A Humbling Affair

I was scheduled to run the double Dipsea trail on Sunday morning.  The Dipsea trail runs between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach.  It’s a 7.1 mile trail that includes sections named Cardiac, Swoop, Suicide, Dynamite nd Steep Ravine and you climb to a height of 1300 feet.   This is not your run of the mill Sunday run.

We started out in Stinson Beach for the out and back so we could end back at the ocean and ice down our poor legs.  The trail out of Stinson Beach (for 3 miles) consisted of stairs and uphill climbing.  The weather was warm, the fog was pushing back and by the time we got to the sweaty end of our first leg we were greeted with spectacular views and the need for a nap!

A few gals headed back down to the beach – their run completed.  I and 2 others continued on.  My goal was to do another 2 miles and turn around at Muir Woods while the rest of our group was going to do the full 14.2 miles.

Right after we restarted our run we dropped into the woods and had a descent to Muir Woods.  Over tree roots, next to downed trees and fern groves.  We would pop out of the woods at spots along the trail into the sunshine and be greeted with the warm sun for  a short while then go back under the cover of the majestic redwoods.

As lovely as this downhill portion was, the only thing that ran through my brain was that we were going so far down the hill and I would have to climb back UP this very hill at the turn around.  It took a lot of the joy of the descent away!  I passed a lot of hikers on my way down and knew I’d see them on the way back.

At Muir Woods I filled my water bottle, downed a god-awful mango flavored GU and hit the restroom.  The Muir Woods park entrance was packed with tourists and they must have thought me a sight with my red face, sweat-matted hair stuck to my face and my dirt-covered legs.

I began the climb and managed to run a bit.  Just a bit.  That incline was so very steep that I ended up walking most of the 2 miles back to the top.  I ran in bursts until I could not breathe and simply focused on staying upright, breathing and making it to the top.  It was very humbling!!

I was grateful when I made it back to the top of the hill and started down Swoop for my final 3 miles.  The stairs that we went up at the beginning seemed endless on the way down and I was careful with my footing through the woods so I didn’t trip and tumble down into the redwoods.

I completed my run in 2 1/2 hours, which is about an hour longer than a 10 mile run should take me on my very best day.  But I was happy that I finished the run!  I’m in no hurry to run the double again, but I’ll definitely work on the single Dipsea .

What didn’t kill me just made me stronger.  And more determined!

Now go run!


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