TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Double Big Loop / Aliso Wood Cyns

In order to get my run-two-loops-back-to-back mindset, I woke early this Saturday morning, and headed for Aliso Wood Canyons for a back-to-back counter-clockwise big loop. 

I joined Tom and Liz who were running an out-and-back on Wood Canyon Trail.  What a delight to have company for the first 4.5 miles of my run today – I knew the next four hours or so after we departed were going to be lonely.  I don’t mind lonely sometimes.  In fact, a lot of times I like lonely.  But too much lonely can get lonely : )

Raring to Go!  Me, Tom & Liz

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We departed at Cholla.  I ran up, trying out Tom’s Garmin, while he and Liz headed back through the magical Wood Canyon – downhill : )  It seemed like I ran Cholla stronger and faster than I ever had, then I looked down at the garmin, amazed at how much my pace had dropped from running on Wood Canyon Trail.  I decided after that not to look at my pace running up hill.

Still cloudy on Westridge, the air was plump with moisture.  Cyclists road the ridge in hoards.  Hikers in groups of twenty, maybe more made their way along the ridge as well.

Running Westridge, Top of the World not even visible in the mist

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After a quick pit-stop at Top of the World, I chatted briefly with two runners, one who just ran a half marathon through Napa Valley vineyards.  Though I was aiming for a five hour run, I didn’t worry too much about chatting a bit.  I mean, life is more important than running, right?  With a bottle full of water and two dissolved Nuun tablets I took off, running the streets to enter the park again, run down Meadows and complete my first loop in a little longer time than expected.  I was okay with that, so happy I was to make that left back onto Wood Canyon, and begin my second loop without stopping.

Gray skies, misty air, I ran Wood Canyon at only a slightly slower pace than the first time around.  I waved Hi to fellow runner Matt as he passed in the opposite direction.  Several cross country high school runners passed in the opposite direction as well, on what I figured was an out and back up Wood Canyon, because they carried no water. 

Running up Cholla was tougher the second time around, and I began to really feel it in my hip.  Westridge was a joyful as usual – I love that rolling hill type of trail.  Though Westridge does have two very difficult stints, they are toward the end, and relatively short. 

I ran into the park as I did on my first loop, as I wanted to check my hydration level (if you know what I mean).  After some off and on shoelace issues, I was off again running through the neighborhoods to re-enter the park near Meadows Trail.

Top of the World for the 2nd time – the sun now gracing us with its appearance  (Not sure where I’m at here, possibly near Meadows, I think I’m looking toward Aliso Canyon . . . actually I HAVE NO IDEA, strange)

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At Meadows for second time, about to descend (I am drenched!)

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I ran down Meadows as several cyclists made their way up and down that difficult switch-back.  Sure I was tired, but delighted that I wasn’t drop-dead tired.  I took the first half of Aliso Creek Trail at a slow pace, rather clumsily, but then picked it up for the second half, pushing it to finish strong.  I never tripped.  I also didn’t kick my ankles once – now, that’s an improvement.   

Miles logged this morning:  21

Elevation Profile (thanks to Tom – I’m new at this, so I had to work on this shot a bit before getting it right, and it isn’t quite right visually.  If you know the trails there, Wood Canyon isn’t quite as steep as it seems in this graph – approximately miles 2 thru 4 and 11 thru 13).

double big loop, counter cockwise 7-31-2010, Elevation - Distance

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Local Short Run: Up & Down Stonehill, Up & Down Selva

Low on time, I elected local roads, hilly roads for my short run today.  After throwing on my Disney half marathon race shirt (my first big race) I ran one five mile loop utilizing two of the biggest hills in this resort Photo168town – Stonehill and Selva.  Every time I faced the ocean, the wind blew strong against me.  One of those times was running up Stonehill – that added some resistance for a good workout.

Then, because I wanted to run against traffic, I ran the side of PCH without a sidewalk – in the midst of rush hour.  Just a bit nerve wracking, I kept a close eye on those cars racing by, ready to dive into the bushes if one made even the slightest swerve. 

Road Running!  It’s not so much for me any more.  Hardly anyone ever smiles.  I came across 3 or 4 runners (on the flat parts), all of them wearing frowns, or at least SERIOUSLY thinking (let’s just say that, they were deep in thought – they weren’t unhappy, because they were running! – or maybe I’m just too silly-hearted – but anyone who knows me, knows that’s not true!)

