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
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
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)
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).