Friday, October 31, 2014

Time to Switch Out the Candles!!

Yes!!! It's raining really hard!! Which's time to switch from watermelon candles to butter pecan. And, as soon as I hit the "publish" button on this post, I'm starting a pot of chicken soup. My house is going to smell soooo good today!!!

Here's a few more pictures from yesterdays run -
 My goodness you guys. It seems like just 3 days ago I was sharing my priceless pictures of the birth of this fence, one of nature's more amazing acts. Fences these days, they just grow up so fast! It grew into a nice, fine, tall young fence. Word on the trail is it has a bit of a temper. I've heard you don't want to cross it.
 These two pictures are for NTL, who had asked about the creeks in a comment.  I'm pretty sure today's rain wont put a dent in this.

 Above...if I redid my wedding one day, I'd be in boots and get married in front of a beautiful wall of back lit vines just like that.
 Ok, so there's no dogs allowed on this trail (it was on Diablo property). So that's either cat or coyote. Fun print fact for you, cats have 2 indents on the bottom of their print, dogs have one. Another fact, coyotes only show 2 claw marks, above their 2 middle toes. And lastly, cat prints run wider, coyotes are a longer print (meaning the 2 middle toes stick out forward for coyotes, while a cats toes are more even in length across the print).  The prints were pretty mucky and not clear, but I'd guess bobcat.

And below, I'll go with forest gnome.  Just kidding. They were so cute though, maybe ground squirrel, they were too little for raccoon.
 Bunny, and maybe a bunny house??

 Looking over at the ridge that is home to one of my favorites, Wall Rd.
 I'm sure you can tell from the sheer amount of pictures...this outbound 3 miles was not a great run. I had fun, kept myself entertained....but the running part was brutal.  So like I said yesterday, I hit 3 miles and decided that run was done. I turned off the Garmin, spent about 20 minutes laying on this rock watching and listening to...birds, mostly. Not much else out there on this day.
 Is it weird that even this ugly rock I was resting on looked pretty to me??
 That tree was straight across from me.
 Then I started up the Garmin and headed back in for another 3.  Other than busting open the inner thigh seam on my compression shorts and having to stop to Glide up the was a great 3 miles for me.  I know for most this would have been an big flop of a run, but I rather enjoyed myself when it was all said and done.

Below...this poor guy made me a bit sad. There was nothing wrong with him, not squished or harmed....just totally dried out.  If he could have only hung on for one more day.  I bet all the frogs are partying hard about now in this rain.
Have a great weekend!! I'm going to get started on that soup!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How J.W. Harris Got Me Through My Run

 I was not feeling my run this morning.  At all. I set out just wanting a good 6 miles. Right away it just felt off. But I'm stubborn. I've been repeating this PBR inspired quote for a few days -
"When I strap my hand in, it's in." - J.W. Harris
I was going home with 6 no matter what. I ran/hiked out 3. Those 3 were the trail running equivalent of having my hand strapped in, hanging off the side of a bull, and barely making 8 seconds. I  stopped the watch right when the Garmin buzzed at 3 miles, sat on a rock for a while, then gave it my best on the 3 back in. Ended up being my fastest (fastest for me=most people's slow) 3.1 I've seen in a long time.
Here's a few from the 3 outbound. I didn't take any inbound.

 I hate/fear bees so much! It was really hard for me to get that close and not shake.

 This is out BBQ Terrace. (above)

There's a lot more, I'll get them up tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


 Above, this is actually the last climb of my run.  I run out of Castle Rock from the right side of the picture, along the ranches, and then hand left, on the trail that goes past that dirt corral. Then its just a straight up, no shade climb over a ridge and down the other side to Borges Ranch. I love running next to the ranches and hearing and smelling the horses.

 I don't know what he is, other than a wood-pecker. Sure pretty, though. This is the same bird from yesterday's video, here.

Heel striking like a champ. If I'm going to do it, at least I'm in some cushy HOka's.

 Above and below - Burma.  There's a point outbound on Briones to Diablo Trail, near China Wall, where you crest a hill and have this amazing view. I've posted it a ton of times, and I always take the same picture. Its never not amazing enough to make me stop and get a shot.  If you're a Diablo fan, you have to go up/down Burma.  It's exciting from either direction, and equally difficult. My favorite Burma memory was on a run down from the summit. We came down Mother's trail (which is killer steep) and got to the top of Burma...,my running partner turned around and started backing down it. : ) Still what I think of every time I see it.
 Above, Burma looking deceptively tame.

