First of all, yes, we know, we’ve been gone from the interwebs for far too long. Don’t worry, we’ve still been hiking. We just haven’t been so good about chronicling our hikes.

But we tried something new last weekend that we want to tell you about.

We did our first trail run.

That’s right, your CityGirls are now officially among those crazy people who go running on hiking trails. It all started when we decided to run a half marathon. Did we consider ourselves runners when we made this decision? no. Had we ever run a race before? well, AM has, but T-bell has not. Had we ever run more than 5 miles, much less 10 or 13? ummm…

But we were dabbling in running, and a goal seemed like a good idea. So we signed up for a half marathon (specifically, the second half of the San Francisco Marathon), and fired up a training plan on our Nike Running apps. But running 7, 8, or 10 miles in the city can get boring, and it’s tough to find a decent route. So when our training plan had us set for a 9-mile run, and we were already itching to get out of the city, it was time to give this trail running business a try.

The distance: 9.04 miles (yes, every little hundredth of a mile really does matter when you’re running)
The CityGirls rating – for trail running: 8 – nice, wide trail, but the sunny parts are pretty warm, and the hills sneak up on you


We figured a fairly flat trail would be good for our first trail run, so we returned to the Bear Valley trail to Arch Rock in Point Reyes National Seashore. Arch Rock itself is closed after a piece of it fissured and collapsed in March (unfortunately killing a hiker who had disregarded the warning signs that the bluff was unstable – pay attention to those warnings!). But it’s still a mostly shaded, not overly hilly trail with great views of the ocean at the end.

It was a hot, busy day at the Bear Valley Visitor Center, but we were feeling good and well-prepared. We started up the trail zigging and zagging around groups of backpackers heading out for the long weekend, tourist families on the hunt for a glimpse of the ocean (who didn’t realize they were almost 5 miles inland), and local hikers returning from their early morning treks.

The trail starts in the sun, and we were eager to reach the shady, cooler forest area ahead, but we realized pretty quickly that what feels more or less flat when hiking (especially in an area where most hikes are up or down a mountain) is very different when running. Very different.

In reality, the Bear Valley trail slopes up and then down and then up again before it reaches the water. And while the hill only gets steep in one or two spots, it is unrelenting. So in true “I’m not really a runner but I’m going to run a half marathon” style, we ran a bit, we walked a bit, we managed to not pass out from the heat, and we made our 9 miles.

And after completing our longest run yet with the most hills yet, we celebrated with homemade passion fruit spritzers, Cabot cheddar toasties, and tomato soup at Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station. Nothing like some melty cheese and fruity bubbles for a post-run snack.

We do want to get back into chronicling our adventures, but we might need some external motivation to get back into regular writing. So let us know if you’re still out there, dear readers, and give us a cheer on July 26 as we run our half marathon in San Francisco!