Monday, March 18, 2013

Embarcadero, Wall Road, and Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

So on the last post, my wife called out that I made it seem as if with a 10 mile run and 8.5 mile trail run, I am ready for the Diablo Challenge 50K.  I would be remiss in saying that my longest run has been the 10 miler.  So in reality, no I am not ready right now for Diablo.  However, I am getting there and felt confident enough to officially sign up this past Friday.  This week my runs consisted of:


I am finally getting back closer to having the ability to run a 1:50 road half marathon.  My pace this week on my runs were in the 8:40 range which I haven't seen in a while.  And what is even better, my legs feel strong.  My typical run is a little over 5 miles, from Levi Plaza down and around McCovey Cove and back, running some of the piers.  You can't find any flatter run in San Francisco and it is great for speed.  I am now getting between 10 and 20 miles a week running the Embarcadero.

The problem last year, when we trained for the 50K is that we had run the Napa Valley Marathon a month and a half before and came out of it with injuries.  Even with the training for the 50K, I would probably say I got most of my miles running like I do on the Embarcadero.  Not this year!   We are definitely running hills.  That brings me to:

Wall Road and Secret Trail

So on Saturday my wife and I decided to run out Stage Road, up Dusty Trail, and then further up Wall Road.  The wildflowers are in full bloom on Mt. Diablo, with the orange poppies complementing the purple lupine and purple wild daisies (not really sure what they are but they look like daisies), as well as what looks like red salvia.  It was somewhat hot out, in the high 70's, which was good especially for the climb. 

When we set out, our heart wasn't in the run even thinking about turning around at four miles; however, we kept on going.  On a trail like Stage, we really don't find ourselves in the grove until after the first couple of miles.  Once we got on Wall, though, we were committed.  We even toyed with the idea of running the extra mile out to Rock City; however, decided to keep with the plan of running down Secret Trail. 

Secret trail is a nice single track.  There are some technical areas, with some deep ruts mid-way down, but it is beautiful.  The poison oak is in full view now and if you are not careful, you will find yourself with a nasty rash.  I love this trail though.  We kept on the 0.6 mile trail until we got to BBQ Terrace which brought us back to Stage Road.   The creeks are starting to dry up; however, with the rain we are supposed to get this Wednesday and a few possible storms between now and race day, there should still be some great creek running!  This run got us another 10,6 miles and 2,100 feet of elevation gain.  In fact, for the week, my wife had over 6,000 feet of elevation. 

In a couple of weeks we will be running Lagoon Valley with our kids (our daughters doing the 10K and our son doing the 5K with a family friend) which meant one more run with the girls.  On a lark, we decided to run:

Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

There is this trail in Clayton that I have been wanting to try for some time.  It is the Mt. Diablo -Black Diamond Mines Trail, which connects Clayton with the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve.  My daughter had recently gone on a field trip up in the mines so I thought today would be a good day if any to try the trail.

You access the Mt. Diablo -Black Diamond Mines Trail off of Marsh Creek Road in the town of Clayton, CA.  The trail starts off promising with green hills covered by oaks. It is a mild climb for the first mile; however, about a mile out you loose the cover of the trees as you begin the climb.  At mile 2 you come to the gate for the Preserve.  You have awesome views of Rio Vista and the Delta.  There was a fire on Sherman Island and it was impressive to see the flames for far away.

Once you are in the preserve, you further climb for another 0.5 mile and are rewarded with the awesome views of Ponderosa Pine and sandstone.  You are really in back-country here.  We climbed further up until we had an awesome view of the Clayton Valley below as well as our neighborhood.  We could have kept on going; however, it was really time to head back.

It was slow going with the girls on the climb; but they knew that we would also have a fun run down the hill!  And fun it was, a non-stop run 3.5 miles back to the car.

Comming up.....

Next up is the first race of the year and the longest run, the Canyon Meadows 30K in the Redwood Regional Park followed by a half marathon at Lagoon Valley.  This should put us in a good place for the Diablo Challenge 50K.

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