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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Group Running in the Mud and Rain

This morning I got to run with strangers.  And I got to run with an old friend, Tom (by old, I don’t mean “old person”, I mean the running friend who pretty much taught me how to run trails more than two years ago). 

Wasn’t supposed to rain today for the OCTR’s new member run.  But it rained.  And it rained.  And it rained.  Surprisingly, the county didn’t close the trails at Aliso/Wood Canyons Wilderness Park.  Well . . . they didn’t close ALL the trails.

Out of our group of 8, four continued on with me for the “big” loop up Wood Canyon, Cholla Trail, West Ridge to Top of the World, then back via Meadows Trail.  This is opposite the way I usually run this loop.  If you follow, you might recall I normally run up Meadows down Cholla. 

WELL, the trails were muddy and slippery, but not too badly through Wood Canyon and up Cholla.  Running along West Ridge was cold and of course rainy.  No one would have known unless I mentioned it that the Pacific Ocean was to our right.  The skies were that murky and gray. (The four runners who carried on were from out of the immediate area, 3 of them from the running group train4autism.)

What a great relief to reach Top of the World.  Some of us were cold, all of us a little tired of the slippery climb.  When it came to choosing a route back, the group voted to take the route with the most pavement (these delightful runners are mainly road runners, and I wanted to do what they wanted, especially since I can run this park any ole’ day).  I cautioned my fellow runners that Meadows was going to be a slippery slide.  But I think the mile and a half paved run was all too tempting to consider what we “might” encounter on Meadows.  (I’ve run Meadows enough to know that it gets the muddiest of all the trails).

New Member Run, Tom on far left, I forgot the next 2 runner’s names (sorry) and the last four on right I ran the big loop with (Justin, Alex, Shannon and Sarah)


When we finally arrived at Meadows Trail (I’m not too keen about running pavement – did I already mention that?  Seems like I always mention that), we found Meadows Trail CLOSED.  Closed!  A couple runners suggested running back.  I reminded them of the route they originally declined.  The others said, forget the closed sign – let’s go for it. 

And so we did.

What a slippery ride it was.  This was one tough group for sure.  We grabbed onto branches to stay upright.  We fell in the mud.  We laughed.  We groaned.  Alex lead the way, and he pretty much said, “screw the switchback” and took us straight down when we could through the grassy parts.  I must clarify that he never said the word “screw.”  He was never more than positive and polite.  I avoided the grass when I could because of ticks.  But then finally I just gave in, because it was so much easier to get a grip in the grass.

I also felt badly for leading this group into the mudslide on their first time on these trails in Aliso/Wood Canyons.  I had to at least once remind them, “Remember?  I said it was going to be MUDDY.”  (The alternative I had suggested was very rocky, much less muddy, but included a detour due to another closed trail, that would have added about a 1/4 mile to the total run.)

Every one of the runners today were true troopers.  We made it back happily to the ranger station, tired, glad to be finished, no injuries and with a fun muddy story to tell.

Thanks for coming out running partners.  Hope to see you all again.

Sliding Down Meadows Trail





My Shoes in the Mud



A Field of Lupin on Meadows’ Slippery Descent



Miles logged this morning:  11.5


  1. Two words: Bad. Ass.

    That looks like a blast though. Next time bring sleds and do some mud sliding :P

  2. Thanks One Crazy Penguin. I always wanted to be a "Bad Ass." In reality I'm not. I did suggest snow shoes today though. Sleds would have been much funner, but maybe a little more dangerous :) Have a good week!

  3. That looks like it was SO fun!! :) I saw the invite!! Thank you so much! I couldn't make it because I had a foster kid assessment Sunday morning. However, I would LOVE to come to one of the group runs!

    I am in no shape to actually keep up with you guys but it would be awesome just to say hi and do my own thing. I am definitely coming to the one on April 30th!! :D

  4. You take them through that and then hope to see them all back again…? Ha, that looks like such a lot of fun! Luckily no bad falls or injuries, but a great run I’m sure. I think it’s the first time I see you train with others.

  5. Thanks for reading Kate! I hope to make the April 30th run too. There are always all levels of runners, chances are u can keep up with me. Usually at that location, some take the canyon route which is flat, and others take the ridge route which is rather hilly (I'll be taking the ridge route, but very slowly : )

  6. LOL Johann. I didn't really think about that!Yes, it's been a while since I've trained with a group.

  7. Thanks for reading Windnsnow. I was thinking snow shoes would work : )

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  9. Thanks for stopping by and for the clarification S. I changed the link in the blog. I think what I was really trying to say, but obviously didn't come out that way, is that you guys run the road a heck of a lot more than I do. I pretty much avoid road running at all costs (though that sometimes isn't possible). Thanks again!