TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Monday, August 22, 2016

8 Mile Hometown Loop

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSunday was like one last hooray for me, which is why I couldn’t pass up a run even though I had little energy to put in even a mile. This week, it’s back to work for me at full-force, teaching adults at three different schools. I’m going to be living out of my truck most of the time, hitting the gym in between classes when I can. Though I am anxious regarding getting back on a busy work schedule, I think it’s good for me. I do best with a routine.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESThe weather wasn’t too warm when I set out from my house at 2PM on Sunday. But it was windy, especially so for the first two miles of this eight mile hometown loop. Frankly, the wind made it so tough (as I was going against the wind), that I let it discourage me some, and resorted to walking here and there in the beginning. When I finally turned inland, the wind didn’t cause as much trouble, but my foot sure did. Will I ever get rid of this foot pain? Hitting the sand was an extremely welcome relief. Don’t think I had foot pain at all whenever I got the chance to hightail it off of the cement. And I took that chance as often as I could. Smile

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Friday, August 19, 2016

The Best Part

My feet didn’t hit dirt this morning until after 10:30AM. That was late for a run in the middle of August. I’m not lying when I say that it was struggle from step one. Just don’t focus, I told myself, enjoy the scenery, enjoy the music. I really thought that today’s trail run was going to be one of those runs where the best part of it all was when it was over, when I finally got to stop.

Wood Canyon (Aliso Viejo):SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I played that same old game, the one where I mentally cut the run in half just to make it seem easier. The halfway point was only three and a half miles. I can do 3.5 miles. And then I counted the miles down beneath a throbbing sun with little or no breeze.  Then oh, about five miles into this run, as I staggered over probably my tenth snake track in the dirt, I noticed something in the distance that looked like animal. Running up on it closer, I couldn’t quite tell – was it a dog, perhaps a cat? Upon closer examination, it resembled more a pile of brown rocks – just like the ones strewn all over the place in this canyon. I’m not sure why I didn’t trust what my eyes were telling me, that it was just a pile of rocks, but something made me stop and focus my sight. And after standing there a few minutes, the bobcat came into clear focus.  

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Its been years since I’ve seen a bobcat in these coastal hills. What a treat! I watched cautiously, but confident that I probably wouldn’t cause the cat alarm. He was focused on something in the field. And then cat pounce on something. He missed. He whisked off into the brush behind the field but not before giving me a good long stare. Well, this wasn’t going to be one of those runs where the best part was when it was over. This was definitely the best part, right here in this field.

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Still on a high from spotting the cat, I continued my struggle beneath the heat, but this time with a smile upon my face. Yes, I still counted down the distance left – by quarter miles. They moved by slowly.

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Within a mile of the bobcat, a deer surprised me by darting across the trail. Stumbling for my camera, I missed catching a photo of this very secretive animal. But I had it in hand and was able to catch a photo of the second deer that quickly followed behind.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Little More Than Five

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMy boys returned to school this week – too early in my opinion, but that’s besides the point. I’m currently in the one week off between teaching sessions. In between getting the household situated for my return to practically full-time work, getting the boys set-up, visits to the gym, etc., etc., I am wiped out. I did finally get out and hit the trails yesterday, Thursday, at 9AM to Top of the World in Laguna Beach. Believe me, relatively earliness of the day did not save me from any heat. But that’s besides the point too. I was just glad to finally get out there and put in some miles. A little more than five total.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Afternoon Beach Run

I missed getting out earlier once again. That usually means going to the gym instead. But as the day moved on, and two of my boys headed off to the beach, the house got lonely. And so I decided about 3:00PM to go ahead to go for a run out the door for a run along my city’s southern beaches. I donned a new black cap, and also a greenish shirt I didn’t even remember owning. I found it shoved in with my running gear during spring cleaning this summer.

The wind blew in gusts, with chopping waves arising from it. And I believe it was an off-shore wind, as it wasn’t exactly cool. I won’t lie and say this nearly 6 mile run was a breeze either – it was kinda tough. But though I could have cut it short, I decided to do the full out and back (to where the sidewalk ends). After all, what better distraction could I have from my suffering than dozens of seabirds diving head first into the deep blue ocean for fish? They were amazing!

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Missing the Pack

I’ve been doing some “spring” cleaning this summer. Most recently, I cleaned out my closet and beneath the bed. I got rid of no less than ten pairs of shoes. Most of them went into the trash bin, two pairs of boots and one pair of heels went into a charity box. I kept seven pairs of running shoes, though I only really ever wear two of them. Found a great deal of caps that I thought I lost. Organized my swim bag, and put it to the front of the closet for easy reach.  Lastly, I dusted off my lonely old hydration packs, and stacked them in the corner of my room, my favorite, the light blue Ultimate Direction Wink, on top. Oh, how I miss that pack. It has been with me through so much.

I hadn’t planned on running yesterday, Sunday, especially with a rock cut on my toe that I gained Friday swimming in the ocean with my youngest son. As the day lingered on however, I day dreamt about my pack. Smile And then I did something crazy. I took off in my truck in the middle of the day, around 3:00PM for a run in Wood Canyon. I really, really wanted to wear my pack. Though the seven mile trek out and back in Wood Canyon wouldn’t normally warrant a pack, I decided to bring her along. Besides, it was going to be hot.

Thankfully, it all began in shade . . . SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The trails were relatively quiet. I came upon five or six hikers, a few runners. But for a weekend day, they were empty. There were snake trails, lots of bunnies, and stink bugs. A breeze blew once and again, and parts of the trail felt like an oven. I found peace in the struggling, even in the heat.

On the back portion, it got so hot, I had to walk some steps to cool down. I know a thing or two about overheating, and that I must cool down.  Good thing I had lots of cool water in pack. I ended the run with relief and a smile.

Loving the Pack:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

One of my favorite spots in Wood Canyon – this picture doesn’t come close to capturing the spot:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Onshore Breeze

Slept in good and long this morning. Finally dragged myself out of bed about 9AM and peeked out the window blinds. We were socked in. Glory be to God! Today, I thought, just might be a day that I forgo the air-conditioned gym for some running. Still, I was leery. I did not want to get caught out in the heat, such the baby that I am nowadays. Fearing the clouds would part, I put off the decision, instead washing dishes and doing laundry for the next couple of hours. When I finally ventured out doors during this chore period of the day, I found that we had a onshore breeze going on. For those who do not live near a body of water, this means that it was cool out, almost cold actually. Decision made, I didn’t waste any time driving to another location. I took advantage of the cool weather on the spot and ran out the front door.  I ran 5.75 miles along the coast, enjoying every single bit of it. The skies were gray, yes. And it was a bit muggy.  But still that onshore breeze kept me going.

I did not have a brush on me Smile:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESComing into Capo Beach:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESLooking toward The Headlands and the Dana Point Harbor:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAnother Cow:SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spoiled

It was so damn hot in the house on Friday (7/29), I went for a run to cool off. Living on the coast, we have little need for an air conditioner. Most of the time! There are probably only about thirty days during the year that we suffer from heat around here. And it never gets into three digits. I am just spoiled.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSo, I thought I’d cool off with a run down into the harbor. Didn’t work. I was pretty much miserable the entire time – sweat in my eyes, extra exhausted, etc. But the scenery of my route was oh, so beautiful, and I did manage to pull off 5.73 miles. Oh, and I saw another painted cow!

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