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Hiking Six Mile Run Park

Hiking Six Mile Run Park

Hiking Six Mile Run Park  (Somerset County)

Earlier in the week, I found myself at Six Mile Run Park. I’ve wanted to explore it for a while now, but the timing never works out. Even though it was cold, I decided it would be a fun opportunity and I could leave Six Mile Run Park if I got too cold.  At Six Mile Run Park, there are a few fun trails: blue, red, orange and white trail.

At Six Mile Run Park, there is a large parking area. You can see the Millstone River and Six Mile Run Reservoir Site. We stuck to mostly the blue hiking trail. Because of the weather, and it was slightly snowy there weren’t any mountain bikers or horses out.

Six mile run park

The blue trail actually had a few stream crossings but I wore my Goretex Brooks Cascadia, and my feet stayed dry. The path at Six Mile Run Park, includes several stream crossings, but they should not present problems.  The blue trail at Six Mile Run Park is about 4 miles long. We did most of it as well as some of the red trail.

At Six Mile Run Park, there are a lot of downed trees.  We saw huge uprooted trees, some of which must have been over 100 years old.

Six mile run park

The red trail at Six Mile Run Park was unique in that it had plenty of open fields. If you have a dog, it would be an excellent spot to relax.  The red trail is more rugged and challenging than the blue trail but nothing too intense or anything like the Palisades.

Six mile run park

At Six Mile Run Park, we skipped the orange trail all together because the weather seemed like it could turn for the worst (spoiler, it started pouring rain about 15 minutes after we left). The orange trail is only about a mile long and looked as though it would probably be muddy with the storm.

Six mile run park

In all, Six Mile Run Park was an enjoyable hike. We spent about 2 hours out at Six Mile Run Park and my guess hiked about 5 miles. After that, it was time for a nature nap. I think it would also be a great spot for trail runs, similarly to the Manasquan Reservoir. 

You can see more hikes here.

Questions for you:

Do you like hiking? Where is your favorite spot to hike near you? Have you been to Six Mile Run Park? 

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Hiking Marin Headlands (San Francisco)

Hiking Marin Headlands (San Francisco)

Marin Headlands (San Franciso)

Just north over the Golden Gate Bridge, are the Marin Headlands. My husband and I were looking for a longer and scenic hike, and so we chose to go up to the Marin Headlands. We visited during the government shutdown, which meant all of the bathrooms and buildings were closed, but you could still hike or run.  There are a bunch of hikes in Marin Headlands, as well as mountain bike trails, equestrians, and if you are bold enough, you can run the trail.  Plus if hiking isn’t your thing you can check out the Center for the arts or Marine Mammal Center.

We decided to hike the perimeter at the Marin Headlands. It’s an easy, wide trail, with the challenge being the elevation changes (about 1600 feet total).  While we saw people, it was never busy, or crowded.

Plus there are beautiful views of San Francisco, Pacific Ocean, Tennessee Valley, Golden Gate National, Point Bonita Lighthouse, Hawk Hill, Fort Baker, Fort Cronkhite, and the Bay Area.

This is about what we did: Lagoon Trail → Miwok Trail → Wolf Ridge Trail → Coastal Trail to Rodeo Beach.

The loop at Marin Headlands itself is 7.8 miles, but near the peak, you can walk to the peak which is just over .5.  It’s well worth the view and I would recommend it. Getting to the National Park is easy and there are plenty of parking lots.

Marin Headlands San Francisco

The start and visitors center and Headlands Center:

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Marin Headlands San Francisco

We found a well en route at Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands San Francisco

You cant tell, but the incline is steep!

Marin Headlands San Francisco

We added about .5, to see the summit of the Marin Headlands and the Nike Missile Site. This area is used for flying and the giant building in the middle is called a “VORTAC”.  Pilots can gauge where exactly they are in the air via these areas. It can be used in inclement weather when the aircraft is being flown solely from instruments (meaning the pilot is using modern technology to navigate).  You can read more about that here.

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Eating a cookie at the summit of Marin Headlands

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Marin Headlands San Francisco

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If you hike 4 hours without cell service…did you even go?

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In all, Marin Headlands was one of my favorite hikes of the trip. Marin Headlands is a beautiful open trail.  The terrain is not difficult, but the elevation and climbing are.

Other California Hikes:

Mini Trip to Los Angeles

Hiking Calavera Hills Community Park

You Can See All Hikes Here.

