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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


We had a break in the rain today and my local trains opened up here in the coastal hills of Southern California.  Oddly, I decided on my timed loop.  This loop in Aliso/Wood Canyons:


BeforeI didn’t feel like running a time looped, besides the fact that I was a little paranoid about rattlers.  If you’ve been following, you might recall that my goal is to run this loop in two hours (also that I had a rattler encounter my last timed loop.)  My best time has been two hours, two minutes.  I made that time once.

I always felt in order to make 2 hours, I had to run to the top of Meadows (5 mile mark) in 1 hour.  Today, I made it in the same ole’ time 1:03.  With just one negative self-talk incident (I thought “I can’t” only once) I decided to attempt make-up time running the ridge through the neighborhoods at Top of the World.  I felt I could do it since it’s relatively “easy” running (compared to the trails I’ve been racing in 2011).

Top of MeadowsCIMG9467

I made West Ridge with 35 minutes to spare (pretty good, but not the best I’ve done).  Then as I started running West Ridge (pictured below), I saw a runner that I usually see on the trails in this park.   I caught up with her, then on the downhill, flew past her.  I thought she was long gone, when on the next uphill, she was at my heels.  What the heck!


If I didn’t know better, she didn’t like me catching her and passing so quickly on the downhill.  I left her in the dust again on the next downhill.  Then wouldn’t you know it!  As I topped the next hill SHE PASSED ME.  Well, IT. WAS. ON. 

Neither of us spoke, as we raced along West Ridge.  We actually ran side-by-side quite a few times.  Other times we ran single-file just a few feet separating us.  I’d pass her on the downhills.  She’d catch me on the uphills.  She got out a good distance at one point.  But at the end, when we parted ways (she continued on West Ridge, I ran down Cholla).  She was just a few feet in front.

I glanced at the garmin as I rounded the corner onto Cholla Trail.  NINE minutes.  I had nine minutes to make it to the finish line.  I had a chance, though slight it might have been.  Utterly fatigued, I took very small, quick steps as I sped down Cholla.  Rounding the next corner onto Wood Canyon, the rest of the trip was uphill.  I had five minutes.  And I wanted to collapse.  I could not let this chance pass.  I had to try.  I actually hiked, fast hiked a small portion of the uphill, and with two minutes to spare, I sprinted in.

Goal!  I made it.  I ran my loop in two hours.  It seemed like the world was spinning a little, and I wanted to vomit.  I stopped for a second, only to catch my breath, then turned the corner and walked a bit for a cool down. 

Thank you un-named runner.  You don’t know how much you helped me today. Smile

After Picture (after my cool down and I’m still red-faced)CIMG9473



  1. Nice job sneaking in a beautiful run before it got wet again!

  2. Whoooot!! Congrats on GOAL!! :D
    Nothing like a little external motivation to get the legs movin eh? ;)

    It is sketch trying to run in those trails! I drove half an hour one weekend not too far back to check out Aliso (?) I think it was.. but all the parks were closed. I was SOOO bummed. The guard guy was like "didn't you check the internet before you came?" I said no a bit ashamed of myself... Later, when I was thinking about it I was like, hey! how was I supposed to know it was so heavily guarded?? HA! Well maybe next time.

  3. Yay, well done! That is awesome! Will you speak to the runner next time? I also have some regulars on my routes and usually just greet and carry on with my own business.

  4. Great job. Fun you had a rabbit pace you. :)

  5. Congrats!!! What an accomplishment and a great story of how your competitive side came out. I don't know how you tackle that hill in your elevation chart...looks brutal!

  6. Thanks Green Girl. I was quite lucky. Rained that evening and all night long : )

  7. Kate! Sorry to hear that it was closed. They close Aliso/Wood Cyns A LOT. And often the website and phone recording isn't accurate. Has happened to me often -- but I didn't have to drive that long. try www.theoctr.org to check out a group run there this Sunday if you're interested (a trail running group I belong to). Of course the park could be closed, but we'll run the bike trail instead.

  8. Thanks Johann! I really didn't think Wednesday was the day I'd make my goal. I will speak to the runner next time (promise). This particular runner kinda intimidates me, because she never acknowledges or smiles when I see her. Rare on the trail. I'm sure she's a great gal though : ) She's just very dedicated, whereas I'm kinda a goofball and often stop to crack jokes.

  9. Thanks Kovas! I'm still more of the tortoise (but a fast tortoise : )

  10. Thanks Tom! Remember the first time we ran up Meadows. I SO DIDN'T WANT TO DO THAT : )

  11. Thanks Whitney. That hill is brutal. The first time I attempted it, I had to walk practically the whole thing, and that wiped me out the whole run! The first time I ran the whole thing was a huge, huge deal. I once met a guy who runs up it with his backpack filled with metal chains!

  12. Very nicely done. Now all you need is a soundtrack!

  13. Thanks Windnsnow. Enjoyed the video -- very interesting. Don't run quite as fast as Lola. But I do own a pair of green pants (they're chords though : )