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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spider Web Patrol

I woke at 5:00 so that I could hit the dirt at 6:00 AM.  Today was double-loop day at Aliso/Wood Canyons Park – my second-to-last long run before I decide on whether to enter Bulldog. Regardless of my choice, I am doubtful that I can make the cutoff’s.  The way I see it, and I’m not trying to be negative, just a realistic, but signing up for Bulldog 50k is probably signing up for defeat – defeat for the race, but not a defeat for so many other aspects (that I can go into later if the time warrants.)  I’m at a point in my life where I realize that defeat carries so many triumphs.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’d love to finish and make the cutoffs.  I’d be absolutely thrilled. 

I actually entered the trails this morning under dark cloudy skies.  Not sure whether I’d see anyone, I carried pepper spray for the first time in a long time. 


I fought against thinking about the end of this run as I took off down Wood Canyon.  “Stay in the present,” I told myself.  Now.  Now.  Now.  I didn’t wear headphones at first, and being difficult to stay in the moment, I focused on the various tracks in the dirt – bobcat, coyote, deer, runners.  When I thought about the run, or the future of today’s run, I’d fret, thinking  “I’ll never be able to do this – run up Meadows TWICE.  No way!  I’m not strong enough.”

Running is just like life.  When I anticipate, anxiety grows.  I recall when one of my sons was going through several surgeries (3 of them brain surgeries) the only way I could function was to stay in the moment.  As soon as I strayed into the future (or even the past), I’d start to lose it.   Anxiety reached a point where I felt I might vomit, or the ground beneath me began to sway.  I learned then sitting in the surgery waiting room, I survived by staying in the exact moment.  I don’t think you need experience something like this to relate to what I’m writing about.  The present is just simply much easier and more enjoyable and relaxing to experience than the past or present.  Period.  It is the same with running. (perhaps why I took up running in the first place.)

And so I took in Wood Canyon at first having to count to get myself into the present.  Literally, I’d say one, two, three, four, etc., and imagine that at each count that was where I was.  Eventually, I began to enjoy the moment, enjoy the breeze, enjoy the different colors, and even enjoy every single spider web I ran through.  And believe me!  There were plenty. 


Lone coyote on Wood Canyon TrailSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Soon into my run, I realized I wouldn’t be alone on these trails.  A mountain biker came up behind me pretty quickly.  Then as I ran Cave Rock Trail, posing and taking pictures, several runners, at least 10, ran beneath me as I stood on the rock.  I was amazed to see so many runners this early in the morning.  And I was also truly amazed that they didn’t even notice me as I snapped pictures of them on that rock not too far above.  I don’t wish to be critical, BUT I hope, wish, that I would notice someone standing up above me like that.  (Sadly, I don’t think that I also would have noticed but, you can bet I will NOW.) Sick smile


Another pose on Cave RockSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

A View from Meadows on first loop (about .5 mile remains of Meadows Trail)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Wood Creek Trail a delightful detour on 2nd loopSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Wood Creek Trail (I believe I take this picture every time I run Wood Creek Trail)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I took the second Meadows climb much better than the last time I ran this double loop.  I worked hard at passing a female mountain biker, came oh so close, but no catch!  I also didn’t run out of fluids until exactly the point where I could refill (imagine that!).  With 3.5 miles remaining, my clothes were completely drenched with sweat, and chaffing had began to take its toll.  My ipod battery also ran out during the Top of the World portion.  I found myself counting again just to stay in the moment.  When I found myself thinking about the past or anticipating the future, I’d focus on my presence in the moment, noticing colors, smells, people.  I said “Good morning",” to every single person I saw – the runners, gardeners, the hikers, bikers, the tennis players (at Alta Laguna Park), the dog walkers, the city workers.  And I truly believe it was the staying in the moment that allowed me to finish this run, happily, joyfully and PLAYFULLY.

19 miles logged.

+3,219 ft / – 3,223 ft,My Activities double loop from cyn vistas 7-28-2011, Elevation - Distance

Route:  Canyon Vistas, Wood Cyn, Cave Rock, Wood Cyn, Meadows Trail, Top of the World, Park Ave. Nature Trail, West Ridge, Cholla, Wood Cyn, Wood Creek, Wood Cyn, Coyote Run, Wood Cyn, Meadows Trail, Top of the World, West Ridge, Cholla, Wood Cyn, Canyon Vistas. 

Satellite above the loop which I ran twice (with some slight detours). 

My Activities double loop from cyn vistas 7-28-2011


  1. And you wonder about the 50km...? You are stronger than you realize Lauren. That is a tough 19 mile run alone, well done! I often wonder what I didn't see on my run and think it's better not to know. Have a super weekend!

  2. Man, I gotta' come out and run with you. Your courses are amazing...

  3. Yes, I still wonder about the 50k, unfortunately : ( Thanks for the confidence Johann!

  4. Any time Gary! I am very lucky to live near so many fantastic trails.