Well, then this silly-hearted woman ran up Selva away from the ocean. At the top I turned around and snapped a photo with my phone to commemorate the day that running up Selva was no big deal.

Miles logged this evening:  5.25

Top of Selva, looking back at the Pacific

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Old Friend Mathis

Building up my long run, I cut Tuesday's run short and went for a small loop at Aliso/Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.  Of course I ran to Top of the World, because I want those hills.  The skies were gray which meant cool and misty weather.  Perfecto.  The park was virtually empty -- of people that is.  Squirrels and rabbits scampered about the trails.  And coyotes yelped off of Aliso Creek Trail as well as Wood Canyon.

I ran up a trail that I haven't taken in a long time -- Mathis Canyon Trail.  I remember the first time I ran, crawled, make that, kinda hiked up Mathis Trail.  It was my first trail run in Aliso/Woods, I believe my second trail run, period just about two years ago.  I thought Mathis would never end. 

Today, I thoroughly enjoyed my morning loop.  I picked up my speed down Meadows Trail, took it faster than last time.  I ran back to the Ranger station feeling strong, with plenty of water still in my pack.

Featured Trail of the Day:

Miles ran this morning: 9.08

Monday, July 26, 2010

It is Done

I tossed and turned all night thinking about my approaching 50k.  Less than a month away I'm feeling that I'm not nearly strong enough to conquer it.  What happened?  How did I get behind on my training AGAIN?  

Injuries, car accidents, visitors, birthdays, illnesses . . . life.  I should account for that next time I set my mind on a big race.

I made it to the gym this morning for some weight training, feeling inadequate, basically in most aspects, especially strength-wise.  I increased the weights by five to ten pounds for each muscle group.  And I wondered how it could be that I'm not getting any stronger, that I can't power up the hills any faster.  Then I suited up and swam some laps.  And I noticed . . . I noticed how very easy it was to swim a mere a 1,700 yards.  I breezed through the laps without resting, just enjoying myself, realizing, hey!  I guess I am a little stronger.  Then I had to go. : (

After chores, I went I did the thing I've been avoiding.  The whole family drove up to the yard, and I cleaned out my "totalled" car.  I wept behind dark sunglasses.  But it didn't go unnoticed.  The boys mainly had a a grand time crawling in and out of the car I've been driving for the past 8 years.  We found a DS game tucked in a tiny crevice.  There was also a movie in the dvd player (Chicken Run).  Then we drove back to the office and I "released" my car.

It is done.  And tomorrow's another day that I will try and power up those hills. : )

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Refill Water When You Can, Even If You Don’t Think You Need It ; /

I woke so sleepy that I considered for a moment changing my plans and running tomorrow.  That’s not such an easy thing to do, reschedule things.  It’s like a Dominos effect, changing one thing, changes another, and then another and so on.  So I dragged myself out the door and drove (in my rental that I turn in Monday) to the closest trails – Aliso/Wood Canyons.   

Runners, cyclists, hikers and those heavenly gray clouds were out in abundance by the time I arrived about 7:15 AM.  I parked across the street, at the back of the church parking lot to make sure I got exactly the mileage I planned – 18 miles.  I thought that wasn’t asking too much 18 miles, when I planned it.  (Just don’t think about the whole thing, everything’s going to be just fine : ).

It was one of those mornings that I merely told myself, “GO!” and I planted one foot in front of the other.  “It’s gonna get better,” I told myself.  It always does. 

And it did. 

About a mile and a half in I got some running company, Dylan from my running group.  We had a good chat up Wood Canyon, and then we took Cholla together.  It was a tough run for me.  I lost sight of Dylan about half way up.  (I don’t understand how anyone can take it quickly when it is so, so very difficult for me, even after running it again and again – but someday . . . someday : ) From there Dylan ran back down Cholla and I headed for Top of the World, relieved that I wasn’t running up Cholla again today.

About half way along Westridge, the sun came out, the sunglasses came on.  By the time I reached Top of the World, I knew it was going to be a hot day.  I guzzled from the fountains there, not wanting to take from the reserves on my back.  I still had plenty of water and made the mistake to leave Top of the World without topping off my waterpack.  Note to self:  ALWAYS refill water when I can, even if I don’t think I’ll need it.

