Category Archives: SF Bay Area

Brazen’s Dirty Dozen (or, trotting in a loop for 47 miles)…

9 July 2016. 13 large loops, 4 small loops. Official distance: 46.21 miles


How to begin talking about my first ultra, our first 50k, our first 40-miler, and definitely our first time running a race around a loop, within a set period? Now, nearly 2 weeks months later, it seems kind of blurry and far away, taken over by our John Muir Trail preparations and actual trip.

I’d always wanted to participate in this event, having heard of the all-day fun, the camaraderie, and craziness.

The Brazen Dirty Dozen is a time, not distance-delimited race. Runners have the option of choosing between 6 hours or 12 hours, and running for as long/ as far as they can within those set times. There are hardly any requirements. One can run long for as long as they wish, and rest for as little as they wish. Some folks use it to run a set distance – say – a half marathon, or a full marathon. Many of the 12-hour folks definitely gun for 50 miles.

The course consists of a 3.37-mile loop in Point Pinole park in Richmond. During the last hour of the 6 or 12, a small loop near the start/finish area of .67 miles opens up so runners have a better chance of completing more miles rather than being stuck out in the middle of the larger loop when the clock runs out.

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Marin Headlands Loop in Reverse

9:51pm - Rodeo Beach

Saturday, 18 June 2016. Marin Headlands (25-mile) Loop Counter-Clockwise

This jaunt marked the 4th time DD’s traversed this trail, and my 2nd (account of my 1st here). The challenge – start at 2pm and finish after dark (~10pm), and do the loop in the opposite, counter-clockwise direction. Our plan:

  • Segment 1: Rodeo → Lagoon Trail →  Bobcat Trail → SCA Trail → Slacker Pass → Golden Gate Bridge
  • Segement 2: Golden Gate Bridge → Slacker Pass → SCA Trail → Marincello → Tennessee Valley
  • Segment 3: Tennessee Valley → Miwok Trail → Coyote Ridge → Muir Beach → Pirate’s Cove → Tennessee Valley
  • Segment 4: Tennesee Valley → Old Springs Trail –> Wolf Ridge → Coastal Trail → Rodeo Beach

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Thirty Miles in the Marin Headlands

Looking back from the SCA Trail

Sunday, 5 June 2016. A 25-mile loop in the Marin Headlands, and a little more.

DD’s latest obsession has been exploring the intersection of hiking and ultra-running, for which lines definitely begin to blur as distances become longer. To that end, he’s been training and speculating on how he might be able to complete a 50-mile race while primarily hiking (since most humans do hike the uphills during races) and jogging/ running the downhills and flats.

In his sights (though he has not yet signed up for it), is Pacific Coast Trail Run’s Marin Headlands Hundred race, which offers distances of a marathon, and 50, 75, and 100 miles.

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Point Reyes from Palomarin to Drake’s Estero

Obligatory View Photo

7 May 2016. 22.92 miles, with a nice stop at PRNSA’s Fireside Chat.

Another weekend, and another long hike. At the house, we’ve gotten into some sort of cadence with each other’s schedules, which means DD almost always schedules a long hike on Saturday, and I’ve been alternating my long run-weekends with joining along on those long training hikes every other Saturday.

He was fresh from the exhiliration of a successful and relatively pain-free Skyline-to-the-Sea 27-mile day-long, thru-hike with Justin the prior weekend, and was looking to extend his collection of 20-plus milers.

Our 24-mile path would have us launching from Palomarin, at the popular trailhead for the hike to Alamere Falls, then heading north on the Coast Trail until we reached Limantour Spit Road. There, if our timing was just right, we’d be able to take a detour to the Clem Miller Environmental Education Center, where the Point Reyes National Seashore Association was having their annual Fireside Chat for some of their members. From Limantour, depending on how we were feeling, we’d take Muddy Hollow to Estero Trail, and end up back at a parked car at the Drake’s Estero.

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Snow Basics Course, Day Zero

A slight pause on Saturday morning

Leading up to this particular weekend, we had been watching the weather like hawks. Forecasts had shown a rather large storm moving into the general NorCal area and we were a bit worried.

