Saturday, April 14, 2007

Child's Play

Well, after a long hiatus, I finally got to rejoin the TTT (tam trail trekkers) for an amazing run through the forests and hills of Mt. Tam. I woke up to 50 degrees and a slight drizzle, with a chance of real rain. Having been unable to fall asleep until after 2am and waking up at 5, I was tired, but excited about a good run.

No real traffic getting over, meaning that it took just about 45 minutes to get to Mountain Home. The fog over there was intense! The worst that I have ever driven in!!! I was a little afraid of driving off the road. I made it okay though, and had about 25 minutes to wait until the rest of the crew arrived, which is when I took some pictures of the fog.

(Mountain Home Inn)

(looking out over the 'forest' (or fog here!) It was really disconcerting, because I could hear all the birds and so I knew the forest was down there, but couldn't see anything!)

(A pretty tree in the fog. Look for this same shot in the later pictures)

Everyone else showed up around 6:45, and we waited around for a few no-shows until a bit after 7. The plan was to go out the matt davis trail to stinsen beach (a first visit for me!) and then back up the dipsea to steep ravine to (I think) troop 80 back to our cars.

I stuck with the 'walkers' again, only to discover that actually, we'd be doing more running as Lucy, the designated walker, was getting in shape for a half marathon (she was out there today after having cracked a rib last week on the run! This group is tough!) So much for my easy 'hike' day :)

The weather when we left was cool and foggy. However, after less than a mile, the rain started. Soon, moving became a matter of staying warm, so we tried to keep moving at a good pace (mostly walking). A new matter to deal with as well was the amazing amount of poison oak! It was everywhere!!!

Despite the coldness and the rain (I've really got to get a waterproof jacket, my little wicking jacket was sorely undersuited for today), it was simply beautiful. We came out in an open section, where Ken (the leader) informed us that this was the place he had seen a mountain lion a few years ago. With my fear of these creatures, I definitely didn't want to be out alone ;) so when he started running, I picked up the pace. This was one of my favorite sections because the rain was intense enough to turn our singletrack into a small muddy stream, and keeping my feet dry became pointless. I starting running with abandon down the trail, splashing everywhere and feeling like a little kid. I couldn't help by giggle softly to myself with glee...this was just so much fun!

We reached the end of the Matt Davis trail and headed over to the beach to use the restrooms (and see the beach!). On the way, per apparent tradition, we each grabbed a rock and played a game of hopscotch at a little playground. I've sort of forgotten how to play, but we improvised :)

At the beach, we discovered, lo and behold, there was a race going on! We arrived as the envirosport's 1/2 marathon was just about to take off. My running friend Sarah was running this race and I tried to see if I could spot her, but was unsucessful. We talked to a race director, and discovered they were running the same trails we planned to use to get back! Not what we had in mind. However, going another way would have meant an extra 2 or 3 miles, which we didn't have time to do, so we went with it. We stopped and ate some food here as well, trying to keep our energy up in the cold!

Ken is the director for the double dipsea (a race that, I think is now going onto my calendar!), and so knows that trail quite well. In order to bypass distance (and the crowds) we took one of the imfamous 'shortcuts' which, well, wasn't the best idea. The shortcut was horribly horribly overgrown with poison oak!!! It was completely unavoidable, and I"m really hoping that the tecnu I used will save me, but that remains to be seen.

We met back up with the racers, and headed up 'Steep Ravine' where we got to experience the famed ladder and lots of muddy trails and stairs.

Finally, after we got to the parking lot (perhaps at pan toll I think?) we got to leave the main race course, and had some more space. Only to discover we were now going backwards on the marathon course! Luckily the racers were pretty spread out at this point, and we just made sure to jump to the side when people came by. We cheered for everyone we saw, which people seemed to appreciate (though some runners were quite worried that they had gotten off course when they saw us coming). This part had some just fabulous running through redwood forest, with amazing soft runnable trails. So so so much fun!!! I honestly couldn't help from laughing out loud at how fun this part was. I'd give Ken a bit of space in front of me, then just 'fly' down the hill. It really felt like I was a kid again. It was amazing!

Eventually out trail ended, and we hiked up the 1/2 mile of road back to the cars. All in all, about 13-14 miles in a bit over 4 hours (including lots of stops!)

By the time we got back to the car, that area's weather was so much nicer. It was actually not that cold and the fog was starting to lift.

Some Scenery Shots!

(Me with the beautiful backdrop of Mt. Tam after a long and fun morning!)

(Shot of my lovely muddy legs (can almost see all the scatches!) That are likely completely covered in poison oak! My trail shoes are definitely broken in now)

(Sporting my new injinji socks! My shoes literally were filled with water, and yet no blisters!! I am officially sold. Plus, I get to put on flip flops w/out losing the socks :) )

(Check out that dirt tan line!)

(On the way home I stopped at In n out to use the facilities, and on my way back to my car, one of the boys working there looked at me, looked at my legs, and just stared. I answered his look by telling him that 'I just went on the most amazing trail run' with a smile in my voice :) I think this is the muddiest I've ever been!)

After the run we headed to the Dipsea Cafe for some much needed hot food and hot drink. Amazing restaurant with a ton of Dipsea paraphernalia on the walls! I had a great time hanging out with the rest of the group! I then headed back to Berkeley, stopping at REI for tecnu, and then finally getting home.

All in all, one of the best bay area days (or, really, anywhere days) a person could have :)


Meg said...

Addy! That sounds like soooo much fun, all of it! haha I want to come to Cali and run on the trails, it sounds like y'all have so many great ones. Next time you stop at In n Out you'll have to eat a double double for me, lol. Glad you had a great time

Kim said...

It sounds like quite the epic run!!!
I am back to the Injini socks myself, and no blisters after 15 miles on the trails today. I think I just need to buy more of them.

RSD_Terry said...

That's about how my legs looked after the American River 50 mile on Saturday, too. ;-)

There was lots of poison oak along that course -- well the section between mile 28 and 47 anyway. ;-)

I ran that Dispea course back in February. We had a slightly better weather day for our run, though. I'm glad you enjoyed it. ;-)

Sarah said...

Sounds like another great trail run. I hope the tecnu worked! I keep some wet wipes in the car to wipe off the muddy legs.

Addy said...

megs- you should definitely come out to cali! I'd love to show you around :). You know, I don't know that I've ever had a double double...its sacreligious, I know...But I will, if it's for you ;)

kim- That it was. I need to get some more of the socks myself. i just got another pair but accidently bought the wrong style! I think I might just have to wear them as normal socks, and not running ones now :)

terry- It seems like the poisen oak is just everywhere up here! We tried to avoid it, but it was pretty hopeless. On the plus side, I'm learning to recognize it!

sarah- the wipes are a good idea. I had paper towels, but they didn't do much good on the dry mud, and I didn't really fancy getting my legs all wet before the drive home! The tecnu seems to have been effective, as I haven't broken out! I'm so glad :)