Dylan On Westridge About To Make His Descent On Cholla

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Running Along Westridge, Clouds Thinking About DepartingCIMG6396

Top Of The World

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 Sunglass Come Out Of The Pack

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I enjoyed myself running Westridge to Cholla.  Having fueled at the top, I felt pretty good.  Going down Cholla, cyclists mainly pushed their bikes up (it was hot, hot, hot by now), some riders even sat to the side with their bikes in the dirt.  One man who was walking his bike laughed at me as I ran down Cholla.  He asked with a wide smile, “Did you lose your bike???”

At the bottom, I chatting with a couple cyclists while I stretched out my hip.  We debated whether it was more difficult to run or bike up Cholla.  They said, “run.”  I said, “I don’t think so, you’ve got the weight of that bike to take up with you – I think biking up Cholla has to be harder.”

Shade along Wood Canyon provided a great relief.  Shade along Coyote Trail did as well.  But then I hit Rockit Trail.  The run was excruciating.  Cyclists raced down the trail in large numbers.  Others sat in the little pieces of shade along the trail.  With the sun beaming down, I needed to rest!  I made picture taking my excuse.  At one point, I even thought about turning around, running back down Rockit and heading home.  That trail beat me up.

Entrance to Coyote Run Trail

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The Hat Comes Out on Rockit

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This About Did Me In!

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After refueling and a constant source of water I somehow managed to hit Westridge again, which I gleefully took, mainly downhill, back to Cholla.  Running back down Cholla toward the lovely shade in Wood Canyon, I noticed my water running very low. 

With about 4 miles remaining, I ran out of water.  Hot and fatigued, I tried not to think about this situation. I put one foot in front of the other, running with my head looking to the ground.    A little bit of shade remained when I spotted a snake-lizard trying to gobble up an apparently dead garter snake at least ten times its size!  It looked ridiculously hilarious. (I looked very closely at the garter snake and noticed small punctures about the middle of his body – possibly a bird had killed it, then accidentally dropped it?)

What The Heck Is This Lizard Thinking?  

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By time all shade disappeared, I felt awful – dragging, weak.  I needed water.  I needed shade.  At the last stream crossing, I bent down to the flowing water.  My calves cramped up, but that water felt so cool and refreshing as I ran my hands through it.  Then I submerged my hat into the creek, wrung it out, put it back on my head and plowed onward.  (At one point, a glorious cool breeze blew through Wood Canyon head-on).

At Aliso Creek Trail, I took the pouch out of my pack, hoping maybe just a drop of water remained.  It was sucked dry.  Upon reaching the ranger station, I literally stumbled up the steps.  The woman ranger gave me the best cup of cold water I ever tasted.  Thank you so much!

Well, I did it.  And I didn’t die.  And it was nice meeting a running friend on the trail – that’s always a pleasant surprise. 

Next time I will refill at Top of the World.

Miles logged today:  18

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Pretty Much Can't Run While Crying

This morning runner went for another evening run, this time before dinner.   The sun was hot.  And as usual on my evening runs (because I'm not an evening runner) I left the house without some, not all, essentials -- those essentials being:  chapstick and gum : )  But I did remember water and music (very important). Oh!  And I remembered my phone, as is evident by the beach pictures below.

I stayed in the moment most of my run, enjoyed the occassional breeze as I ran along the coast.  I circled the campground twice, the front row no-longer flooded.  The surf was loud and rough, kind of roaring.  And then my mind drifted to my car, the fact that it is totalled and that we have to go to the "Totalled" yard to clean out my stuff. ("Totalled" makes it sound worse than it is -- my car is merely 8 years old, and the damage is worth more than the car, therefore it is "totalled.") 

Anyway, my heart began racing as I ran through Doheny beach thinking about my car, and I grew weepy.  I can't face going to see it, but I can't ask my husband to do it for me -- I already ask him for so much.  ANYWAY, it is not good to cry while running.  In fact, you pretty much can't run while crying -- it takes your breath away.  So, I put a stop to that quickly and got back into the moment where I thought about nothing but my surroundings and my form, and I added some sprints in here and there.   

I had planned on ten miles today.  But after running through the wharf, I came across an old high school buddy (and by old, I don't mean HE'S old, because 45 is the new 30, right?).  We chatted some, as it is too much of a gift to pass up when you come across a friend on the run.  Then I ran a little more and powered up the big hill home.

Miles logged this evening: 8.3



I'm gonna miss my car.  We bought it for my baby, just before he was born (my middle boy).  We've driven it to Texas and back again and again.  I planned on driving the car until it died.  I guess it is dead : ( 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Do You Run?

I stumbled upon this browsing youtube.