Questions for you:

East Coast rocky trails or West Coast smooth but more climbing trails…which do you prefer? Have you been to Marin Headlands?

 

Underarmour Horizon BPF Trail Running Shoe Review

Underarmour Horizon BPF Trail Running Shoe Review

Recently, I tried the Underamour Horizon Trail shoe.  Between the Underamour Sonic and the Trail Horizon BPF, it has been my first time logging significant mileage in an Underamour shoe.

I’ve wanted to try both the street shoes: the Bandit as well as the Sonic.  Anyway, at the Copper Mountain Trail race, I tried them on and thought they felt very comfortable.  As poor of an idea as it was, after my initial try on, I thought they were extremely comfortable, and I raced in them.  They felt great, and as most people know, I had a good race.  So yes, my first time running in the shoe was the Copper Mountain 25k.  They did well and I would 100% wear them again for the race.  It is definitely not something I recommend with any shoe, but they felt great and I couldn’t be more pleased.  I also recently raced the Killington 25k and they were just as good.

underarmour Horizon BPF shoe review

Underarmour Horizon BPF Fit:

I typically wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide.  I found the women’s 11 to be the most comfortable on my foot.  It’s relatively true to size.

The upper of the Under Armour Horizon is durable and is very breathable.  Since the primary function is a trail running shoe, it also provides a lot of protection from rocks and trail debris.  The great part is it’s waterproof which came in handy when I was plowing through mud puddles in Killington.

underarmour Horizon BPF shoe review

Ride:

The outsole has a high-traction rubber which is actually designed by Michelob tires.  So yes, the same rubber your tires have, your shoes have.  Most people know I’m incredibly clumsy and I found the shoe to grip every part of the trail.  I never felt as though there was a surface I couldn’t handle.  I found the rubber extremely helpful for Killington and I’m not sure how well I would have done with something less aggressive.

But the shoe is not all rubber! The Underamour Horizon also has plenty of cushioning and is both soft and lightweight. It is not as rigid as many trail running shoes and provides plenty of cushion during your run.  I like the shoe a lot for running because it’s soft and relatively light for a trail shoe, with plenty of traction.

underarmour Horizon BPF shoe review

Conclusion:

Right now, this is my favorite trail running shoe.  I also own the Brooks Cascadia which I find better for hiking but the Underamour Horizon better for running on trails.  If you are looking for a good, sturdy trail shoe, I would definitely look into this shoe.  It will probably stay my primary trail racing shoe (when I do trails).

Questions for you:
Do you run trails?  What is your favorite trail shoe?
What is your favorite running shoe?

Copper Mountain 25k (2:58)

Copper Mountain 25k (2:58)

This is going to be one of my lengthiest race recaps, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!  Before running the UnderArmour Running Series at Copper Mountain, I had no idea what to expect.

While I have run one trail race in NJ, it didn’t have the same climb and elevation changes that races out west do.  I had not run a trail race out west, and I had never raced at anything above 7000 feet of elevation.  I went into the race with zero expectations but finishing.  I could have finished in 2 hours or 4:29 minutes and felt good about it.  In short, I exceeded all expectations for the race including my time and experience.

Due to the length of the recap, I’ve broken it up a little bit.

Before the Race:

Before the race, I fueled as if I was running a marathon.  I knew I would be running for several hours with extreme climbs, so I knew I needed to get as much fuel as possible.  There were several food places available at Copper Mountain, my favorite being the Ten Mile Tavern.

The 25k started at 7:30 am.  Around 7 am, I realized I couldn’t get my Nathan Hydration Pack open.  I had opened it back home to make myself familiar with it.  After basically attacking Sarah to help me, I went over the Fleetfeet Rochester guys, and they were able to open.  Since the pack had gone from 0 elevation to 9000 quickly, the vacuum seal was shut entirely.  After that situation was thankfully fixed (in writing it sounds like I’m calmer than I was), I was ready to go.

Even though there were 5 aid stations, I opted to bring my own water.  I was 100% happy that I did, and if I raced again, I would choose the exact same one.

The Race:

After chatting with Jill at the start, we were off.  I started towards the back, and in hindsight, I could have probably started a few rows up.  The first mile was my slowest because we were so boxed in. I felt like I could move faster than I was but the number of people made it difficult. I logged a 15:10 first mile and I was happy with it.  I was winded, but also I knew it was faster than the pace I needed to make the cutoff.

under armour copper mountain race me running

The next mile was a long incline.  It wasn’t steep, but it was narrow and singletrack.  I kept plugging along with nothing of note except the crowds had begun to spread out.  I was still with a relatively large group of people which kept me motivated.  I wasn’t in it alone.

