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Saturday, January 2, 2010


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.


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.


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


  1. Amazing way to start the year! Congrats! Very inspiring!

    I'll try to join you (and Tom?) on some of your "shorter" runs at some point.

    Have a great 2010 (without any injuries!) and keep on running...

  2. Thanks Dylan. I was hoping to get out to the new member run this morning, but just couldn't get moving (literally). I haven't run with Tom in over a month -- hopefully, I'll see you both out on the trail soon.


  3. Nice run and great pics! You definitely sound ready for Calico!