TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Place I’d Rather Be

I set my alarm for 6:30 and every time I hit the snooze button, my five-year-old (who had snuck into our bed) complained that I was waking him up.  After complain #3, I decided it was time to make a go at it, and so up I went and got ready for a run.  Thing is, I didn’t want to run.  Motivation, love for running is down right now.   But I forced myself this week, because I know that I’ll want to run again, and when I do, I don’t want to be out of shape.

I wasn’t sure where to run.  It would have been easier to just run out of the door and down to the marina.  But I wanted to go to Top of the World.  I didn’t want to run to the Top of the World, I just wanted to be there.  I wanted to stand up there, take it all in.  I sat on the couch for an hour before I got moving.

I still wasn’t sure how long I would run, what trails I’d take, but I knew I was going to the top.  I packed for a long run just in case and set out under lovely blue skies.  Up Cholla I ran, amazingly passing 6 cyclists (one had stopped to the rest, another was walking his bike : )  I simply stayed in the moment, placing one foot in front of the other, not a single thing on my mind. Then I ran West Ridge to Top of the World.  And I stood there and took it all in.  I felt tranquil, glad to have run to the top, even though I would have much rather slept the morning away.  Now taking in Laguna Beach and the Pacific Ocean and behind me the Santa Ana Mountains, well, there was no other place I’d rather be at that moment.

Top of the World

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Concentrating on getting a good picture at the top without falling backward down the slope, I forgot to smile : )

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Heading back, I ran West Ridge for a while.  Then I decided on a detour and ran down Rock It.  Lovely Rock It.  I came across a guy running up Rock It barefoot.  All the way down I noticed his barefoot tracks in the dirt as well as plenty of bobcat tracks. 

Bottom of Rock It, I hopped onto Coyote Run Trail and ran it Wood Canyon.  And then I ran back through Canyon Vistas park, content that I had made this morning’s run.

Entering Rock It Trail

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Colorful even in the heat of Summer (Rock It)

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The Fun Stuff (Focus, focus . . . )

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Still running DOWN?? Rock It : )

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Some Shade on this 1.25 mile trail (still Rock It)

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Coyote Run Trail

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Miles run:  7.73

My Activities Ridge Run From Canyon Vistas 8-29-2010, Elevation - Distance

Friday, August 27, 2010

Post Bulldog

The day of and the day after Bulldog DNF I felt nauseous.  I slept the first day pretty quickly.  When I woke, I found myself crying. 

Wednesday was my first day back to physical therapy.  And good news:  I have been released.  My physical therapist wasn't thrilled about my choices post Bulldog.  "Why not 10 miles instead of 18?"  he asked about Monday on the gym cycle.  And then about Tuesday, 6 miles is not a short run, how about 3 miles?  That's just about what my husband said too.

LOL.

And so after the gym on Thursday (About 6 miles on the elliptical and weights and core workouts), I went for a three mile run today, Friday.  Or so I thought.  I should say, that I aimed for a 3 mile run, but I cheated and eeked out a 3.7 mile run.

I'm such a cheater.

I gasped, nearly crying as I ran down PCH past our vet.  I still cry at the loss of my Daisy Dog, especially after my DNF at Bulldog. 

So much, too much this year.

Regardless, after 3 hours in the dentist's chair, today's 3.7 mile run was refreshing.  The skies were misty with clouds and a cool breeze blew through my pulled-back hair. 

I'm still a little tiffed, but it's not just all Bulldog.  It's pretty much life.  And unlike usual, running has been unable to erase the crap.

Nice N' Easy Slopes Today:

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back in the Saddle

All day Saturday after the race as well as Sunday, I felt nauseated.  I had no appetite, though I forced myself to eat.  I also took naps.  Sunday, my limbs were stiff, stiff, stiff, so I was sure to walk about doing chores and such.  Sitting was not a good thing – it was like I turned to stone when I sat.

Monday, I went to the gym, rode 18 miles on the bike, did weights and core work.  My muscles felt much looser. 

Tuesday, I felt it was time to get back out there and run.  I took off running out my front door in the evening.  The weather was humid, though I had a nice cool breeze blowing.  At first, I ran angrily, like I had a grudge against my body.  I tried to run fast, but I was still just so tired.  About half way in, I finally began to relax.  I told myself to ENJOY.  Sweating profusely, I did finally enjoy myself and I ran the big hill home (Golden Lantern) fairly easily.  Still, I was more fatigued than I would have normally been after only six miles.