Around mile 2, began one of the hardest inclines I’ve run.  Not the hardest, because that comes later on.  The switchbacks were steep, and I could see rows and rows of people higher than me climbing.  It made me mentally question, what am I doing?  I have all of that to go.  What kept me together was the people around me.  I was neither the first nor the last.  I was a solid midpack person.  Seeing others going through the same thing made me feel more motivated.  I didn’t feel like I was climbing a mountain alone.

We climbed, and every time I felt I needed water, I sipped some from my pack.  I was thankful for the hydration pack, and if I run the race again, I’ll use the same one.  I ended up drinking all of my water in the pack.  My calves were tired, and for a few brief moments, I thought about walking.  I didn’t, but it crossed my mind.

under armour copper mountain race me running

Around mile 4, I took my first gel.  It was just under an hour, and I planned to take a gel every hour.  I don’t have a flavor preference, and honestly, my stomach can handle any flavor/brand the tasteless being my least favorite…but it will go down).

The switchbacks were done, and we began climbing a fire road.  People spread out, and I had my own space.  It flattened for a brief moment, and people flew by me like I was standing still. With my running college nickname, Mac truck Hollie, I went the same speed.  (Mac truck because I go one speed uphill, downhill, and on flat surfaces).  I knew the climb was not over.

We climbed for a while and then I saw a sign that said: “stay to the left”.  Suddenly, I saw racers coming down the opposite side.  Many had the 50k bib, but a few had 25k too.  They were a few miles in front and had already reached the peak.

Mile 6 and 7 were rough.  You were climbing and watching racers ease down the downhill faster and with less effort. I knew they had already put in the work to get there. I just kept plugging along and staring out over the mountains.  It was beautiful, and I could see for miles.

Finally, after a couple of 12-minute miles, I reached the top.  The energy at the top was unreal.  People cheering, Taylor Swift playing, and a table of cookies, gels, Gus, Powerade, and Red Bull.  I grabbed another GU and Red Bull.  I took in the view for a second and just stared out while drinking my red bull.

under armour copper mountain race me running

I had never had Red Bull while running but I decided since half of everything I was doing was new anyway to just go with it (new shoes, new hydration pack, new elevation, new race terrain…).

Downhill Until it’s Uphill:

Then I began the long stretch downhill.  I’m not a great downhill runner.  In fact, downhill is a very weak point on mine.  I am clumsy and injury prone while running downhill, so I take my time. Many people passed me downhill which was fine.  I didn’t care.

The next few miles were all downhill.  In my mind I thought, is this it?  Are we done climbing?  The hardest is done.  I was logging around 10 min miles and cruising. For the next few miles, I ran alone and enjoyed it.  Just me, running downhill, on an open fire road. I found some secluded woods and quickly used the restroom.

For the next few miles, we kept going down and mentally I had checked out of climbing anything else.  Which is unfortunate because around 10 miles we crossed paths with racers who were climbing.  It was a mix of bibs and I asked someone climbing if we were going that way.  He said yes, and it wasn’t the only climb.

All of a sudden, a racer going another way said: Whoa, are you Tim’s wife?  I said yes, and it turns out one of his college skiing teammates was running the race too.  We caught up after the race which was neat…you never know who you’ll see on the mountain.  Seeing someone, I knew gave me a second wind.

under armour copper mountain race me running

Once we reached the bottom, ready to go up, I knew I was about get served a piece of humble pie.  We dipped to a point and with a water stop.  I grabbed Powerade and began on the first incline.  The include lasted about half a mile, but it was grueling.  My calves were screaming at me, but I was passing people.  I thought to myself, I must really be stronger in the uphills.  I climbed, and my run became more of a cross between a short stride and hike.  I was still moving about the same pace, but I think I could contend for race walking.

We reached the top, circled around and went right back down.  The same racers I passed, passed me.  Someone called out, yeah Jersey.  I asked where he was from and he said Denver…so I said yeah, Denver (clever I know).

After the downhill, we went right back to the uphill which honestly didn’t seem as bad as the earlier uphill.  Maybe I was more mentally prepared, but I powered up and passed the same people who passed me going downhill.  I knew we had to go downhill for a few more miles so I knew they would all drop me later (which to no surprise, they did).

