From 6 to 200 MPH

Monday, March 14, 2011

First RidgeTrail Run - Shell Ridge

Last Saturday 3/12 while watching my grandson played baseball, I saw walkers and runners on Shell Ridge. It got my attention and interest. I ran on trail at open space before but not on a  ridge trail.  After a quick study of the trail, I decided to do it and feel what it's like up there.  On Sunday 3/13 at 9:18 am I started my adventure with long sleeve shirt (cloudy & chilly), hand held water bottle and my old reliable 305.

This is the most challenging incline of the trail. It's a service road for the water tank (behind the trees). It's a continuous incline to a height  of 223 ft and distance of 1056 ft.   About 50 ft to the top, I stopped running and switched to brisk walking. Going downhill on this stretch of the trail is as challenging as going uphill. The single lane ridge trail start few feet from the water tank.
This is the highest point of Shell Ridge. It's 1.1 miles from where I started and elevation of 825 ft.
To get to this point, got to run and walk on a very narrow single lane trail. Have to be very careful. Nothing to stop tumbling all the way to the bottom of the hill if, I slip or lost balance. Also, had to watch for ground squirrel holes.  I stopped for a moment at this point to enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding. To the west is downtown Walnut Creek, to the north is San Francisco Bay and to the east is the ever imposing Mount Diablo.

I turned around at the start of the long downhill. I was scared to try it. At this point, I already traveled a distance of 1.2 miles. The ran/walk back to the start line was uneventful, till a cyclist and his dog caught up with me at a narrow stretch of the ridge.  Didn't step aside to let him pass until the trail is wide enough to step out of the way safely.  Running downhill on the service road was challenging and tough to my arthritic knees but cautiously  ran all the way down to where I started.  It took me 35 minutes to run and walk 2.24 miles. 

Impression and things I learned from the adventure.
1. Run, walk and crawl safely.
         2.  Never take your eyes off the trail.
                        3. Stop running/walking to appreciate the view.
                                   4. Take time to appreciate the bloom of wild flowers .
                            5.  Let your the family knows what you are up to.
       6. Ridge trail running is not for me. 

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