From the beginning.....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Giant Race 4

Welcome back to the blogosphere, RunningHoppy....

Some quick links, since this will probably be a bit long to read:

My donation page
Register for the race yourself (you get a Buster Posey bobble head, no matter what distance!)
I can't seem to get my inner article links to work so see towards the bottom for:
Incentives for all to donate
Incentives for beery folks to donate
My Training

The Giant Race holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons (in no particular order). 1. As a transplant to the Bay Area, I love the Giants, and you get to finish on the field. 2. It was my first half-marathon ever, in 2011. 3. I trained, was comped an entry for appearing in this article by The Beer Runner, ran more half-marathons, and then took the 2012 race to task, running a PR by about 50 minutes (1:29:48, since you asked...).

4. In 2013 I was running the race again, more as a community event, with no goal time, just running for fun with some friends from my run group. At 3am the morning of the race, I received a call that my nephew Henry, who had been in hospice for several months, had finally succumbed to an infection he got because of his weakened immune system. It's never news you will know how to react to, ever, even if you know it's coming. I was numbed, being 550 miles away and alone. I wrestled with whether I should run the race for the hours leading up to the time I'd need to leave my apartment. I knew that much of my Bay Area support base was going to be there, but in the end, it was that paralysis that made the decision. I also knew I wasn't ready to deal with people and the grief publicly yet. I didn't run.

This blog article isn't meant to be a downer, but the inescapable fact is that Henry is forever intertwined with this race, as he has been with my running since he was born. There is no better time to run a race for Henry. I think I also needed something to focus on, since there have been numerous events in the last few weeks that put me on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Highs, but some very low, lows.

I haven't talked about Henry's passing much, but it's because I feel like it makes it about me, and not him. Maybe that's messed up, and I would probably be better off talking about it, but grief is private to me, not public. Even posting this article is difficult, I just want people to focus on honoring Henry's legacy, and helping raise money for a good cause.

I now have to focus on at least fundraising, since I signed up to collect a minimum of $500 for Project Open Hand. Now, yes I do get a comped entry for the race either way, but I plan on donating the race entry fee to my cause anyway (around $100). Whatever I don't raise towards the $500, I have to pay out of pocket. This means I'm committed, I wouldn't have signed up otherwise.

Each year I thought of fundraising, but lost it in the shuffle of regular life, work, training, etc. This year, I've made the pledge to Project Open Hand, a local charitable organization that feeds seniors and critically ill in the Bay Area. What I didn't know, but learned when two representatives from Project Open Hand visited us at A Runner's Mind recently, was that none of the race entry fee goes to the charity. The race is a platform to get the word out for the major fundraising effort. It works too, they raised over $260,000 last year for the non-profit. If you're keeping count, that's 130,000 meals.

Since Henry was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, I've wanted to do a race and fund raise for CP. This race isn't that, but I think this is both a great cause, and one that will still honor Henry's memory. He was never able to take care of himself, and when in hospice, everyone in the family required more care and feeding. I have no doubt I will find a way to support CP when the time is right.

For folks who wish to donate, there are certain prizes that I am supposed to get as incentives, which I'm going to raffle off. You can see those here. Of note, however, if I reach the astronomical level of experiences at the ballpark ($1250 and $5000), I will have to figure out how to share those. Each physical prize level will either be delivered locally or mailed to the raffle winner. Any level of donation will be eligible for these prizes, as soon as I get them, if we get to that level. I hope to add more incentives as we move towards race day, but don't have any at the moment. Please keep in mind, one prize per donation, and you can opt out of prize consideration by emailing me or tweeting me @runninghoppy.

For my beery friends, to hopefully incentivize some additional donations, I will raffle two coveted bottles from my collection: First, a 2011 Mother of all storms from Pelican Brewing in Oregon (a 99 score on Beer Advocate). Second, a 2011 Abacus from Firestone Walker, also highly rated on Beer Advocate, at 100 points. I'll ship these to whomever wins (over 21 years old). How do you win? Donate a minimum of $50, with a minimum of 5, $50 donations for each bottle to be raffled. This does mean that if someone is not so beery, they will also be eligible, but I will be sure to clarify if they would like to be entered for the beer (either way, if the donation is over $50, it will count towards the minimum of 5 donations each). Also, not to complicate things, but you can only win one bottle, so if you want a beer, specify which one in a tweet to me @runninghoppy or send me an email after you donate.