A beauty of a night Tuesday.

Miles logged: 6.38

Running on the island, full moon’s reflection glistening across the harbor mouth – can’t beat that!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Bulldog 50k 2010

"Acceptance is the only way you can reintegrate such disparate, obnoxious, and unhappy aspects of yourself."
Matthew Pallamary, Spirit Matters

The drive out to Calabasas was painstakingly slow – bumper to bumper traffic on the 405 and the 101.  The hour and a half drive took us about three hours.  On the good side, we all found Calabasas charming.  And our hotel was lovely, not fancy, but clean and comfortable, downtown near a wonderful little restaurant.  I couldn’t have asked for a better pre-race night.  I did notice that the evening weather was much warmer than I’m used to.  I wasn’t worried.

Relaxing in Jacuzzi with oldest son the night prior to Bulldog 50k

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Dinner at Cosmos Grill / Calabasas

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I slept well.  The family drove out to Malibu Creek State Park to drop me off at 5:30 AM.  The sun had not risen, the weather was cool but not cold. 

My hip ached a bit, so I was sure to lay on a table and align it before taking off.  I felt okay, not great on the start.  It had after all, been an entire week since I’ve run. 

The creek bed on the left was dry on our run into the canyon.  I admired the view as the sun lit up the mountainside.  Surprisingly, the weather heated up quickly for such an early hour, pretty much as soon as we got out of the shade.  The climb up Bulldog Road was tortuous it was so dang hot.  By the time I reached the top of Bulldog, I was still smiling and had my wits about me. 

I could feel my hip had rotated forward from the Bulldog climb.  Finding a spot away from the runners, in the shade I laid on the ground to realign.  A woman sprayed me down with water (all the station workers were such a delight, so helpful and friendly).  Before getting my pack back on, that same woman rung a few large sponges of cold water over my head.  After grabbing some gel, and a red vine, I ran off for those several false summits.  IT WAS HOT.

The Climb has not begun

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Aid Station # 1

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Going Up, Up, Up (Bulldog Road)

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Some down hills existed and flats as well, in the many climbs after Bulldog.  My legs threatened to cramp.  Having taken Endurolytes along the way as well as downed Pedialyte and water, of course, I began eating salt (CONSTANTLY, which kept the cramps just at bay).  Problem was, I could not cool myself down.  Even pouring water on my head at the stations, and drinking constantly, I grew unbearably hot. 

I knew my time was my worst ever on this course for one loop (I’ve run this loop 3 other times before).  I tried not to think about the second loop because I was so overheated as it was, that thoughts of the second loop only made me anxious.  And so I just simply focused and tried to relax my limps.  I ached, I mean ACHED for shade.  Finally running down a single track canopied by trees I halted, stooped forward, put my hands on my thighs and cooled down.  That cool down lasted for about a MINUTE.

Aid Station three I was beginning to lose my wits.  All I cared about was cooling down.  Nothing, I mean, nothing could do that.  I wrung a sponge of cold water over my head, drank up cold, cold drinks.  Then I took off running FORGETTING to grab calories.  Big mistake, I had only taken in about 400 calories so far. (But I was getting my electrolytes)

Once out of the shade, heat exhaustion reared its ugly head.  As runners gingerly stepped on rocks to cross the stream, I laid right down in the middle of it.  Feeling cool once again, I would have been content to lay there for the next several hours.  But I had to finish this race, so up I went, my clothes and shoes completely drenched to finish off the last 3 or so miles of the first loop. 

Out of the shade, the heat overwhelmed me AGAIN.  Going up Back Bone, I doubted I could make the cut off for Aid Station 4, which was 10:30 AM.  I had thirty minutes.  And Back Bone was excruciating – not just for myself, but it seemed for all the runners about me.  But I kept those arms pumping and marched what I hoped wouldn’t be the death march.  Unfortunately the wet clothes did not keep me cool.  Hope came when I gained some strength running the backside of Back Bone  It was mainly a nice long, shady switch back.   

I arrived at Aid Station #4 (about 15 miles into the race) with another woman runner, two minutes past the cutoff.  The station workers said it was up to us whether to continue, that we needed to talk it over.  The woman said, we should stop.  I said, “No way!”  As I scrambled for my drop bag the other woman and the station workers discussed a withdraw.  “No! No! No!”  I was actually yelling.  “I want to go!”  I really felt I could make the next cut off.

