Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eagle Peak Trail to Mitchell Rock Trail, Mitchell Canyon, Mt. Diablo

Yesterday morning's adventure was a 4 mile, 1191 ft of climbing, loop out of Mitchell Canyon. I went up Eagle Peak trail, and came down on Mitchell Rock trail. Conditions are as expected, super dry, crumbly, rocky, loose, and slippery. However, the views are worth it, and the down hill can be as fun as you dare to make it.

 For now, I'm running past this, but in about an hour I'll be running down out of those woods on this trail.
  Looking up the back side of Mt. Diablo at the summit. Those craggy nooks and crannies towards the left of the mt are where the Waterfalls Trail loop is I've posted about a few times over this past year.

 Above, working. Below, resting.

 You can adopt a trail and maintain it, and I highly suspect Eagle Peak has been adopted as it's in really good shape, even sporting some new little rock walls right at the switchbacks.

 Above is from where I came up, below is what I'm going down.

 Yes, you do go right up over that last hill and straight down the other side.

 I love running through the Pine's.
 That's the park down there, where I'm parked.
And this is the trail I said I'd be running down in about an hour, and I'm running down it right on schedule.

A great morning on the mountain.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Girly Post - Ipsy Glam Bag

Some of ya may have heard of these monthly shipments of beauty products. They really picked up last year in popularity. I'm not super girly, and I generally loath having to by makeup/beauty products because they have gotten so expensive.
However, I'm about to turn 37, the kids are getting older, and I'm looking older. I find myself wanting to try new beauty products, either out of need to erase wrinkles, dark spots, and pimples, or just wanting to try something fun/new for a change.
I also, if I'm being completely transparent, feel like I don't do a whole heck of a lot for just myself when it comes to my appearance. I don't go to salons - I cut my own hair, color my own hair, do my own nails, don't get facials or spray tans or massages or teeth whitening or anything like that, ever. So if I can do something beauty related that's just for me for $10 a month, I refuse to feel guilty about it .
So, I signed up for Ipsy. 
It's a monthly shipment of a Glam Bag with 5 products inside. Products are beauty related, but not always makeup.
After being on a waiting list for a few months, I finally got my first bag!
 It came USPS in this bright pink package.

And that's what was inside. 
A really nice full size nail polish, mascara, and lip gloss. A super nice hand cream that I really like, and a face powder.
And it came in a nice, reusable silver travel/makeup bag.
Super excited to get a bag of beauty products every month!!
(I clearly spend way more time perfecting my trail pictures than I did these. I have priorities : )

Back to regular info--------------------
After failing on Friday to get up Eagle Peak, I did indeed get it done this morning and had a blast. That post will be up soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Why the heat wave, CA?? Upper 90's for days. I worked at the school this morning, so got around to my run after 11, and holy cow.  I had visions of doing Eagle Peak today, out of Mitchell Canyon, and I did head out that way, started climbing, and realized I was already struggling .8 of a mile in.
85 degrees....but mt degrees. Meaning it's hotter on Diablo, I swear it's a crazy mt that way.  Everything feels so much hotter reflecting back up into your face. I even had my neck cooler thing on.  Oh well. I'm so looking forward to a cool down.....eventually it'll have to happen.
 Just came across Bruce Lee Trail in the grasslands, realizing I'm already toast and just starting to climb, wondering if I should be doing this or not, and when to call it and turn around...or keep going.
This is what 85 and under 2 miles did to me....pretty ridiculous that I'm such a light weight in the heat, but man, that was rough!

ps, it's now 3pm and 105 out.  Ugh.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Yesterday's Trail Friends

As I mentioned yesterday, I did a workout, then wanted to just get a few quick miles in of running before coming home and doing another workout.
For only doing 2 miles, I sure saw a lot!
(Warning: If you don't like big, harry spiders, this is not the post for you!)
 There are no animals, but I was running and just happened to look left and there was this amazing ray of sunlight lighting up a section of woods back there. It was so pretty, much prettier than the picture captures.
 Below, I see so many of these guys, I rarely take pictures of them any more. The drier we get, the more I seem to see. But this one.....was super big and posed so handsomely I couldn't resist.
 While I only went out 1 mile, I saw no Tarantulas outbound, but within minutes I was heading inbound on the same trail, and this was Tarantula #1. Yes, there's a lot of pictures, but these things are just so cool I kept snapping as long as I could. I was able to get the camera set on Macro to try to get some of the details for you guys...but that means getting within 6 inches or less for the setting to work well. It was fun!!


 And this was the second one I saw, the one in the video from yesterday's post. It was in a hurry to get somewhere, and not a fan of the camera!

