TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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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

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