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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Up Rockit to The Top of the World.

On the road a little after 6 AM for a group run, I was hopeful for a good IT band day. Yesterday, I bought a foam roller. As soon as I got home, I tore open the packaging, layed on my side and rolled back and forth over the band. I would have never believed it, had someone told me that this would work (actually more than one person told me it would work). After only three painful rolls, I stood up with huge improvement. I could barely feel there was a problem. Wouldn't it be nice, I thought to myself as I rolled into Aliso Wood Canyons Park, if I could do these hills without burning pain in my hip?

We were pretty bundled up, all five of us -- myself, Sheila, Kelly, Tom and someone new to our runs, Hank. When I say new, I don't mean new runner, or even new trail runner. He seemed to take these hills with ease!

Anyway, what I thought might be a pretty dang cold descent into the canyon, turned out not to be so. Sure, it was cold, but definately not freezing. We took Aliso Canyon to Wood, saw a Blue Heron slowly walking through the brown grass. Then we ran up Mathis Trail just a bit to hop onto Coyote Run. We made our way along Coyote, weaving in and out of grove shade, up and down mildly hilly terrain, until we reached Rockit. And then the climbing began.

My hip felt great, but if there was anywhere it would start burning, it would be running up Rockit. What a huge relief it was to not feel pain -- and what a beautiful sight it was running up that rock trail in the early morning. Hank took up the lead with Tom, us three ladies coming up behind, we reached Westridge with gloves off, long-sleeves tied around our waists.

After a break over looking Laguna Beach at Top of the World, we made our way down to Mathis and took that lovely decline until the turnoff for Dripping Cave. There's a pretty good climb in the beginning of this trail, but nothing like we had already run. Plus some of it's beneath big old oaks, with their roots twisted above the surface. Running along a single-track ridge type trail for a bit, we climbed that final hill, and made our way back down into the shade. Of course we stopped in Dripping Cave, then left running for that final stretch back to the ranger station, passing that Blue Heron again along the way.

I had a great run today (great group, as always) and put in 11.07 miles running to the Top of the World. My IT band felt great. There was no limp back to the car, no painful stretching, just a very dull sensation that the trouble wasn't completely gone. Marvelous.

Sheila on Rockit Trail headed for Top of the World

Kelly so gracefully making her way on Rockit

Top of the World, Overlooking Laguna Beach (Me, Kelly, Sheila, Tom, Hank)

Kelly, Tom and Hank in Dripping Cave (A.K.A. Robber's Cave)

Heading Back toward Wood Canyon

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