Who knew that I would ever love runners?  (I really always just thought they were crazy, now I LOVE them)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fitting in Summer Runs

With the boys out of school and myself teaching summer school 2 mornings a week, I find it so hard to fit in runs. Thing is, now is not the time to start slacking. So I did planks and push-ups this morning as I watched my five year old do his sports camp in a local park. Then after the boys' swimming lessons this afternoon, I rushed home to cook dinner so I could get out the door running. Thing is, I made tacos for everyone else and stuft salmon (stuffed with brown rice) for myself. Timing was all wrong. Tacos were ready way before the salmon. So after eating some tacos, I ate my salmon. Then I waited. I can't just run out the door after a dinner like that!

Boy, I don't mean to be too critical of myself. But I'm blowing it! (I neglected to mention above the candy I ate while preparing dinner)

Regardless, I had a lovely run this evening.  Ran out the door and did a beach/wharf/marina run, running up Golden Lantern with ease (thanks to all those trails). 

Here's what I observed:

1)  No need to wear long sleeves like I did, even on these cool summer evenings.  Sure everyone else wore long sleeves down at the marina, but none of them were RUNNING.

2)  High tide had crested the burm at Doheny campground, and the front row campers were flooded out.  Well, not actually flooded OUT.  They weren't leaving.  But there would be no tents hitched there tonight.  Campers would be sleeping in their r.v.'s and hopefully by tomorrow, the six or so inches of sea water will have subsided.

3)  The other campers were just fine and dandy, lighting campfires enough to practically make me gag from smoke inhalation.  (That's not necessarily a complaint, just an observation).

4)  The restaurants were full in the wharf, not usual these days, especially with so many businesses and restaurants closing in town, and

5)  I came across about five other runners.  All of them smiled.

Miles logged this Tuesday evening:  6.17

ps.  Physical Therapy begins tomorrrow

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Big Loop Clockwise / Aliso Wood Canyon's Park

Sunday Morning's Run -- had the bright idea to videoblog instead of a write blog. Would have been much, much easier to write up this run.  Very difficult to fit 12 miles into less than 10 minutes of video. Learned a lot though. And added some music to maybe make it semi-interesting : )

Fun, fun run (despite how I look at the end)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Heat Run (or is that heat stroke? : )

A morning of errands in and out of the house, drove my son in-land (just a few miles) into belligerent heat for a doctor's appointment.  It was only 10:00 AM.   Back to the beach shack, where we have no air-conditioning (and we hardly ever need it), it felt like an oven.  I felt sorry for the baby-sitter.  But I was off again to fit in a run.  The time was 11:30 AM  (note to self, don't run around noon on the hottest days).

With little time to spare, I drove down to the marina.  I thought, this should be nice and cool -- lovely ocean breezes, plenty of water fountains to drink from.  The first fountain I ran past, a woman held the faucet on while her two large dogs lapped water straight from the fountain.  I'm talking slobbering mouths all over the faucet.  Nice. (After that I would let the water run a while before drinking)

I noticed a few other runners, in and out of the wharf, over the island, all of us practically suffering from heat stroke.  Nah, it wasn't that bad.  Sure wasn't cool next to the ocean like I thought it would be though.  Fortunately, a breeze came through.  But they were few and far between.  This will be good practice for Bulldog, I thought.  NOT. 

I'm spoiled now with over twenty years living on the coast.  Growing up in Covina, California, I suffered through quite a few 100+ degree days.  We never get anything near that here.  Seventy degrees, I call it hot.  Eighty degrees, gosh, the devil is in town!

Fun stress-free run nonetheless.  Felt good the whole time.  The rest of the day it was ice, ice and more ice (pelvis, hip and back).  It doesn't hurt to run.  But everyday, whether I run or not, later in the day, I need ice for the my accident injury.  I begin physical therapy on Monday.  And I am confident that I will come-back quickly. (Please, please, please)

Miles logged: 5.25

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Goals-to-Date

Well, we have passed the half-way point in the year.  Time to look at how my goals are headed (all of them, not just running)

Goal #1 Conquer Calico -- complete
Yes, I returned to Calico.  My time was longer in '10 than in '09.  But the race didn't chew me up and spit me out.  I nearly conquered the cramps, though not completely.  I did not fall.  And I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face (injured and all -- from a previous 09 race).