“You’re going to be the last one on the course,” someone said.

“No, there’s quite a few 50k runners behind us,” I argued. 

“As of now, we’re closing the course – the other runners won’t be able to continue.”  I moved faster, almost in a panic, to get back on the trail.   The sweeper took off, seeming angry that I was choosing to keep on.  “You got to keep up with me,” he yelled back looking over his shoulder.  Though he was probably a nice guy, I didn’t like the sweeper very much right then. : )

A female volunteer took the pouch out off my pack as I crouched down going through my drop bag.  She refilled me with water and I grabbed a cliff bar.  Just as I was about to dart off, a male station worker took my shoulders in his hands.  “Lauren,” he said.  “Look at me.  Listen to me . . . “

His words, his voice brought back a flurry of memories, strange things I had completely forgotten.  Things to remind me about my personality, my greatest downfall, yet oddly one of my best traits:  I don’t quit. 

“I need you to repeat after me,” he continued.  “I will run when I feel I can, but I will WALK when I need to.”

“Okay,” I mumbled.

“No, Lauren,” he said, “repeat after me . . . “

And so I repeated his words and took off running down the trail for another loop.  As I ran,  I thought about going up Bulldog and then running the ridge in the hottest part of the day.  I could not quit.  I could not quit! 

I wept as I ran down that trail.  I didn’t want to make the decision.  I COULDN’T MAKE THE DECISION.  I felt like a soldier on the battlefield wishing someone would shoot him in the leg so he could get out.  If I only had an injury, I thought.  If I had only twisted my ankle, then I would not be able to run, and I would have to withdraw – it wouldn’t be my choice. 

I had no injury, no twisted ankle, no cramps even, unfortunately no one had shot me in the leg.  I kept running, still unable to cool down, even in the shade.  And I began weeping because I knew that I HAD to make the decision.  I needed to beat my downfall – the fact that I don’t know when to quit.  I didn’t want to make the descent down that mountain in a stretcher.

And so I stopped. 

And I turned around and walked back that mile to Aid Station #4, weeping.

When one aid station worker saw me, he said “She’s back!”  The other, the one who made me repeat after him said, “Oh, Lauren!  I am so glad you came back – you made a very courageous decision.”

I don’t feel so courageous, I told him.  He could tell I wept behind my dark sunglasses.  “You’re sad because you’re not a quitter,” he said.  The station workers were all very friendly with kind words as I walked off to the crowds by the finish line.  I drank up anything cold I could find there – water, sports drinks, acai water.  Then I found a hose, apparently a volunteer noticed that I couldn’t keep the hose running.  She held the faucet on while I hosed myself down.  I thanked her, picked up my race t-shirt, stretched and walked to the front of the park where I sat in the stickers beneath a shady tree for a while waiting for my family to arrive. 

I never imagined it would be heat that took me down.  I was so careful to prepare for everything:  strength, endurance, cramps, fueling, hydration . . .   But I didn’t count on heat : )

Miles logged:  16

I’ve got some of all now (Did Not Finish, Dead Friggin’ Last, Did Not Show, and Finished)

1 DNF
1 DFL
2 DNS
54 Finishes

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Days of Rest

“I am my own affliction; I am own disease”

Switchfoot

Saturday, August 14 I proclaimed to myself and my running friends that I would not run again until Bulldog.  I would rest.  I kept my word.  I have not run, not even from the car to the front door. 

This is how I’ve spent my days of “rest” (besides reading, cleaning, and sleeping extra hours):

Sunday, I slept in : ), swam 1,500 yards and did  strength training (weights & core).

Monday, 65 minutes on the elliptical (5.22 miles) and core work on the floor at home in front of my favorite soap opera.  To bed early (8:30!)

Tuesday, slept in again : ) 65 minutes on the elliptical (5.68 miles) and more strength training (weights, but no extra weight or repetitions than usual).

Wednesday, woke up early, Physical Therapy 8 AM, then to the gym for 1,500 yards of swimming, then again core work on the floor at home watching my soap.

Thursday, woke even earlier, Physical Therapy 7:30 AM, then to the gym for strength training (weights & core) plus 1,500 yards of swimming.  Napped in the late afternoon.