 An Oak Tree behind China Wall that I always wonder what or who lives in the bottom?

It's almost November and I was begging for some AC. Or at least a breeze. Nothing but hot air in the grassland.  You can see a tiny piece of China Wall above my hair to the left. It's just a long line of jagged rock wall.

 Heading down Little Yosemite.  I always hear a lot of rustling and movement in that scrub over there. It's actually a pretty deep little valley, you'll notice the edge of the ridge I'm on just drops straight down, I can't actually see the whatever is over there can't get to me very easily, but there's always "stuff" over there.  I always look for the birds to take flight from the bushes when I get close because then I know I'm what's scaring them away and not some animal. If there's no birds that fly away, then something already spooked them least that's what I figure. Anyhow, birds flew, so I was all good.

My favorite section of Little Yosemite.

 I heard this long before I saw it..that is like a motorized wheelbarrow.  It was full of ready mix concrete, they were doing some work on the park boundary fence.  Little Yosemite crosses from Diablo State Park property to Castle Rock Park, which is part of the East Bay Regional Park there are fences at the boundaries, mostly for cows. There are also different rules once you cross, especially if you have a dog.
Believe it or not....this was the Hoka's first dip in real mud.  After about a mile I could smell that it wasn't just mud. Now that I see the picture, there's definitely a green horse pooh tint to it.  I smelled amazing : )

I leave you with this. I've seen a lot in nature....but this was my first time seeing a real live birth of a baby fence!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sometimes You Just Have to Stop

When I'm not training and I'm out on the trail, one of my favorite things to do is just stop.  When I'm training, I try to just focus on the run and my Garmin and getting in a set distance, in a decent for me time. Now, you know me well enough to know I always will find a way, training or not, to take in the beauty in my surroundings, and snap a picture of whatever strikes my fancy...but I don't usually just stop and be still and watch and listen on a training run.  But, when I'm not training, after I've been running for a good long stretch and all I'm thinking about is what's starting to hurt, or my pace, or how hard my hearts beating, and I haven't been paying attention to the beauty around me....I love to just stop. Stop, look, listen, smell.....take it all in.  As soon as I stop I realize I just went from being one runner out there suffering, to being surrounded by sounds and movement. There's so much going on other than me running through the woods...the woods are alive with activity.  I love just taking a second, sometimes minutes, to refocus, but more importantly to really appreciate where I am and how fortunate I am to be able to be there and see, hear, and smell it.  This video is nothing fancy, but it is one of those moments I stopped.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Game Face-

I'm putting it on tomorrow and going for a run, giving the trail some stink eye.
 And on a different note.....I'm not sure what made me more sad - that I finally threw out the lids to my babies sippy cups....or that my babies are 8, 10, and 12 and I still had the lids to their sippy cups?? Both are sad : )

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Few From the Trail

 The story on the above photo is....I was in the area where they found the Mt Lion kill, and was looking around more than usual and spotted that thing sitting on the horizon looking down on me. I could not tell what it was because my eyes aren't that good, but it looked possibly cat like...and I knew if I zoomed in I could see it clearly when I got home and uploaded. It was a stump. : )

 Tall, dry, scratchy sticks of grass lining the single track.

 Above, coming down Dusty trail, which, sadly, was not that dusty. It's usually inches deep, but I think most the dust has blown off.
 Above, my final climb up and over to Borges Ranch. I waited for the horses to come down, enjoyed the shade for a minute.

Me and my Emma at the movies. We took the kids to see the Horrible, Terrible, Very Bad Day movie (that's not exactly the right name, but close enough). It was pretty funny, Brian was hysterical the whole time.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Do You See What I See?