Not that it will happen, but if someone beery wants to donate $500, I will give up my 5 bottle vertical of Firestone Walker Anniversary beers, starting with 13, and ending at XVII. I only have one vertical, so the first to donate $500 gets it. The above beers are the crown jewels of my collection, to be clear, and I don't take giving them up lightly. This race means a lot to me, Henry's memory means a lot to me, as does the potential to help the people who need it and are supported by Project Open Hand.

Now, a little bit about my training.

I hurt my achilles at the end of January, in the middle of my Oakland marathon training cycle, and had to drop out of the race. I also had to walk a 5k instead of run the 10k in February (the Getty Owl run, another race that I support, because Getty reminds me of Henry).

I took two months off of running, then with the advice of a Kaiser doctor I had evaluate me at the Oakland Running Festival, I started running again. Slowly, minimally. More recently, I haven't been 'training' in the traditional sense, just trying to get my legs back underneath me. So I've been running between 10 and 15 mile runs on the weekend, some on trail, some on harder surfaces. I've been running a little during the week too. It's been successful, thanks to my swimming workouts, the occasional yoga workout, and my core exercises. Read this as I'M ACTUALLY CROSS TRAINING. Also, my friends are a tremendous help, so much help.

I'm looking to put together a training plan, for the first time racing a half-marathon. I bench marked my 13.1 time yesterday (June 15th) at 1:50, an 8:30 or so pace, and my goal is to get a 1:40 or lower (a 7:37 pace). Keeping in mind that this was a training run, with several stops for water and a snack, it was good to find myself under the 2 hour mark of running time. Also, it was about 85 degrees at start, I neglected to bring hydration, and on the way back, I ran into a huge headwind (dropped my mile pace by more than 30 seconds).

I've been talking for months now about taking it easy, building up slowly, and starting training for CIM in December. I think I'm stronger than I'll admit to run, I know how to watch for my Achilles, and now have the willpower to hold back if I need to, or stop. I know I can just run the Giant Race, but in my gut, I feel like have a purpose and aggressive goal will both help me focus on the race, and the cause. I hope to update this blog periodically with news of my training, and certainly should be posting a race report of some sort after I finish in September.

This may sound corny but if you know me, you know I am. I want to run strong for Henry and my family.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Now try 3 days in a row.

Several months ago, I ended a run streak I had started in 2011. I ran 450 days straight, and I really enjoyed it.

I got attention from a lot of people for being a crazy runner dude.
I got into great shape, to the tune of losing 50lbs and running several half marathons.
I had a great time with my running group and other friends, running so much.
I made great new friends.
I saw great sights, in great places.

Running was pretty great, you could say.

I find myself now in a place where my last race was in April, my last run (albeit a run I really enjoyed) was a couple weeks ago, before that, probably longer still.

The top of the world, otherwise known as Spencer's Butte in Eugene. Kind of my happy place and the last place I ran.

A little over a month ago, I was pretty proud that I had strung together a 3 day running streak. It was a far cry from 450 days, but an accomplishment I felt good about. I also had my comeback race planned for soon. Then there came some life stuff, and running was off again.

Running is supposed to relieve stress, but frankly it wasn't working. Thinking about running, putting pressure on myself to run, was making it worse, actually. Running was also really painful, physically. Things that 'feed into' my running motivation are the calories I consume, visiting fun places to run, and that accomplished feeling after I'm done. Believe me, I was 'feeding' my running, I just wasn't actually running.

The stress was causing me to eat more, drink more, and lose sleep, AND I STILL WASN'T RUNNING. As of a couple weeks ago, I decided to remove the stress of trying to run. Now, it's not all rosey and nice at this point, but it is better. I've gone from planning races and runs in my head, to just kind of waiting for something to happen. Maybe I'll run soon, maybe not. Maybe I'll race before the end of the year, maybe not. When you've plotted runs and races steadily for a couple of years, this is a strange feeling to try and be comfortable with.

