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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Double Loop Zombie Run

Waking at 5AM, I hoped to hit the dirt at 6AM.  I drank 2 cups of coffee with sugar substitute and sugar free vanilla creamer.  I put the Glide on thick, slipped on a running shirt with no side seams.  After lathering on the sunscreen, I took my pack which I put together last night and added a baggie of ice with a hankie.  Other things in my pack: 65 fluid ounces of water with 3 Nuun tablets dissolved,  a tube of Nuun tables, salt tablets, ibuprofen, antihistamines (in case of wasp or bee sting), lip balms (2), gels (5), Clifff bar (1), band aids (several), cleansing wipes (for possible wounds), camera, cell phone, a brand new hat, a cross crocheted by my father’s Aunt Consuelo (now deceased), car keys, a thermometer, sunglasses, coconut water, ipod and headphones.  Needless to say, the pack was a little heavy (as usual).

The sun showed its face nowhere when I finally hit the trails at 6:40AM.    I ran through the misty canyon listening to the sounds of nature, birds, crickets and a breeze breathing through the trees.  Bunnies scrambled about the trail.  Except for nature, I ran completely by myself.

Stream Crossing on Wood Canyon Trail (in the midst of summer, the creek still runs, as do I!)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Running Cave Rock Trail (off of Wood Cyn Trail) – a joyful run in cool mist!SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Cave Rock Trail, a delightful trail that I neglected for a couple years – I ran it on my first loop this morning (pre-zombie).SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Second Loop – sun out, still energized, I opted for some more climbing, taking Wood Creek Trail, then Coyote Run (below):SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

My running began to waiver when I hit the Meadows climb for a second time.  That’s when I finally pulled out my ice-cold handkerchief.  I poured the melted ice over my head, well, mainly my neck.  And then I began to really suffer running up Meadows.  I passed no one (bikers and hikers by this time were now out on the trails.)  A mountain biker even passed me on the way up Meadows.  This rarely happens.  I’m not saying that I run Meadows so fast that no bikers can pass me.  But it’s such a tough trail that bikers generally have a tougher time than even I.  They have a harder time, I believe because they have the bike’s extra weight to carry with them..

I reached the top of Meadows still running, but utterly fatigued.  The sun now shining down hard, I benefited from a cool breeze only occasionally.  Soon after reaching the top of Meadows I ran out of all fluids.  And I struggled running the neighborhoods on into Alta Laguna Park (What I refer to as “Top of the World”.)  There I refilled my water, spilled it all over the sidewalk and exclaimed a profanity, then refilled again.  Before running off I drank up heavily at the fountain, and felt nauseated.  With only about 3.5 miles remaining, I couldn’t take in any additional calories and even had to stay away from the fluids (for a good while) for fear of vomiting.

I basically just kind of leaned forward and let momentum take me the remainder of this run.  I ran most hills, but hiked 2 short ones on West Ridge, (unbelievably, still fully coherent with a body temperature less than one degree above normal.)  That doesn’t mean that I felt normal.  The nausea settled, and I ran onward, kind of outside of my body, just moving along, one foot in front of the other.

The sun beat down hard.  I heard a rattler in the brush and didn’t even stop to throw rocks into the bushes to try and locate it.  (That’s usually what I do).  Onward . . . onward.  Got to finish this run.  Hikers were out beneath this sun.  But I only came across one runner and also the martial arts guy, A-Rod.  I smiled, and good-morning’d both of them.  We were all sweating.  But I was a zombie.  Maybe they were also, but I couldn’t tell.

Even running down Cholla (a steep downhill) was not easy.  I tripped twice for no apparent reason, except for the fact that zombies apparently do that since they really have no control of their limbs.  I came sooooo close to eating dirt the second time I tripped.  And I really have to thank core-work for not tasting that dirt.  I was able to pull myself upright as my feet, it seemed in slow motion, slipped from beneath me.    

Not Zombie – Yet!  (but posing like one on Coyote Run Trail during second loop)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Second Time Running Up Meadows Trail.  Not Quite Zombie (but turning!)  Fluids will be gone within a 1/2 mile. (Not to worry, refill in 1 1/2 miles)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Total and COMPLETE Zombie (About 2 miles left!)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I believe I bit off a little too much in the midst of summer today.  On the other hand, I made it.  I survived, without heat exhaustion, without injury.  Still, this is not enough to give me confidence to register for Bulldog 50k.  At the end of today’s run, I was convinced for Bulldog 25k.  My plan after today’s 19 mile run, is to run this same route (the double loop) one more time, and then try a triple loop.  After the triple loop, I will decide.  Meanwhile, the clock is ticking . . .

Miles run today:    19 miles (30.58km)

Elevation Profile: +3,105 ft / – 3083 ft (route:  Canyon View Park, Wood Canyon Trail, Cave Rock Trail, Wood Canyon, Meadows Trail, Ridge to Top of the World, Park Avenue Nature View, West Ridge, Cholla, Wood Canyon, Wood Creek Trail, Wood Canyon, Coyote Run Trail, Wood Canyon, Meadows Trail, Ridge to Top of the World, West Ridge, Cholla, Wood Canyon, Canyon View Park.)7-20-2011 up meadows down cholla double loop, Elevation - Distance


  1. 19 miles! That is super for trails in the heat, well done! No easy course as well. Anyone would be a zombie after that. I love Zombies!

  2. Great run, especially in the heat!! Looks like all your heat training is paying off.

  3. Wow. I'm glad you were okay, girl. Way to push through the heat.

  4. Thanks Johann. I kinda like zombies too, zombie runners : ).

  5. Thanks Rachel -- it is paying off, little-by-little.

  6. Thanks Green Girl. I'm very careful to take it easy when my body temp. rises. : )