TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Round Two: 2:02!!

With rain in the forecast for the next three days, I decided to go for round two on my timed loop this week.  I felt good, but slightly slower running through Wood Canyon. (And I had to stop and retie my shoe again – for some reason, I keep tying the left shoe too tight!).  Even so, I ran to the end of wood canyon about a minute faster than usual.

I had some strict rules today running up Meadows Trail.  1)  Don’t look back, 2) Don’t look at the top and 3) Stay in the exact moment of my step, just look to my feet.  I didn’t make up these rules, my running friend, Tom, told me about rules 2 & 3 long ago.  The rules helped out for a good portion of that steep switch-back someone thought they’d misleadingly name Meadows Trail  (sure you run through a meadow – but most of the trail is up, up, up).  Let me tell you, I found it quite difficult to follow the rules.  I felt like Lot’s wife, so, so tempted to look back on Sodom and Gomorrah.  She looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.  I stopped myself several times from looking back and was only crusted with salt.

Overall, Meadows wiped me out!  Still, I made it to the top in 1:03 (a minute faster than yesterday).  Also different from yesterday, I seemed to recuperate faster after Meadows.  And therefore, I picked up my pace some running through the neighborhoods.  I entered Aliso/Wood Canyons Park again a whole four minutes faster than usual.  That nearly made me giddy.  (I didn’t want to get too giddy, because that’s when I fall.)

At top of Meadows Trail, running the ridgeline overlooking Pacific Ocean (& Laguna Beach)

CIMG9150

When I hit West Ridge, as already mentioned, a whole four minutes early, I blasted down the hill, and I pushed the uphills hard.  I held onto a tiny bit of hope that I could make two hours, and even a little more hope that I could at least beat yesterday’s time. 

I rounded the corner onto Cholla Trail with 8 minutes to spare before the two hour mark.  Man!  So close! 

“I’ll never . . . “ I thought to myself.  I was going to think “I’ll never do it!”  But I screamed inside my head, “Stop!  DON’T EVEN THINK IT.”  And I ran.  I ran right into a camera crew setting up their big flash screens amongst a cluster of pretty mountain bikers in brand new clothes.  I could have sworn one of the photographers took a picture of me (If so,  really wouldn’t want to see that picture).  Anyway, I literally plowed through the group, smiling of course, sweat pouring off my visor. 

Whew!  What a run!  What a ride. 

I made my best time since I began timing this loop:  2 hours 2 minutes (see below for complete times including seconds for this exhilarating 9.5 mile loop.)

I finally remembered to take an “After” photograph

CIMG9154

The Loop (yesterday’s post has an elevation profile if you are so inclined)

My Activities timed run 2-24-2011

I do not start or stop the garmin until I cross this line.

CIMG9151

My times for this 9.5 loop (Canyon Vistas Park, Wood Canyon to the end, backtrack to Meadows, across Top of the World, through Alta Laguna Park, up and down West Ridge, down Cholla and back up through Canyon Vistas):

12/3/10    2:24:35

12/9/10    2:12:08

1/26/11    2:13:04

2/2/11      2:11:17

2/10/11    2:04:48

2/23/11    2:05:39

2/24/11    2:02:47 – almost, almost there!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2:05

Time for another timed loop of this:

Timed Loop 2 23 11, Elevation - Distance

Goal:  2 hours.  Best Time: 2:04

Rain lightly fell as I ran down Wood Canyon.  I don’t know if that was to my advantage or disadvantage.  I dressed warmly (though wore shorts), so the rain kept me cool.  My goal (besides the two hour thingy) was to not think, just remain in the present and to make the top of Meadows Trail in 1 hour (about five mile mark). 

Well, I did pretty good on the not thinking part, and I did pretty well at pushing myself to run faster through Wood Canyon.  Running Meadows was tough, tough, tough.  Though the trail starts off relatively flat, I began stressing over the upcoming climb.  And then I saw this:

A Blue Heron (much prettier and seemingly closer in real life)

CIMG9139

Ends up I made the top of Meadows Trail in 1 hour 3 minutes (a minute better than last time).  But let me tell you!  I was spent.  I really wanted to quit this game today.  Thing was, I was 4.5 miles away from the car.  I had to get back somehow.

