DSE Coastal Trail 10K Challenge

Happy Thursday! Hope your week is wrapping up well. I realized I forgot (completely) to do a recap of Sunday’s Trail 10K race, so I figured, better late than never right?

I learned a few things on Sunday:

1. Trail running is hard.

2. Running up hills while on a trail is harder.

3. Running up a vertical 400-foot sand ladder is hardest.

But I have to say, I kind of love this “trail running” thing. Mainly because it’s just so pretty. And fun.

I’ve been wanting to run a race for a few weeks now, and I was back-and-forth between signing up for the See Jane Run 1/2 Marathon and the Dolphin South End Runners Coastal Trail 10K. When I went to register for See Jane Run and saw that the half marathon was going to run me over $100, I reconsidered. What is that like $10 per mile? Uhhh no thanks.

One of my favorite friends Jaime had mentioned earlier in the week that her and her fiance were going to run the DSE Coastal Trail 10K Challenge. And it was $8.


The race started at the ever-reasonable hour of 9am Sunday morning so I got up, drank my entire French Press worth of coffee (my caffeine consumption has increased about 300% since retiring Keurig), and had a couple of slices of gluten-free toast with my favorite almond butter/honey/pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon/apple slices concoction.

Always a winner.

I walked the 7 feet to Jaime and Tim’s apartment and we jogged over to the start line. I love DSE races because they’re no fuss – it takes about 47 seconds to check-in and get your bib, and the announcer actually says “on your mark, get set, go!”

Honestly, it’s the little things. Did I mention their races are $8?

We set off running along Crissy Field – I don’t even know/care what our pace was because we were chatting away. The weather was cool, overcast and foggy and we ran to the Warming Hut, before taking about 100 stairs too many uphill towards the Golden Gate Bridge.

Enter more up-hill trail running, more stairs, and we finally hit a nice down-hill before Baker Beach. Then came Baker Beach and running on the sand (it was for like a minute but SWEET JESUS running on sand is not easy) and then coming to the dreaded Sand Ladder.

What is the Sand Ladder? This is the Sand Ladder.

400 vertical feet of unstable logs attached to ropes, covered in sand. Holy booty/calf blaster. There is nothing fun about it. But it is pretty to look at.

The race covered most of the run portion of the Escape From Alcatraz Tri which happens to be next weekend, and Jaime’s fiance happens to be racing it, so it was a great training run for him. I am just happy I will not have to deal with this ladder of death after swimming in from Alcatraz, biking and then running. Good luck guys, we’ll be cheering!


Once we conquered the Sand Ladder it was (almost) all downhill from there. There was another climb but then it was downhill until we got back to the water, and flat along Crissy Field as we ran towards the finish.

We finished in 1:01, about 10 minutes behind the 5th place female, and honestly I looked at my watch less than 3 times the entire race, and had the best time running. It wasn’t about racing, it was about running the most beautiful course and chatting the entire way. I haven’t had that much fun running in quite a while.

Jaime and I chatted the entire way, pointed out every single dog we saw (while simultaneously planning our future dog’s lives) and the race seemed to fly by. (Okay so that’s a lie and the uphill portions did not seem to fly by the the rest certainly did.) Jaime we’re running together every single day from here on out. I hope you’re ready.

Overall it was a great race, and very well done (as always) by the DSE Runners. The course was tough and hilly, but it was scenic and beautiful, and I’m sure a lot more beneficial than my normal avoid-all-hills-at-all-times routes.

We stuck around long enough to hear the awards get called out at the finish before we headed up to The Plant for brunch. I went for the Green Basic juice and the omlette special of eggs, goat cheese, kale, sweet potato and oyster mushrooms. Unreal combination, and honestly is there anything better than melted goat cheese? (The answer is no.) Tim got the Huevos Rancheros which will be my choice next time. As in Saturday when I drag whomever is willing to brunch with me at Plant because it’s so delicious.

Apparently trail running makes you really hungry because aside from showering and putting on my compression sleeves (along with actual clothes), I did nothing but eat all day long. I felt like I hadn’t eaten in about a week. I’m not complaining, it’s been a while since my stomach had this much room for delicious food (marathon training I love you).

The rest of the day was spent watching the Giants game, eating, grabbing fresh sushi for dinner, eating, watching a movie, eating, and relaxing with boyfriend.

Have you done a trail race? Thoughts?


One thought on “DSE Coastal Trail 10K Challenge

  1. I haven’t run a trail race, but I *have* run the sand ladder, and sweet mother of mercy, that thing is no joke. We did loops of it during tri training one day; I’d have to look back to see if I did three or four but for about an hour after, I wanted to curl up into a ball and die … and then after that passed, I spent the rest of the day feeling like I could do ANYTHING. I may be wrong, but I heard that at EFA, they have timing mats at the bottom and the top so you get a split *just* for the sandladder!

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