I'm still a fatty, having put on much of the weight I lost. I miss my run group friends, who, by the way, I'm not avoiding. It's just that, when you're not running, you kinda don't see them as much. One of the ONLY things I can think of that has been good for me, physically, about not running, is that I think I may have put my several-months-old foot/achilles issue nearly behind me.

When I was at my peak, September of last year (really? almost a full year ago?) I never thought I would be on a yo-yo like this. I envisioned a lifetime of healthy, fitnessy, all cut-up me after my big PR. Not this guy who can't run 8 minute miles any more, (let along those swift 7 minute miles I was doing last September), and who has a belly like the pillsbury dough boy.

The things I know now, and that I'm ok with, are that I won't make my goal of a 3:10 marathon this year (I did run my first marathon, try it sometime, not easy!). I won't run a 1:30 half marathon again any time soon, I won't be back down to PR race weight any time soon, and life in general won't ever be the same.

I'm ok with that. Life sucks sometimes, and honestly, I think there have been some extraordinarily crappy things that converged all at once. My only regret is that I wish I could have handled it a little more gracefully, and not fallen so hard.

Hopefully soon I'll be back to that crazy runner dude, I think for now, I'm ok with just being that crazy dude. The running will happen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Smelled the roses.

So yesterday I headed out for a trail run on my favorite trail, Edgewood. My first trail run since February I think, and it was a good one.

Totally not what I expected. I planned on running my normal route, on the outside loop, about 4.5 miles. My normal pace? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I wasn't even planning on being close to it. Good thing too.

Taking a moment to explain my first couple of years running (starting in 2011), I've been obsessed with time. I was also obsessed with having the right equipment; my watch, my mp3 player, wristbands, headband/hat, socks, sleeves....all of it. Oh, and don't forget: BODY GLIDE. Some things you really do need, but the occasional run you can go without.

I've also been obsessed with not stopping while I'm running. No walking. Feels like a big fail if I walk part of a run. Now though, I don't have issues with walking while I'm on a run, but it's taken a long time to get there. There can be a very fine line for me, between walking for a good reason, and walking because you're just pooped. Not easy to discern sometimes.

In the last few months, I've really had to let go of some things. What, you say, besides the equipment have you given up? Well, unless I'm training, I've given time less of an influence on what I'm doing. In giving up time, I've also been able to smell the roses.

I ran Edgewood yesterday with no watch, no wristband, no headphones.

Edgewood is a trail I've run at least a dozen times, and this time I actually saw a deer. I know they're out there, they seem to be everywhere around here, but I'd never seen one out there. Before I get to the deer though, let me get back to the start of the 'run'.

My expectation for the run was pretty set: one continuous loop, same as I always do, but slower. I gave myself plenty of leeway mentally, for walking. I've only run a few times since my marathon in April, and frankly I didn't run very much in training for the marathon (less than 30 miles a week, two days running a week). Edgewood can be very difficult if you try to run it hard after taking time off, or just being out of shape in general.

I wasn't even a half mile into the run (which does start with a little uphill grade) and I stopped to walk. My arch/foot was pretty sore right off, and I didn't want to injure it further. I figured I'd just warm it up by starting with a little walk/jog. So, I kept going, jogged a bit more, with the intent that I was going to run the majority of the rest of the trail.

When I finally got up the path to where the loop actually starts, I was pooped again. Breathing hard, straining on my foot, and my legs were heavy with each step. Things were just sore, and I started to realize that the run was going to be much less ambitious in the end, than it started out to be.

The final realization that I was going to have to run/walk/jog this trail was when I got just up the trail, in some trees, right before the first big clearing. I caught something out of the corner of my eye and turned to see what it was.

This isn't new, I'll turn to look at things all the time, but I won't stop. I like to take notice of things, because it really enhances the run. Stopping is not a great feeling, so I rarely do it.

Yesterday, what I saw was cool, for Edgewood. I saw a little doe about 20 yards into the trees. As a side note, deer are very common on the Sawyer Camp Trail. So common, that they are within feet of the trail and don't run when you come by. Not only have I not paid attention most of the time at Edgewood, if I did see something, I just passed it on by.