Time for a Nap

CIMG9142

I told myself to take it down a notch until I arrived to the Top of The World neighborhoods, then pick it up.  I was drop-dead tired, and found it very difficult to push myself.  But when I finally reached West Ridge Trail (homeward bound!), I gained some new legs after realizing that I still had time to make my record.

I flew on the downhills on West Ridge and ran as hard as I could on the uphills.  I did my best time on the flats though, surprisingly.  I found myself yearning for flat trail. 

I did not beat my time, ending up with 2 hours 5 minutes.  But I was thrilled anyway.  Thrilled that I came in so close to my best time when I was so dog-gone tired.  Thrilled that I was able to push myself when no one else was around.

Another day!

Miles logged:  9.50

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Run That Wasn’t

This morning I figured was my last chance for a long run before my 50k in approximately 2 weeks.  I planned on 22 miles with 5,000+ elevation.  I went to bed early.  I woke early, 5:00 AM, and it was oh so cold.  The gas wall heaters blowing full blast, I shivered on the couch in front of my computer with a cup of coffee in my hands.  Three layers I wore, and still I couldn’t get myself to walk out that front door.  It was too cold.  And it was still dark.

My husband brought the trash bins out to the curb about 6 AM, and he said, “It’s not dark – it’s a beautiful time, twilight.  You’re the dawn patrol.”  He also reported that it was probably 40 degrees or more outside. 

Okay, I thought, I can deal with 40 degrees F.  Eventually, I dragged  myself out to the truck – dragged, not because I dreaded the run – I greatly looked forward to my run.  Dragged because I’m a mild weather type of gal.  Though I may enjoy extreme running.  I consider extreme weather anything below freezing and above 80F.   

Well, first off, it was still dark.  A bright moon shined brightly in the midnight blue skies, AND it was NO FORTY DEGREES.   I drove off with the car heater blowing full blast.  The waters in the street gutters were frozen.   Ah, I think it was a bit colder than 40.

When I arrived to Aliso / Wood Canyons I found it CLOSED due to “Wet and Muddy Conditions.”  I drove on along the upper road, hoping to find a ranger to question.  Much to my surprise, ice ran along the center of the lane.  Okay.  This is Southern California, COASTAL California.  We don’t have ice on the roads!

Finding no ranger, I parked my car, hopped the fence and walked about, thinking, if no one’s here I can still run the park, and if I can find a ranger, maybe he/she will tell me they’re just about to open up.

I twisted the door handle at the ranger station.  Locked.  I knocked.  No answer.  But I could see a light on inside.  I knocked again, then turned away in dismay.  I was so ready for this last run.

Finally, a ranger opened the door as I walked down the ramp, only to report the sad news that my park would not open today.  I needed (wanted) technical elevation today.  A road run wasn’t going to do.  So I drove home, snuck back in, changed my shoes and off to the gym I went.  I stayed there for two plus hours.

I must say, that I never really warmed up all day.  But I am learning to “roll with the punches” and accept the times when my plans do not fall as intended.

On a good note, even while contemplating cartwheels, I did manage to get one small corner of my ridiculously messy office cleaned out this weekend.  You might be thinking, “this is clean?”  Indeed it is.  I wouldn’t dare show a before picture.  Wouldn’t dare.

CIMG9127

Miles logged:  0 Sad smile

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Big Baz WTRS 21k

Rain poured down upon us all night, waking me every couple of hours.  I said out loud, “Boy am I in trouble.”

2:55 AM, I lay in bed, wide awake.  Finally, I made it out to the couch where I slept until 5:45.  Thankfully, the rain had ceased.  First thing I did (after brewing coffee) was check weather.com.  The website reported rain all day, except for partly cloudy skies between 8:00 AM and noon.  Exactly what I needed.

I will try to make a long story short (because I did after all, make a video).  The weather was cold in Blue Jay Campground.  Runners bundled up in winter running gear.  I couldn’t decide:  wear or pack?  After much debate, I finally decided to pack warmth in my hydration pack, because I figured I would rather put on than take off during the race.