Goal #2  Run 3 Marathons -- almost there
I've run 2 marathons thus far in 2010, both pretty much kicked my butt.  As I've said before, I'd do it again, with the exact same results.  And of course, I got my first DFL, I was 6th place out of 6 marathoners in one of those marathons.  One more marathon to go -- and I'm going for a good one -- The Saddleback Marathon.  (Oh no!!)

Goal # 3 Lose Weight -- Failure thus far
I pretty much have not lost a single pound.  Sure I've lost a pound here, but then gained a pound there.  I'll lose 3, then gain 5, then drop 6 to start all over again.  I don't want my life to be about my weight, so I'm not going to stress too much about this.  Perhaps that is why I'm not successful yet in this weight loss journey.

Goal # 4 Volunteer 2 Races -- Goal!!!
I volunteered Twin Peaks 50/50 in February, and then the Harding Hustle (30K) in July.  It was a blast and a pleasure and as always AN ADVENTURE.

Goal #5 Find an Agent -- in progress
I can't say "failed" yet -- I am a fiction writer at heart, and yearn for an agent to represent me in publishing my novels.  This year though, I suddenly began writing a non-fiction book.  An interested publisher or an agent to represent me will fulfill this goal.  I've been so busy lately though, I've done little to accomplish publishing goals.  And I don't believe that I've submitted one single short story for publication this year : (  (But I have posted some on my fiction blog simplyfictionaltales.blogspot.com.)   I have however, published SEVERAL low paying internet articles this year,  and though I didn't necessarily agree with the editorial changes (because they took out my personality, not that my personality is great, but at least it is a personality), I am grateful for the by-lines that I can add to my resume.

Goal # 6 Run a 50k -- in progress
Bulldog 50k -- upcoming August 21!

Goal #7 Build a stronger core -- in progress
My core is definately stronger.  I've been weight training, doing planks, reverse crunches, etc.  I'm unsure when this goal is complete, but I know that I am progressing, yet still need a lot more strength in my core (all so that I can run more, that is my ultimate goal after all -- run, run, run, because I love running, so very, very oddly -- running was never me : ) 

Goal #7 Have more patience -- in progress
I believe I have practiced more patience this year.  But I need much improvement.  I want to be a positive influence on my sons.  I'm not yet where I want to be, but I have not failed, especially if I keep on trying. 

Goal #8 Don't sweat about the little things -- in progress
Again, I can never be exact on accomplishing this goal, but I have tried, really tried to stay in the present (that is why I run!).  If tomorrow is a stresser, I don't think about it until tomorrow.  I am much, much better this year about stressing over unimportant things.  REALLY.  DAMN IT. 

Specific fitness training goals:

Running Miles 62.41% of goal (year goal = 1,080 miles)
Elliptical Miles 44.82% of goal (year goal = 360 miles)
Swimming Yards 32.87% of goal (year goal = 54,000 yards)
Cycling (at the gym!!  I only own a 1 speed beach cruiser) 51% of goal (year goal 180 miles)
Weight Training Days 37.50% of goal (year goal 120 days)

These are just all my personal goals.  Of course, because I'm a bit crazy I have lots of other goals, like clean out my work-out gear, run more with my son, clean out the garage, throw tons of things away (I'm not very green, sorry), etc., that I didn't list here.  The goals listed are my main goals.  I am not saddened by the shortcomings, nor am I elated by the accomplishments.  I am indifferent about it all.  And that is not a good thing.  I don't want to be indifferent.  I NEVER LIKED INDIFFERENCE, YET THAT IS WHAT I AM BECOMMING.  It's just been one of those years, much which I haven't blogged about, because who wants to read about hardships and depressing things?  (Well, I take that back -- lots of people like reading about depressing things, because 1) they can relate, and 2) they feel better about their own lives).  That's not to say the first half of 2010 has been all depressing.  No.  I am very blessed.  And I believe that's the lesson I'm learning this year.  Despite EVERYTHING, I am blessed.  And I am lucky that I have even come this close to accomplishing these goals. AND THE YEAR'S NOT OVER YET : )

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Out-and-Back in my Favorite Wilderness Park

My doctor wants me to come in to talk about my x-rays : /  I said to the lady who phoned me, "Is it bad? Please give me at least a hint."  She said it wasn't bad.  That he'd probably want me to go into physical therapy.  Okay . . . ok.  That, I can deal with. 

