Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Ugh. I still feel a bit tired and sore. I did six yesterday. It did not feel bad, I was energized afterwards. But I'm feeling it today. Not bad, but I know I should dial it back. It'll be a little run today, only about 3 miles or so.

No big trail run for this weekend, I think. It actually works out well because we'll be having guests at Casa Coyote this weekend. My far ranging mountain runs have me a bit nervous lately because of a lot of reports like this. I might change my routes a bit and bring them further down into town for a while. I don't want to be paranoid, but I've just had an uneasy feeling lately on the trails.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ups and Downs

I had me a long run today....I didn't go as far as scheduled since I got going late and had some Garmin difficulties, but it was a long run nonetheless that hopefully did what it's supposed to do, get me fitter. I'm fried right now. I'm supposed to take the kids to the park in a few minutes but I just want to go take a nap.

Le Garmin said that I did over 5000 feet of climbing. I feel it. I think I'm doing too much up and down. I'm not doing too well on the downs. My ups are actually improving markedly, but I lock up on the descents causing a lot of soreness. I'm still gun shy on bombing the descents. (For those that don't know I took a big tumble a few years back and broke my leg on the trail). For next week's long run I'll cook up a flatter route. That'll be hard since there's not too much flat around here, or at least flat that is interesting enough to me to do a long run on.

I'm now running exclusively in VFF's. No more shoes at all! On the trails shoes make me turn my ankles and on the streets even that little bit of heel offsets me enough to tighten up my lower back. I really dig having freedom from shoes, just knowing that I don't need anything to run anywhere for any distance is empowering.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Green, Green Grass

Monday is rest day, and I can happily say that I've earned it. I'm sitting here eating lunch knowing that the hard running I put in on the weekend is now reaping benefits for me as I rest and repair. Saturday I did my long run, I'll have to measure it on the maps, and then Sunday I did a mid-distance run on tired legs. Today I'm trashed. My quads are so sore it's difficult to walk down the deck stairs into the yard. Mission accomplished!

I'm following a training plan closely now that will lead me up to the Ohlone 50k. I'm finding that having an exact plan is comforting. I feel on track and prepared. it's like a map that shows me exactly how to get there from here.

Saturday's run was gorgeous. Sunny, and mid-seventies, high sixties at the top of the mountain underneath the cool and moist redwood trees. I ran into another renegade dog walker at the top and two scowflaw road bikers of all things coming up Chinquapin trail. We exchanged "howdies" and they asked about my VFFs and I gave them the report of no rangers from here on out. In fact I've NEVER seen a ranger out on the trails at Huddart. Which is fine with me, but odd. Heck if I had that job you couldn't keep me inside.

On my way out of the woods and about 2 miles from my car I had a sudden revelation. It was be-a-utiful outside, right there. Warm moist air that smelled so fresh, gorgeous rolling fields of green grass dotted by orange flecks of California poppy, purple spikes of lupine and blue sprinklings of forget-me-nots. The sky a soothing, contrasting, turquoise blue. It was then that I realized, "Man, I hated winter. It was worse than I thought." Winter just ain't beautiful around here. It's like a wet, cool, gray gym sock laying over your neighborhood. No pretty bright white snow here. Just grey, and mud. Spring and summer are MUCH better.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Last Weekend's Long Run

Ah, I have neglected to update the bloggo. Well, last weekend's long run was lovely. Huddart is greener than I've ever seen it. There are creeks bubbling where I've never seen them before and green ferns line the trails and decorate the canyons. Every boulder is covered in green moss. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera.

I ran up a trail that I usually run down. I had to keep turning around to look down the trail to recognize where I was. Even then with all of the greenery, I didn't recognize where I was all of the time. I figured I'd get to the top at some point.

I took a little connector trail that heads out towards another preserve. I wasn't planning on going all of the way out there, just about 10 minutes out to add more mileage. It was a bit creepy. There was no one up there and by the looks of the trail I didn't think that anyone had been up there in days. We have all of these gorgeous places but I see so few people on the trails. In the big lot at Huddart my car is often the only one there. I see LOTS of people on Pulgas trail when I'm there. You know why? They can bring their dogs.

On the way back down I met up with a nice fellow walking (illegally) with his dog and his son on one of the trails. He was immediately appologetic about the dog and I immediately told him that I thought the rule was stupid. (the East Bay parks all allow dogs on leash on the trails). The way I see it dogs have a special place with humans. We've been together at the very least about 15,000 years (some think 25,000 or more). If you require folks to keep their canines leashed and to either bury poop or pick it up I don't see a problem enjoying the great outdoors with your dog. In fact, it's only natural. As it is now you can't bring your dog hardly anywhere around here, so people don't go anywhere and their dogs don't get an opportunity to get out and about and learn how to be good canine citizens.

I've spoken to countless people who would use these wonderful outdoors more (or even at all) if they could walk/run with their dogs but they don't feel safe without them. I think a dog is a good big cat/evil human deterent. And just a heck of a good companion.

So how about even just a day or two a week where dogs are allowed on peninsula trails. Why not? Anyway, I just think that there are too many stinkin' rules. The Man's been bustin' my mojo lately.

The rest of the run was downhill, thankfully since I really needed to hit the outhouse. I used my cross country flats but the trail was well groomed with crushed gravel and not mudlicious at all. I could've worn my Vibrams. Fer sure this Saturday.