At this moment, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to smell the roses, so to speak. I was in a fair amount of pain, and needed to warm up the old, creaky bones. I was also on a short time frame. I decided that the whole loop was out of the question, so I ran until it was uncomfortable (I have a high threshold, so it was pretty uncomfortable) then walked. I tried stretching out my foot while I was walking, and it seemed to work ok. I then I chose to start running uphill, then downhill, then uphill. Really a lot of walking.

Oh, wait, I lost track of the deer. So I stopped, and it was just staring at me. I started trying to call it over. I realized after that there was a much smaller companion. I mean tiny. Probably not 2 feet tall. I actually don't see fawn's all that often, and especially ones this tiny. As much as I tried to make friends, it just wasn't going to happen, and they trotted off back into the trees.

As I continued through the first mile, I arrived at the point where the trail splits, and you can go up to the scenic viewpoint, or at least one of them. I was looking over the south bay where the trail splits. You can see the Dumbarton bridge, some of the bay, and some of the lower part of the peninsula. There is a big mountain directly out across the bay too, which I mistakenly guessed might be Diablo, or Hamilton, but I think it's too far south for the former, and too far north for the latter. After some intense google map searching/reviewing, it appears to be Mission Peak. By the looks of it, maybe a good place to get to the top of, at 2500 feet, and not too far from the peninsula.

At any rate, I've ran through this view many times, and it was great to just stop and give it a good look-see. I decided at that point, to go up the trail I always skip in lieu of completing the run efficiently. I headed up to the top of one of the hills in the park.

The view from the top was good, but in actuality the view from the trail split was better for the south bay. The view west was cool, but mostly more trails, some forested hills, and almost directly below, the 280 freeway.

What I did learn though, was that you can really make the run challenging by heading up some different trails. All I have to do is remove some of the time constraint, be willing try something different, and be ready to work!

Edgewood has such a great mix of open trail, shaded trail, a bathroom/drinking fountain a short distance in (or right where you start, depending on how you do it). I did see what I think is poison oak, in a LOT of places, so stay on the trail. The weather is almost always sunny, and apparently there is plenty of wildlife, if you stop and smell the roses.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Eugene Marathon - A quick summary

First ever marathon finish.
On the track in my hometown, Track Town USA
26.2 miles is longer than my commute to work, about twice as long, I think. It's just short of my 35 minute drive to my buddy Karl's place up the peninsula in the San Francisco bay area.

26.2 miles is more than twice the width of San Francisco (12 miles).

Wilsonville Oregon to Vancouver Washington is 26.5 miles.

Oh, and I would only have to run 21.3 marathons to get home to Menlo Park from Eugene. The point being, a marathon is a big distance to cover with your feet.

When I was 30, with zero understanding of the possibility of completing, or the implications of my words, I vowed to run a marathon before I was 40. Done and done. I turn 38 in just under 2 months.

Completing the Eugene marathon yesterday is definitely one of the great highlights of my life so far. Rough math puts marathon runners in the US vs the US population at about 6.4%, so I'm in fairly exclusive company now. Among my friends, the percentage is much higher (and that's awesome!). Completing my first marathon in my hometown was extremely important to me. Not only is it Track Town USA, but all of my family lives here, and many of my friends live nearby too.  Add in that several good friends were running the 1/2 marathon, it was too perfect to pass up.

The real question was with my nagging achilles injury, do I run and risk further injury, maybe hampering my running for several months? I also felt like I required a shoe change.

Decided to run, decided to change the shoes. My reward for the risks? Probably the most perfect first time marathon experience a person could ask for: perfect weather, amazing crowd and community support, family and friend support both on and off course, and all of the post race hometown comforts a person could ask for.

Thank you so much Eugene!!

Almost Marathon Time

Two weeks out.

I'm not super nervous about the race yet, but I'm thinking about it more and more.

