TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What’s baking on West Ridge? Me!

Having not run since last Wednesday, I ached to hit the trail.  Literally.  My right glute still bothered me.  But it is much better.  I couldn’t get out until 10 AM this morning which meant warmer, much warmer weather.  We’ve got a bonafide heat-wave here on the coast.

I took a call from a girlfriend running down into the canyon, which always gives me a kick.  I mean, who would have ever thought that I’d be running a trail while talking on the phone?  Not me.  We chatted about the writers’ conference when I reached Cholla Trail, which meant time to say good-bye.  I don’t think there’s a chance I could run up Cholla talking on the phone.  It’s too steep.

I ran Cholla feeling strong, no glute pain whatsoever.  It seemed to only bother me on the downhills and flats.  And then I ran West Ridge up to Top of the World.  Imagine baking a casserole (or cookies) and opening the oven door.  You know that heat that pours out of the oven?  I felt like I was running through that heat all the way up to Top of the World.  It was an oven!  Thankful that I packed fluids on my back, I had a feeling that fluids wasn’t going to make everything better (Calabasas all over again).Top of the World, overlooking Pacific Ocean

Joy filled me when I reached the top, one, because a breeze blew way up there, not a cool breeze, but a breeze nonetheless, and two, I always feel joyous reaching a summit.

I took off back down West Ridge.  White butterflies fluttered about the trail.  Dragonflies with bluish green wings flew about at eye level.  The sun still scorching, I couldn’t wait until I started the big downhill.  Then suddenly, a fast, zig-zag flying bug flew directly into my sunglasses.  I felt its wings flutter between my eyes and the inside of my glasses and then it was off.  What the heck was that?   It was bigger than a bee, a fly also.  It was not a butterfly, because though butterflies do fly in a zig-zag manner, they flutter.  They don’t zoom. 

A couple minutes later, another bug, about the same size flew into my hand.  It hit, and before I could see the thing, it was gone.  That’s when I thought the creatures that crashed into my glasses and hand were probably grasshoppers.  (Second guess:  a dragonfly, but I don’t recall seeing them fly at hand level.)  Mystery. : )

I ran down Rock It trail with much concentration.  All I wanted was shade. I yearned for shade.  Even a nice long downhill like Rock It trail didn’t provide much relief from the heat.  No shade, and not a single leaf moved from a breeze.  Finally at the bottom of Rock It, where I caught Coyote Run Trail, I stopped in the shade of a gigantic, sort of weeping tree.  I had to.  I was burning up, seeing orange blotches before my eyes.  After cooling off a bit, I ran onto Coyote Run for lots of shade, then back up onto Wood Canyon trail, running uphill, in and out of shade, so, so, eager to stop and cool down.  I tripped hard once on a root.  But caught myself before the fall (thanks to a stronger core!)

I need to get out earlier during this heat wave.  It took a couple hours to cool down after today’s run.  Still, I was glad to make it. 

View from Rock It Trail (parallel to Wood Cyn.  Aliso Cyn in the distance)

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Lovely, lovely shade on Wood Canyon TrailCIMG7073

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Miles logged today:  7.75

Elevation Profile

Hot as Hell Loop at Aliso Woods 9-29-2010, Elevation - Distance

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Run to Nowhere

After rolling my sore glute, I suited up this morning for a nice long trail loop.  I dropped my kindergartner off at school and raced off toward Canyon Vistas park, giddy over my planned run.  Along the way I passed the new roadside memorial, a poor teenager killed on the road (not positive she was a teenager, but by her picture posted among the flowers, she looked young).  I can't help be amazed that I've lucked out to make it this far in life.  By "make it this far," I simply mean, having survived.

I sunscreened up at the park, put on my cap with the promise to watch out for branches and took off running downhill through the park.  Then OUCH.  That glute stabbed, literally stabbed at me with each step.  Now, I promised myself to listen to my body, and with this much pain, I knew I wasn't going to "run it off", especially with Meadows Trail looming ahead.  And so I turned back to the car, limping, wincing in pain.

Back in the car, I actually wept a good deal.  I've got plenty to weep over, like I still miss my Daisy Dog.  And my son broke his foot, and, and, and . . . a run would have made all that better.  But I am still alive.  My whole family is still alive.  And so, I sucked it up, just like one of my shirt says, and drove to the gym.  I put in over an hour on the elliptical (about 6 miles of Cross Training, Resistance 9 -- basically up and down hills), and felt no glute pain.  I foam rolled again, did a two minute plank, some ab work and weights, all without any glute pain.