Friday, no workout whatsoever intended.  Sleep in and keep a cool head, pick up a few things from the store and pack.  I won’t even do a plank!

NOW, there may be friends and readers who will give me that funny look, giggle and accuse me of not resting these past days.  But believe me, this has been a rest.  In the past five days, I’ve probably slept an extra ten hours.  No cardio activity lasted more than 65 minutes, and the strength training, I didn’t “up” anything.

As a result, I feel rested.  My toe isn’t pretty, but it’s practically healed.  No pain at all, no limp.  My hip is also doing much, much better.  Though my pelvis continues to rotate forward.  Anything will do it.  Sleeping does it!  But I am getting better and stronger at realigning my pelvis back into position.  So, if you see me out there in Calabasas laying in the dirt, pulling and pushing my right leg, I am not hurt, I am just preventing pain and injury by realigning.

There you have it – my days of rest.  Now I am a bundle of nerves, hoping that I can complete the upcoming race, my first ultra.  My goals:  (besides completing), no falling, no injuries, handling the cramps when the arrive, keeping a smile on my face and a positive attitude, and most of all enjoying the beauty and relative solitude.  Because it really is beautiful out there at Malibu Creek State Park.

So long til then.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Very First Race

Junior High, 8th grade, I wasn’t a runner.  Not that I didn’t run or wasn’t active.  I played tag, dodge ball, climbed trees.  Roller skating was a favorite.  I rode my bicycle everywhere, or I walked. Those were the days (doesn’t seem that long ago!) that I walked to the mall or the record store.  Didn’t think to ask for a ride.  I’d say that I was in okay shape for a kid.

Those were the also days when we went to P.E. every day of school.  We dressed in white shorts and white snap-up-the-front shirts.  Not my soccerfavorite class, mainly because of the required showers.  Not my favorite class for other reasons too – I hated soccer because there was too much long running.  I hated basketball because there were too many short bursts of running.  I hated track and field because there was just plain ole’ too much running.

When the annual cross country race rolled around, of course plenty of boys signed up.  No girls volunteered.  Well, our coach rode us girls day after day until she got quite a few female volunteers to run the race.  She suckered me into signing on the dotted line.  Lots of girls were running it by then though, including one of my best friends.

I don’t recall anticipating the race.  I don’t even recall the length of the race.  It could have been a 5k.  It could have simply been a mile (though I think it was probably more than a mile). 

The bad news of this cross country race began early that day when practically every single girl dropped out the before it even started.  And then my friend, she “got her period” and dropped out too.  Too my horror, just two females remained to run the race – myself and another girl named C_____, a soft spoken girl with a good twenty or more pounds on me.

Every student and teacher in the school came out to watch that sunny day.  They sat on the grass slope along the course to watch, just as I had the year prior.  Of course this year I wasn’t chatting with girlfriends or smiling at the boys running by.  This year I was painstakingly running that grassy course.  I hated every single second, it was so tough.  As the guys raced by, I wanted more than anything to quit.  But I just couldn’t.  I had given my word that I would run this dang thing, so in my mind I had to.  I looked behind to see just a few runners, I don’t know, a half dozen or so, one of them C_____.  I remember that she looked as miserable as I felt, red-faced and panting. 

I actually crossed the finish line on my very first race.  And I was pretty pissed off at my friend for “getting her period.”  I was really pissed of at my P.E. coach too.  And I was pretty certain that running was probably the most hellish thing that a person could ever put themselves through.  

That was more than THIRTY years ago. : )

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I am done

First off, I am not done with physical therapy as hoped.  The hip still aches (though my back is good).  Every time I run or pretty much do any activity, my pelvis rotates forward.  But now I know how to align it by myself.  Secondly, I’ve mentioned already my infected toe.  But I have neglected to write how I came upon that misfortune. 

The exciting history of the toe (left foot, next to pinkie):  It started with a callus, a perfectly normal occurrence with me.  But then I accidentally kicked the sharp corner of an enormously heavy lawyer’s case in my bedroom.  Okay.  That hurt.  BUT THEN, while cleaning out my boys’ closet I swiped that same toe across one of the bows my husband made (as in bow and arrow kind of bow) which put a nice slice in that same toe!

