Race Report: Berkeley Trail Adventure 21km

For any new readers, back in 2010 Lisa and I decided we were going to run the Portland Marathon. This led to a meet-up with Lauren who lives very close to Portland. And alas our girls running trips were born. Since then we have done the Victoria Marathon in 2011, Chicago Marathon in 2013 and this year a trip to SF for a trail race! Lisa, Lauren and myself have attended all of our meet-ups so far and Leigh has attended in Victoria and the most recent trip to SF and Anais also came to Chicago. I can’t wait to see where we go in 2015!

This year for the first time we decided to do a trail race. After many emails back and forth to coordinate a weekend and a race we settled on the Berkeley Trail Adventure, which is put on by Inside Trail Racing and takes place in Tilden Regional Park. The lovely Kyria (a local to SF!) picked us up the morning of the race and drove us out there.

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Since Kyria was doing the 35km distance we got there nice and early to see her off and then Lauren, Lisa and I had some time to kill before our 21km distance started. Leigh was our wonderful cheerleader πŸ™‚

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To be totally honest, I felt very undertrained going into this race. I hadn’t ran 21km since May and I mostly stuck to the 10 – 13km distance all summer. While I did log almost all my miles this past year on the trails, so I’m used to the terrain and the hills, I haven’t been putting in the training time. I was expecting to be quite slow and just planned to have fun and enjoy the new trails!

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Before we knew it we were off! The first mile felt very congested as it was a single track trail and took some time to get spread out. It started off with nice rolling hills and was a fairly runnable course, or so I thought. I fell into stride behind Lisa and after a mile or two felt like I was in the groove.

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Of course the rolling hills could only last so long and then the steep, steep STEEP climbs started. I kid you not when I say that some of these climbs were the steepest I’ve ever tackled in the trails. We definitely did a lot of hiking.

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Lisa and I fell into a pretty good rythm of hiking the steep hills, running the downhills and flats and spent the majority of the 3+ hours chatting away with each other. We passed the same aid station twice, at mile 4 (6km) and again at mile 8 (13km), and spent a few minutes there each time refuelling and chatting.

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Miles 5 – 7 took us out onto an open part of the trail where we could see San Francisco in the distance!

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What goes up must come down and what goes down must come up. As you can see in the elevation profile above there was a very steep decline from about 3.5 – 4 miles. That was leading into the aid station. Thank goodness I did not know at the time we would have to climb back up out of the aid station (as you can see from miles 8 – 8.5 on the elevation profile). That climb just about killed me because it was steep, long and not at all shaded.

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But Lisa and I kept pushing through it and luckily for us the last 3 miles (5 km) was downhill. Thank the heavens! I was so glad we managed to stick together out there. I truly think trail running is so much more fun when you are with a friend! I can’t even remember the last time I did a whole trail race by myself. I much prefer to hang out with friends in the trails.

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I was also really pleased because we managed to finish in 3:07! I had estimated a 3:30 finish for myself so was very happy to have finished much earlier than that.

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It was also very nice to get the race over with on Saturday this year. Normally our races fall on the Sunday of our weekends so it was nice to race first and do fun stuff later.Β It was a great race that I thoroughly enjoyed. Even though at the time I was cursing the hills it really was fun checking out some new trails and new terrain. I would definitely do a trail run again for one of our future running weekends!

I was also really pleased with how good my body felt after this race. While I was of course stiff and tired I didn’t really get sore so despite not logging long mileage clearly the trail miles I have been logging and all the strength training I’ve been doing were enough to prepare me!

Do you prefer trail or road running? I have definitely become a full on trail runner and will pick it over road running 9 times out of 10. Though I have to say I have been feeling the pull to train for a road race again soon…

12 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    Sounds like a crazy race- I know how SF hills can be, yikes! But I’m glad you girls had fun and stayed together. I know I’m in the minority on this, but I would so much rather just always stay with people during races even if it makes me a little slower than I would be on my own. I just feel like doing races is a hobby for me, and I want it to be fun since I already do plenty that is torture other times ha ha. This would be especially true if I ever did a race that was 3 hours long, ha ha.

  2. Travel Spot says:

    I think it’s fun that you guys ran the entire thing together. Its definitely nice to have company out on the trails. The good thing about trail races, is you often end up talking to random people along the way, even if you have never met them before. However, it is a great way to catch up with friends and to get exercise at the same time!

    I am totally a trail race convert. I run the road maybe once a week, just because it is easier to do straight from work (and I would otherwise make excuses not to) but other than that, I log mostly trail miles. You can see my average time compared to last year; it is way slower due to all the trail miles!

    I can’t wait to see what next year’s running rendezvous brings!

  3. Caroline says:

    Woo congrats!! Trail races so intimidate me and I can only imagine what this one was like based on San Francisco’s hills! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your weekend : )

  4. Nora says:

    Love that you guys have had a yearly girls’ trip! You are all so pretty and congrats on finishing with such a great time. <3

  5. Great race! I love seeing all of the pictures from your girls running weekends. Looks like so much fun!

  6. Stephany says:

    I’m still going to continue to request a Disney race for one of your girls weekends! Haha. This way I could come and cheer you gals on! I love that you all do this!

    I’m glad you had a successful race and a fun weekend. I once ran a trail race and it was awful and I promised myself never again. But I also promised myself no running ever again, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. HA. πŸ˜‰

  7. Leigh says:

    You girls killed it on those insane hills and trails! Hopefully I can come next year and actually run πŸ™‚

  8. Becky says:

    So glad you had such a good race! Your photos were fabulous!

  9. That course was so tough for me but it was great to run the whole thing with you! I would not have enjoyed the race nearly as much if I had been on my own! The course was hard but the views were so beautiful so all in all I thought it was great. I also thought it was very well organized and they had a great aid station! I have nothing to compare it to since it was my first race but I was impressed by all the stuff they had and those kids working it were so cute!

    I was definitely sore for days after this which goes to show I was not trained right for this kind of race – which I knew going into it. I will do a trail race again but I am definitely a road running. But if I lived closer to trails, I might feel differently. It’s just not convenient/easy to trail run in my city so roads are what i prefer since I’m all about driving as little as possible!

  10. […] was all about the race! By the time we were all finished running it was 12:30pm and then we went out to lunch at this […]

  11. Shoshanah says:

    I have to say one of the best things about living in California is being so close to the mountains. It’s been forever since I’ve had a chance to go up there, and I have to say these pictures are making me a little jealous.

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