TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Thursday, January 28, 2010

On the Trail Again

Wednesday, I figured I'd check out the hip and go for a nice flat run.  "No Camera," I wagged my finger at myself.  I only had a little time to fit in this run.  Parking down at the marina,  I made my way through the wharf -- empty of customers, by the way.  Ran through the marina, plenty of walkers about, and made may way up and over the bridge to the island.  My hip ached some, nothing terrible.  I stretched it out a couple times.  Back at home, I iced off and on, until I had to get off to work.

Miles logged on Wednesday:  5.2

Ends up my hip stays about the same whether or not I run.  In fact, it seems to get better right after I run.  So, I thought that today was as good as any to get back to the trail.  I told myself, "no camera" again, but at the last minute thought "what if I see something extraordinary?"  You never know!  So I tucked it in my belt with the promise to leave it alone and focus on the run.

I also told myself that I'd just run and see how I felt, figure out the route as I went.  Not two steps away from the car I decided that I was going to the top.  I've done it dozens of times, should be no problem eh? 

Ummm.

The weather was perfectly cool as I ran through the canyons.  And my hip felt perfectly fine.  I stopped at the entrance to Wood Canyon, stretched, again, not even a stiffness.  Wonderful.  It looked like my only problem this morning was going to be energy.  I lacked it.

The trail was wet, in places downright muddy.  Green grass sprouted all over the place.  And I saw one of the blue herons up a ways from his usual spot.  The little plank walkway across the creek was washed up the trail some.  I guess that stream got flowin' pretty good during our storms.  I saw the woman (who I learned today is named Cathy) that usually runs the opposite loop, and she suggested that we carry that walkway back to the creek.  A little concerned over my hip, we got it back in place without a glitch.

My friend, the Blue Heron (He's not trying to get away from me; he's posing : )

I reached the end of Wood Canyon Trail (approx. 4.5 miles in) quite tired.  Frankly, I was a little surprised, being that I had been taking my run nice and easy.  I ran up Cholla Trail EXHAUSTED.  Utterly.  And I made my way up and down Westridge, pushed on by the fact that I could see "Top of the World."  If I hadn't been able to view it, I might have turned around and walked back.

 From Westridge, looking back at snow capped San Gabriel Mountains

I saw Cathy at the "Top of the World," and ran across the neighborhoods to enter Aliso Wood Cyns park again, for a breathtaking downhill run on Meadows Trail.  I took that last trail in at a sluggish pace.  After cool down and nice long stretch, face crusted with salt, I was pleased to report -- no pain in the hip.  I of course, iced back at home nonetheless.  In class tonight though, my hip ached again.  But no more or less than if I hadn't run.  So, I'm glad I ran.  So there  : )

Reaching "Top of the World" looking back at hiker coming up Westridge


Looking forward to descending on Meadows (I believe last time I was here -- it was brown)

Back on the Trail!!
 Facing Meadows Trail / Pacific Ocean (& Catalina Island) in background
(ps.  beware, geek on the trail : )))

Miles logged Thursday morning:  11.64

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Who Cares About Groove?

Rain has ceased!  (At least for now : )  I couldn't get out for a run though, until early evening.  It was tough on this old gal, as I am purely a morning runner.  Put me out there in the afternoon or evening, most times, it's like I'm not even a runner.  As was such today -- I never really got my groove.  That's all right though,  really.  I'd rather run with no groove, than not run at all. 

With that hip ache STILL lingering, I headed down the highway and took the pedestrian bridge over into Doheny Beach, which was closed.  Not for runners though, or cyclists, or walkers -- we just went right past the "closed" barrier.  The campground was a ghost town, the state park roads also void of cars, except for rangers who roamed about, saying nothing about the dozens of runners making their way through the "closed" park.

The weather was cold, the sunset magnificent -- orange with puffy clouds.  After turning around at Capo Beach, I snapped a picture of the sky, that doesn't even do it justice.  People literally lined the walkway at Capistrano Beach (which wasn't closed) shooting pictures of this sky.  They had cell phones and cameras with foot-long lenses alike. 