I saw quite a few running friends, and some running friends were absent.  I was especially happy to see Lori, whom I haven’t seen in so long (unfortunately, the photo I snapped of us, didn’t turn out, but she’s the girl wearing back in front of me in a portion of the video).

Oh yes, I wrote that I’d make this short.  Well, in short, Horse Thief Trail was hell.  PURE HELL.  I kept up pretty well with “my” group up until nearly the top of that trail.  My energy temporarily drained, that’s when I lost them.  I was utterly wiped out at the top of Horse Thief that I had to stop at the aid station there.  The guys at the station asked how I liked Horse Thief.  I told them, I didn’t much like it at all (though the views were gorgeous.)  The ranger said I had just missed the snow flurries (bummer) as I stood there gulping down their cold, cold water.  I got brain freeze drinking their supply before taking off again. 

I can’t tell you the relief I felt passing the last aid station with only 2.5 miles remaining.  I was quite cold, but didn’t want to stop to take out a warm shirt.  I thought to myself, just easy-going from here (mistake – never think that!)  And then out of the corner of my eyes, I saw her!  There was a woman gaining on me.  And behind her, another woman.  Where did they come from?  I hadn’t seen anyone for a long time.

“SH**!” I said.  And I had enough energy to kick it in, keeping my pace at around a 9 minute mile for the remainder of the way.  My motivation:  I had already accepted my place in the race.  (Races with about 100 runners, basically all trail races, I have a pretty good idea how many runners are behind me).  Anyway, if these two women passed me, or even one of them, well – heck, I suppose I don’t have to explain.  I was a little disappointed for lollygagging it back when I was all by myself.  

Well, I made sure the two women didn’t pass me by focusing hard on the trail (didn’t want to fall) and focusing on the garmin.  And I crossed the finish line smiling. Smile

Conserving Energy Going Up San Juan Trail

CIMG9077

Going Up Horse Thief Trail

CIMG9096

Aid at Top of Horse Thief

CIMG9100

Lake Elsinore View from Main Divide

CIMG9106

Baz’s Raffle

CIMG9111

Elevation Profile:  + 3051 ft. & Video Below

My Activities Big Baz 21k 2-19-2011, Elevation - Distance

Cleveland National Forest

Upon reaching home, it pretty much rained the remainder of the day.

p.s.  I kept up with my target a good long while, almost to the top of Horse Thief, then he took off like a thief in the night!

Friday, February 18, 2011

As I Wait

The rain began pouring down about two o’ clock this afternoon.  Nearing 8PM, it falls even harder.  I can hear branches sway as the wind howls on this stormy night.  More and more, especially now with a glass of wine in my hand, I’m thinking that tomorrow’s run will be a run, not a race.  For races are not cancelled because of rain.  Weather.com reports 90% chance of thunderstorms in the morning!

And yet I am ready, packed with layers of clothing laid out beneath my shoes. I will run the final race in this winter trail series regardless of rain.  In fact, the hardest part will be driving up that mountain.  I think I’ll need to leave a little early.

As I wait, I reflect a little on the silly things that I’ve been working on.  When I want to find a literary agent, also perhaps a full-time job . . . when I need to organize for taxes, and clean out my office, I contemplate on how TO DO CARTWHEELS AND BACKBENDS! 

I’ve been reading what and how to strengthen in order to conquer these tremendous aspirations of mine.  And some report it’s mainly confidence that allows one to do a cartwheel.  To gain confidence, I can do handstands (with my feet against the wall).  I can also do wheel barrels.  Remember wheel barrels?  A cinch from what I remember.  Well, just the other day, I asked my husband to lift my legs, hold my feet as I attempted to walk across the kitchen. 

He chuckled. 

So, there I was, hubby holding my legs off the floor, all my weight on my arms, and I immediately began yelling, “LET ME DOWN!  LET ME DOWN!”  It felt like all my body weight concentrated in my lower back.

“Walk,” he said. 

“NO.  PLEASE let go.”

“Walk!”

My oldest son stood off to the side laughing.

