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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meadows always kills me

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.

Elevation Profile

My Activities aliso wood cyns 9.5 mile loope 1-26-2011, Elevation - Distance


  1. What a beautiful run. I really need to head south for more of my runs.

    I'm sorry about your chin but I'm glad it wasn't worse. It's a trip how you learn things about yourself when you have an injury like that.

  2. Nice chin! I love it when I pass bikers on my way up. Here in SA tics are plenty and I use bug spray before I run trails for them. Lovely photos!

  3. Ouch! Nice to see the trails opening up.

  4. that bruise looks painful still. when i was a kid we would be inspected for tics after playing in the yard/woods all weekend. seems so redneck. haha.

    jack daniels is also a running coach. that's the one i was referring to as i used one of his training plans for a marathon not long ago. it's a great name to have though... running + booze!

  5. Thanks for reading Green Girl. It is amazing how much we learn about ourselves even just by running. I'd like to head north too for some runs. I seldom do, except for Malibu Creek runs. Have a great weekend!

  6. Hi Johann. It is fun to pass bikers -- happens more than I expect. But there are plenty of hard core bikers I can't touch. As far as bug spray goes, for some reason, I'm scared of that too (though I have used it plenty, I try to use it seldom). Instead, I immediately bathe and search during tic season : ) And I stay out of the grass! One time, I was doing some floor exercise after a trail run, and there on the floor was a tic brought in from me walking across the carpet! Another time, I found one in not so pleasant of a place, and I screamed for my husband to unattach the sucker. I was panicked! Fortunately, he's not as freaked out about the critters as I am. : )

  7. Hi Glenn! Yes the trails are open. I don't know about the other local coastal hills, but my lovely hills are open. Hope to see you out there soon. I also hope we recognize ea. other.

  8. Thanks for reading Lindsay. We are all rednecks at heart : ) I grew up downtown in a smallish city, so we didn't have tics (we had plenty of fleas though). I didn't come across tics until I started hiking, then eventually trail running.

    I am laughing so hard that Jack Daniels is a running coach. Perhaps I need to read more carefully. I actually hate whisky (way too strong for me) so when I read "Jack Daniels," my mind immediately went to whiskey.

    Hope you have a great weekend!