It was dark by the time I ran into the wharf.  I came upon a pelican standing in the middle of the sidewalk behind Jolly Rogers.  I really love those birds, so giant and awkward they seem, though they're quite graceful in flight and lounging out on the sea.  This particular bird didn't move as I approached, then finally at the last moment scampered away.  He seemed injured, othewise he would have flown away.  I wished there was someone I could call to help out my poor friend. 

Restaurant lights cast their shimmering glows upon the black ocean waters of the wharf.  Another magnificent sight -- one great reason to get in a night run in my parts.  What wasn't so magnificent was the pain in my hip.  It worried me some, so I skipped the marina and headed up that big hill home, instead turning north on the highway to finally pick up my car from the shop.

Miles logged today:  6.59

View from Capo Beach taken with phone camera 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Between Storms

Storms have descended upon us here in California.  We're getting slammed.  Branches litter our yard.  Daisy dog gets to stay inside all day.  And the river which is usually near bone dry, now flows with choppy waters.  And boy has that wind been howling.

I was so fortunate.  We got a break just at the right time.  After dropping the boys off at school I raced down to the harbor, parked in the lot and hit the pavement for a short run.  Cold wind blew strong in my face. The clouds looked heavy laden with a downpour ready to burst.

Bundled up good, I ran through Doheny, trees and branches fallen here and there.  One giant tree lay across the parking lot having landed on top of some poor soul's camper.  If they had parked just one space over, it would have missed them (don't you hate it when things happen like that!  I sure hope it wasn't someone's home -- nowadays especially, that's quite likely).

The ocean was brown and choppy -- those giant pelicans simply floating up and down upon it, like it was a gentle magic carpet.  Where asphalt trail used to be, sand now covered.  Road crews worked at shoveling sand out of the Capo Beach parking lot (and why?  I mean, we've got more storms coming).

Rain began to lightly fall on my way back, but I pushed on through the wharf.  It was empty except for a woman I know walking her dog.  We said our hello's, and I pressed on through the shops back up to my car for a quick stretch and drive back home.

I didn't bring my camera, on purpose.  But I did bring my phone, just in case I got stranded in a downpour and needed a ride back to the car -- this trigger happy lady though, couldn't help herself and snapped a few photos again : )

Tree thrown down by the storm (notice the lifted walkway!)





Miles logged this morning:  5.73

Monday, January 18, 2010

Calico 30K Trail Race (CHECK) New Photos Added 1/27/10

First what I dreamt:  I can't find a parking place and the race begins in minutes -- it's a marathon, in the big city, and come to find out, before I even begin the marathon, there's a 20 mile pre-race.  Parking illegally, I run and run this "pre-race", through water and mud and crowded streets, into hair salons, toy stores, and even libraries where I run through endless aisles of books.  The books get bigger and bigger, making the aisles tinee, tiny, and I finally must crawl and squeeze through skimpy crevices between  these books, and the marathon hasn't even begun!!!

Back to the real event . . . The whole family stayed the night in Calico Ghost Town.  And strangely, though my hip was better the day prior, suddenly it ached all day Saturday, and I worried.  I stretched, took those anti-inflammatories.   After a fun day and dinner downtown with the family (though stressful), I bedded down early in the bunk house, still some coughing here and there, the boys too excited to sleep.  And I woke throughout the night, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming . . .

Down Town Calico Ghost Town
(Click on Pictures for Larger View)


Our Lodgings


Woke for good at 5:30 AM, stretched, and oh, so slowly prepared for the race.  Two extra strength excedrin didn't do much for the ache.  I hoped it did something for the inflammation.  6:30 AM,  IT WAS COLD as I headed up the road by foot toward downtown Calico.  Dozens of cars passed me on the road.  My excitement was the wondering whether I would be able to complete the race.  Actually, wondering, how on EARTH I was going to complete this race.

Ready to Leave -- I'm thinking, "I'M FREEZING," and not 5 seconds later do I have that orange fleece shirt pulled over my head

The walk up to the Start Line in downtown Calico Ghost Town begins

Getting Closer . . .

