TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Another Run At It (What are you running from?)

Saturday:

Aliso Wood Cyns Park was packed this morning (at 8AM -- much later than I'm usually there on a weekend) -- there were groups of cyclists converging in the parking lot, whole cross country teams mingling about. I drove right on by the ranger station (having finally figured out how to get to the the end of Wood Canyon via automobile without getting lost first -- that is to Canyon Vistas Park).

Skies were cloudy and gray. I wore my sleeves long, a beanie on my head (& I even debated on whether to wear pants). Crowds, crowds, everywhere were crowds. But it was the good kind of crowd, not the mall sort of crowd, or freeway sort of crowd. Crowds on bikes, crowds carrying water, walking sticks . . .

The air was cold as I took off into the canyon. Turning off Wood Canyon Trail right away, I faced Cholla anxiety-free. Then I commenced to run up Cholla the same time with 4 cyclists. Talk about pressure. One of the guys kept a constant lead on me, the other three I left in the dust. Thus I figure: it's a hell of a lot tougher to cycle Cholla than it is to run it. Needless to say, upon reaching Westridge, I promptly tucked the beanie in my belt and rolled up my sleeves.

I saw a lot of people, mainly runners and hikers struggling up and down Westridge, particularly toward the end. I made it to the Top of the World about two minutes faster than Thursday's run and two minutes quicker making it down. I was pleased with the improvement.

Miles logged 5.9

Sunday:

Depression came for a visit this morning when I got to thinking about my reasons for running. I've often heard this question: Are you running away from something or are you running to something? I kinda chuckled when I heard this, never really thought about the question UNTIL TODAY when I wept over the fact that I'm running AWAY. Yes, that is my motivation, that's what gets me up sometimes at 4 AM, that's what puts me on the road driving for hours to run out in the desert, that's what gets me out the door on cold, cold mornings. I'm running away from something. That something is MYSELF. That's why I run! I run to bury my feelings of inadequacy. I run to entomb the loser. And that made me sad.

After dwelling over this for the entire morning and some of the afternoon, I finally laced up my road shoes and ran out the door. I ran straight up the hill and turned to climb another previously daunting hill, reaching the city's high point. I wore no watch, carried no water, didn't even bring a phone. I wore my ipod though, for fear of being alone; I was afraid of what I might think.

Turns out, I didn't think much at all. I ran down to the beach, where the tide was high, the surf rough. I ran up to the rock cliffs, hopped tide pools and climbed up and over the rock wall with waves crashing at my feet. Then after crawling over a huge boulder wedged between the cliff wall and another larger boulder, I took in the choppy ocean beneath sunny skies mixed with rain clouds threatening to burst. Waves crashed up onto the rock ledge as I took this in. I noticed tiny fish swimming in the pools up there.

I took care making my way back down the rock face. A fall here meant a certain plunge into the ocean, with perhaps a few head gnashes along the way. And then I was off again on the sand, running Dana Strands, Salt Creek and Monarch Beaches. It was an uphill climb practically the entire way back home.

And I felt a lot better.

Miles logged: 6.7

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