I’m getting freaked-out reactions when I relay my fall from last Saturday’s race. In reality, my fall is more bragging material than anything else (a fall with minor injuries is a fun story to tell). As one blogger commented, “everyone loves a dirty girl.” : )
Before I write about today’s run, I’m here to show you that even a hit to the face can turn out okay. My eye is hardly bloodshot now, nothing worth a photo. But I still have a pretty nice bruise from the chin impact. Face-to-face you can hardly notice the bruise. I mainly notice the injury, because for the first time, I’ve noticed that when I’m reading or grading papers, I rest my chin on my fist – exactly the spot of impact.
Ready for today’s run, Canyon Vistas Park in background, bruise on chin from last Saturday’s trail race.
A closer, more personal look (gross) it’s kinda yellowish now (doesn’t show so much in picture.)
After taking these pictures, I set off on my timed 9 1/2 mile loop at Aliso/Wood Canyons park. I hoped to beat 2:12, after two timed runs, my best time. On the road or a flat trail I can make that time. (My best half marathon about 2 years ago was 2:15 – that was route 66 in Barstow, and I’m pretty positive I could beat that time if I were to run that same race today). But on a run that includes Meadows Trail . . . well, that’s a different story. Meadows always kills me. And I’m not sure how to handle that.
I took off at a good pace, not “hauling butt” though, down into the park. I ran Wood Canyon Trail for the first time since the park has re-opened. I barely recognized it at some parts. Huge trees were down, laying in the creek. The bridges going over the creek to Coyote Run and Wood Creek Trails were washed out. I was curious what that meant for my run later on, because there’s a bridge that I had to cross on Wood Canyon Trail. If it wasn’t there, I was going to have to get my feet wet.
A new creek crossing on Wood Canyon Trail confused me for a second. I grew disoriented not realizing at first where I was on a trail that I have run again and again. So many trees were down that I could see across the creek and most of Coyote Run Trail, which used to be completely hidden from that trail. But the bridge I needed to cross Wood Creek still stood. My feet dry, I powered onward.
A new creek crossing on Wood Canyon Trail
Trees down in Wood Creek (Coyote Run Trail visible on the other side)
I ran all of Wood Canyon Trail feeling good and at a good pace (for me). The garmin never once told me to speed up : ). At the end of Wood Canyon, I back-tracked and made my way onto Meadows Trail. The meadow was green and I bet during the rains it was a swamp. At the base of the climb, two mountain bikers took off ahead of me, and I thought “Good, I won’t have to worry about them breathing down my back.”
As the climb increased, I came upon four ladies and a teacup pup picnicking in the grass – a lovely picture. But the girly-girl emerged within and I thought to myself, “Yuk – tics.” I hate tics. I think I’ve mentioned before, I’d rather come across a rattler than a tic. I am serious. When I see green grass in the wild, I think tics. Sneaky tics. They make no warning noises. They just sneak onto you, latch on and suck blood.
Sorry, I got off track. I didn’t get off track on Meadows though. I stayed on that terribly difficult switchback. About a quarter of the way up I passed those bikers who were off to the side resting. They looked at me like I was nuts. Yes, I am nuts. But Meadows still kills me. I’m not sure it ever gets easier. I told the bikers “The trick is to not look at the top!” They laughed. And that strategy worked for a while with me. But then, especially when I realized there wasn’t a chance I was going to make the top within an hour, I really began to tire. (I figured if I am going to make this loop in 2 hours, I have to make it to Top of the World within 1 hour.)
Well, that didn’t happen. But I kept on running. The sun shined down strong and the wind blew hard as I still had hope of beating 2:12. I came upon West Ridge Trail with 30 minutes to spare. I ran West Ridge like the devil, so much so, that by the time I reached the bottom of Cholla Trail I was dead-dog-tired.
I could have beat 2:12. That is if I hadn’t hiked that last incline through Canyon Vistas Park. I reached Canyon Vistas Park in two hours ten minutes with a hill that would probably take me thirty seconds to run if I hadn’t already beat myself into the ground. Ends up I made it in 2:13. And I was glad.