I ignored it.  Because I’m good at that.  I slapped on a Band-Aid, continued to run and limp around afterwards.  Then one day about a week ago, my husband demanded a look and dealt with it – my toe was infected and full of puss.  While I wiggled and hollered, he sliced the bubble of puss open and drained it.  Afterward, I soaked it several times a day in hydrogen peroxide, slapped anti-biotic ointment and a Band-Aid on, and continued to run.

To make a long story a tad shorter, my doctor says it’s called Paronychia.  He prescribed antibiotics and suggested that I not run this morning. 

5:00 AM I was up dressing for a trail run.  I bandaged the toe and was driving to El Moro – Ridge Park for an Emerald Bay run by 5:30 AM.  The fog covered the roads so thick it was distracting.  (I very much dislike driving in thick fog).  The weather was down right cold and gray at the park.  But that was lovely for a run.

We had five in our group today:  Myself, Sheila, Tom, Kelly and newcomer, Boris.  After taking the ridge for a bit, we headed down Emerald Falls Trail for an out-and-back down Emerald Canyon.  There was some bushwhacking, and gorgeous, yet eerily quiet trails.  The beauty immense, I was in a bit of trouble with the aching hip and toe.  By the time we were finished, I made the promise to myself (and out loud to my friends),  I am taking the whole week off from running.  Yes!  That’s what I said.  I’m not going to run until Bulldog.  Sounds crazy to me.  But I’ve got to do it.  So I decided, swimming only.  The P.T. says it will be great for the hip, and it also will do good not to have a shoe rubbing against my toe. 

Running Down Emerald Cyn CIMG6609

Taking in the Scenery

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Heading Back on Emerald Falls Trail (One of the few flats back)

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A beauty of a web – in person it resembled a piece of crystal art

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Back at home again, I was overly cold.  I did my little march to find what I expected.  My right pelvis had rotated forward (down) at least an inch.  I got it aligned, soaked the toe.  A few hours later, still cold, but hip and toe much better, I crawled beneath a blanket and fell asleep for at least an hour.

So, there you have it.  I am done with running to train for Bulldog.  Adding 2 or three more tapered runs isn’t going to do me any good.  I need to get well, or I’m gonna fall flat on my face come next Saturday.

If any of you see me out on the trails – scold me!  You won’t be seeing though.  Like I said, I’m done.

Miles logged 9.75

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No; not Again!

Tuesday my hip ached so badly, I went to bed with a heating pad, then fell promptly asleep. The hip was just not right.  And I was afraid.  Good thing I had physical therapy in the morning.  And good thing my husband came to bed way afterward and turned off the heating pad.

Physical Therapy Wednesday 7:00 AM.  I bridged, lay on the table and my P.T. took a hold of my feet and said, “Your pelvis is so out of line!”

“What???!!”  I felt doomed. “What did I do?”  I asked.  “Am I running wrong?”

“No, it’s not your running,” he said.  “It’s the car accident.  You’re going to be unstable for a while.”

*#%***##!!!!

After an hour and a half of physical therapy, he showed me how to tell when my pelvis is out of line and how to re-align it myself.  I listened and even repeated the steps out loud, but with little hope in my heart.  

Before I left for the gym for some elliptical and weights, he made sure my pelvis was aligned.  I was amazed that my hip felt so much better.

After 65 minutes on the elliptical and 25 minutes of weights, I grocery shopped and returned home and promptly napped for a few hours, so relieved that my hip felt good.

Thursday morning, I was up bright and early for a 6 AM run with Tom and Sheila.  I tossed around the idea of putting in more miles than the hilly out-and-back planned.  My running friends easily convinced me that it’s time to cut back.

And so we went for that ridge run, under cool, almost cold, gray skies. On the way up Cholla, we passed two female hikers.  I jokingly said to one of them, “You know the park’s closed.”  She threw me a glare.  I picked up my pace some, because after that glare, there was no way I was letting that hiker pass this runner up on Cholla Trail.

I didn’t even drink from my handheld once on the way up to Top of the World.  That’s how cool and overcast it was this morning (WHEN THE PARK WAS CLOSED).   I was quite the talkative gal on this run too, more so than usual, because nerves are racking up over the upcoming week. 

On the way back, we came across two cyclists, one who had just wiped out, the other who was calling 911.  The guy who crashed was walking.  For some reason, I was looking for injury in his feet/ankles, being a runner that I am.  Tom stopped to talk to him for a bit.   I could hear sirens in the distance.  Later, my friends mentioned something that I hadn’t noticed – that the wipe-out guy was powdered with dirt head to toe.  