The call was this afternoon, as I wore an ice pack on my hip. : )

ANYWAY, I slept in again today : ).  Woke at, oh I don't recall now, and my phone is nowhere near to look, but I believe it was 6:15 when I rose to that annoying alarm.  I sat on the couch, checked my e-mail, logged onto Facebook, drank 2 cups of coffee and then it dawned on me.  Open the blinds!  Take a look outside!  And wouldn't you know it -- I saw blue.  BLUE, BLUE, BLUE.  Lovely blue. 

It has been quite eerie running these past weeks in the dripping fog.  Blue skies definately got me off that couch this morning.  I arrived at Aliso/Wood Canyons Wilderness Park about 7:15 AM.  It was crowded with mountain bikers, a few runners.

I ran an out-and-back, 7 miles each way.  The first mile and a half in was on Aliso Creek Trail (total 1.5 miles, half of it aslphalt) and then I took Wood Canyon Trail to its end.  I purposely stayed in the moment, refusing to think about the run up to the ridge.  I was amazed how much that helped (why should I be amazed?  I know this).  Oddly surprisingly, I found running up Cholla Trail today much easier than usual.  Totally stress free.  Besides the fact that I'm not a super athelete, what really gets me on the hard runs is the stress, the anxiety I feel knowing hard climbs approach.  So, that's one of the things I focus on:  not focusing on the climbs.  (Funny, one of the things I thought about was what a prospective student said to me yesterday.  She said, "God made us weak," and I thought at the moment, "Bizarre, that is so true."  But at the same time, I reminded myself as I climbed Cholla thinking about this, God made us STRONG.  We are BOTH weak and strong.  Isn't that always the way things are?  -- it's always BOTH). 

That sun was shining brightly today.  A blessing, but yet a curse (see, BOTH!),  And I drank up to compensate.  As I've mentioned before, the first half of Wood Canyon trail is relatively flat, but with little shade.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to the grade increasing, because that meant shade. 

Pretty Flowers Along Wood Canyon Trail

Lovely Wood Canyon Trail


I really love Wood Canyon -- especially the shady parts.  It reminds me of a fantasy -- like there's tiny fairies fluttering about, hiding behind moss ridden trunks.  Toward the end of Wood Canyon, I hit the heat wall that I haven't met in, I'd say, probably a year.  It feels like you literally hit a wall of heat.  Summertime is here.

Suprised to take Cholla Trail so "easily", I ran Westridge to Top of the World where I did a full set of stretches (what I mean by "full set" is the same stretches I do at the end of my run -- hamstrings, hips, quads, calves).  On the way back, I worked on my downhill speed.  That is afterall, my strong point.  Surprisingly, many trail runners have problems with downhills -- quad problems, knee problems.  So far, I haven't.  But since my half dozen or so falls, I've slowed my downhill running a bit.  With Bulldog approaching however, I need anything I can get, so I sped it up some today, focusing, focusing on the terrain to avoid a fall.  (No falls!).

Base of Cholla Trail

For the 1st time in a long time, I could see the Pacific from Top of the World!

And then I turned around and ran the whole thing back.  Toward the end on Aliso Creek Trail, a cyclist whizzed by me so fast, that I actually screamed and nearly fell.  All I heard was his spokes, and I thought it sounded a little like a rattler (as if screaming would help me against a rattler!).  He, the cylist, not the make-believe rattler, didn't call out or say a single word.  He simply raced by me on that single track.  Fortunately, I'm one of those runners that stays to one side.  I don't switch without looking behind me.  But still . . . he didn't know that : )

This cyclist startled me so badly that my ipod flung off my water pack.  The lady he was riding with stopped and helped me look for it.  We found it on the dirt trail some ways back.  She was kind.  And I was apologetic for some reason.  REALLY, he should had let me know he was passing me at such a high speed.  Most cyclists do -- they usually ring their bells, or say something like "on your left!"  Most are courteous.  But once in a while . . .

No harm, no foul. 

Wonderful run.

Miles logged this morning:  14 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Local Run

Originally I planned on an early morning solo 14 mile, out-and-back trail run.  My alarm set for 5:30, I didn’t make it.  I was wiped out and decided to sleep in.  I slept until 7:30.  And then I sat around some with my middle son, oh a couple of hours, before deciding, I wasn’t gonna make a trail run, because I was on a time-schedule (today I was taking the boys out to grandpa & grandma’s for a swim day with cousins – Yes, I was gonna travel the road of The Accident)

Instead, I laced up my road shoes and headed out the door for a nice hilly run around the top of town, knowing I’d return home sooner this way.  Then I made my way down the bike path to the northern beaches (Monarch Beach).

