(Lone Oak-Meadows Canyon- Curran- Sea View- Skyline- Sea View- Curran- Meadows Canyon)
So many things to say about this run. First, I have been thinking about how much I love getting prepped and anticipating my long trail runs. I love getting my water bottles prepped, putting new songs from my "running mix" on my shuffle, putting my hair in braids (only happens on long runs) deciding which shok bloks I'm going to eat, and I really do love thinking about how I'm going to do something that will take a while, be difficult and feel a very good kind of tired at the end. There's something very comforting about all this.
So today I decided to run part of the Firetrails course, as I will be running it in October. I have started to get worried about the fact that I signed up for a 50 mile run, which I have never done before. I alternate between having conversations with people who have written me off as certifiably nuts, and conversations with people who could be utterly crazy already, who talk about things like "best aid station food" or toenails falling off without blinking an eye.
I started at the Lone Oak picnic tables in Tilden Park. This is the turn-around point for Firetrails, and I figured that getting used to the second half of the course on fresh legs might help me feel mentally prepared... or not. The course follows Meadows Canyon up to Insipration Point, at which point you turn right on the road and continue until you hit Sea View. Sea View is one of the most hiked trails in Tilden-- it climbs onto the ridge and gives you views of the Bay on one side and San Pablo and Briones Reservoirs on the other. Today the fog obscured some of the views, but it was definitely warm above the fog.
While it felt good to run this section this morning, I kept thinking about how I would be running this on legs that had just completed a marathon. Um, yeah. 3.5 miles of more or less continuous climbing. It's pretty gentle (no Ohlone trails here), and none of the climbs seem interminable, but it's a pretty long section of uphill from Lone Oak to Vollmer Peak. From Vollmer Peak and the Steam Trains, the trail crosses Skyline Boulevard and continues on a single track trail. The trail took me a moment to find-- it's a smallish sign, but it's also directly across the road from the entrance to the Steam Trains.
I now love Skyline trail. I had never run on this trail before-- and it's definitely worth running. It's East Bay MUD land, so while you don't need a permit, you cannot take dogs on this section.
The trail winds along the side of the ridge, more or less heading downhill until you cross Skyline Boulevard again. From here, the trail begins to have much steeper inclines-- I kept trying to slow myself down because I didn't want to have to run all the way back up the hills I was running down! This area was shaded and relatively cool though-- oaks and bay trees stretch their branches over the trail, providing a bit of respite from the sun.
As soon as I turned around however, I started to feel it, and this has caused me a relative degree of panic. I was exhausted going up some of the hills, and running everything was just not an option. While the second half of the run went quickly in some ways, I realized that I need to run A LOT MORE in the next couple of months. Fortunately, my knee seems to be doing tremendously well, but I need to not be this tired after 14 miles if I'm going to run 50 in October!
Overall, good run-- I will be running more of this area in the upcoming weeks.
Tilden is a great place to take dogs-- you can have them off-leash as well. However, it's impossible to take dogs on EBMUD lands.
Finally, a bit of the local wildlife that made an appearance this morning...