Okay, I know that’s lame. I contemplated a great deal over what to name today’s loop, but came up with nothing. This is the best I’ve got (at least until I run this loop again). What loop? The second portion of the Old Goat 50 miler that I’m running at the end of March. The first twenty miles is The Candy Store run that I’ve posted recently. The second portion of this race is a 30 mile loop that takes runners up The Main Divide, down Trabuco, up Holy Jim to Santiago Peak, then back, mainly via The Main Divide (in the Saddleback Mountains).
I posted this run in my running club and 3 other runners showed for a shorter loop which took them up the infamous West Horsethief. We ran together for the first 6 or 7 miles. The weather was cool, perfectly cool. And the skies were blue.
Top of Trabuco/Main Divide (Me an utter goofball, Alyx, Tory, Jessica Deline RD of Twin Peaks and The Harding Hustle):
Once we split, I’m sure my pace slowed. I run faster when I run with others. Though I enjoyed the earlier company, now I enjoyed the solitude. I came across several friendly hikers. And I put a great deal of effort into not thinking about the past or future. I succeeded pretty well, and of course, that’s when I ran my best.
I have not run Holy Jim since I DNF’d the Saddleback Marathon this past November. I have not run to Santiago Peak since Twin Peaks Ultra (October). I’ve been avoiding these trails I think, due to a fear lurking in the back of my mind. A fear over the difficulty. A fear over mental defeat. Holy Jim is where I gave up the mental battle during the Saddleback Marathon. Santiago Peak, well, I have a mental defeat just about every time I run those last 2.5 miles.
Nonetheless, my run into Holy Jim was lovely. The weather remained cool. The skies grew a little cloudy. And the trails were “spring” green with moss and ferns heavily dotting the landscape.
In the Holy Jim parking lot, I traipsed through the brush to locate the fresh water that my son and I stashed yesterday afternoon. I felt a little like Katniss from The Hunger Games. Just like in The Hunger Games, water is the number one commodity in trail running (calories being number 2, which I had plenty of). Though I wasn’t particularly thirsty (I had just gone through 60 fluid ounces on the trip there), my mouth practically watered when I pulled out one of the hidden jugs. I set it on a log, unpacked some calories and refilled my hydration pack to the brim. That water looked so beautiful and precious to me, I was tempted to pour it over my head and shower in it. But alas, the weather was too cool for such an act. So, I hid the jug back among the others and headed up Holy Jim.
Holy Jim was a bear, yes, but not a grizzly bear. I found the 5 mile climb laborious, but enjoyable. It was like meeting up with an old friend (one of life’s greatest treats). On the way up Holy Jim, I devised a plan to conquer the final 2.5 mile ascent to Santiago Peak. I decided I would use those couple miles to “rest-up.” Instead of struggling by running up that thing, I chose to hike it. In fact, I forbade myself to run any portion of it, EXCEPT the flat part that reaches only about a tenth mile.
I only lost about ten minutes hiking to the peak instead of attempting to run it. That’s a lot of time for only 2.5 miles. HOWEVER, I felt relaxed. The ascent was still difficult. But I never grew angry. I didn’t bash myself (that is fill my brain with negative self-talk). I reached the peak delighted. And on my trip down, I felt stronger than usual. I think I’m going to work on this approach more.
The next three miles back down were good. The final ten miles were an utter struggle. I ran most of them, and when I found myself trying to run ridiculous inclines, I forced a fast hike (as fast as I could manage anyhow).
Today’s training run: Success, even though The Bigger Loop took me quite a bit longer than I hoped. At least I know where I stand (or run), and have a time to work with.
I feel like time is fleeting. But I will not fret. Time on my feet, that’s my goal this month. Putting in the miles!