Lots of runners out this morning.  Something I noticed beneath these gray skies, that these runners are much different than the runners I meet up with on the trail.  Not one of the fifty, sixty, heck maybe 70 of the runners, smiled or even made eye contact with me today.  Finally, as I ran the boardwalk along The Strands, a walker smiled wide.  I returned the smile, relieved.

It seems out on the trail, almost every smiles.  Certainly everyone makes eye contact.  Perhaps because it’s much rarer to come across another runner on the trails I run, so we acknowledge each other.  Who knows.

After running all 3 beaches (Monarch, Salt Creek and Dana Strands), I began my descent up out of Salt Creek with my accident injury starting to flare up (xray results come Monday or Tuesday).  Still, even with the ache, I was happy to make the difficult climb up Stonehill (which really isn’t that difficult compared to some trail hills), and made it back home thrilled to get in a couple hours on the road. 

I called my son out of the house, and we finished this run off with one lap (about 1/2 mile around the neighborhood).  He’s 8 years old and we have plans of running a 5k together this Thanksgiving : )

Miles logged this morning:  11.24

The Only Trail on this Run – Coming into Monarch Beach

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Creek Flowing into the Ocean / Ocean Flowing into the Creek

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Running at Salt Creek Beach / Around the Bluff is The Strands

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Murals Leaving Salt Creek Beach

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Harding Hustle – A Volunteer’s Report

I woke at 3 AM and am so tired as I write this blog entry.  So, I’ll try & make this brief.  Today, I volunteered for the Harding Hustle, an out-and-back up Harding Truck Trail (approx. 30k) trail race.  I caught the shuttle (school bus) at 4:40 AM and helped with the pre-race things, bibs, late registrants etc.  Saw some people I knew.  And met some people I only “knew” by their blogs.  One of the volunteers was Catra (Dirt Diva).  I also met for the first time, bloggers Billy (L.A. Runner), Glenn (Running Fat Guy – who wasn’t by the way, fat) and Greg (I Run, Therefore . . . I’m Thirsty) (Wait, I met Greg at Twin Peaks briefly).

Harding Hustle Shuttle

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Volunteers:  Andy, Catra and wife of runner (sorry, can’t remember everyone’s names : (

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Runners:  Unknown, Dave, Morgan

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Race Director, Jessica Deline gives race directions

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They’re Off!

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And then it was quiet. Really quiet.   I got a massage while waiting for the first numbers to start coming in over the radio.  It was a chilly morning.  I walked a bit up Harding Truck Trail to catch a bit it in photos.  After the numbers rolled on in from the turnaround, we knew about when the front runners would start coming in.  So, I took another little walk up Harding Truck Trail for a look.  There was not a runner in sight.  About to give up and turn around, I saw a flash of red coming around the corner.  There he was, the first place runner, flying down truck trail.  He was amazing. 

After that the runners began dwindling in, and I wished I could have watched every single one of them cross the finish line – it was that exciting.  I called out times for the volunteer recording them.  I handed out medals. But I had to climb on the first bus back (about 9:45) and get home.

So dead-dog-tired (and I didn’t even run!), I walked in through the front door, said, “Good morning, I love you,” and then me and my husband said “good-night,” at the exact same time.  My youngest boy roared with laughter at that as I walked straight to my room, crawled beneath the covers and tried to sleep.  I got about an hour of sleep in.  And now I must sign off, because I can barely even think.

Fun, fun day though. 

Harding Truck Trail

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Flowers Along the Trail

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On my little walk along Harding during the quiet time

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First Place (I believe, just a little over 2 hours!!)

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Finisher Medals

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More Runners Cross the Finish Line

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Resting Up (notice massage tables in background, they fill up by the time I leave)

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cool Evening Summer Runs

If you read this blog occasionally you know that I am a morning runner.  Not today.  With the boys home from school, and me working some mornings, I need to fit in runs when I can.  And when I could today, was tonight.  This evening I ran my short run down at the marina. Restaurant lights glistened on the ocean waters which were gently rippling against a cool breeze.  Diners who had too much to drink walked zig-zaggedly  along the walkways.  A man, seemingly older than myself, taller, and quite "manly" looking walked about in a denim mini skirt while two of those diners feeling free and easy, giggled loudly behind him.  Roller bladers without gear whizzed by as I ran off of the island toward the cliffs where sadly too many people around here dive off to end it all.  Waves crashed violently, yet beautifully against the rocks there.  Young children screamed in delight as they tried to outrun the spray.

