August 11, 2012

Los Gatos Creek Trail

We are always looking for new places to run in the Bay Area and this time we headed to the South Bay to Los Gatos Creek Trail. We had seen part of this trail in the past when driving by on the nearby CA-17 freeway and finally got around to going.  It's a paved path in Santa Clara County about eleven miles long that goes through San Jose, Campbell and Los Gatos. There are several access points for the trail as it passes through several different parks. We decided to start at Campbell Park. We had read online that the trail does get crowded but were not prepared for how crowded it really was. The two small lots for the park were full and parking on the adjacent street was full as well. We ended up parking a few blocks away. Next time we will probably try a different park. There were several people milling around from a yoga class that had just ended and what appeared to be a running group with a table set up for their members at the start of the path. We made our way through and started on the trail. It was just as busy on the trail with lots of people walking, running, walking dogs, biking, etc. Most people did a good job of being mindful about others out on the trail but it did get a bit messy at times when there were large groups taking up the whole path although this is not unique to this particular trail. The first few miles were exposed and there was a water station manned by some junior high aged kids at about 2.5 miles. Not sure if they were for one of the several running groups/clubs we saw out there or for everyone but they did offer us aid-water and energy gels. It was a nice gesture.  Over the next few miles we passed dog parks and local parks such as Los Gatos Creek County Park, Vasona County Park and Oak Meadow Park. Each with public restrooms, picnic areas, water fountains and benches in the shade. There were some rolling hills on the path but nothing major. Once further from Campbell park there were some shaded areas and easy access to the creek. After 5.5 miles we headed back. It was definitely warming up and there were fewer people on the trail. We made it back to Campbell Park and it was a little less crowded but still lots of families enjoying the day. The trail is great but definitely crowded. With lots of exposed areas be sure to get there early if you are going on a summer day like we did.

Los Gatos Creek Trail Website

August 5, 2012

Fast and Furious 5k

It was the second annual Fast and Furious 5k this year and we decided to participate. It takes place in downtown Pleasanton and also includes a festival, mile race ("Mile of Truth") and criterium. A portion of the proceeds go to fight ALS. We heard good things about it last year so wanted to check it out for ourselves this year. We ended up registering for it months in advance when a discount was offered. We got a technical shirt included with our race entry so it was a great deal. Early bib pick up was at Fleet Feet Pleasanton the two days prior to the race so we took advantage of that. Aside from the technical shirts we also got a reusable shopping bag. There was plenty of parking in the downtown area-street parking and public lots. There were road closures for the days events, mainly the cycling events but we didn't experience any delays getting to the race. There were the usual booths for race day bib pick up and race day registration. Plenty of porta potties scattered throughout which made for shorter lines than usual. A good portion of Main Street was closed off so there was plenty of room for us to warm-up. The race start and finish were on Main Street and about ten minutes before the race we were directed up the street to the start. There was plenty of room on the street for the just over 600 participants. Although there was a timing chip attached to our bib there was no timing mat at the start so everyone got the same start time. This was a bit disappointing but nothing we could do about it. It did cause some chaos for the start though because there were people lined up near the front that probably should have been further back but they probably wanted to lose as little time as possible. The gun went off and we were off. The race course was a loop through and around downtown. There was at least one water station, possibly 2. The race course was easy to follow and the last segment had us running south on Main Street before making a turn to run on a street parallel to Main Street. Then it was a couple of more turns before we were back on Main Street and headed north to the finish. Across the finish there were water, fruit and nuts. There were booths set up for sports related products and some freebies like Clif Bar. There was also a local CrossFit club hosting a competition. We made our way through downtown and had breakfast before watching the kids races and then part of the first Criterium bike race. There were activities going on all day including bike races through the evening. It was a great event and we will definitely be back.

Race Website