And Closer . . .

Arriving to the Start Line -- 9 minutes to spare : )
There were familiar faces in the crowd, mainly people I know about, but don't know.  But there was also a trail group member I know, Matt (You may recall, he helped me rescue my earpiece from the storm drain some months back).  We took off at the same pace for a good four miles.  It was a slow, steady incline, nothing tough.  My hip ached, but not terribly.  The relatively small group of racers (I don't know, perhaps 100?  probably more) didn't spread out drastically during those first five miles.  Parts of the trail was sandy, which is much like running on a sandy beach (more difficult than solid dirt or asphalt).   I laughed when Matt looked over his shoulder at the good size group of runners, and remarked, "Look, we're not last!"  I felt good, despite the hip, despite my doubts about completing this race.  I felt happy to be out there -- with my runny nose and kleenex in my pocket and all.  I felt grateful to be running again. 

Matt

Me, so, so cold, on that lonely (but not really that lonely) road into the scarey desert : )

Aid Station #1 at approx. 7 miles -- these stations are such a wonderful sight -- here's where I dropped of my fleece and gloves, but kept the sleeves because it was still quite chilly

This photo taken by Badwater Ben Jones

Miles 7 through 12, the crowd spread out, and Matt gained distance on me as did plenty other runners.  The gradual incline continued for some miles.  And the slant was ever so slight with my bad hip on the downhill -- not good for the pain.  It got worse.  I drank my water, downed the electrolytes in one form or another.  And then much to my amazement . . .  about half-way through this miles 7-through-12 segment, my right leg began cramping.  Seriously! I was actually aghast.  I had done everything in my power to avoid this cramping, from storing up potassium to eating potato chips at the aid station (which I never do), etc., etc. Though I say I was AGHAST, I didn't let that spoil my mood, because completing this run, in my opinion was all about mood.  That meant keeping a good attitude, breathing right, smiling and smiling often, relaxing the shoulders, waving, swaying to the music (yes, I did that here and there),  praying, yes praying, and to say the least, eating those jelly beans -- I hardly ever allow myself the indulgence of jelly beans, but today I stuffed my pockets with them at the aid station : )))))

Miles 7 thru 12, still seeing people around me, trail not difficult yet, except for slight slant

Hmmmm . . .


More of Miles 7 thru 12, notice white arrow painted in dirt to show the way

Aid Station # 2 -- Glory!

Poor Runner Who Didn't Make It

The Terrain Grows More "Technical"

Crampville

Still Miles 7 thru 12

Yes, That's My Big Foot : )


I was feeling the technical difficulty of the terrain to the point of fatigue by the time I came to the 30k/50k split. The volunteer here said, "Don't worry, it gets better once you reach the top," and I thought to myself, "didn't we already reach the top!!!" Ha, ha, ha : )  I knew . . . I remembered from last year the best was yet to come.

The 1st 30k/50k Split -- I'm going to the right!!!


From the split on, the terrain became increasingly difficult, or "technical" as they say.  No longer a nice wide road, I had rocks and boulders to deal with and a steep incline to climb.  Less than 100 yards from the summit, I phoned my husband (it was precisely 10:30).    After a short chat,  we lost connection, which happened to be at the peak.  Not wanting to lose downhill time, I raced down when suddenly both legs cramped.  Yikes!  For some reason, I tried a hamstring stretch.  NOT A GOOD IDEA.  My entire body nearly went into a cramp.  Then I remembered, stretch in the opposite direction of the cramp!!!  And so with my knees bent slightly, one foot in front of the other, I lifted my toe and bent down to grab it for a solid calve stretch.  Then I rubbed down the calves.  Feeling better, I attempted another hamstring (why????)  Yikes.  I nearly sent my body into a full cramp again.

Heading Up to the Summit (looking off to my left) -- Awesome to be there!

