Pigeon and I met up and carpooled out to Brown's Ravine to meet up with the Folsom Lake Trail Runners group, run by Diane Cressey. Both Pigeon and I have never been out to Brown's Ravine before so we decided to give it a shot. We were planning on 16 miles or so and what is so great about the FLTR group is that they all do various distances so there is always a chance you'll be near someone out there. Although, Diane assured us that "it was impossible to get lost out there" however, Pigeon and I beg to differ. We think some of our Fleet Feet crew would do very well at getting lost out there, especially since Pigeon and myself kept thinking we were lost the entire time.
That was the view from my car. We ran up that hill with the group to the trail. The weather was absolutely perfect. I wore a sleeveless shirt and was so happy I did. Since the group started running at 8 am it was rather warm by the time we finished and much of the trail on the return is not shaded.
Pigeon and myself sort of found ourselves near the front of the pack most of the way. There were a couple of guys ahead of us really chugging along and Pigeon was quick to remind me that we didn't have to keep up with them the entire time. I was feeling really good though, at least in comparison to last Saturday. My legs felt stronger
I have to say, this was a beautiful trail. The sights were amazing. The only negative about this run is there are no water stops along the way. You have to carry your own water in which is fine by me since I use my hydration vest, but for those carrying handhelds, it might be rather tricky.
Folsom Lake and a family of ducks
You always run with the lake to your left on the way out. That was a nice reminder that we were on the right trail since there were many mini-trails off to the sides. There were also a lot of pink ribbons out there. Not sure what race they were from, but it was nice to have that as a guide since we knew it was best to follow those ribbons.
The trail conditions, as you can see, were pretty awesome. There were some rocky sections which seemed to really get in the way of Pigeon's stride. The poor girl was being "attacked" by rocks and tree roots "jumping" out at her. I swear she must have tripped at least 9 solid times but without a real casualty. Her face never hit the dirt. She always recovered quickly however, I think the constant struggles to keep herself vertical, might have tired her out a bit. Pigeon you're a rockstar in my book!
There were also some crazy obstacles to run across. Above you can see a fellow Fleet Feet friend, "Thighs" crossing the cool "bridge" we came across.
Pigeon was able to make it across this without tripping. She even did it with a smile!
The rest of the run was okay. Pigeon and I sort of positioned ourselves near Thighs and her friend so that we would not get lost. At one point we came to a meadow that was so over grown you could not even see the trail. I have to say, that was my least favorite part. I kept imagining ticks and other various things attaching themselves to my socks. I was ready to turn around at that point but we kept going. We were close to our turnout point and I think no one wanted to vocalize that we were not really enjoying this section.
At 8 miles we stopped, took in some fuel and turned around. Regarding the fuel thing, I highly do not recommend Cliff Shots, particularly the Strawberry flavor. ICK! Oddly, those 8 miles took us about an hour and 40 minutes to complete. Yes we stopped to take pictures and/or wait for someone to show us the way down the trail whenever we were unsure of which direction to take. The run back however, since we knew where we were going, was a lot quicker. I felt about a 100 times stronger and pretty solid on the hills. Poor pigeon I think used up most of her nine lives just on the run back alone. Again, she never took a header, she always remained upright!
This trail was rather random in that you felt almost as if you were in the middle of no where and then all of a sudden you come upon this:
Just your average mansion. "Pardon us while we run through your backyard!" Can you imagine the heating and cooling bill for that house?!
Another not so positive thing about this trail is that we ran into a lot of mountain bikers. I almost had a head on collision with one as he crested a hill that I was running up. Unfortunately he won that battle as I ended up in the bushes off to the side. I swore I saw a sign at one point that said "no mountain biking" but perhaps I was wrong as there were quite a few out there today. Most were polite and the guy that shoved me into the bushes actually apologized.
Finally we made it back to my car and I quickly Technu'd myself as there was lots of poison oak out there. Overall we did 16 miles and I think it was a solid run. Pigeon and I agreed that we prefer our 7 am start time over 8 am not only for the heat factor but also the family factor as I didn't get home until after noon. We're not sure where we'll be next week. The FLTR group I believe is headed out to Twin Rocks and Granite Bay. We might head that way but start an hour earlier who knows. Either way, I am thrilled to be back on the trails again and regaining some mileage.
Meanwhile, the Peanut enjoys helping Vans in our min-condo-garden out back. I do believe she might have a green thumb!