As promised, I figured I’d take you on a quick photo tour of the bike trail where I do the majority of my long runs. First of all, this trail is awesome. It’s 23 miles long, mile-marked each .5 miles and has a ton of bathrooms and drinking fountains. It begins in downtown Sacramento and ends up in Folsom. Depending on where you start/end your trail it is either pretty flat or has some nice rolling hills. The further east you go, the more trail options there are. In fact, I’m still discovering little dirt side paths and I’ve been running on this trail for years!
I used to live near the entrance to mile 3, but I almost always drive up to the entrance at mile 8. I can run there but it takes 3-4 miles through busy streets so I prefer not to. I start here for a few reasons, but the biggest one is safety. The stretch near downtown is fine in a group, but by yourself it can be sketch. I don’t mind biking there, but it’s just not smart to run up there alone. So, mile 8 greets me with this*
This is the Guy West Bridge– a mini, pedestrian version of the Golden Gate. It’s an excellent meeting spot with ample parking and it’s just so cute!
From there, the path meanders and is primarily flat. For this reason, it’s the most crowded and I don’t think I’ve ever had a long run where I didn’t run into at least 1 or 2 people I know. I am very intense about “educating” runners to run on the left side of hte path if they’re going to run on the actual bike path because I feel it’s so much safer and easier for cyclists to see you. There’s a fairly wide shoulder, but there are a decent number of blind corners and I know how hard it is for cyclists to stop so I try to be very, very aware. I also try to smile and wave at everyone I see. It’s just good trail etiquette.
The whole parkway pretty much looks like this
Pretty riverbanks, some sand/gravel and lots of blue sky. When it’s really clear you can see the foothills and sometimes all the way up to Tahoe. It is particularly beautiful in the winter when the mountains are covered in snow.
This is one of my favorite spots– I believe it is around mile 11.
I can’t say enough about how lucky we are to have such an awesome stretch of greenbelt right in the middle of the city. Although the Parkway goes through the middle of Sacramento unless you’re running under an overpass you can’t hear anything but the river, other runners and the occaisional bird.
Although I didn’t get a shot of him, there’s also a coyote that hangs out around here. He’s basically just a dog.
At about mile 13 you get to the top of another bridge:
This part of the trail is crazy!!! It’s right around where the rolling hills begin and also very, very popular with local training groups. Although I sometimes get annoyed with the crowds around here, it’s actually pretty encouraging to get smiles and waves from random strangers. There’s also a large park with space for picnicking, families, fishing and other recreation that is a great spot to stop and “have a moment” if you need a break. I never stop when running, but sometimes when I bike I’ll crash here for a few minutes. There’s never a shortage of athletes to chat with and if you’re having technical difficulties with your bike, someone will usually help you out.
There are two local training groups in particular that are quite large and emphasize having lots of fun and they never fail to give me a high five, wave and “good job.” There are times this is my turnaround point (for a 12-miler) and times I drive here and head even deeper toward Folsom.
In the summer this spot is also very popular with rafters and tubers. None of them are crazy enough to raft and tube at 7 or 8am so I don’t often see them during morning runs but if I cycle late-morning or early afternoon it’s pretty fun to watch the party rafts drift on by. I like to take Gu here and appreciate the beauty of the river smack in the middle of the city.
Here’s another random shot of the trail.
For the most part I feel like it’s pretty shady although I have some nasty tan lines that would probably beg to differ.
And finally, and I believe I’ve used this photo before, but around mile 20 you get to the Sunrise Bridge. I love this thing. The trail gets progressively rural as you move East and this footbridge is awesome! Not only is it beautiful, but there are some gorgeous indoor bathrooms and FIVE working drinking fountains here.
I used to park my car here, but haven’t because my window got smashed last time I did! Don’t worry though, 99% of the time there are so many folks on the trail that it’s completely safe for people (although not cars).
I don’t have any shots of the trail up near Folsom which is too bad because it’s beautiful. Next time I run up there I’ll take my camera and give you part 2!
So there you have it! Now you know where I long run it up and where I will be logging tons of hours come CIM time!
Quick run update:
Yesterday: 5 miles, 2 wu, 1.5 tempo, 1.5 warm down. It was fine. My foot’s feeling better thanks to ice, stretching and NSAIDs so that’s encouraging
Today: 11 miles, easy pace. Felt great the entire time. In fact, I sort of don’t feel like I ran at all. Love it!
*Sorry the photos are sideways, but my tech editor Rachel is in Alaska and the iPhone hates WordPress. I’ll fix it soon. Ok, that’s a lie. Rachel will!