click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Solo Run in Aliso and Wood Canyons

After dropping our sons off at school, I took off for my weekly posted run in Aliso / Wood Canyons, this time solo. While I miss the company and the encouragement of the group run, solitude is nice too. I can appreciate both. That's one of the nice things of youth finally being behind you -- it's easier to recognize the benefits in both sides of the coin. And it's easier to "make due" with whatcha got.

So, this morning, I got me a solo, beneath gorgeous blue skies, enormous puffy white clouds, long hilly run. Earphones plugged in, I thought to myself, now's a good time to work through that missing chapter from my novel that I need to write ASAP, else it never get written. But it's a disturbing chapter, and after working through it only a few minutes, my heart pained with sadness, and I decided that my brain couldn't dwell in the darkness on this beautiful trail run. (Though I did work it out enough to know where it was headed and finally wrote the chapter when I got home from work tonight).

The sun shined brightly and hot, as I expected at 8:30 in the morning. Those puffy clouds though, provided enough shade to comfort me, and an onshore breeze added even more delight to this morning's run. While still on Aliso Creek Trail, a large deer, with two stubby velvet antlers on each side, trotted down the path ahead of me. I was amazed -- first by it's size, and secondly by its lack of concern by my presence. Then this gorgeous creature turned into the brush and disappeared towards the creek.

There were bunnies out and about, hawks flying overhead, and black beetles robotically making their way across the trail. And there were lots of tracks -- deer tracks, coyote and bobcat, plus another, large birdlike track, that I haven't identified -- perhaps quail (because I see them often here), but these tracks seem a little big from what I figure Quails would make.

ANYWAY, I ran up Mathis this morning. It's been a long time, and I don't believe that the run up that steep, exposed climb has gotten any easier. But what a delight to do it! My mind didn't wander towards finances, or district budget cuts, or chapters that need to be written, running up that thing. No, I just thought about one foot in front of the other, and not stopping. Do not stop running. Do not stop!

From Mathis, I hit Westridge, which gives some relief at first with a minor down hill, possibly an 1/8th mile, probably less. Then it's uphill on rocky, mixed in with sandy dirt to the Top of the World.

Westridge on the way down was a delight with that ocean breeze and rolling hills. I didn't turn off on Mathis, but continued straight on until Rockit (with a slight delay to fix my camelback, which somehow managed to get air in it). I focused hard on Rockit, so as not to fall in a desolate area where I usually see no one. Then all of a sudden, a female cyclist emerged out of nowhere, spooking us both. We smiled, kinda chuckled.

At the bottom, I turned off onto that enchanted Coyote Run, thankful for the occassional breeze, and plentiful shade above the creek here and there. Upon reaching Mathis, my skin crusted with salt, I joyfully made my way back to Wood Canyon and ran on in all the way to the ranger station, beat, but not beaten.

Lovely run.

Miles logged this morning: 11.27


  1. Sounds wonderful. Too bad I missed it!

  2. Hi Tom. I hope that you're healing up. I feel for you being out of the run. It's such a bummer : (