Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weekend of Trails in the Briones and Pine Valley

 I typically run with my wife, primarily because we love running together and are each others best friends.  In fact, I wouldn't be a runner today if it wasn't for my wife's encouragement. And if I am not running with her, I am typically doing it by myself. So, when I end up running with anyone else, it is both an odd and intimidating experience.

I was invited by my Ultra buddy to join a group of two others for a Sunday morning run in the Briones Regional Park.  These are the hills that overlook both Martinez and Pleasant Hill.  It would be almost an eight mile run through the hills.  Since my wife and I focus more on the trails around Mt. Diablo and Castle Rock Regional Park, this sounded a bit exciting.  My only exposure to the area was a hike I had done with my family a couple of years back which I resulted in my first case of poison oak.

It was a great run even though a bit fast (this being a good thing) after being off of running for a month due to a calf injury.  The initial trail was great single track with a bit of a climb.  Within the first 2 miles you climb over 800 feet.  Once to the top you are rewarded with views of the Diablo Valley.  The sun was just cresting over Mt. Diablo without a cloud in the sky.  We then took a really fast single track down hill to an expansive meadow.  Hear we started climbing again on firetrail for a couple of miles before our decent into the Alhambra Valley.  It was a beautiful day for the run!

This was the first time in a while that I have taken up the back of the pack in a while, which was a bit humbling.  In fact, watching one of my speedy friends run every hill was amazing.

The map and elevation gain of the run is below:

I was able to follow up Sunday's run with another run with my wife on the Monday holiday.  We had decided to run out of Castle Rock for this run.  It was a bit overcast and not as warm as the day before, but it was perfect weather for a run.  We did a bit more hill work on this run, compared to the day before, with the initial climb of 700 feet over the first 0.5 mile, followed by a decent to Buckeye Ravine and then back up.  The wind was blowing on the ridges, but you would warm up in the valleys.  Everything is turning a nice green, even more than the week before, which is awesome.  For our final decent, we ran down Little Yosemite Trail.  Beth has told me about this trail, and I have been up it once; however, I didn't remember it for being as technical as it was.  It was a blast!

So after two days of running, my legs feel tired in a good way.  My quads aren't rubber bands, which I thought they might, and no lingering pains.  Training has begun!

The course and elevation with my wife is as follows:


  1. Jeez, man! Your wife must be a beast. That second run is within ft of being the same elevation as the first run, yet it is nearly a mile shorter with clearly more difficult climbs and descents!
    While running with "the guys" is fun once in a while....I bet getting lost in the woods with your wife has additional "benefits" the guys just can't offer!
    hee hee hee : )

  2. Sounds like someone wants an elevation competition... Bring it on!!

    1. Ha! I will happily go up against any other 35 yr old female mother of 3 any time, any place.

      Dudes in their late 20's who run 100's for fun...not so much. : ) Although, Brian assured me I'd kick all your butts on the technical downhills, just saying : )

      That said, when you running that loop I sent ya?

      Glad Brian was able to get in some "guy time", he had fun!


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