I've been thinking a lot about trail running recently. There's no mystery as to why. I'm training for the 100th running of the famous Dipsea race, from Mill Valley over Mount Tam to Stinson Beach, and I really want to beat my time from last year.
It shouldn't be hard to do that, actually. Last year, I shouldn't have raced at all. I was suffering from a debilitating back injury -- sacroiliac -- and limped to a time of 1:08:47. (It's a 7.4-mile course, all up and down.) I had to push in the final mile to beat a 12-year-old girl from Novato (yeah, she had an age-handicapped head start, but still ...) I could barely walk back to the shuttle bus after the race -- and I didn't run again for 9 weeks because of the injury.
But I'd do it again. See, I had to run the 99th Dipsea (and do reasonably well) to qualify for the historic 100th running this June 13. This time, I've come out of my post-marathon recovery intact, mostly, and I'll start putting in the hills and trails this week.
You road runners should give the trails a try, too. It's a nice summer diversion. Both mainstream running magazines, Runner's World and Running Times, have devoted their June issues to trail running. RW has a nice piece on the lore of the Dipsea, and Running Times has five how-to stories.
For road runners a tad intimidated by the trails -- all of that uneven footing, those vertical climbs -- may I suggest Fleet Feet Sacramento's trail clinic, which lasts seven weeks. The coaches alone are woth the $90 registration. They are Tim Twietmeyer (pictured, above, dousing himself), five-time Western States 100 champ, and Mo Bartley, a former member of the U.S. 100K team.
Registration continues through June 9 (it starts June 13), and Fleet Feet says it already has signed up 22 runners.
WEEKEND RESULTS: Speaking of trail runs, Brian Miller of El Dorado Hills won the Jenkinson Lake 34-Mile run Saturday with a time of 5 hours 17 minutes 17 seconds. Russell Shaller of El Dorado Hills won the 25.5-Mile run at 4:20:10 and Gerell Elliott of Folsom won the 17-Mile run at 2:18:14.
Back on the roads, here are the winners of Saturday's Race for the Cure 5K at Cal Expo: Male: Tyler Spangler at 17:05; Female: Judy Pickett at 20:2(. Pickett also was the first breast-cancer "survivor" to finish.