Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Hike, On the Rocks, Please

 Well, it was fun! I won't say much about these, other than we found yet another way down from atop Castle Rock's rocks...the most difficult way yet. It took a few hours,when it should take about 30 minutes.  I almost think Brian aimed for every slide and crevice he could find.  Everyone survived, with only one sprained pinky finger as damage.

The kids have never been out past the 5k turn around for Brazen's Diablo race, so this was all new trail for them! We headed up Sunset Trail, but not before they spotted my favorite (and currently the only) creek crossing out here-


We made it up to Castle Rock trail, and after a bit we headed down on what I thought was the trail I took down the day I slid down the rock wall...but it wasn't the same one. Oops.
The bushes were just the right height to grab onto to keep from sliding.
These aren't in order.  This is his, "boy, I'm glad nobody got hurt sliding down this rock edge!" face.

Working her way down a crevice. (aka a rock butt)

Turkey Vultures

A trail containment unit - there's only one way out....down that rock slide.

This is what happens when Brian takes over navigating.
Yes, I'm digging in my heel to keep from sliding into Myles. You can see the tops of the girls heads down to the right. My kids are braver than I, that's for sure! I'll post a video of this section on the photo site.

This is looking back up the section we slid down...you had to stop sliding down the edge by the tree and drop about 8 feet down over the side.
This is another section we came down, Sophie is taking a minute to soak in what she just climbed down.

We had to lower ourselves down into the crevice my legs are across...then slide down what looked to be about a 10 foot easy, not too steep section.  Good thing I went first...it was super steep and i ended up hitting the ground and laying there for a second taking inventory of everything that hurt and how bad it was....just a sprained pinky and a few scrapes. No sliding down for anybody else! I ended up doing an odd locking arms/catching maneuver to get the rest of the family down, including Brian. I, I, I....I workout.

We started at 12:30 and were done at 4:15.  I was nervous the entire way down, but the kids had a blast and loved it. When we reached the bottom trail, Myles cried and cried. He wanted "to climb more rocks."  Another adventure I hope they remember forever. Good times!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Brazen Cutie Pies

Mrs. Rocky Ridge and Mr. Bear Creek
 Brian and Myles were in their Rock Ridge shirts, too!
We headed out of Castle Rock on Saturday afternoon to take the kids on a hike to the top o the rocks, and before we even made it out of the parking lot we spotted these Brazen cuties! They are new to running, having started this past year.  Both are running Brazen's Diablo 10k next weekend and were out today previewing the course. I don't make it a habit to talk to strangers, but those Brazen shirts are pretty amazing things...you see one and the person wearing it automatically feels like family and treats you the same!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wall Point Road

Unless we get some rain next week, which it's looking like we may, the creeks will not be flowing on Stage Road...just some wanna-be mud.

But if you want some berries on the way to the finish line, there are some black berries, although these aren't ripe, but I did get another pic of ripe ones.

This is really low on the way up, but I see the summit over there!

Wall Point goes along the top of a ridge. You can see a bit of trail on the highest point in the right of this pic.

My shadow looking at how far away Castle Rock rocks are from where I am...I'm eventually going to be running out the valley past the rocks if I wanna get back to the car.

My camera batteries were shot, in fact the camera was only turning on about half the time, so I had to ration pictures...but I did go up and over that point. The trail actually keeps going up after that, even though it appears to be the highest point...it's not, so I kept going.

Um....yeah. There was a dried up puddle that had A LOT of tracks around it.  The first time through I pretended not to see anything....but when I was running back out I stopped to figure out a few things.  There were 3 different 'types' of prints. One was coyote (canine - it had one indent on the back of it's pad, and the 2 middle claws showed), one was bobcat (feline- had 2 indents on back of it's pad, some prints showed claws, some not, smaller prints than this one I have my hand next to), and then there were these prints.  By far the largest. Hard to see, but 2 indents on back of pad (feline), 4 toes spread out in a wider print, meaning unlike a dog, the 2 middle toes dont' stick out front, all 4 are more round and spread across.  Most cougar tracks do not show the claws....but these were deep, and showing claws, which probably meant it was running. While I would have liked to think it came through when it was muddy, the track wasn't smooth around the edges like it would have been in mud, it was crumbly, so ....probably after the ground was dry (meaning the past few days), and it came through after most of the bikes, since it was across and on top of the bike tracks. There's more pics of these tracks on the photo site.