The Summit -- It's downhill from here to the next aid station (I'd guess 1 to 1.5 miles away) -- but the cramps hit in abundance here, so I can't make up that much time due to the fact that I need to stretch out the cramps : ( (Still though, I'm really happy I've made it this far, because it's pretty much a done deal that I'm FINISHING this race -- as long as I keep on smiling and praying and swaying to the music : )


Every time my right foot stepped on a rock a pain shot into my hip.  So I tried to avoid that!  At one point I got that hip shot, something also happened to my knee -- it was wierd, quick, and painful.  It didn't disable me, but I knew, it was not right.  But I kept on running.  And of course, click, click, clicking away with the camera.  (Fortunately, I didn't hear much complaint from my knee after that until I got home.)

After downing extra strength aspirin and some more electrolytes, I made that down hill run all the way into the second aid station, ipod blaring in my ears, and a wide smile on my face.  Oh, how I love those aid stations!  More potato chips for the salt, some gatorade (and jelly beans in the pocket), I also slabbed pain reliever cream onto my hip.  Then I gleefully phoned my husband one last time to tell him that I had less than four miles to go.  But I warned him, it was NOT the usual kind of four miles.  What lay ahead was the most technical portion of this trail race -- the cursed portion, the portion where I wiped out big time last year. 

Into the Glorious Canyons I Descend -- Did Not See One Single Other Runner During Canyons

Awsome (though I stumble quite a few times through this portion)

The Trail Begins to Smooth Out -- I'm Dead-Dog Tired, "just put one foot in front of the other."

Finally Coming Out of the Canyon -- and I'm a BIT TIRED : )






Running Along Base of Ridge I'm About to Climb up to -- Homeward Bound!

Running Along Ridge, About to Descend -- One Last Look Back


This photo also taken by Badwater Ben Jones.  I was just coming off the trail, headed for the paved campground.  I couldn't run more than a few steps without my calves cramping up.  I saw Ben there with a camera and the last thing I wanted right then was for someone to take my picture : )  I'm glad he did. 


The long stretch in was painful.  I saw Matt walking back to his camp as I made my way through the campground. I stopped a couple times through the parking lot to stretch out the cramps.  But I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face.  And I felt GOOD.  My time was about five minutes longer than last year (about a minute over 5 hours, I think) -- but the course did not beat me up this year.  I was not bloodied and bruised, I did not feel like vomiting.  I simply walked over to my family not feeling like I had just run 30 kilometers through the desert.  I definately call that a success. 

I experienced no more cramps once I got out of those hills.  My hip felt just about the same after the race as it had all week.  But back at home, I was icing an aching knee.  Not a terrible thing.  It was all worth it. WELL, WELL WORTH IT. 
 
So, So Happy to Cross Finish Line (below photos compliments of husband)

Heading off to The Mystery Shack, Where Water Flows Up, and Brooms Stand on Their Own : )



Miles logged:  18.66 (30k) glorious miles

Stats forthcoming (when Calico posts them : )

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Final Update

Slept oddly, waking here and there.  Strange dreams all night of overcrowded classrooms, Dr. David Hayword, toy stores, worms, sugar, bread shaped like a teddy bear, thinly sliced-cheese, red roses, want of a single yellow rose and more and more and more -- it was chaos.

Hip ached yesterday.  I continued the icing, stretching all the regular stuff from my "Fast Track" plan.  My cough still lingered.  First thing I did this morning was stretch -- no pain, just a little stiffness.  No cough either.  Awesome.  I have one more full day at recovery.  Please, please, please, let it be.

I am nervous as heck.  I find it difficult listening to people talk -- they add too much detail!  I just want to sit and breath. 

Signing off until after Calico.

: )

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Clock Ticks Away as I Move Closer to this Unplanned Physical Experiment

I reached the peak of my illness last night/this morning.  Though I'm still ill, I am improving.  Continuing the hip exercises and foam roll.  I'm experiencing absolutely no pain in the hip doing ordinary things.  Some pain when I stretch, but usually just some stiffness.  No pain whatsoever with the foam roller. 

At this point, it's all about getting well and stengthening that hip.  I'm looking at Calico now as one big experiment -- can I do it, with having run a mere 3.75 miles over the two weeks leading up to it?  And can I do it, happily, joyfully, playfully?  That's my plan anyway. : )

Miles logged:  0


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Updating Still . . .