So what's the deal???  I suppose the mystery will not be solved and I'm really not in the mood to head back to physical therapy for now.  We'll see.   I'm off to a 3 day writer's conference.  So, I'll put off my concern for these aches, and hopefully I will be back on the trail sooner than later.

Miles run:  ZERO

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It’s not just the same ole’ thing, it’s one of my favorite places

Tuesday, my usual run day, I woke with terrible lower back pain.  Not spasms, just pure pain, mainly on the right side.  I thought, “Oh no, the auto accident injury has returned.”  I racked my brain what I could have done to injure my back.  Monday I swam, and I’ve only ever slightly injured my shoulder swimming – and that was once, a long, long time ago.  Swimming’s just not an injury sport for me.  I did some weights also and core work too, but nothing different than I’ve ever done.

Didn’t matter so much how I did it; the pain was killer.  And when I walked off the back porch, that pain radiated down into my right leg.  So painful this was I grew nauseated.  Ibuprofen did nothing.  I stopped after taking FIVE (over about five hours) and went for the ice instead.  Ice pretty much did nothing.  Needless to say, I didn’t run Tuesday, I didn’t do much of anything, except what I had to do.  In between drop offs and pick ups, I napped on the couch, a heating pad wrapped around my back.

By Tuesday night (I taught one class), pain was minimal but still present.  I parked so that I didn’t have to take any steps, because any step down continued to shoot pain into my thigh.

So strange.  I went to bed uncomfortable, then finally fell asleep on my back (I am a side sleeper).  I woke throughout the night, anxious wondering if the pain was there.  I wasn’t moving to find out.  6:00 am, I finally got up and NOTHING.  Absolutely no pain in my back WHATSOEVER.  I was bewildered.  I certainly didn’t twist and turn to test it out.  There was, I noticed, some tightness in my right glute.

Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase – I fit in a run on a Wednesday (another rarity – change is good).  I did run my favorite park to Top of the World, and since I ran it a little faster than usual, I ran back down via Rock It.  I felt strong, just a slight ache, not even ache, more like a tiny discomfort in my right hip, I concentrated on the rock trail, picking up my pace some.  As customary these days, I hugged the side of the trail of this popular mountain biking portion, when WHAM!  I smacked head-on directly into a branch.  I didn’t even see it because of the dang hat on my head.  It whacked me good on the forehead, but not good enough to throw me to the ground. 

Talk about adventure!  I’ll tell you, there’s ALWAYS an adventure, whether good or bad, it’s there.  At the bottom of Rock It, I ran a lovely, shady Coyote Run Trail, then wood Canyon for, I’m serious when I say this, a fantastic run in Aliso/Wood Canyons.

At Top of the World (Via Cholla & West Ridge)

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Heading back down West Ridge, toward Rock It

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Rock It Trail

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One of my favorite places in Aliso/Woods (on Rock It after running into branch)

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Miles run today:  7.69

My Activities cyn vistas, west ridge, rock it , coyote, wood cyn 9-22-2010, Elevation - Distance

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pavement out of Necessity

Less than a week after I wrote that I wouldn’t run pavement again for a while, there I was, 7:30 AM, running the roads in my hometown.  Why would I do such a treacherous thing?  (Well, not actually that treacherous).

First off, I am cramped for time.  If I want to put in the mileage, I can’t spend too much time driving there.  (The nearest trails I know off adds thirty minutes driving time – round trip)

I took off running out the door this morning, headed down Highway One.  Then I headed inland for some paved hills.  As I ran that first big climb I realized that I left my handheld at home (of course, I had packed enough calories for a long trail run, phone and camera in my belt).  Though the skies were gray and misty, I didn’t want to regret the missing fluids thing later, so I circled in back home at about mile four to pick up my handheld, which by the way was in the house – not on the front porch as I had hoped.

Middle son and husband were waking momentarily when I barged back in the house.  They suggested I go back to bed.  I could have been kinder in my response.  I mean, come on!  This was a weekend morning.  What else was I supposed to be doing??? 

And so on again and off again, I was off to continue my weekend run. 

A Spider in its web on the road!