I would love to know what he was thinking....did he think he was hidden?? Did he think "oh, there's a yellow and red bush, I'll hide behind that. Now I just need to be really still and not move....I hope she can't see my antlers."
This reminded me of Myles hiding under a home made tent, but his feet were sticking out.
Anyhow, grateful yet again for nature providing me a great picture and a moment to just stop and watch and ponder the scene.  He sure is a pretty buck, and he was with his lady again, just like when I saw them leaving the watering hole last week. Hopefully I'll catch a glimps of the two of them from time to time now that I know where they like to hang out.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Boot Love Random Facts

1.When my feet aren't in my Hoka's, they are in one of these pairs of boots.
2. I spent $160 re-soling one of these pairs of boots, and they were less than a year old. Not because they aren't good boots. They are top o the line. I just wore them out wearing them everyday.
3. Boots look uncomfortable, but once broken in, they feel like slippers.
4. I love the sound boots make when I'm walking.
5. I love that my room, and sometimes the entire house, smells like leather. 
6. The above  picture was taken in our bedroom, not posed, that's just where my boots always live.
7. When I walk in my room and see them, it makes me smile. Numerous times, everyday. 
8. Brands, from left to right: Ariat, Justin, Eight Second Angel, Corral.
9. I don't have a favorite boot, or brand.  All 4 I have are super comfortable.
10. You are looking at a variety of boot toe types up there. There are snip toe, pointed toe, and square toed boots.  If you ever go boot shopping, it helps to know there are different types of toes.
11. You are looking at 3 different shaft heights. 15 inch, 13 inch, and 12 inch.

That's all I got for ya on boots. Mine have just been making me extra happy lately, so I thought I'd share.

Back to running on Monday. 
Hope you are all having a super weekend!!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dropshots Upload

I uploaded about 400 pictures to the photo site, here.
Some you've seen on the blog, most you haven't.
Not sure who uses the photo site still, but every now and then I dump everything over there to keep those who want to keep up in the know.
So those who want, pour a big cup of coffee and sit for a spell and take a gander.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Trail Runners Rewards

I get paid back in beautiful scenes, and beautiful animals on a regular basis. 
Here's a few from this week-

 Can you see his nice rack? I saw him again today and have a few more shots in my camera still. He's a handsome buck!

 One of the only watering holes around. This is where the deer where coming up from.
 Every time I think the season is over, I see another one!

 By far, one of those sections of trail that always stun me when I look up.  It's not my favorite to run, but it's so pretty that I love it.

 Below-even when I'm having a poopy run and decide to end it early....I never feel like it was a waste of time or effort....there's always some sort of pay off that makes it worth it. This was Tuesday. Brian and I had a meeting at the school, and then around 11 we headed out for a run.  Well, it was too late in the day for me because it's already really hot by 11, so I did 1.5, sat and cooled down, and did another 1.5.  And I'm still not totally sure what it is I saw.....
 I saw something short, fuzzy, and fairly filled out. About knee high. It was not mangy looking like a coyote, nor as thin as they normally are. And it had a bobbed tail.  It's body and the way it moved was different from any coyote I have seen, and I've seen a good number through this canyon over the years.  So, of course I ran to catch up to it.  It wasn't afraid, nor confrontational. It would stop and look at me, then walk a little, then stop and look.  Below, it's walking down the trail.
 The body looked more cat like to me, while the face was pointy like a coyote. So, the rational part of me says it's a nice, fuzzy, young coyote with a bobbed tail.
 And then the other part of me says....maybe it does look more cat like???
 Here it looks like a huge fox w/o the bushy tail.
 Then again.....cattish???
 I'm still not sure what I saw, but it was something to see it and try to figure it out as I'm following it along the trail.  We were equally curious about each other, but not afraid of each other. That was Tuesday. Here's what I learned today....At the bottom of that canyon, right at the dam when you are first running out of Castle rock and the trail splits, the Rangers found a Mt. Lion kill last week. They have not spotted the Mt Lion, but found the remains of it's kill. I learned this because some dude on a bike w/no pack or water or gear of any kind told me I should not be out there because there's a Mt. Lion in the area and I should be more careful.  Dude....where's your pack w/emergency gear?? Cuz I've got mine on. You should probably be more careful. : ) I stopped and talked to the rangers this morning for a while about it and got the info I needed....and kept running. For the record, I've seen a real, live, in nature, Mt. Lion.  What I saw Tuesday was not a Mt. Lion.  I think its a new, California hybrid.  Bobyote.

Have a great weekend!