For those of you just joining me in this saga, I am quick approaching the Calico 30k Trail run, my favorite race of the year, the whole reason I began trail running back in June of 2008.  Calico beat me up pretty good that first time, but I finished.  I finished with the promise to return.

After a full year of training, with merely days remaining, I am sick.  Not only am I sick, but I am recovering from some kind of repetitive injury to my hip.  I haven't run in about a week, nor do I think I will be able to run tomorrow, or cross train for that matter in the final days leading up to Calico.

And thus the update for today, Tuesday, January 12, 2010.

I am sicker than I was yesterday.

My hip took a step backward after yesterday's swim. 

I am continuing my "Fast Track to Recovery" plan and trying not to do too much in a day, as far as chores, etc.  I'm just at the point now of seeing what I can do come Sunday, I have no real goals.  I don't really care to get out there and run or cross train until then, because if I'm sick, I fear I'll get sicker.  And if my hip does get increasingly better -- I want to keep it that way til the big day.

As a side note:  I accidentally took double the dose of glucoscomine today.  What the heck is that going to do?  Who knows.  How did I do this?  I took my supplement (1,500 mg) and then later in the day drank one of those joint jucie waters -- which upon close inspection, noticed that it too contained 1,500 mg : )

Here's the good thing about right now:

It's a good thing that I'm sick now and not at the end of the week.  Everyone's been sick in my house, it was only a matter of time.

Being sick also guarantees that I'm not gonna go out there and injure myself further.  I do foolish things like that. : )

Miles logged:  0

Monday, January 11, 2010

Update (or maybe just an excuse to complain?)

After a restless night of waking again and again, I finally woke with MUCH improvement to the hip.  But . . . I gotta laugh at this -- I also woke with a sore throat and overall aches.  (I guess it's better to catch this cold, or whatever it is, now instead of later.)

I packed lunches, got the kids off to school, all without a limp.  I took my supplements, did some stretching, and with the sore throat still lingering, I headed off to the gym anyhow, about 10 AM.  Now, at forty-four years old (soon to be 45!), you'd think that I'd have more sense.  But I don't.  I really don't.  So desperate am I to get in some cardio, I did my swim.  I cut it slightly short though.  Swam 2,000 yards, an easy easy work-out really.  Best thing was, I experienced no pain what-so-ever (aside from that nagging sore throat).

(I'm just going crazy here!!!  I needed to do something).

Back home, I rushed about doing chores afraid to admit that my hip was worse off this afternoon than when I woke!  The way it looks right now, a Tuesday run is out of the question.

Boo Hoo.

There is plenty, more than plenty to be thankful for.  But this!  I am not very happy about it TO SAY THE LEAST.

Miles logged: 0

ps.  here's the kicker that I've neglected to mention -- exactly one week after Calico, I'm scheduled to run the rain post-poned Xterra. LOL

Cheers!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fast Track to Recovery?

Seven days have now elapsed since my last run -- and that one, I cut short due to my hip.  I was starting to  "freak out" about this.  I maintained my composure and all (sorta), but inside, I've been bummed, REALLY BUMMED.  First off, this injury came on the end of December, and I kept on running.  I should have layed off back then.  (How many times do I have to learn this?)  Secondly, I'm stressing, wondering, will I be able to run Calico, my most favorite race of the year?????  It may be two weeks off from running when I hit the trail out in Yermo.  Can I do it? 

I'll take back right now something I recently blogged, and that is that it was a "given" that I'd finish Calico.  Now . . . maybe not.  Heck.  That's okay.  Still, I'm resolved to get over this before the race.

My fast track plan to recovery (hoping for a run this Tuesday)

1.  Stengthening excercises specifically aimed at treating Bursitis -- daily
2.  Foam Roll -- a few times a day
3.  Stretching -- several times a day
4.  1500 mg glucosamine, 1200 mg chondroitin
5.  Anti-inflammatories
6.  Core strengthing exercises
7.  NO RUNNING, no cycling, no hiking (except for walking around Disneyland all day), no Elliptical

It looked like I wasn't getting much improvement as of yesterday.  But today!!!  I woke with no pain (the pain is usually at its worse upon waking).   Most importantly, pain is minimal when I stretch.  : )  Happy girl here!  Tomorrow, I swim, and then maybe, just maybe I run Tuesday. 