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After running the condemned bike trail I made my way down to our northern beaches. I ran beneath the highway to meet waves pounding against the shore.  Their roar was louder than a train.  Then I ran the length of three beaches at a bank (about 2 miles total), and hopped up onto the rocks for some look at sea creatures.  The tide high, I stepped down into the rock crevices to snap some photos when a wave hit me.  My legs drenched, I took off again across those beaches, my shoes and socks soaked and filled with sand.

Me just meeting the shore (about 6.5 miles in)

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The first time my feet hit TRAIL this morning (onward to Monarch Beach)

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Where Many Have Traveled

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After running the beaches, I headed up that big paved hill home, feeling pretty good.  I stopped once to empty my shoes of sand.  Miles run this morning:  13.19

Elevation Profile – looks scarier than it actually was.  Notice, I’m at about sea level and climb only to 350 at the highest point.  Not too tough at all.

My Activities Dana Point down to beaches 9-18-2010, Elevation - Distance

Ok, I'll Play : )

Reading Stuart's blog today, I got this:

LET'S PLAY Feud!!!


YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE MY ANSWERS!!!!!!

Copy and paste message to a new post.

Erase my answers and fill in your answers.


1 .Name something you use in the shower? shampoo

2.Name something a football player wears under his uniform? jock strap

3.Name something people hate to find on their windshield? a crack

4.Name something a man might buy before a date? mints

5.What is another word for blemish? pimple

6. Something you cook in the microwave? pop corn

7.Name a piece of furniture people need help moving? a piano

8.Name a reason a younger man might like an older woman? maturity (less drama)

9.Name something a dog does that embarrasses its owner? sniff a visitor's crotch

10.Name a kind of test you cannot study for?  parenthood

11.Name something a boy scout gets a badge for? tying knots

12.Name a phrase with the word home in it? Home, home on the range where the deer and the buffalo roam . . .

13.Name a sport where players lose teeth? Ultimate Fighting

14.Name something a teacher can do to ruin a student's day? Tell him/her that they should drop out.

15.What is a way you can tell someone has been crying? puffy eyes

16.Name a bird you wouldn't want to eat? a canary

17.Name something someone would wear with a hole in it? jeans

18.Name something that gets smaller the more you use it? soap

Wanna play answer below, post on your blog and/or link back…just have some fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mathis Who?

Minimal time and the sun blaring, I opted for a shorter loop at Aliso/Wood Canyons today.  “Shorter” meaning, shorter than the big outer loop.  I thought, heck, if I cut off Wood Canyon Trail after only about a mile and run up to West Ridge via Mathis, I’ll make this trip 2 1/2 miles shorter than the “big loop.”   I thought my idea so grand, that I made another decision.  Why not cut Wood Canyon Trail even shorter and take a detour trip along Dripping Cave Trail?  It will add a lot more difficulty, but will shorten the loop a tad too.

Brilliant. : )

Sightings Board at the Ranger Station (notice sightings are getting crowded by “lost” stuff)sighting board

Dripping Cave Trail

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Arriving to Dripping Cave AKA. Robber’s Cave

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Taking a step back so you can see the cave (infamous because robbers hid out here during the “Old West”. ) Their markings (holes in the walls where they hung their things) are still evident.

me in front of dripping cave 

After Robber’s Cave the climb begins on Dripping Cave Trail 

up Dripping Cave

And then finally it's down, down, down with a few tricky steps toward Mathis Trail.

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Running through brush canopy to end Dripping Cave & come out on Mathis Trail

finishing up Dripping Cave

Mathis who? 

Mathis is no friend of mine.  Mathis tugs and weighs down your legs, he gives you no shade, disturbs your breathing.  Mathis hurls mountain bikers at you.  Mathis pours salt all over your face to drip down into your eyes.  Mathis drenches you, but does NOT cool you off.  No . . . no, Mathis was no friend of mine today.  He gave me a hell of a time.  But I did not quit, and ran the whole way (at a tortoise’s pace :) 

On the good side, as difficult as running Mathis was, it made reaching West Ridge and ultimately Top of the World, even that more triumphant.