I went back and forth between taking in the ocean's supremacy, the breeze, the music, to thinking about all the things I have to do.  I refuse to think about all the things I need to do when I run, because it can overwhelm me.  When "the list" popped in my head tonight, I took my imaginary bat and hit it out of the ballpark.  Success.

Wonderful run tonight.  Total miles 5.25. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Clockwise on the Big Loop in Aliso / Wood Cyns

I dreamt a crazy dream, of pouring rain, flooded trails, quicksand and powers from another world snatching the best and brightest people, mostly children from Earth.  I stood off to the side of the flood hollering to children not to step on the sandbars as they escaped the “aliens” and the flood.  I remember “they” took all the children from one school as they received their Perfect Attendance Awards.  And I knew for some reason, “they” wanted these children not because they were the smartest, but because of their perseverance to attend every single day of school.

I really dreamt this.

ANYWAY, this morning the air was heavy-laden with moisture.  The streets were wet, the skies gray, large drips fell from tree leaves.  After driving my wrecked car back to the shop, I picked up my rental and headed off to Aliso / Wood Canyons for another big loop run – this time clockwise.  That meant running UP Meadows Trail (Oh my!).  But it also meant getting the hardest climbing done with first.  And that’s a good thing. : )

Running Meadow’s flat portion, approaching the climb (I can’t even see Top of the World)CIMG6102 

I found running UP Meadows extremely difficult.  Visibility was maybe a tenth of a mile – seriously.  That’s kind of neat and all, but on a climb like Meadows, I found it mentally difficult, because I wasn’t ever quite sure how much longer I had to run before reaching the top.  And another thing – the dirt was wet, which didn’t exactly make mud.  It made clay.  Nothing like running a single track, switchback for a mile long incline with Frankenstein feet.  That’s how much clay clung to my shoes.  My feet were heavy (more so than usual).

I stopped once to remove the mud/clay from my shoes.  But it wasn’t ten seconds later that clay covered them again.  So I gave up on the removal plan and just kept on running to the top. 

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Soaking wet, not from rain, but from sweat and the moisture in the air, I reached Top of the World triumphantly.  Not sprinting, not beaming with a smile, but victorious. 

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 Top of the World (Ocean behind me – Really!)CIMG6114

I found this run much less stressful, more enjoyable than my counter-clockwise run last Tuesday.  Perhaps I was more rested today.  Perhaps it was the better mood.  Or maybe it was just the plain fact that I ran the hardest, steepest climb first.  I finished up at the ranger station feeling pretty good, thinking I did have a chance to get myself in shape enough for Bulldog (Malibu Creek 50k) by the end of August.

Heading down Westridge on my way to Cholla Trail CIMG6118

 Homeward bound / Wood Canyon, on a fairytale trailCIMG6122

Miles logged this morning:  11.65

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July Run

I planned on a 7 AM quick hilly run around town.  I slept in until almost 9 AM!  Wow.  That is a rarity, and a fine rarity at that.  It is the Fourth of July after all.  I finally laced up my shoes and ran out the door at 11 AM, happy to get in a run around town.  Why happy (because lately that has been a rarity too)?  Because I knew it would be easy, because even though I mapped out the most hilliest (is that a word) route possible, this was a road run.  For some reason, even with steep grades, running the road is so much easier for me than running a trail, with even a mild grade.  I figure the road is easier because the sidewalk is smooth, not rocky, and basically level horizontally (from side to side).  Therefore, I don't need as much strength to stay upright (as opposed to flat on my face).

Great run.  Sunny warm skies; the air smelled of BBQ's.  Only thing was, so giddy to get out the door and run, I forgot my hat, my sunglasses and water, chapstick, and not to mention sunscreen.  (I of course remembered my ipod -- NEVER forget the music).  Don't do that; don’t forget the water especially.  Especially in July.  Especially around noon.  I ran a few detours, one into an Albertson's store for the drinking fountain CIMG6089in their stockroom and the other into a Taco Bell to drink from their bathroom sink faucet. : )

In all I ran 5.76 happy miles.  After a bbq dinner at home, the whole family  walked over to a bluff park a few blocks away to watch fireworks.  And I learned today after looking at the pictures tonight, that I look EXACTLY like my mother.  That's not a bad thing.  It's just a fact.  But it's a little weird noticing it.  : )

GOD BLESS AMERICA

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