Miles logged this morning:  0

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bursitis or IT Band?

So the left hip now is acting up (as oppossed to the usual right hip, which is perfectly fine.)  Took Monday off from any kind of workout (my usual day off anyway), then Tuesday, I WENT HIKING with my husband (Caps because I'm thinking that was not a bright thing to do).  This morning, I drove down to the marina in order to avoid any hill running.  I ran an empty wharf and marina, crossed over to the island and about half way through the island, thought to myself, "Okay, I need to cut this thing short."

I'm freaking out here -- the hip pain is not going away after well more than a week!  I've been using the foam roller to no avail, except for once today.  After an extra long session, the pain subsided for about fifteen minutes.  Then I read an article that made me wonder:  is this problem really the IT band, or is it Bursitis.  My pain stays with me when I don't run = bursitis.  I don't have a typical bursitis gait, that is foot lunge in front of the body, mainly heal strike = IT Band (I have more a mid-foot and on hills a forefoot strike, definately not out in front of the body). 

What do you think? 

I got to researching, and learned that while the foam roller helps for both, glucoscomine helps tremendously for bursitis.  Here's where I'm kicking myself.  I never replaced my glocoscomine when I ran out about SIX MONTHS AGO!  You can guess where I'm off to now.  The Drugstore!

Miles logged this morning:  3.75

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Nice N' Easy (But I still have lots of gray)

Yesterday's recovery was a little tough.  After about an hour of leg and foot cramps, I thought it would be a good idea to take some Eurolytes.  Cramps?  They disappearred shortly after.  (Note to self:  pack lots and lots of eurolytes for Calico race).

I wished I could have made the group run scheduled for today.  I woke after 8AM, tired and stiff.  And I don't mean to be complaining, but I've got that dang IT band problem again -- but on the opposite side.

About 2:30 this afternoon, I took a nice n' easy run down to the harbor.  The skies were cloudy and it felt like a cold front was coming in.  The sidewalks were crowded, the restaurants too.  Saw some old neighbors, chatted for a few minutes, and I was off again, through the wharf, in and about the crowds of walkers. 

Back home before I knew it, I took extra care stretching in the backyard.  The foam roller is out for some over-time. 

Now is the time to cut back mileage and work on psyching out the mind.     : ) 

Miles logged today:  5.35

Saturday, January 2, 2010

OMG

I had this bright idea (for my last long, Calico training run) to weave my way up and down, up and down to Top of the World (FOUR times) this morning. Mapped and measured the night before, I knew I was looking at about 21 miles, but then a little over a half mile into the run, I turned back to the car to change out my headphones.

Okay, let's try again. It was cold. The park was crowded. My legs were numb. I felt confident that I could do this thing, slowly, yes, but with no problems. I opted to run up Meadows first, get the toughest over with first.

Entrance to Meadows Trail


The climbing begins, the houses on the ridge are in the neighborhood named "Top of the World." I actually call pretty much any part of the "top" by that name (Top of the World)


The climb is long up Meadows, and tough, tough, tough. Two male runners made their way down, so did a few cyclists. I ran that entire climb, plenty of energy to spare, feeling like the run was practically over, having gotten Meadows out of the way. I felt glad : )

Yes, I am a geek (taking pictures of myself) -- Reaching the top of Meadows Trail (Laguna Beach in the background, "Top of the World" neighborhood to right, not seen in picture)


I obeyed the "No Trespassing" signs that guard Top of the World and took the trail detour below. Still feeling strong, I ran the paved ridge into the park before hitting the trail again. I felt great running down Westridge -- why? Because I knew I was running DOWN Mathis next. From Mathis, I hit Coyote Run Trail. Lost in my mind, I nearly jumped off the trail when two cyclists road by. We all chuckled. Grinning wide, one of the guys said, "Wake-up," as he rode by. Seemed like everyone was in a good mood.