Two of the biggest reasons I can keep running.
I felt pretty apprehensive after the Oakland 1/2 marathon. It was a dramatic swing that I wasn't really ready for. I felt OK running before the race. Admittedly, I knew I wasn't in great running shape, I just didn't think it was as bad as it was. I've never felt worse in a race, probably never felt worse on any regular run either.

So by today (Friday the 12th), I've completed 3 of my long training runs, two of which are the longest runs I've attempted (13.1, 18, 17 miles) and I have one left. It's a 20 miler, but I'd like to get 22. I'm on an 'accelerated' marathon training plan, designed to simply prepare me for the distance. In the event that I survive, I still plan to continue my quest to qualify to run 2014. If I feel like my body will take it, I'll make an attempt in August (unless I can find a good race sooner). Otherwise I will likely focus on speed and fitness, to drop my 1/2 marathon PR down.

Back to Eugene though, I'm not only anxious to run, I'm stoked to get to see my family and friends. ALSO - several of my friends are running the same day. Lots of anticipation around travel, friends, family, time off from work......the drive!

Good journal start -will pick up again soon....


One week out.
So I haven't run much this week. Just the one track workout on Tuesday: 3 miles in solidarity with the victims in the Boston Marathon bombing. Easy pace with friends. Last week was rough from a run/mental standpoint. I had several friends running Boston, and just such a big blow to the community as a whole.

I could probably, and may, write a whole post about that, but I'll get back to my training for now.

The last weekend aside, I have made all my long run goals (I ran a 21.5 miler between now and my last post). I know it's not great, but each week I've only ran twice. I did sneak a 5 miler in I think once, but I've had competing issues: I need to get a feel for the long mileage, but I've also had a problem with my achilles/foot.

I do feel like I have the feel of a long run, so have chosen to rest and rehab the Achilles/foot. I've also been rolling/massaging it. I also switched from my lower drop shoes to my stability shoes for walking around. It seems to be working. It doesn't hurt as much to walk, and I figure to try 3 runs this week, at least 5 miles each. Whoops, time to see what's wrong with the hot rod. [editors note: I was at a cafe waiting for the mechanic to diagnose an issue with my car, not good news, unfortunately].


Sitting at the train station - 9am.

I'm pretty disappointed with the results of the mechanics evaluation of the hot rod: $5k+ for repairs. :/

My feelings are mixed, I'm to travel to Eugene on Friday, and currently have no way to get there. Just paid my federal taxes and haven't seen the state return yet. Is it irony that a pending car payment for a car I can't drive is preventing my travel? It's many things really, but right now, that's where the money's going.

Did I mention I have a marathon in a few days? My first one? Yeah, feeling like that is starting to be in doubt now.

After last week in Boston, it's hard to sit and feel sorry for myself. It could be so much worse. Still sucks. Hard to mentally prepare for the longest run of my life.

Also, not sure if I'm going to make my track workout with the group. It's my last chance to see the group, theoretically, before the race. Well, train will be here in a minute....


Almost a lot of things: softball day, travel day, family day, friends day, RACE DAY!

After working out travel arrangements, I've been trying to get rested and calm after Monday and Tuesday, rough days. Friends stepped up to volunteer their cars, carpool from Portland.....awesome.


I got cut off on Wednesday when I was working on my last post. It's OK though - friends were early to the bar, always a good time.

To close out the post though, I was feeling pretty scatterbrained and stressed. My friends were great and hanging out help relax me a little.


Finish line tomorrow....
I find myself one day, now less than 24 hours away, from my first marathon. Hopefully I'll be done by this time tomorrow!

My prevailing thoughts are: what do and don't I eat, or drink? Do I make my foods nice and salty? How about drinking caffeine or beer?

I know I'm supposed to be resting, but it's hard with so many friends and family around. I still need to pick up my race packet too. Hopefully the 'light' coordination I've been doing will come together well. I really want to get together with all my race friends today (and the family).

I don't know how much sleep I should try and get, I've never slept more than 4-5 hours before a race.

I'm supposed to rest, but due to various circumstances I haven't run since Tuesday's track workout. I'm hoping to get a shake-out run on Pre's trail later this afternoon. On my long runs, my arches/feet have gotten a bit crampy, so have my calves...we'll see.  My achilles/arch seems to flare up pretty easily, but I ran my 21.5 miler with it so hopefully this rest helps it, not hurts it.
My new Elixers.
The Marathon will be my 2nd run in them.