And so I walked, slow painstaking steps with my hands.  I got about five or six out, until I finally collapsed.  How can I be so strong, yet so weak???

The spectacle was fun laughter for the whole family.  Immediately afterward, my oldest son wheel barreled across the kitchen.  And then my husband did.  Smile  I was about to challenge them to a race down the block! 

I walked my hands afterward, by resting my legs on the couch and walking out, then back in.  That wasn’t so difficult now, was it?

The next day, I talked to another elementary school mother (exactly my age, a road runner in fact) and she said she tried a cartwheel recently.  It hurt so bad, she said that she’s never going to do it again.

But she DID a cartwheel.  This week, I just couldn’t stand it.  I told my husband, I’m gonna do it!  He said “No!”  Like that old commercial (if you are in your 40’s you might recall), “Don’t take the car.  You’ll kill yourself!!!”

So, we pulled up to the house, and I ran out of the car to the front lawn and did a cartwheel.  He laughed.  And I did another.  He laughed again.  I’m telling you, the hardest part was getting my legs over, not holding myself up with my hands.  I lacked momentum, because I lacked confidence.  Then finally, I did one that my husband reported looked just like a cartwheel.  It felt like I pulled something in the inner thigh.  (He said later, please don’t do anymore until after this next race.  I haven’t.)

If these lovely ladies can do such graceful cartwheels (not the teenager, the two women toward the end of the video below who are more my age), SO CAN I.  And while I put off all those IMPORTANT things, I will continue working on a dang cartwheel, and then a back bend, until I get it.

Hilarious! I want to do a cartwheel like this : )

And still I wait.  Just about 25 minutes till bedtime Smile

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nirvana versus Inferno

lanesRain ceased today.  In fact, we had blue skies with gigantic white puffy clouds.  Normally I would have run my 9.5 mile timed loop.  But instead, I swam.  I planned it all week. (Yup, back to “The Planner.”)

Good news, I finally found my purple speedo.  I had to pull my shorts drawer entirely out of the dresser, empty it and go through piece by piece, to locate my favorite workout suit.  I have 3 suits still – this after recently giving 3 to charity.  You can imagine my relief to find my best swim suit ever. 

Bad news, well, not really bad, more like average news – nah, more like normal news.  My swim workout was harder and not as much fun as last week.  (I say normal because sometimes I have workouts that are close to achieving nirvana, and others that are like a sinner  forever pushing that boulder up a mountain in Dante’s Inferno) greed Last week, I hardly tired.  I glided through the water, dare I say, euphorically.  This week, I felt worn out from the “get-go.”  And then, I KEPT LOSING COUNT.  I usually swim sets of 100 or 200 yards in my gym’s 25 yard pool.  Then because I can’t keep count, because my mind sometimes wanders (well, more than sometimes), every 500 yards I start over with my counting. 

I like to swim at least four of those 500 yards.  Today, I swam five, or 2,500 yards (2,286 meters which is a little less than 1.5 miles).  I actually probably swam more distance, because when I lost count, I didn’t give myself the benefit of the doubt.  Instead, I’d swim the extra 50 yards.

Rain is forecasted for tomorrow and Saturday.  Since tomorrow is a holiday, I have Friday slated for rest and the boys don’t know it yet, but we’re cleaning out the toy box!

And then I wait.  Will it rain for my 21k trail race on Saturday??? 

Stay tuned . . . I have already picked a target.  Of course I won’t tell him that I’m racing him (though it is a race).  Let’s see if he figures it out.  I bet he will. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Run to Beat the Rain

Rain approaches, so I hear.  Don’t much like running in rain.  It’s like “been there, done that – now I’m done with that.”  Besides that, they close my trails when it rains Sad smile.  With little time to spare between pick-ups and drop offs and grocery shopping and chatting with elementary school moms, I’m fortunate to have slated today as my lackadaisical run. 

With about 36 miles logged last week, I planned to bring it down a notch this week, mainly due to the final Big Baz WTRS this weekend.  Turns out, with the amount of rain we’re expecting, I’m going to bring it down more than a notch.