Detour


Coyote Run Trail


A large group of cyclists converged at the bottom of Rockit. The two runners I met running up Meadows ran by -- gosh, I told them that seemed so long ago! Here's where I finally took off the long sleeves, and with no fret or anxiety ran up Rockit in it's entirety. I felt great running along Westridge toward Cholla. Half-way of my plan approached quickly. And I thought to myself, "I should e-mail Lori to see if she's running Calico." Wasn't long after that a woman ran up alongside me. She said, "How miles are you running?" It was Lori! We chatted some and ran the remainder of Westridge together, where I turned off and ran down Cholla Trail.

Lori


At the bottom of Cholla, I stretched, turned around and ran back up Cholla. The climb was tough, but so, so short compared to running up Meadows and Rockit. Plus there was the mental aspect, knowing that next, I would run DOWN Rockit. My spirits were UP.

Somewhere, I took in some calories (totalling now about 330 when added to the protein shake I drank in the car before taking off). I tripped three times running down Rockit. No falls. : ) Enjoying the beauty, I snapped a few shots here and there, while anxiety began to seep in about upcoming Mathis.

Going down Rockit Trail


Yes, I am a geek picture #2 (around mile 14 or 15)


Looking down the canyon from Rockit Trail


Running DOWN Rockit has its UPs


Fatigue set in a little harder on Coyote as did the anxiety of facing Mathis. I wondered, "how in the hell am I going to make it up Mathis -- that's FOUR trips to the top . . . what was I thinking?" Well, I hit Mathis, ran through some flat areas, some nice shade, then came upon the climb with dread.

I could barely make it up Mathis. My feet began cramping. My eyes stung from salty sweat dripping down my face. So slowly I climbed that thing, knowing up was my only alternative if I wanted to put in the long distance. A few times I felt I might fall back (I mean literally fall backwards). I felt light headed. Worried over the fact that I only had about thirty calories in my belt, I drank up. There was never a slower harder climb up Mathis for me than today. I cringed when cyclists passed me and trudged onward -- just make it to the Top of the World ONE MORE TIME.

Mathis Trail


Upon finally reaching Westridge, I ran down that short descent before the next climb. I felt overheated, yet shade did not exist. Overlooking the edge, I snapped another picture of the Pacific. I felt like I might vomit, or maybe pass out. And so I just plopped down and sat in the dirt. After talking to my husband on the cell for a bit, I rose from that dirt and slowly ran/walked to the Top of the World. I ran into that park, straight to the bathroom where I washed my face with cold water and poured some also over my head. Then I walked outside, and plopped myself down on the cement, shaded by the bathroom structure. I forced down the remaining calories, chatted a bit with a couple of hikers, and with the knowledge of exactly 4.5 miles remaining, painfully began running again (that is mentally painful in addition to physically, as my legs actually hurt, and MY BACK had began cramping.)

Where I sat on Westridge to regain my strength.


Not much to add about those last 4.5 miles. I did not fall; did not cry. I simply put one foot in front of the other, running. I didn't fly back down Meadows, and I sure didn't envy the runner coming up. I understood the cyclist sitting at the trail side with his bike laying next to him.

Running down Meadows / Homeward Bound


I hit Aliso Creek Trail feeling I just had to stop or collapse. I drank the last of my water. I felt that I simply had to get back, and walking that last mile wasn't gonna do it quickly enough. And for that last mile, I ran/walked from evergreen to evergreen.

I walked the perimeter of the parking lot for a cool down, feeling pretty lousy. But at the same time, I was mighty glad I made this run -- I was reminded/learned some good things for Calico. First off: Wear a Hat! (Excuse me, but how many times do I have to learn that??) Secondly: Don't wear long sleeves, because tying them around the waist only overheats me quicker -- if I must where them, quickly dump them at an aid station Thirdly: MORE calories. Fourthly: electrolytes!!! and finally: It's OK to be a geek : )

Miles logged this first run of 2010: 22.32