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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back in the Saddle (a day early :)

When our puppy Millie whined at 6AM for her ritual outside time, I hoped hubby would hear and let her out.  He slept through it.  So I gave him a gentle push (well, perhaps a gentle shove), “Please, let Millie out.”

Letting Millie out in the morning is always my job because I’m the one who is usually up.

“Don’t you want to get up and go for an early morning run,” he said.

“I need my beauty sleep.”  I smiled and got another twenty minutes of sleep.  Then I woke, dressed, poured a cup of coffee, got into the truck and hit the trails at Aliso / Wood Canyons around 7:30 AM.  The skies were wonderfully cloudy and misty.  It looked like I was in for a cool weather run.

I felt strong right away as I ran up Cholla.  My plan was to weave up and down (from the ridge to canyon, canyon to the ridge, ridge to canyon, etc), leaving Meadows, the longest climb for last.  A beautiful plan.  Basically every time I came to a trailhead I took it, whether it travelled up or down.

Up ChollaPhoto200

Down LynxPhoto204

I flew through the shady, fern covered and poison oak ridden trails adjacent to the creek.  I traipsed over deer and bobcat tracks.  I ducked beneath spider webs.  Stopping for a second, I witnessed a bee struggling in one of these webs.  I ascended rocky inclines.  And I was glad when the sun came out.  That meant I finally got to turn the cap around and flip down the sunglasses. 

On Cave Rock Trail what I thought was a bird flew so close to my face, it startled me.  Then I noticed its wing flap was silent.  It flew out and back, out and back from my face when I finally realized this creature that seemed to be trying to get my attention was a giant yellow butterfly.  By the time I realized, I got just a few more seconds of enjoyment before it fluttered off.

Descent down Car Wreck TrailPhoto212

The Car WreckPhoto213

I saved the most difficult climb to the ridge (Meadows!) for last, which would have been okay.  But I ran out of water about half way up.  Actually, I still had some coconut water in my pack.  But I did something stupid, really stupid – something that is against my rules.  I conserved fluids.  I wouldn’t allow myself that extra reserve until I reached the ridge.  This when I believe what Lisa Tamati quoted in her book Running Hot, “It’s better in your tummy than on your back.”  

Very quickly I began to overheat beneath that hot sun.  And though I didn’t bring my thermometer, I know I allowed my temperature to increase too much.  My temperature had to be more than 2 degrees higher than normal.  I hiked much of the remainder of Meadows Trail, stopping in the shade frequently to cool down.  As soon as I stepped out of the shade however, I felt nauseated, dizzy, out of breath. 

I never recovered from this heat exhaustion.  I even sat in the shade when I reached the ridge for about five minutes as I drank that coconut water.  When I phoned my husband to say that I’d be late, he said that he didn’t like the sound of my voice.  But I was smiling.  Really, I was.  Thing was, I still had a mile and a half before I could refill fluids.  What’s especially stupid about my mistake is that about a mile of that remaining run was through a neighborhood which was bound to have GARDEN HOSES!  I should have drank that coconut water on the Meadows ascent.  I probably wouldn’t have overheated.  And if needed I could have always “borrowed” someone’s hose in this 85F (29.4C) degree weather as I ran Top of the World. 

As it was, I practically stumbled into Alta Laguna Park.  Rushing up to the drinking fountain, I guzzled up and filled my pack with water.  A woman smoking a cigarette a few feet away sat with her husband as I began to pour water over my head and neck.  I splashed my face, drank up some more, then continued drenching myself.  If I could have, I would have sat in the fountain and completely submerged myself.  Somewhere in this water extravaganza, I heard the woman say, “Let’s go sit over there,” and they promptly moved away from me.  I think that I may have scared them.

Then a beautiful cool breeze began to blow.  And though the sun still aimed its rays DIRECTLY AT ME, I found great comfort in that breeze.  The breeze was so cool, I’m surprised that  I still couldn’t recover from the heat exhaustion.  Who am I kidding?  When I get heat exhaustion, recovery takes a minimum of several hours, at its worse a few days.  But I ran in 3 digit temperature in Texas!  Then I closely monitored my body temperature.  Today I was just so giddy to get out there and had such a wonderful time until the water ran out, I just kind of forgot simple lessons.  (Oops) Confused smile Believe me!  Do not conserve your water too much, especially in situations like mine when there will eventually be water. 

Completely drenched with full hydration pack, ready to run the hot, dry rolling ridge 3.5 miles back to the truckPhoto228

Those last few miles were extremely difficult on an exposed trail with absolutely no shade.  But I had plenty of water!  About two miles remaining, I spied a hiker on my side of the road holding his hand out as to say “halt.”  I knew he had seen a rattler.  I asked, “Which side?”  and he pointed across the road into the brush.  Well, I know a rattler can’t strike eight feet across the road, so I kept on running on the trail’s edge and that guy looked at me like I was crazy.  He laughed and said, “I gotta turn around somewhere, it might as well be now.”  Then he asked what time it was, and I clicked through my garmin looking for the time when he asked, “California time?”  to which I laughed and responded, “No.  Zombie time.” 

I promised myself an ice bath when I returned home.  As it was, I was freezing, wearing a sweat shirt by the time I got home.  LOL.  I suffered from a dull headache for much of the day, but other than that, ALL IS WELL.  It’s better than that – I’m finally back on the trails!

Zombie RunnerPhoto230

13.63 miles (21.94 km)satellite

Elevation Profile: +2,810/-2,790 feetMy Activities zig zag the hills thru aliso 8-18-2011, Elevation - Distance


  1. What? The old couple didn't like the wet t-shirt contest you were putting on for them?

    It's tough out there without enough water. And with the weather the way it is, cool to start, warm to finish, I always find it tough to figure out if I'm carrying enough.

  2. Glenn you are so funny. I thought the couple just thought I was a lunatic. : ) You should join me on one of my runs. I'm filling in for Jessica on New Member runs for OCTR (she's busy putting on Twin Peaks), for September I'm going to post a 4 mi. out and back through Wood Cyn. Also, if you're not up to the Aug. 28 Santiago Peak run, you can always run to the falls turn and back. That's also about 4 mi. I'm trying to convince another friend to do that also. She doesn't want to go to the top because it gets so dang hot up there. Let me know if you're interested & I can give details.