I dug around beneath the bed for a pair of road running shoes.  Funny thing, I have five.  Not five pairs, but five shoes of the same type – 3 left and 2 right.  Go figure.

I carried nothing on my back, nothing in my hands for today’s run down to the marina.  I wore a small running belt with my camera, lip balm and phone.  (Gotta carry that camera, I never know what I might see).  The sky was gray, the weather cool.  Pelicans swooped down on the marina waters like planes coming in for a landing.  Two sea lions lackadaisically swam the Pacific waters.  Squirrels ran rampant on the island on the other side of the marina.  They’re the scrawny type, overpopulated, scavenging for too little food, and no predators to take them out.  (In comparison to the plump furry squirrels on the trails that have to look for food and have plenty of predators seeking them out.)

I didn’t see many runners this morning.  I saw one woman that I recognized. She smiled wide like she recognized me, and I smiled back.  I didn’t see this area’s famous runner (among runners, that is, an Olympic qualifier from years ago).  He runs through the marina at top speed.  An amazing sight.  But he never smiles or even nods. 

Anyway, I find it nice to have a water fountain to drink from every 50 feet Smile.  I also enjoy looking at all the different dogs walking their owners.  I didn’t much appreciate all the stop lights I needed to wait for. 

As I ran back home, I saw my husband driving to pick up our youngest son.  He yelled out the window that the back door was unlocked.  Thing was, I couldn’t get the back gate opened (I’m clumsy that way).  So, while talking on the phone with my mom, I climbed the gate and jumped down about five feet onto the cement.  And I think I heard a gasp from the other end of the phone that said, “yikes, women your age shouldn’t be doing that!” 

Here’s to hoping to no rain tomorrow so that I can fit in one more run before the weekend.  If not, off to the gym I go . . .

Dana Point Wharf, Rain Threatening

CIMG9033

Have you ever seen a blonde squirrel?  I never had until a few years ago.  They scramble all about the marina island. 

CIMG9048

And lastly, I was surprised to find that I ran beneath sea level at times.  What the heck?

My Activities marina run 2-15-2011, Elevation - Distance

Miles logged: 6.14

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Snake Run

Saturday, I needed to take care of a residual from my face plant a month ago (Big Baz WTRS 15k).  Whereas my eye actually improved a great deal initially, this week it took a turn for the worse.  It was red and painful.

Turns out, something went into my eye during the fall.  Though whatever it was is no longer there, my eye didn’t react well to the intrusion.  A cyst formed in response, which in turn began irritating blood vessels.  “Thank God you didn’t damage the cornea,” the optometrist said.  And then she went on to say, in not so many words, that women “our age” shouldn’t be taking falls like that.  In my defense, I told her, “Well, I normally don’t fall like that; I was trying to avoid the cliff, so I fell awkwardly.  Usually, I fall much better.”

I’m sure that convinced her that women “our age” are okay to take falls like that.  She sent me off with an eye-drop prescription.  And already, my eye has greatly improved.

Saturday night, I went to bed at 9PM.  I could still hear the boys roughing up the place and didn’t fall asleep until after 9:30.  Up at 5:20 AM, I sat on the couch fooling around on the computer, avoiding getting dressed.  Not that I didn’t want to run.  I greatly looked forward to my long run this morning.  I was just too dang cold (we are so spoiled weather-wise in California – I’m guessing it was 40/45 F).  6:30 AM I was finally out the door and in the car to drive to my local trails (why, Aliso/Wood Canyons, of course).  My plan today was to run every trail up to the ridge and every trail down.  In other words, I ran up the first one (Cholla), ran along the ridge to the next trail into the canyon (Lynx), ran down it, ran up the next one, etc., etc.  The last trip down was Meadows (the beast!) which after running I turned around and ran up it to make the trip back.  Technically, I suppose this 19+ mile run was an out-and-back, but not exactly.  I made a few alterations on the back trip.  It was more like a snake route, back and forth, back and forth.

“Before” (I had planned to take an “After” shot, but forgot), standing in Canyon Vistas Park, layered and ready to take off.