At the top of Cholla a county paramedic truck made its way in, as did one behind us on Westridge.  After running Cholla Trail, another paramedic waited at the bottom to help. 

Good to know response is so quick.  Perhaps though, it was the time of day. (approx. 7:30 am, by now).

I was still stretching after Tom and Sheila took off to begin their day when up the road walked a man with his two doggies – one of them a Beagle.  I stopped him of course, because I wanted to pet his dogs.  We talked and laughed about how stubborn Beagles are.  Turns out, his Beagle’s name is Daisy – just like ours : )

Back I home I was freezing, and my hip ached like the devil!  After  breakfast, I crawled into bed, still sweaty, teeth chattering, hip in trouble, and slept for a couple hours.

After waking I attempted my hip exercises, and  barely able to accomplish them, marched in front of the mirror like my P.T. told me, with my thumbs on my pelvis.  And sure enough, my right thumb ended up a good 2 inches lower than the left.  My right pelvis had rotated forward and down that much!  And so after doing the exercises to supposedly align my pelvis, I marched in front of the mirror again.  And wouldn’t you know it!  My pelvis was aligned – thumbs even.  Wow.  My hip felt much better.

After an afternoon in Fallbrook, I did my mirror march again, and sure enough – pelvis aligned.  Yahoo!  In celebration, I did a two minute plank before walking down to dinner at the corner restaurant.

Miles run this morning: 6.11

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bringing Down the Mileage, Keeping Elevation Up

It's time for me to cut back the mileage.  But I'm going to keep running those hills.  No roads for me for the next 2 weeks.  Just hills.

Tomorrow it's physical therapy.  And then to the gym!

Miles logged run this morning: 6.11 (Thru Canyon Vistas Park, up Cholla Trail, Up Westridge to Top of the World and back.)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Last Big Run before the BIG Run

Sunday was my last long run before Bulldog.  Of course I opted for the big double loop at Aliso/Woods Canyon Park.  And I had the pleasure of company of running friends Tom, Sheila and Marcus for the first loop.  The weather was cool.  And taking the loop clockwise (meaning running UP Meadows was the perfect thing to get my mind off life for a bit).

6:00 AM, I’m still getting my pack together for the run. 

From left to right, Me, Tom, Sheila, Marcus08aug2010

Top of Meadows, over looking the Pacific Ocean (Laguna Beach)

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Good company, good run.  We parted ways after the first loop, which is a dang good run (see first half of profile below).  And then I headed back up Meadows for loop #2.  My hip ached quite a bit, as well as an infected toe (can you believe it!).  But I decided to keep on running, taking a short hiking break to eat my snack.

Up Meadows for the Second Time

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At the top, I put in a full set of stretches.  A husband and wife team hiked down on the asphalt road below with their big curly-haired, giant-poodle-like doggie, when that dog suddenly turned around and ran up to me.  He trotted right up and look at me with those big eyes.  I petted him as his masters called out.  They called and called and the dog didn’t flinch.  “You gotta go, doggie,” I said, but he just stayed practically snuggling with me.  Finally, the woman came up closer and called for her dog.  I told her that my dog had just died and maybe her dog sensed my sadness.  She agreed.  Her husband hollered from afar “tell her about the book, tell her about the book!”  The lady then smiled and said that I should go the library for the book, Dog Heaven – that it’s a kids book, but a very good one. 

Okay, I’m way off track here.  I continued running, and the next dog I saw, stopped dead in her tracks as her master walked on.  The dog just stood there staring at me as I ran by.  A realist would say that this is all coincidence, and that I just noticed it Sunday because of my sadness.  (But I’m not that much of a realist : )

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I continued the rest of the run with a good deal of hip pain.  And I ran the remainder of Top of the World pretty mindlessly.  That is, I didn’t think about a single thing.  I kept my mind utterly BLANK.  I simply watched my surroundings.  The skies were still cool and gray.  I refilled on water at the park and ran down Westridge and Cholla numb to the pain (I admit, I took 2 Motrins at the Top of the World Alta Laguna Park – though I’m not sure they did much good.)