This is by far the best mt lion print I saw. If you click on the pic and make it bigger, you'll see what I mean about it being a rounder print than what dogs and coyotes make with their longer middle two toes and claws.You can also make out the 2 indents that make 3 lobes on the back of the pad.  Also noticed that while I would have liked to believe someone just has a really large cat they took for a walk....all these prints did eventually lead off into the bushes and did not stay on the trail.

I'm running back out now, looking at the ridge and the trail laid out across it.

Definitely felt more like a back woodsy run than what I normally do, although in reality it's not that different from where I normally am. I think getting freaked out by the prints added to that....but it was a great run!! There's so much to explore on this Mt and every run I'm able to explore trails that are new to me make me realize how amazing this Mt is. Even though this was more remote and further than I normally run on the Mt, I did see a group of 7 female hikers out there, and one mt biker, so I wasn't really that alone! Not to mention there were most likely  a few furry friends in the bushes that I am grateful  stayed hidden!

Hitting the Wall never felt so good!!

Wall Point Rd, that is.  Holy (insert a bunch o words I can't say...outloud anyway).

What a beast!!!  I'll do a proper post later, but wow. Just wow.  This mornings run left me feeling like anything I might possibly have as a goal.....I can totally do! Sounds dumb, right?? But it's nice every now and then to just go for it and see how far or high (elevation wise) you can get. Today was one of those rare, cloud nine, top o the world runs.

I had intended to run the second loop on Brazen's Diablo 13.1 course...out Stage, up Wall, and loop back down BBQ Terrace. I've run the first loop - up Sunset and around to Stage- a few times, but wanted to get the second loop under my belt before next weekend just to see if I have it in me. I had 2:30 to get it done, which meant I had to be heading back towards the car after 1:30. I've found I'm pretty reliable in that heading out of Castle Rock in any direction (they are all up hill) ....if I head out for 1:30, it will take me 1:00 to get back to the car. On the nose. Every time.  I pushed my 1:30 a few minutes longer, wanting to just get to the highest point on Wall....I turned around when I was sure it was heading down towards bbq terrace and Northgate Rd.  I could see the trail down there and decided that on race day it would present no problems, looked like a nice, runnable trail.....but running back down Wall would be much more fun!! Fun it was!!

10.45 miles, 2543 feet o climbing. 5 minutes standing at the highest point on Wall Point Rd taking it in, and getting hyped to turn around and run down it. Not realizing how stinking close I was to Rock City...I could have spit to my right and hit it.....had no clue it was there....mainly because I had no clue how far I had gone. (Got Garmin? Nope.) Running rocky, rut infested, steep but runnable downhill, that feeling when your legs are feeling so good running flats because they just ran up and down a Mt and running flat feels effortless....Priceless stuff!! Bombing miles of downhill w/no pains...anywhere?? (feeling like a dork trying to imitate Tim Long's form : ) Good stuff my friends! Good stuff.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Kids V.S. Rocky Ridge

I love these of Myles!
One of the things I love about Brazen is how supportive everyone is of the kids. If you notice the group back there, they are watching and clapping, and I could hear them cheering like crazy when Jasmin announced his name.  What a great moment for a 6 year old!

Sophie's coming around the corner back there.  This is actually a picture of the great Catra Corbett and her dog, Truman, but these 2 are also the only 2 finish photo's of Sophie.

You MUST double click on Emma's and see her face. She ran this 10k on her own, so she decided how hard to push, when to run, when to walk,and ultimately how uncomfortable  she was willing to make herself.  I'm super proud of all my kids, each of these courses are tough.....but I'm pretty sure Emma found a few new rungs on both her pain, and determination ladders!  She left it all on the course!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Tim Long's Hill Clinic

Sporting our fresh Brazen Racing Rocky Ridge sweatshirts at Rodeo Beach.

Victor Ballesteros showing us a drop bag he designed and sells. Tim Long making fun of him.

After everyone was there, we followed Tim up a hill and lined up on both sides while he demonstrated some hill technique.

He's talking about the usefulness of poles.

I may or may not have been a little distracted....

yeah...I have no recollection of what he was saying. It may have been "look at my massive quad"...not sure.

This will be the only time in my life that Victor Ballesteros and I will share the same trail! He's demonstrating Tim's suggested downhill form.  My worst nightmare came true as we all had to take a turn running down through the lined up runners putting Tim's suggestions to use.  As we did, he'd helpfully yell out things like get lower, relax your feet, arms out more....that sort of thing.