Twice he walked over the edge of the camera. 
Tarantula season is such a cool time on the mountain! This is the first year I've had the season pass and have been able to regularly go to the area's they tend to be in, so while there has always been a tarantula season on Diablo, this is really my first year getting to experience it fully! I've seen a few here and there during previous years, but nothing like this year, and I'm thoroughly enjoying getting to interact with these gentle spider giants!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


A video from this mornings outing. I only did 2 miles (its a workout/run/workout day), and saw 2 tarantulas.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pics from this mornin

Not a lot to say. I did two separate runs this morning. I did not intend on doing that, it just unfolded that way. The first just felt blah, partly because I was running a ridge that is just 10 shades of brown, tan, burnt colors. Partly because its a hilly ridge, there's really no good direction to run it.You know what I mean, there's usually an uphill direction and a downhill direction....this ridge is just up and downs from both directions.
So, I called it done, and drove over to a killer hill that would be a good leg workout and get me a couple more miles.

 Feeding the Hokas.
 Looking towards Walnut Creek and Lafayette.
 Borges Ranch is just on the other side of that hill, which was fun to run down, but I don't really want to head back up it. You go up the main trail you see towards the left, then hang a sharp right, right up that cone shape-ish hill, you can see the trail through the trees if you look hard.
  Borges Ranch, where I'm parked, with Mt. Diablo in the background.
 Run #2, heading up, looking down on Walnut Creek, you can see a tad bit of Briones off the the right on the horizon line in this picture.
 And that terribly bumpy ridge along the horizon was the scene of run #1.
 That was a scary fun downhill, and my mouth looks weird because I always breath through my mouth when I run, but the air hurts the teeth I've had worked on, so now you get this odd mouth look.
 You are looking center of the horizon line at the hawk that is flying away....below you can kind of see that he was carrying a big, not dead snake. The snake looked like he was trying to strike upwards at the hawk, and the hawk kept circling not wanting to land....I'm guessing he wanted to make sure the snake died first...I just wanted him to not drop it on my head.

 To happy trails, and better runs this week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hoka One One Kailua Trail

(pronounced Ho-kah Oh-nay Oh-nay, although I've never heard anyone in real life say it that way)
Maori for "Time to fly over the Earth!"

I should probably start off this post saying this is not a shoe review.  There are 100's of Hoka reviews out there, so if you want one, fire up Google and have fun! We certainly did when I started hinting that I may finally be willing to get on the Hoka train and drink the Kool Aid (thank you, NTL).  If you've been to a running event in the last 5 years, you've no doubt seen Hoka's.  I remember the first time I saw someone in a pair and I thought, "what the heck is on his feet? Can you really run in those?" Hoka's started out as those huge, over sized, super cushioned, super wide based shoes.  They looked a lot like moon shoes. This at a time when running was in it's "minimal shoes are the best" phase. So you would see everything  from no shoes, to sandals, to vibrams, to super thin (minimal) shoes, to hybrids of all sorts....and then the dude in the moon shoes, bucking the trend. You still see a wide variety of shoes at every race, but you see a lot of moon shoes now, too, although they are more stream lined than they were in the beginning.  And really, that variety is one of the things I love about running.

 We are all constantly changing - getting older, bigger, smaller, faster, slower....and with those changes our gear tends to change. Yes, some people have super strong opinions about what's best for your body, what the best "thing" is that is gear related....but I sure don't, and I think most of the running community doesn't either.  Just find what works for you and go gett'r done. Moon shoes? Fine, have a good run! Tutus? Cool, have fun. Fake mohawk? Awesome, and have fun. Barefoot? Cool, mind the cow pies, and have a good run. Nathan running vest VS super expensive running vest...I don't care what you're wearing, just happy to have you on the trail with me.

So along the constantly changing line of thought (did I have a line of thought when I started this???), this past year I took a huge break from running. It started last winter with an injury sustained while training for WTC, then some family/life changes that shifted priorities....and I find myself getting back into the running game eager, but both a year older, heavier, and slower.  As I mentioned, part of enjoying running is finding the right gear for you, and I now need a more substantial, thicker, cushier shoe.  So, after 3 paragraphs of randomness, I would like to introduce you to my new Hoka One One Kailua's -

 Initially, while trying them on, I had to agree with the reviews that the toe box was narrow, however while running I never felt they were too tight, or small.

 There are a lot of little details to appreciate

 This morning it was time to introduce them to my mountain.

  They ate their first dirt this morning! They said, "Aahhh, that tastes good!"

 I did feel that climbing was easier a bit, especially near the end of the run, although this could be due to all the reviews saying that climbing is made easier by a certain percentage.
Flats felt really, really nice, although I don't enjoy running flats, I do enjoy the rocking feel.

 I took them on the scenic tour.

 They were trucking is supplies for the annual Save Mount Diablo dinner on the mountain behind China Wall.
 This is what a lot of the downhill consisted of, loose, slippery dirt. 
 About half way done, and time for some downhill.  They feel very different on the downhills, and it'll take a bit of getting used to.  Everything I read said you fly on the downhills...not the case with me, I felt a bit slippy.  The ground is super dry right now, though, and mostly loose dirt, so it very possibly could just be the terrain I was on.

 I predict a long, happy relationship with these shoes.

I could spend hours linking you to info and videos, but if you really are interested in learning more about Hoka's, your best bet is to just Google.
For those curious about price, Hoka's are known for their high price tag.  We were able to find mine online at Zombie Runner for under $90, which is a great deal!