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Thursday, May 26, 2011

7 Months Later

Sometimes when I run a trail race, I’m all alone for miles.  Other times, it’s me and a few other runners.  Sometimes it’s just me and one other runner.  There are times when you’re running together for just a little while.  And there are times when you are together for some hours (Calico!).  A couple weeks ago there was the women that I ran with for a while when we both took a wrong turn in Malibu Creek State Park. 

There’s a bonding that goes one when you run with a stranger through lonely parts of a race.  You help each other through with conversation, perhaps a gel.  And when it’s over you feel like old friends.  Old friends who rarely ever see each other again.  It’s kind of sad.  But you get over it, and go onto the next race.  If not that, you go on enjoying your trails. 

I’m pretty sure that I’ve passed sixty races in my relatively short running “career”, and I’ve got to say that I’ve run some lonely trails with quite a few strangers.  I very rarely have ever seen any of them again. 

That is until today!

So, TODAY, I took another lovely run in Aliso/Wood Canyons, a loop up Meadows.  Just before I really started climbing I came across a snake basking on the trail.  I couldn’t see her tail, therefore, couldn’t be sure if she was a rattler.  I can’t rely on color, because I’ve seen rattlesnakes with varying colors.  If I was thinking, all I had to do was look at her head.  I know a rattler’s head.  There’s no mistaking.  Instead, I hollered at it.  She didn’t flinch.  I picked up sticks and tossed them close up to her.  She still didn’t flinch.  (By the way study sticks carefully before picking them up, because they just might be a snake!)  I really wasn’t in the mood for running and leaping over her, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to run off-trail into the thick brown grass.  THAT is how you get bitten. 

I hid back a ways on the trail – maybe she’d think I left and continue her trek.  She didn’t flinch.  Finally I took big heavy fast steps straight at her and she quickly slithered off trail.  That’s when I saw the skinny tail – no rattles. Smile 

1 1/2 miles into park, turning onto Meadows TrailCIMG9851

The stubborn snakeCIMG9855

Running up Meadows TrailCIMG9861

Running the local mountains has dwarfed Meadows Trail.  When I reached the top, I thought to myself, is this the top?  It can’t be!!  Now, I’m not saying that running up Meadows is anywhere near easy.  But it’s definitely easier after the likes of Holy Jim.

At top of Meadows Trail, overlooking Pacific Ocean, acting like a goofball. CIMG9871

I reached Top of the World feeling strong.  I took my usual (of late) little detour onto Park Avenue Nature Trail.  As I ran, I debated whether I should run Car Wreck Trail down or Mathis.  I really wanted to run Car Wreck, because I get to run also through the fairyland Oak Grove Trail.  But time was fleeting, as usual.  I could take Mathis at a much faster pace than Car Wreck.  I had to pick my youngest up from school.

View of Pacific Ocean from Park Avenue Nature TrailCIMG9878

Witch’s Hair (Dodder) draped over flowery brush CIMG9883

At pretty much the last minute I decided to run Mathis down to Dripping Cave, flinching as I passed Car Wreck.  I ran the mostly exposed, sometimes rock trail at a fun pace, enjoying the gorgeous green canyon.  Then running down the last hill, I noticed another runner.  I hardly see runners on the trails that connect the canyons to the ridge – mostly I see runners on the ridge or in the canyons. 

Just as we passed each other, he said, “Are you Lauren?” 

A bit startled, because I didn’t recognize him one bit, my response was a little juvenile.  “Ya.  Why?”  (I chuckle to myself now!)

Turns out that runner was Jeff, the guy I ran with for the last three, even more maybe four or five miles of the Saddleback Marathon

Wow!  I was so happy to see him today.  I’m so glad that he recognized me.  To think that we could have run past each other without knowing!! His company really helped me finish that November race!  Since Saddleback, I often wondered about Jeff, because I knew he also trained in Aliso/Wood Canyons.  But now over 7 months since the marathon, I figured he was like so many runners that I’d never meet up with again. 

I’ll tell ya!  I felt ecstatic, like I had met up with an old friend.  So funny, I could not recognize his face at all!  He is slimmer and also has a beard and mustache now, which may be why I didn’t recognize him.  (If you’ve watched my Saddleback Marathon video, he’s the guy toward the end that my camera catches glimpses of).  Though I didn’t recognize his face, I definitely recognized his voice.  Isn’t that funny?  Someone I met once, I recognize his voice. 

“Old” friends (not as in old age Smile) meet up on the trail.  (I look a mess – and if I weren’t so happy over seeing this “old” friend, my vanity would have stopped me from posting this pic.)CIMG9885

I was even happier at that point for choosing Mathis over Car Wreck Trail.  Afterward, I took a fun little jot up Dripping Cave.  Then stopped for a photo-op in the cave. 

I say, it’s good to follow your instincts, intuitions, inclinations, whatever you call them.  So many times, they have led me to surprises.

Dripping Cave TrailCIMG9888

Posing in the caveCIMG9895

9.60 miles run today. +1536/-1530

5 26 11


  1. You run in very beautiful places.
    Wonderful pictures thanks for sharing.
    A big hello to mr. Snake.

  2. Thanks Black Knight. I bet you've got some beautiful places to run as well. I feel very lucky to have these trails so close.

    I'm a little bummed now when I don't see Mr. (or Ms.) Snake on the run. : )

  3. That caveshot is awesome you should send it to TR or RW!