The weather's been fabulous here! It's been in the 70's the past few days and it'll be nice like this through the weekend at least. It definitely affects my mood for the better!

Here's some cool ultra links that I found that have been very helpful -

A whole bunch of ultra links

A really cool automatic training schedule for ultras

I've used this link to make a better training schedule for myself. Lotsa weekend mileage!

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Trails, Old Places

I love it when I discover a new place to run, right from my front door.

Driving home a few days ago I discovered that there was a dirt trail along side of a street that I never thought about running on. It would be too narrow and possibly dangerous otherwise, but I hadn't seen the trail before.

Zoe and I checked it out. It's a perfect hill training road, lines a gorgeous wild canyon (we saw deer) and great views at the top. I'm adding it to the training regimen.

The canyon and the hills area beautifully green right now. The winter rains have made this place a lush paradise. The next few days are expected to be beautiful, sunny and warm. I'm planning a long run this weekend of around 20 miles if I can handle it up in Huddart probably.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A rain-filled Union Creek.

Mud and Waterfalls

It was a mudlicious early springtime run. This time I used my cross country flats; that was the ticket. I didn't slip once, even though I was in some shoe sucking sludge out there. It took me a little time to get used to running in the mud. I wasn't sure of my footing on that sludgy ground. I watched some cross country runners from the University of Santa Clara power past me through the sludge and I felt like a total clutzy dolt. I'm a little gun shy on the slippery trails...but I did improve markedly by the end of the run.

I started my run outside of the parks at Edgewood Road. Crystal Springs Trail takes a good mile and a half in as a rutted flat trail that suddenly juts upward and into the hills before diving down into Phleger and Huddart Parks. Crystal Springs Trail was kind of a mess today. Sections of it were completely churned up mud from horses' hooves. I tippy-toed around some of the really soppy sections at first. This was shoe sucking-off stuff!

The temps hovered around a fabulous 70 degrees in full sunshine. This is that magical time of year around here when it's green, sunny and warm on occasion. We'll still have cold rainy days, but they lead to spectacular days like this one. Come May, the hills will turn brown.

I ran into Phleger this time around. I thought about going up into Huddart, but decided to do something different. I also wanted to see how Union Creek was looking. Well it was Union River this time around complete with beautiful cascades and little tributaries that fed it from the hillsides. I ran along its banks via the Miramontes Trail and then headed up the hill a bit before turning back at the hour point. I figured two hours of good trail running would be enough for today, as I'm slowly building up.

On the way out of Phleger I saw a beautiful, healthy doe. She had a wonderful winter-fuzzy coat and a full belly (pregnant?). She was completely unconcerned about me and continued munching on the lush green spring grass.

I put the hammer down, as best as I can at this time of year, on the last flat section back out to the car. I got my courage up on the last big downhill to let 'er fly through the mud. I'm glad to say that there were no geological surveys. I pushed the pace to the end and felt my technique actually improve a bit. I thought about dancing lightly over the mud and hoof prints. It seemed to work!

The plan is to add one to two more trail runs in per week. I'm hoping on seeing some really improvement from this. And I just feel much happier out there.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Zoe and I made it out before the storm blew in. We had a wonderful run through the 'hood in the balmy warm wind before the storm. I've discovered that Zoe is not entirely a creature of habit. She likes variety in her runs. She runs best when we explore new routes and places to go, she slows up and acts bored when we run a route too often. And I thought that she was just getting lazy.

Today was just a moderately short/medium run. I'm givin' it a little rest before going long again on Sunday. By then the storm will have blown out an I'll hit the redwood mountain trails of Huddart again.

I'm trying to have a little fun with my local runs. I really don't like running in the 'burbs or the city; I'd be happier in the woods all of the time. But I can't justify driving there every day of the week so until I'm living up there full time (hint, hint at my true desires) I have to do some running around town.

Running with Zoe does help. It's a lot more fun with a partner. We had some fun running in the downtown area too. Here in Coyote's town there's a shi-shi downtown shopping district. It used to be a normal place with vegetable stands, banks, butchers, markets, a pharmacy and a few useful clothing stores. Now it's obnoxious. High end clothiers, fancy restaurants (the kind that serve dinky portions that would never satisfy a hungry coyote) and uber trendy furniture stores. It's nearly totally worthless to me now, I never go there. But in the past few days we've been having a hoot running at least a few blocks on this "strip." We do some yuppie/hipster watching. Lotsa yuppie/hipsters drive in from all around to walk around to see and be seen on these streets. It's great to see their reaction when I come barrelling down the street in my Vibrams, running shorts and giant black dog. I clearly don't fit in with the crowd. Nor would I want to.

Today we encountered a gentleman with two tiny chihuahuas. At sighting Zoe they went ballistic, barking and freaking out at the ends of their leashes. Zoe didn't give a rip. She just gave them a quizzical look and wanted to keep on keepin' on down the street. The Run is way more interesting to the Zoester than a little snack dog. And there's nothing like the spectacle of nutty mini dogs to make a man look, well less manly at the end of a leash. Chihuahua Man got flustered and red faced. A municipal worker who was busy working on an electrical box nearby had a good belly laugh over the whole scene. We headed on home with a smile and got back before the rain came down.