I ran across Top of the World to enter the park again for a run down Meadows Trail.  And there in front of me, a shepherd attempted to get hundreds of goats into a newly fenced-off area.  His job was tougher than my “fun.”  He’d get them all going in one direction, toward the fenced area.  Then suddenly, one or two goats at the back of the pack would turn around and run.  And then it was all over.  All the goats, like dominoes, turned and ran in the opposite direction as well.  The shepherd, wearing long pants, ran quickly from the front of the pack, to the back, to herd them all again in the right direction.  He was yelling something that I couldn’t make out and headed them back toward the pen.  Then he’d run off to the front of the pack, when suddenly, one or two goats would turn around and run in the opposite direction.  And yes, again, all the other adorable kids followed suit.  I stood watching, amazed, as this happened again and again.  Poor shepherd.  How or when would this difficult feat end? 

Finally I couldn’t wait any longer to find out.  I took off running down Meadows, rushed again, to make it in time to stretch, get gas and pick up our kindergartner. 

I made it.

Goat Crossing at Top of the World

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Posing at Top of the World, about to descend on Meadows over Laguna Beach and a socked in Pacific Ocean, as goats make their master run about in this heat (to my right)about to descend

View from top of Meadows Trail looking toward Aliso Viejo and Santa Ana Mountains
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 Elevation Profile  (Miles run:  9.34)Aliso,Wood, Dripping Cave, Westridge, Meadows 9-16-2010, Elevation - Distance

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Like Dirt So Much Better Than Pavement

I decided the big loop at Aliso Wood Canyons wasn’t the best choice today for an in-between-drop-off-and-pick-up-boys-from-school-run, so I decided to have some fun running through Canyon Vistas Park, up Cholla Trail, up and down West Ridge to Top of the World.  

I didn’t hit the trails until 10 AM, and I can finally say, summer is officially here in The O.C.  It was HOT.  Yet, it was beautiful (though I did forget, rather, couldn’t find my hat).  Despite the heat, running is back to “everything is beautiful” even on the dry, shade-less coastal ridges.  I’m feeling stronger with my emphasis on cross training and lower mileage now.  Though this trail run is never “easy”, I ran it with confidence.  It was certainly FUN today.

I noticed hawks, several of them here and there along the ridge, swooping down into the brush.  Beautiful birds.  Lots of mountain bikers were out too (I finally decided to stop calling them cyclists – they are mountain bikers, a different breed than those who ride on the road.  Just like with runners though, I’m sure there’s some who crossover : )  Me though, right now I feel like I probably won’t run pavement again)

The trail is so delightful, so, so very challenging.  I would have never thought that this buckle-shoe, dress girl would ever get a kick out of running, much less running on dirt.  (Tonight, by the way, was my first day back teaching, and yes, I did wear a skirt, blouse and black pumps with a silver buckle across the front!)

In the beginning, I didn’t appreciate West Ridge – it’s quite exposed and not very technical.  It’s a fire road, I suppose.  Now, though, especially today, I really enjoyed its ups and downs.  West Ridge is a lovely trail.  It is after all the one that leads to Top of the World.  And to me, Top of the World is one of God’s churches.

Miles run today: 6.11

Elevation profile:

Cholla Westridge out-and-back

West Ridge – Featured Trail of the Day Video

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Thud on Pavement

With the household still asleep, I had a little time to squeeze in a run this morning.  I couldn’t run far because this morning would be the first time in a long time that the whole family was going to church together. 

Last thing I did was put a pair of sunglasses on top of my head before I headed out the door.  What I saw was this:  gray, cool skies, heavy-laden with moisture.  As I ran down the hill toward Highway 1, I thought to myself that I probably wouldn’t even need the water in my handheld.

I’m still on a low mileage plan as I recover mentally and physically from a summer of hard training.  This does not equate to less dedication to fitness – on the contrary.  I’m cross training harder now, made possible by running less miles.  The plan:  get stronger, not necessarily faster, but stronger.  (Faster is good too, but I can concentrate more on that when I’m stronger).

So, last minute this morning, as I ran down the highway, I changed direction.  Instead of turning inland for paved hills, I ran to the beach for some beauty. Sure I still ran the pavement.  And my body still went THUD as it pounded against the cement.  Coming off the trails, I can really feel the pavement now, how it doesn’t give, how my body takes so much impact. 

On the beauty-side, waves pounded, I mean POUNDED against the shore.  Pelicans dove head first into the wharf waters.  Campers shuffled their slippered feet across the campground with cigarettes or cups of coffee in their hands as little children in their pajamas ran circles around camp, eager for a day at the beach.  Runners were out in abundance, especially at the marina, some running solo, others in small groups.  And I did get one hill in today – a nice big one back up to Highway One. 