DD had signed us up for a 3-day Snow Basics course with Ned Tibbits’ Mountain Education organization late last year. DD’s got goals of hiking the PCT, or at least parts of it sometime in 2017 and wanted to be prepared to encounter and deal with snow conditions – in particular learning about self arrest during an accidental slip-and-fall down icy slopes, or even if a purposeful glissade goes horribly wrong. We’d probably be able to use similar techniques if El Nino proves true to form and we get an unusually high snow year when we venture on the John Muir Trail this summer (although this seems pretty unlikely due to our late July start date).

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Land's End

On Sunday I did my usual long run (~12.47 miles). Because of an upcoming hilly Half in Livermore, I chose a route (quite standard, really, especially when I was training for the SF Marathon last spring/ summer,) that took me through the park, up Strawberry Hill and eventually down to Great Highway and up and Land’s End. Relatively “hilly” with lots of downhills and flats in between.

Though this will be my 4th year running, I still don’t know a lot about what to do/ how to improve. If I make the effort, and make it a point to go to track workouts, I might get better.

This year I vow to overcome my fears, to do things that scare me.


CIM 2012 Weekend

Wow, it’s truly been a while. The last time I posted I was just starting training for my first marathon, ever, and that was back in September, when I managed to run 46 miles in a week – my highest mileage week ever (even during the “peak” of my cycle). I achieved this 46-mile week was only because I started Labor Day Monday with running the Zombie Runner/ Zoom Running Lake Vasona Half Marathon in Los Gatos.

Now, I find myself 2 days before my first-ever 26.2.

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It’s been a while – 16 mile milestone

Highest mileage week, yet!

It’s been a while… but before I get sucked up into other matters yet again, I need to get this down to help with future training.

16 miles is the longest run I’ve logged yet, ever, and it went surprisingly well. I attribute its success to a number of factors.

The Day Before

Though I woke up early (6:45am) to take the car in for service, I snuck in a nap around mid-day. I also bought a pastry and soymilk chai and had somewhat of a breakfast on the walk home from the dealership. For lunch I ate an ear of fresh corn and the leftover Santouka miso ramen which still had a goodly amount of noodles. Perhaps my body was trying to tell me something but I was constantly hungry and snacked a bit throughout the rest of the afternoon until dinnertime, when we had some Bun-Cha Rice Noodle Salad and Vietnamese meatballs for dinner. Bedtime at 10:30pm. Continue reading


Brazen Bay Breeze Half 2012

Brazen Bay Breeze Half Start

Yes, still new to running, so I’m selecting the “fast and flat” courses to try out before getting into the more challenging trails + hills or even hillier road races. This event out by the San Leandro Marina, is the speediest of races Brazen offers, and apparently so flat and boring that hardcore trail fiends Mr. NotthatLucas and his family chose to volunteer for it rather than actually race. We were very lucky with the weather this year, since it was apparently very wet in 2011 with gale-force winds threatening to knock runners off their feet as they braved the course.

I signed up earlier in the season, and was happy that DD offered to come along, bring the Harlow, and take some photos as I ran. We got there around 7:15ish, Endorphin Dude having announced something about a Half Fanatic photo prior to starting. Though I was technically not yet in HF, this race would be my 2nd Half in under 14 days, so I qualified for entry-level “Neptune moon” status. And besides, ED said it would be ok, and who am I to argue with such a running luminary? Continue reading


Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen

Beachside inside

Running through the park and down along the Great Highway brings us to the end of the N Judah line by design. We’re usually too lazy to run back uphill through Golden Gate Park and would rather take MUNI back home. What’s great about this area is that in the recent few years a number of quaint little cafes and restaurants have sprung up – Outerlands most distinctively, Trouble Coffee, and, from the owners of the venerable Java Beach CafeBeachside Coffe Bar & Kitchen.

My long run one beautiful January Sunday was for 13 miles. Usual course through the park, down Great Highway, but this time with the addition of a loop around Lake Merced and back up the Highway. I remember not feeling good that day. It might have been psychological. I managed to run part of a DSE 10k course and kept getting passed up by too many folks bent on their speedy 10k pace… DD was also not with me, having run his first really intense trail – Steep Ravine – with Owen on Saturday.  Though miles 5-7 is when I usually hit my stride and begin to feel comfortable, I was tired and felt sluggish. At around mile 9 (I was looping Lake Merced by then), I needed to stop completely. I took a GU and drank some water and pretty soon got going again. Eventually I made it to 13.01m and headed home on MUNI. Continue reading

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