A pretty big deal: I'm strongly considering running in new shoes. I picked up some Mizuno Elixers, as my Mizuno Inspires seem to have died an early death on me. Truthfully I probably should have been training in the Elixers, but I went with what I had. Unless I have an extreme change of heart, I'm running in the Elixers.

This is likely to be my last entry, pre-race, so I'l sum up how I'm feeling:

I'm psyched
I'm content
I'm at ease
I'm anxious
I'm ready to start
I'm ready to finish
I'm ready for mile 21 (you'll find out why)
I'm happy to be here
I can't wait to run a marathon in Track Town
so much more....

See y'all on the the other side of 26.2!

Post Eugene Marathon Check In

May 11th, 2013

Awesome mug and medal I was greeted with
when I returned to work after my marathon.
So it seems I find myself with some time to jot down some notes about how my first two weeks post-marathon have gone (on my flight to Portland).

So far, physically, pretty lazy feeling. I'm attempting to rehab my left foot/achilles so I've done no running.

I do play softball, so I do have some physical activity. Not to mention with my car breaking down, I've been riding my bike to the train, then from the train to work. Putting in about 9 miles a day.

I don't mind the ride or softball, but I do wish I could keep things more immobile. It's getting better, I just don't know how long it will take. Could be months.

I keep going between being proud of my accomplishment, completing my first marathon, and feeling like it was a bit anti-climactic. Most people don't even want to run 26.2 miles, let alone complete it. It's a big deal. I hate the way this will sound, but there was a big mental build up for me about the difficulty. I absolutely know that the way I ran it (to have fun, to actually ENJOY a race for once) removed much of the challenge. My long training runs were all nearly a minute per mile faster, including my 21.5 miler.

I was definitely tired when I finished, but I feel like I was more tired after my 1/2 marathon PR in September (1:29:48 yipee!). I'm very much looking forward to my next marathon, being physically and mentally exhausted. I guess more simply put, I feel guilty for not feeling worse.

Not running has both a physical and psychological effect: I miss running, really miss my running pals, and I'm not getting my normal doses of endorphins or stress relief. It's also a time for me to mentally work things out.

All in all, I feel pretty good, I'm looking forward to not only getting back to running, but to training hard for my next marathon. After all, I still have my Boston qualifier to run.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Perfect Trail run, but it's trying to kill me.

If you live in the Bay area, you've inevitably driven north or south on Interstate 280 at some point. Somewhere between Daly City and San Jose lies one of my (so far) all time favorite places to run. It's visible from the freeway, both northbound and southbound, and it's called Edgewood Park.

The area around the park is probably more popular with cyclists, so you will see a ton of people riding around on the long stretches of road paralleling 280, sometimes criss-crossing  under the freeway. I just love the trail though.

Why is it perfect?

I consider Edgewood the perfect trail run for several reasons:
  • the trail is local to me, and accessible to most in the bay area
  • when you are on the trail, for the most part, you are taken away from civilization
  • there is enough elevation change and variety on the trails to allow you to make it as difficult or easy as you want
  • The distance is short, but extending or varying the distance is easy
  • there is frequent traffic on the trail, so if you are in distress, you can either get help from a fellow trail visitor, or use your cell phone and get help on the way quickly
  • the people are friendly and courteous
  • the scenery is terrific
  • the signage and trails are well maintained
  • I always feel good when I am done (except this one time.....)