Next we got a lesson in transitioning from run to walk and back to run going uphill. In Tim's world, you maintain the exact same speed whether walking or running, the only real thing that changes is you are on your forefoot/toes while running, and you drop your heel while walking....but your speed is the same.  I'm sure this is amazing technique for guys like Tim, Lucho, and Victor who win things like Western States 100 and Leadville....but for the average mortal....its not practical to maintain running pace up hill and call it a walk because you drop your heel. (I'm talking longer, steep uphills..not runnable uphills) This being my opinion, it came as no surprise when it was my turn to run up through runner-lined trail and got scolded by Tim for slowing my pace when I walked.  Did I mention you started down below the runners and ran up through them with Tim yelling out run.....walk....run....walk and then telling you what you're doing right/wrong as you are doing it??  Sounds like fun, no?  Why can't we just stand around and watch Tim talk and demonstrate stuff....just saying...that was much more enjoyable.

After we all ran up the hill, and then down the hill....the instruction part was done.  So just to recap, he showed us one technique for how he likes to run uphill, and one for how he likes to run downhill, and that is it. I will give him that it was cold and windy and we were all a bit miserable...but I was expecting to hear a little more....like uphill fire road vs single track, or muddy downhill single track vs open rocky gravel downhill.  He pretty much said he uses the same stance/technique regardless of terrain or grade....so..yeah.  He did answer any and all questions and would have stayed up there longer had more people asked more questions. I was definitely out of my comfort zone and just wanted to get through the morning w/o making a bigger fool of myself. After the info part, they set out on a group run. I told Brian to go ahead and go and have fun....I'd head out on a different trail. I was not in the mood to try to keep up with this crowd or to get dropped. So I headed out away from where I assumed they would go, only to see they were all heading towards me....now it would just look like I ran ahead to get pictures and then fell behind the group. Gah.

Tim did a little dance for the camera.

I just let them all pass but stayed put where I was. Notice Tim up above yelling down at the last 3 gals to hurry up and run faster....yep, they could go have fun...not my sort of a run. Instantly reminded me of why I am not a fan of coaches. Don't get me wrong, he seems to be a nice, fun, knowledgeable guy, but the coach side was full on, as it should be at this sort of a thing.  He's an accomplished runner, race director, and coach, and the boys legs don't lie, he knows what he's doing. Maybe I've just gotten really used to running by myself, at a comfortable pace that I can sustain, but also feel free to stop and take in my surroundings and take a picture now and then.  The idea of running with a speedy group while getting told to keep up and go faster...while practicing "Tim's" way of running up/down hills (not because we had to, but because he just showed us the proper way and now we'd be running with him...so I'd feel pressured to do it the "right" way)...meh...not my thing.

I'll just hang here for a minute and take in the surfing scene!

I made my way back up the hill the clinic was on and hit another trail off of that.  In no time I looked up to see the group run making their way to the top of the ridge over there....crazy.

There was not a bad view to be found on the trial I was running.

After not too long at all I spotted Brian across the valley and yelled at him.  He made it to the top of the ridge in the picture above, and decided to call it a day.  Turns out...Tim had told the group they were going on a 6 mile group run...but while running and talking, it was made more clear that really Tim and Lucho were running 6 miles to the house they were staying at...the group would have to turn around and make their way back by  themselves.  So...yeah.  Brian turned around and came back down. But this was good news for me because I had spotted a narrow strip of trail I had wanted to take but knew Brian wouldn't have wanted me to...so now he could do it with me!

The unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge was worth it!

and Rodeo Beach

If you right click you will be able to make out the black fin that was making that white streak. There were 3 porpoises.

That's my shadow being a rebel and not practicing Tim's form. I nearly slid off the edge of the world coming down this.....so maybe Tim knows what he's talking about??
When all was said and done....$30 is not a bad price to pay to learn, or at least expose yourself (some of the giddy 20 something gals I suspect did pay the $30 just for a chance to expose themselves to Tim...)to someone else's thoughts/ideas on running technique. Especially someone with Tim's running resume and experience.  To have Lucho and Victor there also willing to talk and answer questions is a total bonus.  Tim gave away some VI gels, and Victor gave away one of his bags, so that was a bonus.  Would I do it again?? Nah. But this was not for me, it was for Brian.  He couldn't settle on what he wanted for our anniversary. Knowing he's a Lucho fan, and wanting to get some hill input this was a perfect gift.  Funny thing is, he ended up running with Catra Corbett for most of Brazen's Rocky Ridge run and picked her brain the whole time and learned a ton from her input and watching how she ran. Talk about experience, the gal's been around for a minute and has done amazing things!!
Anyhow....so that's my thoughts on the hill clinic : ) 
Yeah, I know...I need to work on my conclusions, lol.