My inspiration to sign up for a road marathon, for the first time in 3 years, actually came while working an aid station for a 200 mile trail run in September. I was so fired up after seeing the excitement of the runners but knew I didn’t have the time to sign up for any long trail races this fall. So I took the “easy” way out and signed up for what will be my 4th California International Marathon (CIM), and 10th road marathon.
I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to be able to clean my house, work, and get my “long run” for the week done all in one day. I think I’m enjoying the running more than anything I’ve trained for in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love spending 8 hours on a trail, but road marathon training is just so much more efficient . And with two kids and a full time job… I am all about efficiency.
There is no stressing the weeks I have the kids because I can get all my running in on the treadmill before they wake up. Sure, I also did this while training for ultras but I was freaking out all the time “how am I going to run a mountain 50-miler running half the time on the treadmill?!?”
Even though I’m spending a lot of time on the treadmill and roads, I’m loving it nonetheless. On the treadmill, I watch movie after movie after movie… And on the roads, I still get to see some pretty spectacular scenery.
And every once in awhile when the timing works out I throw in an incredible trail run just to mix things up.
After a hectic week of work and fun with my kids, this morning I got up early and cleaned the house, then rewarded myself with a trail run.
I decided to attempt a loop out my door, to the 06, hopefully cutting across to Northstar and then coming down to Martis Valley, through Lahontan and back to my house.
I wasn’t feeling very well, fighting a cold, so this sounded a lot better than trying to do a fast road run. I headed out and took the 06 about 3 miles up to a trail that branches off to the left and ends up on a shoulder in between the 06 area and Northstar. I checked my watch here and I was 8 miles and 1:25 in.
I ran into a few mountain bikers at this section and asked them how to get to Martis Valley. They pointed in the general direction and said if I just followed the fire roads down towards Northstar I would find my way. One of them thought it was about 3 miles, the other thought 7. Hmmmm…
I decided to go for it and had a nice cruise down the fire roads, enjoying the views and easy running. This section started to remind me of a run I did in Breckenridge this past August.
I backtracked a little, and caught a glimpse of a single track just below the road I was on. I figured it was going in the general direction of Martis Valley so why not?
This section of trail was my favorite of the day. Beautiful gradually descending single track framed by trees and a rushing creek to the left of the trail the entire way down. All good until the trail ended and I was on a road again- left or right?
I chose left, and after about a 1/2 mile I found another single track so I decided to try that one. This one had a homemade sign “2 bridges”.
As I started running down it, I started wondering “where the f$&@ am I??” and “should I worry that this is not the right direction?” It didn’t seem like I was getting any closer to Martis Valley, and I was clearly not at Northstar anymore.
As it turns out, there were actually 3 bridges on the 2 bridges trail. It was a super cute and fun section, and after a few miles I suddenly recognized where I was- on the Ewok trail on the edge of Martis Valley! It was a really good feeling, but short-lived, as I realized I really didn’t know where I was and it was just a fake-out.
I plugged on though, making random decisions at every intersection, and somehow ended up on the Sawtooth Trail. So my plan didn’t exactly work, to make a loop down through Martis Valley, but I was pretty thrilled to know where the f@#$ I was now, and that I could still make a loop and find my way home.
Total mileage ended up at 19.6 with about 2,600 feet of gain.