The remaining run through Wood Canyon was shady, cool and beautiful.  And then after the foresty park, I began to think about the dog I got to pet at the top.  And I started to cry, missing my Daisy.  Just then I saw a snake racing across Wood Canyon Trail in the sun.  Is it a rattler? I wondered and picked up my pace so that I could get a closer look.  But that slithering thing was really booking.  I got there just in time to catch a good look.  But not fast enough to get out my camera.  It was a long as my eight year old son.  Most likely, this was the largest rattler I have ever seen on my runs.  Its diamonds were golden yellow, and so shiny – a beauty of a snake.  I waved over a cyclist to show him the rattler who was now making its way into the brush.  I said, Look how thick it is!  “Nah, he said, he’s still a juvenile.” 

Isn’t it funny that I see what I hope is a rattler in the road, and I literally race to catch up with it!   (Don’t worry, I know a little about Rattler behavior, how they strike and to give them their space. : )

Elevation Profile2 Big Loop 8-8-2010, Elevation - Distance

 

Miles logged: 20.82

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In Honor of our dog Daisy 12/10/96 – 8/6/2010

Our dog died yesterday.  She was with us for nearly 14 years.  She was a member of our family.  This is her house.  This is her backyard.  We all loved her.  It will be a while before thinking of her brings mainly smiles.  Right now thinking of her only brings tears.

In memory of Daisy Dog, the Miertschins’ best friend:  We miss you Daisy.  There is a huge void in our lives right now.  We expect to hear you walking across the floor.  We expect to hear you bark out for your dinner.  We love you.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Running with a Straight Pelvis : )

Physical therapy update:  First, I don’t think I ever really posted details of the car accident and how I got injured.  Father’s Day, I was at a dead stop, and heard the accident happening behind me.  I wasn’t sure if we had been hit, because everything happened slow motion and I was confused by the crash sounds.  Anyway, I twisted around to my right to check on my boys in the back seat.  At that moment we got slammed.  It was that twist that did me in.  My whole right side was sore pretty much immediately.  It seems that the impact realigned my pelvis, where one side was higher than the other.  Neck, shoulder and side pain went away in a matter of days.  But that lower back, pelvis/hip pain did not.  So, back to the update on the physical therapy.  When I went in yesterday, my PT said that my pelvis was perfectly straight.  How it is that all those stretches, massages and exercises made it straight again, I do not know.  So – good news!! (My boys by the way thankfully – no injuries!)

This morning I went for a single loop, clockwise at Aliso Wood Canyons park.  That meant running UP Meadows Trail.  Tom met me at the ranger station and we ran up Meadows together.  It was tough!  My hip felt it before we even made the climb (I think it probably wasn’t the best idea to run up Meadows the day after physical therapy).

The sun really shined down on us as made that seemingly never-ending switch-back climb.  Arriving at the top we could not even see the Pacific due to thick fog.  A rainbow-like arch  hovered about the fog and above that, blue skies.

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Tom ran back down Meadows Trail for a six mile out and back.  I continued onward for a little less than twelve miles.  After a short downhill then uphill asphalt run, I hopped onto the trail that runs behind the houses at Top of the World.  The trail makes a “V” – first a steep down, then a steep up.  Two cyclists made their way down the other end of the “V” as I ran up it.  Then suddenly, one of the cyclists ate it.  His bike crashed to the rock trail, making such a noise, I thought his bike would be shattered to pieces for sure (but it did not appear so).  Even though it wasn’t my accident, it seemed to happen in slow motion, just about fifteen feet away.  The poor guy flew to the ground, I gasped, relieved that his face didn’t smash into the rock.  He jumped up quickly. 

“Oh my gosh!!!”  I said.  “Are you alright?”

He didn’t answer, he didn’t even look at me.  Instead, I could tell he was pissed.  I knew that look – it’s how I have felt when I’ve fallen on the trail – like, damn it, I can’t believe I did that!

His friend behind him said, “Seriously, are you ok?”  No answer.  I continued running on past the two and didn’t say a word further. 

I got into my groove as I ran through the neighborhoods, arriving at Westridge a short time later.  I felt happy, relieved to have Meadows over with.  It was all basically down hill from here (except for minor climbs on Westridge).

About to descend upon Westridge

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 Westridge, just after passing Mathis

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Miles logged this morning: 11.65  Despite my hip, it seemed like a cinch compared to Saturday’s 21 mile run.