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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 


  1. Thanks for the stirring up some great memories. Back when I was running more miles, I used to run in Aliso every Wednesday night.

    I used to like to go up Meadows. The top of Meadow provided a great ocean view. It was worth the risk of getting nailed by a biker flying down Meadow. Once I got to the top of Meadow, I'd turn right and then go to the Top of the World. I usually prefer a loop over an out and back to the Top of the World.

    Once at the Top of the World, it is a breeze back to the ranger station going down the ridge trail to Cholla. The downgrade of the trail makes it natural to pick up the pace once you get off Cholla and are in the canyon.

    Great pictures on this site. I am glad I found it.

  2. I love that loop too -- I do it clockwise and counter-clockwise. I think I prefer clockwise (going up Meadows), because it's nice getting to the top done with first. I'm working up to doing the loop twice in a row. Hopefully a couple more weeks and you'll read all about it : )

    Thanks for the compliments. Glad you like the pictures. I'm a trigger happy runner.

  3. Nice run! I was going to do Bommer Ridge with my son this afternoon, but it was so hot and humid we delaed to tomorrow morning. I hope it cools down overnight!

    I think I'll pass on Bulldog. I'm targeting the Bishop High Sierra 50K for my first. Anything to get to spend a weekend in Bishop....

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