TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Acceptance

Last Saturday (5/16) I was back out on the trails.  Not running them, but working them.  Worked an aid station for the OC Dirty Duathlon (Another one of Jessica’s races).  Lots of fun.  Participants came by our station 4 times!  Twice on bike, and twice on foot.  Rain began to fall as we packed up the station and hiked back out to my truck.  This added to a recent couple days of rain. 

Pictured:  Carlos (RD of Los Pinos), Jade, and Jimmy the Sweep:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I didn’t get back out on the trails until Monday (5/19).  The skies were still cloudy and dark, and the air was wet.  Last second, on my way to Los Flores for an Arroyo Trabuco run, I decided for an off-road trip so that I could really get up into those dark mountains. 

The canyon was empty.  The trails were spooky and misty.  So much so, I turned off the music and made that 5+ mile climb in quiet.  Actually, it wasn’t that quiet with critters scurrying back and forth and birds cawing and chirping above. One bird whistled so perfectly humanlike, it was eerie – kinda like an unseen stranger followed me up the mountain. 

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The climb was tough up Holy Jim, and I hiked a great deal.  When I finally reached the top, a loud noise came booming through the mountains that I could not readily identify.  I thought at first perhaps it was the wind, but not a leaf stirred.  Focusing in, it seemed the noise was metallic, and approaching, and I imagined a giant robot making its way along The Main Divide.  Just about the time I finally pinpointed what the sound was, a big white work truck rambled around the bend.  I stepped off the road a bit, lowering myself back onto Holy Jim.  The driver waved as he passed.  I waved back.  It was all so surreal – the only two people on that spooky, scary mountain had just crossed paths! (Though I’m sure there were others on the mountain, it just didn’t seem like it).

Finally, I ran down all of Holy Jim.  And I totally blew out my foot in the process.  Back at home, my foot ached so terribly that I could barely walk.  The next day, things were not much better. 

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I did not get out to the trails again until Thursday (5/21).  With a taped up foot, I managed to get in 4.5 miles in Wood Canyon.  Taking a detour, I made my way along Cave Rock Trail where I sat in these caves for a good half hour practicing acceptance – acceptance with lots of things, but as it pertains to running, acceptance of where I am right now, and acceptance with the fact that with my foot problem there is really no way that I am able to “compete” at Nanny Goat 24 this weekend.  Instead, I’m merely going out just to be there, to take it all in and be a part of the party. Smile

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Spartan Race Give Away

With minutes to spare before the day ends, I had my drawing tonight for the Spartan Race Entry.

Greg Pochron – thank you for commenting, you are the winner! 

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Greg, E-mail me for the code.   Your free registration will be good for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US. 

All other commenters and readers – send me a message for a Spartan 10% race discount.

Thanks!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day Run

I celebrated Mother’s Day by leaving the kids at home with hubby and running a 12.05 mile (19.39 km) out-and-back along Santiago Truck Trail.  It was hot, and I made the rookie mistake of not applying sunscreen.  So, I’m slightly sunburnt.  Despite that, it was a lovely, though difficult run.  The scenery was so beautiful, I could not control myself with the camera.  Below is just a portion of those pictures. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Tomorrow I will do my drawing for the free Spartan race entry.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES5 10 152,130’ elevation gain (649 m)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Later

What do you do when your running is suffering (utterly failing), you doubt that you even want to do it anymore, and you can’t find time to pull your wits together and figure out what to do about it?  Well, um . . . you get out there and run when you can, and figure it out later.  That’s what I say.  Later.

Later.  I like that word.

Let it be said. Let it be done. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMonday, after making lunches and breakfasts I took off out my front door for a run along the southern beaches.  Word was, waves had been ten to twelve feet the days prior.  Although we live a mere half mile from the sand, I had not ventured down to see the spectacular show.  Monday, the waves were still strong, but evidence of the past day’s destruction was stronger.  What used to be asphalt parking lots were covered with sand and rocks.  The volleyball courts in the sand were washed away.  Cement benches and trash receptacles were strewn about like toys. 

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I had to pick up my pace some to get home in time.  In all, I ran 5.12 miles (8.24 km), with a lovely flat 171’ (52.12’) of elevation gain.  After this, I picked up boy number one from school, prepped to teach a PowerPoint class, then picked up boy number two, showered, dressed, ate dinner and drove off to teach my one class for the day. 