CIMG8991

The weather remained cool my entire run, though I stripped those layers pretty quickly.  Running through spider webs on the single tracks, I found myself smiling instead letting out yelps like I used to.  My thought was, “Ahhh, I’m the first one on this trail this morning.”  I would wave my hand in front of my face when running through spider-like areas.  Once a web broke on my upper lip.  I didn’t utter a peep.

Later, I found myself semi-frequently dodging mountain bikers.  Guided groups of hikers also roamed the hillsides.  I ran past one such group struggling up Mathis.  They smiled and shook their heads in amusement as I snaked my way up the mini-beast.  I have avoided Mathis for a while now, because it is so painful.  Surprisingly and happily, I found Mathis Trail quite comfortable to run.  Not at all saying that it was easy.  Just that all those runs up Meadows Trail have miniaturized other trails like Mathis.

Hours later, after running back up Meadows Trail on my way to West Ridge, I met that same hiking group while I ran across Top of the World.  One of the guys exclaimed, “It’s you again, I can’t believe you’re still running!” 

“You’re still hiking!”  It was like meeting old friends.  Turns out I set off this morning at the same time as this hiking group (7 AM).

Running down Lynx Trail in the cool morning shade, spring flowers already dot the hillsides.  (Running back up this at about mile 18 was a bear – no shade!!)

CIMG8993

Spring flowers Along Rock It Trail

CIMG9000

Dodging Mountain Bikers on Rock It Smile

CIMG9004

Car Wreck Trail

CIMG9016

Finishing Up Car Wreck

CIMG9020

Posing with 2-Headed Dragon I Found on the Trail

CIMG9025

Top of the World View of the Pacific Ocean, Catalina Island & Laguna Beach

CIMG9030

A Little Detour on Park Avenue Trail (Trip Back)

CIMG9031

19.29 Miles: +4,031/-4033 SUPER FUN SNAKE RUN!

My Activities Aliso Woods 2-13-2011, Elevation - Distance

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Easter Bunny has ALREADY Arrived!

Okay, now I'm totally screwed (excuse my language).  The day that I commit, once again, to get on the straight and narrow with my dietary intake (so that I can be healthier, plus drop some pounds) happens to be the day that Easter candy hits the shelves.  Oh the humanity!  What is going on the in the world????

I am a candy fiend.  Easter candy is my favorite candy.  Nothing compares in my mind. 

But Valentines hasn’t even arrived yet.  Yup.  That’s right.  The aisles have both Valentines and Easter Candy. 

I like to know how candy got associated with Easter anyway.

I already had set Saturday (tomorrow), the day before my long run to get my diet straight.  So today, after an Italian birthday dinner (my son’s and mine – his birthday is today, mine in a few days), I bought a whole bag of Easter candy. 

I won’t say what happened next.  But it wasn’t pretty.

So, if dropping some pounds and eating a healthier diet is so important, why haven’t I done it?  I have to answer, sadly, that it must not be that important.  If it was, I would do it. 

In my defense (yes, one of my excuses) is my work schedule.  I leave for work well before dinner and arrive home after dinner time, starved.  But I should count my blessings.  I love my job.  It’s actually too good to be true (just need a tad more hours).  So, I refuse to blame my job.  I have to blame myself!

I’ll just close my eyes when I walk past the candy aisle.  And I’ll take it day by day.  And because 90% of the day my want to get healthier is not that important, I believe I must resolve again to record calories.  And I will drink more water, especially when I first get home from work (so that I don’t clean out the fridge : ) and I will celebrate Easter (when it finally arrives) happily without loads of sugar.

Happy Easter Valentines Day. Winking smile

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So, SO, SO, SO Close (but yet so far)

Today I ran my 9.5 mile timed loop.  The race against myself.  To recap:  this is the loop --

My Activities Timed Loop 2-10-2011, Elevation - Distance

To additionally recap, my goal is two hours.  My best time before today was 2 hours 11 minutes.  In order to make goal, I figure I gotta make it to the top of Meadows Trail in ONE hour.  That’s at about the 5 mile mark on the elevation graph above.   Last week, I made the top of Meadows in 1 hour, 7 minutes.

