TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Friday, January 13, 2017

If I can do it in a week, I can do it in a day

So last week (playing catch-up here again), I was at only about fourteen miles come Sunday. All the rain made it difficult to get time on muddy trails. But with a race coming up that I have run for the past 9 years, I felt pressured to put in more miles. Regardless, I’m dead meat in regards to this race, but still, I want to make sure that I can actually put in the miles (or rather kilometers, as it is a 30k). I recall recently saying to my friend Tom F., that “I can run the same amount of miles in a day that I can run in a week.” In other words, if I can run thirty-five miles in a week, I can run thirty-five miles in a day. It may take me an extremely long time, but I can do it. To this, my friend Tom responded, “Yes, you CAN run the same amount in a day, but that does not mean you SHOULD.”

Well, I squeezed out 6+ miles last Sunday to top twenty miles for the week (which is a little longer than my upcoming race). And then, I fell ill – aside from the rain and my illness, I have been able to log precisely ZERO miles this week. Perhaps Tom was right. Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. Winking smile

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Location: Aliso/Wood Canyons

Friday, January 6, 2017

Going with the Flow

I can’t even remember what day it was now. It was the 4th, yes, the 4th, which makes it a Wednesday that I actually dragged myself out of bed early in the morning and drove out to Trabuco Canyon. My plan was to run up Holy Jim trail and back down for a total of ten miles. Turned out, that I needed to practice something that I’ve been teaching myself for many years now – that is to roll with the punches, or rather go with the flow.

After a forty-five minute drive, I came upon a locked gate on Trabuco Canyon Road – locked due to the recent rains. In my youth, that would have dashed all my plans to the rocks. I would have returned home sulking, and it would have probably ruined my entire day. Now however, in my older, years, my goal is to wisely, yet quickly, come up with something new to satisfy my goal when something gets in the way.  Well, my goal was to get my legs used to mountain trails, and also, to experience the creeks now flowing with these past rains.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESHaving parked on the side of the road two miles out from the Holy Jim parking lot, there was no way that I had enough time to make it up to The Main Divide and back. I had to work Wednesday evening, and I didn’t want to be rushing around too much when I finally arrived home, only to make the long drive out to my Wednesday night classroom. And so, going with the flow, I quickly changed my plans, and headed out to Holy Jim Falls (which I haven’t been to in a long time due to the drought).

Well, the creeks were flowing, and the landscape was wet and lush. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. Every single creek crossing was full. And the falls, well, I haven’t seen more than a dribble in a long time. On this day, there was actually a pool beneath what was much more than a dribble. And even better than that, I didn’t fall once, even though it was rough for me on those mountain trails. Coastal hills are wonderful, but they really don’t prepare me much for the mountain trails. Only mountain trails prepare me for mountain trails.

8.07 miles and my mission was accomplished. I got my legs out moving on mountain trails, and I got to experience the wonderful flowing creeks.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

First Run of 2017

Got out for my first run of the year this afternoon – 6.37 miles, 847’ of elevation gain. Man was I was surprisingly tired afterward. I know I’m supposed to be somewhat fatigued after running trails. But not this much. Must have been the route – Wood Canyon, Cholla Trail, West Ridge, to Top of the World and back. One of the hardest “short” runs I know.

Looking forward to some more difficulty in the next days (if I can get out there before the next big rain).

Cholla Cactus along Cholla trail:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESView of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESLooking down into Laguna Canyon from West Ridge:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESTop of the World, Laguna Beach:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last Run of the Year 2016

Rained through the night Thursday, stopped by the time I woke. And though it looked dark and gloomy Friday afternoon, like it might pour rain any minute, I took my chances for one more trail run this year. Amazingly the trails were open in Wood Canyon, as usually, they shut down after every rain. Though they weren’t closed, the trails were practically empty, and they were muddy.

The skies were dreary. The clouds were gray and heavy. I put in 7.2 tranquil miles, an out-and-back through Wood Canyon. I came upon a few bikers, a couple runners too. But for the most part, I was completely alone – except for the critters, bunnies, squirrels and coyotes. I saw a pack of four coyotes, but they scrambled off before I was able to capture a good photo. At some parts of the trail, the mud was so slick, I needed to gingerly step to avoid a slip and fall. Don’t need another fall this year. Then with a mile left on those dark, lonely trails, the rain began to fall, and I made it back to my car under nightfall just in time for the deluge to fall.

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to more trails in 2017.

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Friday, December 30, 2016

To the Flag and Back

Thursday was intended as a gym day, but seeing how rain is in the forecast over the next few days, I decided to make it a run day instead. A short run – to the flagpole that overlooks these beach cities, and back.

My legs felt heavy, no doubt from the day before, but the fact that this was a “short” run kept me going. I hiked some to, as I do more nowadays on the inclines. And I took in lovely scenery – blue skies, white puffy clouds and the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean.  In all I ran just slightly over 4 miles. The route: Las Ramblas, Cerro Rebal, Forster Canyon, Patriot Trail to the flag where I turned around and ran the same way back.

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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Counting Steps

I got another day without rain, yesterday, Wednesday December 28. In an attempt to save some cash in toll fees, I opted to drive the coast to Ridge Park, overlooking Newport Coast. What I thought would be a leisurely drive through Laguna Beach, ended up being a holiday crowded frustration, taking much longer than I had intended. My feet hit dirt about thirty minutes past my plan.

Being so long off the trails, I’m not straight on my mileage anymore. I had hoped that I picked about a nine mile loop. But my “run” ended with the sun completely down, beneath a starlight sky and 10.82 total miles on the garmin. And those last miles, about three of them, were really tough. So tough, that I had to resort to the counting game to get me through them. I’m not sure why counting helps me during tough climbs. Maybe it just takes my mind off the struggle. At each hill, I’d make a guess on how many steps to the top, and set off counting. The closest I came during those last rolling hills was guessing 150 steps, when it turned out being only 130 steps. All other guesses were more than fifty less then the actual. The last hill, I didn’t even have the energy to count.

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve played the counting game12 28 16 a.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Route: Bommer Ridge, Moro Ridge, BFI, Crystal Cove State Beach, No Dogs, No-Name Ridge.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Runs

We had rains in Southern California days prior to Christmas. San Juan Creek flowed like I haven’t seen in a couple of years. And the San Gabriel Mountains were covered in snow. No snow, alas, for our Santa Ana Mountains. Good news though, it finally stopped raining just in time for a Christmas Eve run. I didn’t have time to make it to the mountains, and all the coast hills were closed due to “wet and muddy conditions.”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI got in 6.53 miles out of my front door on Christmas Eve. The temperature was beautiful – crisp and cool. But the strong winds annoyed me ever so! And I walked some to relieve my aggravation, but enjoyed it all nonetheless. One bad thing though – after all that asphalt and cement running, my bad foot felt as if someone had taken a paddle to it. Bad foot!

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe day after Christmas, after sleeping in quite late, and spending much of the day picking up my house which looked like a tornado had run through, I made it out to Wood Canyon in Aliso Viejo. I ran a 7.19 mile out-and-back. My feet much more enjoyed the soft dirt beneath them. And the winds had died down, so I wasn’t much annoyed. Actually, I wasn’t annoyed at all.

Merry Christmas! I’m looking forward to a new year.

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