I did not get out again until Thursday – and it took several hours after waking at 6AM.  Of course there were lunches to pack, breakfasts to make, boys to drop off at school, not to mention two cups of coffee to down.  But I also needed to do some grocery shopping.  Finally at about 10:30 AM, I hit the trails in Aliso/Wood Canyons for a good-size loop up to Top of The World for a grand view of the Pacific Ocean.  Word was that rain would fall soon, but the skies were blue when I set off.  Fearing rain, not to mention being squeezed for time, I cut Wood Canyon short and ran up Mathis – the very first trail I ever took to the top.  Honestly, I hiked much of Mathis on Thursday, and I was okay with that.  Hell, it’s pretty close to a miracle that I can make it up Mathis without crawling, or stooping beneath the shade of a shrub and sobbing for that matter. Winking smile 

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In all, I put in 9.3 miles (14.97 km) with 1,140’ (347.47 m) of elevation gain. Mere sprinkles of rain fell during it all, but winds were strong.   Back at home, I showered and got ready for an AB86 meeting at the local community college in a record fifteen minutes.  (I didn’t have time to do my hair, but I was clean. SmileI jumped in the truck barefoot, knowing that I had some black pumps in the back seat, and drove my oldest up at the high school for a study session as I headed off to my meeting.  Hardy laugh . . .  when I got a fright after my son peered toward the back seat and said, “Why is there only one shoe on the seat?”  He knew I was rushed and thought that was a funny joke.  Me, not so much so.)

Friday, I spent all day at a seminar, of which I was a break-out group facilitator.  After the break-out session, I presented our discussion in front of the entire seminar crowd.  And when I didn’t think that I would feel nervous at all (because I am so used to speaking in front of groups of adults), I found myself quite nervous.  That wiped me out.  I mean, really!  I am 50 years old, I speak in front of people lot of times!  However, speaking in front of students is a completely different thing than speaking in front of colleagues and superiors in your field.  Whew!  I crashed hard Friday night. 

Finally, this morning (Saturday) I hit the trails again around 11 AM in Las Flores.  I took Tijeras Creek Trail down to Arroyo Trabuco Trail (a semi-usual stomping ground).  With a down pour of rain on Friday, I hoped for full creeks.  But alas, they flowed only slightly fuller than the last time I visited these trails. 

It was a difficult time this morning with dark cloudy skies.  I felt tired and depressed, but I put my head down (I know, bad form) and ran nonetheless.  At one point, I came up on a man carrying a giant cross covered with red and white roses on this lonely trail.  Following closely behind him were at least one-hundred other hikers, many with red and white roses in their hair.  How odd this felt to encounter so many other people on a trail that I rarely see one other soul.   Their presence was so spectacular I wanted to snap a photo, but then re-thought that, since they were on some type of religious journey.  I didn’t want to intrude on that.  They definitely lifted my spirits for part of this run.   I always fin it uplifting to encounter other travelers along a lonely road. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESChubby me, hitting the trails (and I don’t mean chubby as a derogatory term, but merely a descriptive word because I am a little frustrated about being out-of-shape – but I will overcome!):SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I got in 9.72 miles (15.64 km) today along Arroyo Trabuco, with 650’ (198.12 m) of elevation gain.  The week’s not over, and my feet managed twenty-four miles running.  And as usual, I am definitely better for it.  Later I will think about what the hell I am doing and what my plans are.  Until then . . . I will smile.  That’s all I can promise, a smile. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Big Plans

Got three runs in this week.  Monday, I had big plans.  I always have big plans.  But my big plans got shortened (surprise, surprise!), this time by chores – making breakfast, lunches, grocery shopping, laundry, etc., etc.  While I had hoped for at least fifteen miles, I got in a good 10 miles along Arroyo Trabuco Trail – a nice long, out-and-back.  I was sluggish, and felt very weak during most of it.  And what began with a slight sore throat, ended up with with an even more sore throat, plus a dash of watery eyes, a cough and congestion.  Woe is me.  Winking smile  Still, the scenery was beautiful.  It always is. 

Arroyo Trabuco Trail, out-and-back, 10.01 miles (16.11 km)SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My cold worsened over the next few days.  With work, catching pollywogs with my youngest son, and everything else continuing on, I had little rest.  I yearned though to get out there – with so little time on my feet, I am really struggling to keep any fitness at all. 