Trail Etiquette (taken from San Mateo Parks website HERE):

This is an example of me learning things. There is something called Sudden Oak Death (no, not related to my poison oak, thankfully).
  1. Check with Park Rangers for current information on trail conditions, and to obtain more detailed, up-to-date maps of the specific parks.
  2. On those trails with considerable horse rider usage, runners and hikers should observe a basic rule of conflicting usage. The horses have the right-of-way! Foot Traffic should always stop and stand quietly off the trail until the horse passes. Failure to observe this rule can endanger not only the hiker and runner, but also the horse rider.
  3. Pets are not allowed in any County Park/Trail.
  4. Observe any trail closure signs.
  5. The trails on this site are: a) trails which are safe. Most trails have been recently rebuilt to a standard 4' width and maximum 10% grade; b) trails which are scenic. The variety ranges from redwood forest, to chaparral, to grassy ridges; c) trails of varied distance.
  6. Always respect the plant and animal life found in these unique communities.
  7. Educate yourself on Sudden Oak Death (Phytophthora ramorum) to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Learn more.
Friends of Edgewood
Photo Courtesy of:

I decided to write this blog a few days ago when I realized that in my fairly limited trail running experience, I consider Edgewood the perfect trail run. This pressed me to learn more about the trail, as I didn't simply want to post: I love the trail, it's awesome.

I want to encourage people to try the trail out, whether you are running, walking, jogging, or riding horses. Yep, it's an equestrian trail as well. I know this already, as I've encountered a lot of horse poop in my experiences out there.

Now that I've fallen for the trail (see below for details on that), I want to learn more about the history and share it with my faithful reader(s?).

Turns out, coincidentally, this is '2013 - The Year of Edgewood'. Lucky me! At the least, I hope to get know the park better, appreciate it more, and get other people to experience it and enjoy it the way I do.

More about the trail:
  • 467 acres
  • 78 Plant famillies
  • 70 bird species
  • protected species including the bay checkerspot butterfly
  • well known spring flower blooms
Oh, you ask, how do I know the trail trying to kill me? Well, in my last two runs out there, I've tweaked my ankle, tripped and fallen, gained a painful blister, and the coup de gras: a rather unpleasant case of poison oak.

The ankle is fine, the bloody scrapes and bruising on my knee has healed, the blister is gone. The poison oak? Not only did it take more than two days to show up, it's been slowly taking over my legs. Keep in mind that I didn't even SEE any plants on the ground where I fell, but the affected area is very clearly the area of impact on the ground. I haven't had poison oak since I was a kid, and this is much more unpleasant than I remember it being then. Also, when it happened then, it was another 100 degree summer in Eugene, living in a house with no AC.

Really, it's just (very) annoying and looks pretty gross. I can still run, and did just that yesterday, on the same trail. Yep, I've made my peace with it, and am moving on (though I'm keeping a better eye out for roots and rocks on the trail...for sure). I'm sure it could be much worse.

My advice for running or hiking the trail?

The trail can be a great workout, bring a snack or snacks, and some water to replenish your energy and keep you hydrated. Depending on where you start, there is a drinking fountain (if I remember correctly) and bathrooms at Old Stage Day Camp.

Watch out for horse poop. The piles tend to be fairly significant.

If you can do it comfortably, cover your legs and arms. As I've recently discovered, there is some poison oak out there. I've successfully avoided it 11 out of 12 trips, so you may not have to worry about it, but I'd stay on the trail (and try not falling half way off of it).

Bring some handy wipes, or something to wipe your skin off if you do fall. I have recently learned that if you can get your skin clean relatively soon after you fall, you can help reduce the amount of exposure to poison oak oil, just be sure to avoid spreading it around.

Obviously, wear comfortable shoes. I've ran the trail several times, but none more comfortably than in my trail running shoes. If you're hiking, just make sure your shoes have good tread on them, and some decent support. I wouldn't necessarily advise sandals unless you are used to wearing them out like that.

If you are hiking, bring a camera. Also, bring some pictures (maybe on your smartphone) of the types of animals, insects, plants and trees you might see. I've never stopped long enough to really check these things out, which I hope to change soon.

From a timing standpoint, plan for it to take a couple of hours. I run the 4.5 miles at an average pace of 9 minute miles, sometimes slower. If you deviate from the main trail to get to the summit, for example, just keep in mind that it will take you a while to get back to where you parked.

If you are hiking, its probably best to park at Old Stage Day Camp, this helps you avoid the .6 mile walk/hike up from the intersection of Canada road and Edgewood road. I like that .6 miles as a runner because it gets me warmed up for the trail.

Well, it's just about spring time, about time to get out on the trail huh?