On the Run, Mt Tam Loop

This was a great week of running.  After 1 week of rest and 3 weeks of easy running following the NF50 miler, i’ve hit one of those sweet spots in training that occurs when you’ve run just enough to get fit again, but not enough to get tired again.  And without any races on the schedule in the short term, i’m finding tremendous joy in running without an agenda.  No workouts, no goals, just having fun.  One could argue this is the ideal mindset for running all the time, not just during rest periods.  But i actually enjoy the cyclical nature of mentally focusing during heavy training, and then mentally relaxing and detaching during rest periods.  And i think incorporating both into one’s program are necessary for a sustainable and successful season.

At any rate, i’m enjoying this slow transition from rest to building up my base again, and especially since it is coinciding with what is likely the nicest stretch of weather i’ve ever experienced in the Bay Area.  It’s been 60 degrees and sunny for countless weeks, and showing no signs of changing.  Most locals talk about it with a giddy sense of disbelief, but we know full well that the rainy season will come sooner or later.

Energized by the beautiful weather, I spent my first long-ish run of 2012 exploring a new route up Mt Tam.  The Blithedale ridge starts from the east side of Mill Valley and climbs gradually up the northeast shoulder of the mountain, with steep undulations along the way.  With beautiful views of Mill Valley on one side and the San Francisco bay on the other, it makes for a delightful (and challenging) route to Mt Tam, and is certain to become part of my regular rotation.  BONUS: As a fire road, its surface is gentle enough for a baby jogger.

Mt Tam Loop, via Blithedale Ridge, 1/08/12
15.5 Miles, 4000+ ft climbing
[Route details on Strava]

Blithedale Ridge

Approaching Mt Tam from Blithedale Ridge

Blithedale Ridge

Blithedale Ridge, the Marin version of Boulder's Magnolia Road but with better views and easier to breathe. This is a rare flat section.

The summit of Mt Tam

Touching the door

Gotta tag the door to really call it a summit

Looking north towards Lake Lagunitas.

San Francisco bay from Mt Tam

San Francisco bay from the summit, with Blithedale Ridge visible in the left foreground, and on the horizon, Mt Diablo on the left and the City of SF on the right.

Coming home along the Sun Trail, a personal favorite of mine

The Sun Trail, Muir Woods below

The Sun Trail, with Muir Woods shrouded in clouds. (taken on another morning run this week)

Mt Tam Loop, via Blithedale Ridge, 1/08/12
15.5 Miles, 4000+ ft climbing
[Route details on Strava]


2 thoughts on “On the Run, Mt Tam Loop

  1. Love the pics. Good to be reminded there are places where the sun shines (this year) and the trails are free of snow and ice. Now, off to the snow and ice…

  2. Thanks Jim. There’s something to be said for enduring a winter training on snow and ice. You’ll come out the other side a bit tougher than us west coast softies. Have fun out there.

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