The Dish

Over the weekend I visited the Stanford Dish Trail in Palo Alto, a popular recreational trail that I used to visit regularly, but haven't had the opportunity to frequent as often as I'd like over the past few years. Since I often recommend it my fellow Bay Area runners I thought I'd do a pictorial of this 3.5 mile hilly trail. The start of the trail is located at Stanford Avenue and Junipero Serra. Parking is limited to "side of the road" parking so you have to get there early or be prepared to circle the area a few times searching for somewhere to park. I got there at 8 am on a Sunday morning and it was already packed! Oh and a helpful hint - don't make U-Turns on Stanford Avenue - I've gotten tickets twice for doing that.

Once you're parked and at the entrance of the trail, you'll see a guard's station and this sign that gives you a little information on The Dish:

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There's a wooden fence area that you can use for stretching, then when you're ready to go, this is where you start:

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This first climb is tough. I've often commented to my friends that I feel that my face is thisclose to the ground when climbing this thing.

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At the top of the first incline is a fork in the road. If I'm walking the trail I'll usually go right:

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I'm not quite sure why, maybe because it starts and ends downhill.

But if I'm running the trail, I'll go left, which is what I did during this workout:

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IMG_2858

You'll immediately find yourself in another climb:

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{also, this is the only shaded area on the trail}

When you get to the top of that hill, you'll find another hill:

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IMG_2861

And yet another one:

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But once you get to the top, you'll see spectacular views of the Bay:

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You'll finally be treated to a little decline and some flat road:

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Then the rolling hills start again:

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You'll also finally see "The Dish" - the big satellite dish at the top of the hill that the trail is named after:

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About 5 years ago, I used to come to The Dish a couple of times a week with my friend Megan, so I know it fairly well. A few weeks ago my friend Jess had posted in a Daily Mile post that she ran down the back side of The Dish. This part of the trail is new to me! I wasn't sure where was at, but when I saw this, I figured it had to be it (and Jess confirmed it):

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Apparently, this newly (to me) opened gate at the base of the The Dish is an add-on to the trail! Jess said that it's goes about a mile down, all the way to Alpine Road. So round trip, that's another 2 miles added to this trail! I had some time constraints so I didn't explore it, but I fully intend to next time I'm here.

Continuing on, the trail winds downhill:

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IMG_2879

Then starts yet another climb:

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After this climb, you have a few more rollers:

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The final turn in the trail is a slight incline:

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Then finally, you get to run down the huge hill, back to the entrance gate:

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All this in 3.5 miles (not counting the add-on)!

One of my goals for this summer is to get back into shape where I can run the entire course - in both directions consecutively! Who wants to join me? :)