5.07 miles ran this morning.  And I did drink from my handheld. : )  Plenty.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9-11 Run through Laguna Coast

The weather was cool and cloudy for a peaceful run on this day of remembrance.  Three runners met early this morning at Ridge Park for a lovely run through the Laguna Coast. 

 The Serious Pose (Me, Sheila, Marcus)CIMG6874

The Silly Pose (I don’t really know how to do silly – I’ll work on it)

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We took off down Bommer Ridge, then up Bommer Ridge to Old Emerald Trail.  I felt stronger than I have in a while.  So glad to again to have my groove back.  Sheila called the route as we made our way down Old Emerald Trail.  I’m so unfamiliar with this park that I could easily get turned around.  I pretty much know just one thing:  down, down, down is the Pacific Ocean.  But as far as which way is the direction back to the cars, besides up, I couldn’t tell ya on a cloudy, misty morning like today.

The views were enormous, and even when the sun did come out, it paid us little attention, then disappeared.  Soon my sunglasses were back upon my head as we continued down that delightful single-track, Old Emerald.  I don’t think I’ve ever run down Old Emerald Trail – seems I would have recognized it.  You can be sure I’m going back. 

Speaking of going back, from the bottom of Old Emerald Trail, we began our run back.  We ran up Old Emerald Falls Trail (which I have run down a couple times) and then ran Fence Line.  Last time I ran Fence Line, I was pretty miserable with an infected toe and aching hip.  Today: Different story.  What a difference a day makes (or rather many days).  From Fence Line we caught Bommer Ridge Trail which we ran back to the top as a couple dozen hikers made their way down into the misty, cool park.

Most likely Old Emerald Trail

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6.88 Miles Run today : )  Great Company, No aching hip, No heat exhaustion and Relative Ease!  That makes for a great run.

group run w- Marcus & Sheila 9-11-2010, Elevation - Distance

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Racing Against Time

With our three sons back in school, I’ve got 3 different school start times and 3 different pick-up times.  It’s crazy!  I leave the house just after 7 AM for the first drop off, come back and then leave again about 8:20 for the 2nd drop off, and finally leave the home once again to make a 9:30 start time for drop off #3.  And these are just the drop offs!  I’m not sure how I’m gonna get my groove with this schedule.  So I thought I’d get my groove with some running in between drop off #3 and pick-up #1.  I had this crazy notion that I could drive to Aliso/Wood Canyons (twenty minutes from the schools) and run the big outer loop and get back in time to pick up our kindergartner.  I have been cross training every day since my last run after all.  I should be stronger and more able, right?  Right? 

I figured if I made it to Top of the World by 11:30, I could make it back to the car by 12:30 – time enough to stretch and get back to school for pick up #1.  (That was kind of stretching it too, because I had never timed how long it takes me to run across Top of the World back down Meadows).

First problem was:  The sun finally showed up today and with vengeance.  When I exclaimed to drop off #2 as we drove to school, “Can you believe it, of all days, the sun comes out,” he looked at me like I was crazy.

“Wadja expect?”  he laughed.  I thought he was consoling me, then realized he simply thought I was a little off : ) 

“When’s the last time the sun came out?” I asked. 

He just chuckled and said, “Ah, like yesterday!”

Silly boy.  We’ve rarely seen the sun all summer around here (which is partly why I suffered so much during Bulldog).  Well, I laughed and laughed at his response, practically all the way to school.

Even though the sun did pop in today, a cool breeze blew as I ran through Aliso and Wood Canyons.  I took my sweet time warming up, enjoyed myself and worked on a relaxed form.  I reached the end of Wood Canyon 8 minutes off schedule, which wasn’t good because I hadn’t even begun the real climbing.  I had forty minutes to make it to Top of the World, and though I never stopped, and consciously picked up my speed, I made Top of the World another 8 minutes shy.

With 16 minutes behind schedule, I thought (didn’t really know, just thought), I wouldn’t be able to make the big loop across the ridge, going down Meadows Trail in time.  And so I thought that I’d cut about two miles off the run by going down Mathis instead.  Surely, I’d be able to make the car in plenty of time to stretch and pick up #1.  I had to make pick up #1 – he’s my little guy!!

I turned around and headed back down West Ridge toward Mathis.  That sun beating down on me was no help at all.  I really pushed it, because it donned on me that I was running in the direction away from the car for much too long before hitting Mathis.  I pounded that downhill trail like I never had before.  Still, I wasn’t going to make it!