Friday, I hit the trails in Wood Canyon regardless of the runny nose and sneezing.  I figured I’d run through the canyon and see how I felt.  If I felt crappy, I’d turn around for a 6 mile total out-and-back.  Turns out, I felt pretty good at the end of the canyon.  So, I turned into Aliso Canyon and headed on up Meadows Trail.  Big mistake (well, actually it wasn’t that bad, because I lived and all).  The view of Saddleback Mountains was extraordinary though, so I thought for the moment, that it was all worthwhile.  (Still, I had about 6 miles today in big heat!)

Looking at the Saddleback Mountains from the top of Meadows Trail:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI ran with little enthusiasm toward Alta Laguna Park, which is the entrance back into Aliso/Wilderness.  The heat was relentless, as it seemed to yank the energy right from my body.  At the park, I drenched my face and hair with cool water from the park bathroom’s sink.  Then, with little shade during those last three miles, I needed to stop and stoop down beneath shrubs to cool down.  10.48 miles run (10.94 km), 1,225’ gained. 

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Waiting for me outside my truck:  Winking smileSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Saturday, I taught a class that ran from 9:00 AM until 3:30 PM.  Home at after 4 PM, I was in no shape for a running.  I went straight to the couch and slept.  Sunday, still a bit under the weather, I slept in.  After two cups of coffee, some breakfast, and cough and cold medicine, I was ready for a small jaunt along the trails.  About 2PM, I headed back out to Aliso/Wood Canyons for an out-and-back into Wood Canyon, up Cholla Trail, and West Ridge to Top of the World.  I felt much better and strong on this run.  Hallelujah!  6.8 miles (10.94 km),  with a 961’ gain.

Running West Ridge on the back portion of this out-and-back:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I ran 27.29 miles (43.92 km) this week, all of those on trails.  I’m glad for that.  And I won’t cry over the fact that I did not realize my plans.  I have another set of big plans for next week.  Smile

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Rain Run

I do not run in the rain.  Some time ago, perhaps years, I decided I didn’t like to run in the rain.  And so I don’t.  Some people don’t like to run in the wind, but I do.  Some people don’t run in the heat, but I do.  I will run in many conditions, but given the choice, not the rain. 

My feet hit pavement today after I dropped my son off at his music lesson.  It was 1 PM, and the skies were cloudy.  It rained yesterday, but seeing how we get very little rain, it didn’t even occur to me that it might rain today. 

One mile in, I was running along the beach with my jacket tied around my waist.  A mile later, the jacket was back on as a light drizzle fell from the skies.  The beaches were empty.  The parking lot at Doheny was full though with spectators and vendors out for the Doheny Wood Car show.  (Woodies are historical cars with wood frameworks.)

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Rain fell faster as I made my way back through the car show.  By mile four I thought that I was good for another few miles.  I was soaked, but the rain wasn’t falling particularly hard.  At mile five, the rain came down harder, enough to form puddles in the road, and I thought, “That’s enough of that,” and phoned my husband for a ride.  With my jacket zipped up to my chin, I stood beneath a giant Eucalyptus tree and waited for my knight in shining armor to bring me back to our nice warm beach shack up the road. 

Miles logged:  5.05 (8.13 km)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Nothing New

It’s nothing new that I can’t part with my jacket on cool runs, then within a mile I have it tied around my waist for the rest of my run.  I wore my jacket around my waist for 11 of the 12 miles I ran yesterday morning.  I can deal with that.  Oddly, it’s worth the trade – I’d rather not freeze for the mere mile.  Call me an oddball.  It’s also nothing new that I ran this 12.08 mile loop in Aliso/Wood Canyons, my home trails.  But it is fairly new that I ran the loop counter-clockwise.  Usually, I like to get the climbing over quickly, grind it out right away in the beginning. This is the way of the clockwise loop in Aliso/Wood Canyons (from the ranger station).  Instead, I chose the long slow, rolling hills, climb to Top of the World.  The climbing lasts longer, but when I come off the ridge running, counter-clockwise, I am only about two miles from my truck.  There’s something soothing about that. 

It’s also nothing new that I thought about pretty much nothing during those long twelve miles – as in my mind was blank during this run.  And as I ran back in toward my truck I reminded myself that I really need to get back to thinking about whether or not I want to continue all this nonsense.  One of these days when I have a moment . . . Smile with tongue out

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12.08 miles (19.44 km), 1,190’ (363m) elevation gain