I wasn’t sure how to improve getting to the top of Meadows.  Do I run like heck to the base, therefore tiring myself beforehand? Or do I conserve energy a bit so that I have more energy running up the beast?

I decided, run my a** off and try to make time on the easy parts.  I will say, that I got off to a slow start.  Needed to make a pit stop.  Then I had to retie both shoes, since I tied them too tight originally. 

I made great time on Wood Canyon.  By the time I reached Meadows’ climb, I was dead-dog-tired, and about a quarter of the way up, I started with that nasty negative talk.  “I’ll never do it!  I can’t, I can’t, I can’t . . . “

With that kind of talk, I’m surprised that I made it to the top of Meadows Trail three minutes faster than last week!

CIMG8958

I ran across the Top of the World (most of it paved) a little sluggish, speeding up on the flat and downhill portions.  When I entered the park again at West Ridge Trail, my motto was “Run like the Wind, Bullseye!”

To my utter surprise, I made the outhouse at the bottom of Canyon Vistas Park in two hours!  With one tiny little hill to go, I told myself, just do it in FIVE minutes.  You can do it in FIVE MINUTES!!!  Thing was, I felt like falling flat on my face.  I had really run myself into the ground this time. 

But I was so close to smashing my record by several minutes.  Ends up I made my best time in this race against myself with 2 hours, 4 minutes.  I really couldn’t hope for anything better than a 7 minute improvement from last week.  I’m shocked.

The pressure’s on . . .

Now to spice things up a bit – I had such a blast looking through old team pictures last week, that I thought I’d post another one (30+ years old – not me, the picture, I’m much older) Smile

Another blast from the past.  This is one of the several softball teams that I played for in my youth.  The Flintstones from 1980, the Bobbi Sox league.  I played in two leagues, the other was Little Miss, where we wore those skirt-like shorts and no sliding allowed, stealing home, or even leading-off.  Bobbi Sox was tough – sliding allowed, leading off and stealing home too!  I slid maybe once.  And I don’t recall ever being asked to steal a base (I was too slow : )  My Dad is in the picture too, and I was so, so young, but I’m sure with that youth, I could have never run today’s loop anywhere close to 2 hours 4 minutes!

Thanks for reading. Smile

bobbysox

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Loop Girl

Today was one of those days that I didn’t feel like running.  The skies were cool and gray.  It even drizzled here and there in the morning.  But I forced myself to the trails.  I forced myself because I want to be able to run when I feel like running.  Do you know what I mean? Winking smile

Lately, I’ve changed my runs to include: 1) what I call my lackadaisical run, where I can run where I want, as fast as I want (or as slow as I want), take as many pictures as I want and just kind of escape into dreamland while running 2) a fast timed loop (9.5 miles), and 3) my long run.  Three days I reserve for cross and weight training.  And one day I rest.  (That’s the plan anyway.  Sometimes two days I rest.)

Today was my lackadaisical run.  I had planned for an out-and-back through Wood Canyon.  But you know what?  I hate out-and-backs.  There.  I said it!They bore me.  I’m a loop girl.   I love running loops (not track and field loops), but trail loops.  They don’t have to be elliptical in shape.  Simply start and beginning in the same location, a trail loop only has a different route out than it does back.

So I switched gears this morning.  I didn’t plan any route, except for the fact that I wanted some kind of loop.  Instead, I just ran one magical loop in dreamland, including some of my favorite lower trails in Aliso/Wood Canyons, like Cave Rock, Dripping Cave, Oak Grove and Mathis.  Then I sped it up just a bit, because I felt strong to return via Wood Canyon Trail. 

Miles logged:  7.15

Cave Rock Trail (on my way to THE rock)

CIMG8912

Posing on Cave Rock (THE rock.)

CIMG8916

Inside Dripping Cave (AKA Robbers Cave)

CIMG8930

Some Scenery Along Dripping Cave Trail

CIMG8935

Finishing Up Dripping Cave Trail

CIMG8937

Poison Oak (it’s so pretty and green – trickery!)

CIMG8940

Moss Covered Boulders on Oak Grove Trail CIMG8944