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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Slam Dancin' with the Trail

Saturday morning I woke to the sound of my phone alarm at 4:10, and then promptly fell back asleep. I only slept 10 more minutes, thankfully, because I had places to go, things to do.

Tom and I hit the trail, Santiago Truck Trail, at 5:30 am, the sun not yet up above the horizon. The air was cool, beautifully cool, the slope: UP. A few minutes in I was already tired. (No three mile warm-up on Santiago Truck Trail).

Awesome Cool Morning Hittin' the Trail with Club Member Tom

Ahhh, so refreshing and COOL

We ran about 3 ½ miles, mainly upwards; plenty of steep inclines, arriving at the Vulture Crags blessed by cool weather. The trail was wide, hard packed dirt, occasionally some loose rock. Some single track greeted us here and there, red, white and yellow wild flowers sprinkled the edges. At times, the cliff drop was so steep, so gorgeous; I found it difficult to keep my eyes away from it. When I found myself gazing down that mountainside though, it seemed I’d lose my equilibrium. And so I’d quickly focus ahead. Focus, focus, focus.

Today’s goal was to reach “Old Camp”, from what I’ve read, an old Indian site. After lots of climbing, some of it my favorite, single track, I’m guessing approximately about 7 miles, we descended on a wide trail, into a different world: a world of green, shade and cool air (the sun had finally hit us back a ways, and I was beginning to wish that dang yellow ball in the sky didn’t exist). Then, can you believe, on the way down into that lovely forest, I tripped. I thought for sure I was gonna eat dirt. Somehow, I managed to plant my left foot forward, and kept upright. Extremely pleased, and relieved, I raised my arms up in victory. “Did you see that?” I exclaimed to Tom.

Making our Way down to "Old Camp"

Old Camp was lovely, and shady, and full of gnats. I pulled several of those tiny flying critters from my mouth before I learned that I had better keep my mouth shut. After some snacks and photos (gotta take those snapshots!) Tom and I made our way out of Old Camp and headed back up out of the shade. I remember telling myself firmly, “Do Not Fall.” On the way up we saw our first signs of civilization – 2 mountain bikers hauling down that shady trail.

Old Camp

Snacks and Photo Op

The remainder of our run was mainly down hill, though there were some climbs. And the sun beat down hard. Countless (and I do not exaggerate) mountain bikers by then made their way up Santiago Truck Trail, and I thought they were certainly crazy starting so late in the morning. And then somewhere, I don’t recall exactly when, I was actually feeling pretty good . . . I tripped. This was a hard trip, on a slight downhill, one that sent me slamming, and I mean, SLAMMING to the ground. My right side and calf hit first, and then my elbow rocked hard against the earth, followed by my palm crashing into the ground. The sound of my elbow hitting was eerie. I thought for sure I had probably broken something, just by that thud. Tom heard it too, as he ran slightly ahead of me. He said that he really hoped that it wasn’t the sound of my head hitting that trail. The two bikers we passed down at Old Camp witnessed my fall from behind, and with concern asked if I was okay, as they came up on us. I didn’t know just then about any damage. A tiny dab of blood formed on my elbow, and scrapes were already visible on my calf and palm.

(By the way, that’s number SIX. That is, six falls, 5 on the trail, 1 on the road)

After a short walk, we were off running again, and what a joy it was running back – that downhill (mainly, there were a few climbs) and knowing we were just around the corner from our cars, does lots for the mental game.

Vulture Crags in background

Fossil Rock (how many miles are we from the ocean???)

Burnt out trees from last year's fire, with new growth -- nature's glory abounding

Back at the car, we met up with Leo who had come out to run with the group. He had just finished up his run. Unfortunately, we missed each other. Still, we had a chance to talk about the trail, and share some ice cold water from the ice chest in my car.

Great run. Though tonight, my hand hurts a great deal, and Motrin has done little to alleviate the pain. Not much swelling, so I’m hopeful that nothing’s broken. I’ve got it wrapped in an ace bandage, because even slight movement HURTS. When this is over, and I’ve learned that I did not fracture nor break my hand, it will be good bragging material. : ) (Or not!)

Miles logged this morning: 16
Elevation gained: 3,000 feet

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