Technical Downhill is Hard:

Around mile 12, we started the technical downhill.  Out of everything, it was my absolute least favorite part. Not because I thought it was a bad course design, but because both downhill and technical trails are my weakness.  Together, at the end of the race was grueling.

I had to pay attention to every place my feet landed for the next 2 miles and it made me slower, less efficient, and worried.  I didn’t want to roll an ankle or fall.  I didn’t care though, my goal was to finish not to run fast and hurt myself because I wasn’t paying attention.

I was extremely fortunate there was no one really around me for almost a mile. I was able to take my time without getting into other racers way.

Around mile 14, a man came barreling through and almost ran into me.  We ended up climbing up a short incline to the fire road and going down.  He quickly ran by me on the wide open road.  From there, I knew I had about a mile and a half.  Just 1.5 miles to go.  I told myself, half of a 5k and a downhill 5k at that.  My quads had started cramping, and my IT band was singing me a sweet hate song.  I wasn’t injured, but 7+ miles of downhill made it tighten up.

The final mile headed into more single track downhill, and we popped out.  I looked down, and I could see the village.  I could see the finish line. OMG, I’m doing it.  I kept staring at this surreal finish line.  Then I crossed, and it was done.

under armour copper mountain race me running

Post Race:

I grabbed a couple of bananas, chatted with people, and then went up to my hotel room for a while.  I felt proud and accomplished.  I enjoyed my first big trail race and it could not have gone better.  Under Armour did a great job and I liked the course a lot. Looking forward, I’m not married to trail running, I just like to run.  I am thinking I’ll do the Under Amour Killington Race as well.  I’ve heard while the elevation is lower, it’s much more technical.  Like anything in my life, I can’t plan too much until closer but I would like to do it if my schedule allows!

Questions for you:

What is the hardest race you’ve ever done?

Have you ever done a trail race?

Exploring the Maurice River Bluffs

Recently, I was down in the Vineland and Millville, New Jersey area.  I’ve always wanted to check out the Maurice River Bluffs, and it seemed like a good day to do so.  There are several great spots in Cumberland County and South Jersey. There are a couple of trails down there! Unfortunately, with the weather we’ve had the last couple of months, part of the trails were closed due to flooding.

That is okay, and I still had a relaxing time just exploring the Maurice River Bluffs and Nature Preserve.  I stayed on trails and followed the detour route that is currently in place, but it’s not the same route you’ll find online. The hiking trails and trail system is good and well marked. There are plenty of trails from the red trail, to yellow trails, blue trails, white trail, orange trail, and even the detour and alternate blue. The Maurice River Bluff trails are all well marked so it’s hard to get lost.

I believe I explored about 3 miles worth of the park.  I was able to make it to the actual Maurice River Bluffs, so I felt accomplished.  Tick season is among us, and along with just everyday safety, I like to stay on trails and not make my own.  Most of the path is pine needles and then along the bluffs is a beautiful sandy marsh.

The parking lot is small, and I don’t know how crowded the park can get.  There was plenty of parking when I went, but as mentioned I’m unsure how busy it can be.  When I arrived, I heard loud music playing.  To be honest, for about 5 minutes I thought there was a festival going on inside the park.  I’m not exaggerating at all!  When I walked up to the front, I realized it was coming from someone’s car.

The start at the Nature Conservancy:

maurice river bluffs nj

Most of the trail is pines.

maurice river bluffs nj

An abandoned building along the trail.  It was pretty cool as most of the building is gone and you can see nearly to the foundation.

maurice river bluffs nj

maurice river bluffs nj

Looking to the Maurice River Bluffs!

maurice river bluffs nj

Gorgeous view along the Maurice River Bluffs that I had no idea existed around there.  There is a floating dock and bird blind that you can see bald eagles.maurice river bluffs nj

In all, it was a fun little walk in the Maurice River Bluffs in Cumberland County. I enjoy exploring new parts of NJ, and this spring and summer have been great for that! If you are looking for a short hike with family or to even use their picnic tables, this is a fun spot.

I have been enjoying the peace of hiking and walking through the Spring and now summer.  I’m hopefully looking forward to continuing through the rest of the season.

Other Spring hikes I’ve Done:
Hiking Turkey Swamp in Freehold
Exploring Cattus Island in Toms River
Hartshorne Park in the Highlands
Hiking Cape May Lighthouse

You can see all hikes here.

Questions for you:

Have you ever been to the Maurice River Bluffs?

Do you live in an area with a lot of ticks?

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