Okay, okay, calm down Lauren (though I was really quite annoyed with myself).  You see, I knew when I finally reached Wood Canyon that this supposed cutting 2 miles from the run was a fantasy.  This loop was going to equal just about the same as going down Meadows!

At the base of Mathis, a little over 2 1/2 miles remained.  And I had twenty minutes to run it and still have time to stretch.  Thing is, that dang sun was really beating me up again.  I was wiped out.  I wanted to drop to the trail and lay down and rest.  At the same time, I was more than a little perturbed at myself.  I mean, “You can’t run faster for your kindergartner Lauren!!!”

No, I couldn’t.  I could barely run.  Thankfully, I did have a hat, and I still had fluids.  I needed to power walk a few times.  Staring at the watch, I simply began counting my steps as I ran.  That’s the only way I could get through it.  At some point, I chucked the idea of stretching.  And I ran into that ranger station and straight out to my car.  I threw my gear in and raced back to the school.  I think I hit every single red light, but pulled into the lot about 3 minutes shy of the bell ringing.  When my son walked out, he gave me a big hug, and didn’t even notice the salt that crusted every inch of my body. He was soooo cute.

Miles logged this morning/afternoon:  11.64 (which is the EXACT mileage of the big outside loop that I decided against)

ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE!

My Race Against Time

Big loop - Counter CW Trying to Beat the Clock 9-9-2010, Elevation - Distance

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Six Deer!

5:40 AM as I drove away from my home the skies were black.  What happened to the sun?  Times are a changing again.  Not too long ago, 6:00 AM runs gave us light skies.

The 3rd runner of today’s group run was running late, she text’d me for us to go ahead without her.  I was hoping we’d meet up on the trail.  We never did.  Sheila and I ran those lovely trails that parallel Wood Canyon together, chatting along the way, enjoying the cool, wet air.  We both love that cool morning air to run in. 

This morning’s run was a heck of a lot easier for me than that 3.25 mile run at Disney.  And it was very nice for a change to stay on the lower trails, rather than huff and puff to the top.  We ran Wood Canyon Trail, then hopped onto Dripping Cave Trail.  From there we hit Mathis and ran down to connect to Coyote Run until it lead us back out onto Wood Canyon.  We ran Wood Canyon to the end.  On the way back, we ran Wood Creek Trail, a beauty of a trail, rarely traveled when I ran straight through a fully developed spider web. Wood Creek dumped us out on Wood Canyon.  And that’s were we saw them – six, yes six, lovely deer grazing in the grass.  That is the most deer I’ve ever seen on the trail at once.  Absolutely amazing.  Part of what trail running is all about!

Dripping Cave

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Dripping Cave Trail – an eerie fairy tale

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Coyote Run Trail

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Wood Creek Trail

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More Wood Creek – look at all that leaf litter, sheer delight!

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More Delight on Wood Canyon Trail

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Count ‘Em, 6, SIX Deer!CIMG6824

The Crazy Runners who Hit the Trail in the Dark this Sunday Morning

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9.91 miles logged today : )

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Beauty of Spider webs and Oceans of Clouds

I set out this morning for a shortish run, but I wanted hills.  I’m sure you can guess, I was running somewhere in Aliso/Woods.  When I took off running through Canyon Vistas Park, the fog was so thick, visibility was low, low, low.  Big, slow drops of moisture dropped down upon me. 

At the bottom of Cholla, my left glute felt tight, so I laid down on the bench there and stretched it out.  While I was at it, I aligned my pelvis and looking up, noticed an beautiful spider web right above my head.

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I ran up  Cholla in a mist, as fast as I could, noticing webs everywhere.  I ran in the same white mist a while on West Ridge, stopping to take photos of webs here and there.  And then concentrating on powering up hills, I almost missed the beauty encasing me! 

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There I was running above an ocean of clouds.  A literal sea of clouds!  Can you believe, so involved with powering up my run, I nearly missed it?  Talk about not stopping to smell the roses.  The sun shined brightly on the ridge, while peaks from nearby hills poked out from the clouds like islands in the sky. 

Running on West Ridge (looking back at Saddleback Mountains)

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 Me, Sweating in the Sun, in background a Sea of CloudsCIMG6788

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In all, I logged 6.11 miles this morning on an out-and-back to Top of the World.  It was a good run.  Finally again, a run where everything was beautiful.