amount of running from Nathalie Coffin Greene, where I usually start in Marin. Sunday it was sunny, warm and Alex and I were in the mood for a new adventure. Finally! The chance to enter into hitherto unchartered (by me) running territory.

We started at the dirt on the side of the Bolinas-Fairfax road a mile or so past the golf course where the road crests the hill and takes a sharp turn to the right. It is also possible to start this run from the Bon Tempe Dam, but we were too cheap to pay for parking. I'm not convinced this was the best idea ever. 

(New information: I was informed that you can park just past the Meadows golf course on the side of the road and then run until you turn off to go to Bon Tempe and avoid paying for parking-- thanks, Ken!)

The trail led up over Azalea Peak, dropping down steeply to Bon Tempe Dam. Great chance to practice some technical running, though. In less than a mile, the trail wound past fields full of lupine to Bon Tempe Dam. For those who want to avoid super steep downhill (and uphill at the end of the run!), it's possible to park at Bon Tempe Dam. 

Once over the dam, the trail skirted the lake for four miles (Kent Trail to Helen Markt), coming in and out of redwoods. 
This is where I fell in love with Alpine Lake. The lake was created with the building of the Bon Tempe Dam in 1919, and named by one of the architects who worked on the dam. The lake is surrounded by redwoods and I really did feel like we were in the Sierras-- Alex said you could forget you were in Marin. I don't know if I would run the Azalea Peak section again, but I can't wait to get back to Alpine Lake.
Just before the Alpine Lake dam, we took the Cataract trail. I have read several descriptions since about its beauty, but all from the point of view of people running down the trail. There are no pictures of the scenery because going uphill, this trail is painful. I lost track of the stairs we climbed--this was not my fastest running (or walking) ever.
We had to check the map a couple of times, but eventually we ended up on High Marsh trail. Despite its name, this trail wound through redwoods and a manzanita grove that stretched over both sides of the trail. Just before Serpentine Point, at the junction of High Marsh and Lagoon, a very tiny marsh lingered, but Hidden Lake seems more like a marsh. 
Finally on Rocky Ridge, a fire road that demanded careful footwork, we began to descend back to Bon Tempe Dam. The only factor marring an otherwise gorgeous stretch of downhill was the mile lurking on the other side of the dam, leading back over Azalea Hill to the car. Even hills blanketed by lupine did not impress us as we dragged ourselves up the hill, finally getting to the car.
Note to selves: any run longer than 2 hours should involve more solid food than Shot Bloks. Otherwise we might have to return here to eat.

Also, you can bring dogs on this run, but you have to keep them on a leash, so Neko stayed home. (13 miles of a border collie on leash is not my idea of a good time!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

O Richmond, My Richmond...

Wildcat Creek Trail
(4+ miles)

First, that's the city, not the district (note the lack of article). Many people might not associate Richmond with trail runners... and you would be correct. There aren't a whole lot of us out here, and I think it's too bad, because Wildcat Canyon is a great place to run. It's true that it does not have the wealth of trails that grace Marin, for example, but it's a consistently underutilized area, so you can leave the VERY urban 23rd and Rheem, for example, and be running on a hill with no one around in a matter of minutes.

According to the East Bay Regional Parks website, Alvarado Park (the picnic area adjoining Wildcat Canyon's open space that is barbecue central on sunny weekends) used to have a pavilion and dance hall that later turned into a roller rink. I don't usually run around the park, but it's a great place to go back and have a picnic after a good run.

Additionally, Wildcat Canyon is pretty dog-friendly. Like Redwood, you must have your dog on a leash in developed areas, and clean up after them, but they can run free in undeveloped space areas, which is most of the park. The one caveat to running with dogs is the preponderance of cows once you leave Wildcat Creek Trail and head up toward the ridge, where the better trail running is. Neko and I have had a couple of "cow encounters" while running, particularly on the Mezue Trail.

I was going to post about the run I did last Sunday, but then I felt some loyalty to Wildcat Canyon and decided to instead to start with highlighting a very basic, midweek out-and-back 4+ mile run that follows Wildcat Creek until the intersection of the Mezue Trail and Wildcat Creek Trail. There is a drinking fountain with a dog bowl that makes a good turning point. This trail is basically flat, and true trail aficionados will grumpily point out that the first mile or so is actually on pavement. It's true, but it's still beautiful on days like today when the ceanothus is in bloom and the hills are covered with vetch, the purple flower in the first picture. It also makes for an easy no-thinking-necessary run when you just need to get some miles in to calm the border collie(s).

In another post, I'll give some ways to add a little more to your run as well as get off the road for a bit. I'll also cover Havey Canyon, Mezue and Conlon Trails, but I thought I'd start with the most basic of Wildcat Canyon options.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Getting Started

A blog! A blog! Well, I'm not feeling very original, seeing as how my best friend, a coworker and my aunt all started blogs in the last two months as well... but mine is all about trail running! Trail running! Yay! In the Bay Area, no less.

After running a glorious 3 hour run on Sunday and realizing that there were no blogs that covered all the trail running options in the Bay Area, I decided that I would take on this challenge. With the help of the fabulous Jen, we're going to create a comprehensive website, but this will be the starting place for content... and a few more of my musings, like where the best place is to eat after you run, or places that are more dog friendly than others... (yay Neko!)

As of right now, there are a couple of great websites on trails in the Bay Area-- Bay Area Hiker and Marin Trail Runs are great, but Bay Area Hiker does not have enough over 10-mile trails over 10 miles (in my opinion) and Marin trails is just that--Marin.  

Thanks to Ian for his very funny title... and get your minds out of the gutter, people-- you will see no compromising pictures of me or anyone else-- but you might see some grimy runners. 

So yeah-- here it goes... and pleeeeease-- send me ideas of great runs. Tomorrow I'll start out by posting the run I did on Sunday, but I'm open for trail runs in the Bay Area that you, gentle reader, recommend because they are unique, challenging, gorgeous, have a great food/drink option at the end or some other fascinating portion of Bay Area history.