I fell in love with California running the first time I went out to San Francisco, pushing myself up the hills past the purple houses with their overgrown, lush gardens, past the ageing hippies smoking cloves on the corners, past the oblivious tourists and the too cool for school hipsters dominating the appropriate neighborhoods. But when I discovered California trail running, that’s when I really fell in love.
North Face Challenge San Francisco 50 Miler. Dick Collins 50 Miler. Miwok 100k.
When I run out there, I vow I want to live there. I want to know the trails by heart that causes me to pause in my steps to gasp, “Oh, oh!,” as I run past.
We first headed to Tahoe for Wayne’s brother’s wedding. On our first run, we headed into Eagle Falls, a beautiful trail where my asthma and hatred of snow turned the run into a run-hike. Day, snow was slippery and hard to run on, and I hate snow in general so I thoroughly cursed everything as Wayne boldly blazed through. We headed to a different trail a bit down the road that was much flatter, but my asthma was really bothering me. Stupid altitude. I don’t like to give up, so Wayne pushed me to stop.
The next day was Wayne’s brother’s wedding. We took out the groom for a great 45 minute run. Wayne found this trail on a trail map and it was fun – ups, downs, rolling hills, pretty views, giant pinecones. It helped de-stress the groom and we all felt good after the run. It was pretty – but cold. The temperatures in Tahoe were in the fifties when we were there, and often raining or misting.
The following day, we left Tahoe, heading to Big Sur to celebrate my birthday there. We ran Buzzard’s Roost at Big Sur State Park, heading uphill over 800 meters. The run was breathtaking. I carried my camera, and kept stopping to snap pics of the Redwoods, of the beautiful views. The Redwoods are amazing – their sheer massiveness is so impressive. It saddens me to think of how they are chopped down for patio furniture without a thought.
We had a bit more time the following day so we headed back to Big Sur State Park. We followed the Pine Ridge Trail, which was my favourite type of California running – ridges! Great views, uphills, though stupid me forgot my inhaler so had to take it easy on the uphills. We saw tracks of an animal, and fresh poop and began to get scared, realizing we were gaining on whatever animal it was. We turned around, enjoying the awesome downhills.
The rest of the day, we spent driving up and down Highway 1, stopping in random parks and beaches to hike, walk, enjoy the view. I wanted to run again, but we didn’t have time.
We headed into San Francisco, and then to one of my favourite places to run, Marin Headlands. It was gorgeous. I’ve run both the San Fran 50 Miler and Miwok 100k here, and loved the views. We walked around, gasping at the Redwoods, enjoying the sunset, taking photos, inhaling the view…It was amazing.
We wanted to head to Auburn to do a little running in the morning (Western States 100 Miler course, hello!), but Wayne wasn’t feeling good, and was doing the driving so we randomly stopped in Fairfield, CA. In the a.m., he slept, still not feeling good, while I headed out. I found a pretty creek to run alongside, with a long stretch of about 400 meters. I did 6 x 400, as well as 3 x my plyometrics workout. It felt great.
And back to NYC, with its grey streets and skyline views…I’ll miss the trails, the awe-inspiring views, but I’ll be back. I know for sure.