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Monday, September 12, 2011

My Focuses

Feeling stiff from Saturday’s race, I put in some gym hours Sunday.  Still a bit stiff this morning, the sun was hot, but the breeze was cool.  I decided it was time to hit the dirt.  Though I went to my same wilderness park, I changed it up a bit by entering through Aliso Canyon, at the ranger station (as opposed to my usual Wood Canyon entrance).

White board at ranger station, always an interesting readSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I ran with three goals in mind, which I found a little difficult to juggle.  I wanted to focus on form (mid-foot strike, kicking out back, etc).  I wanted to focus on a quick cadence.  And I wanted to focus on staying in the present moment. 

Surprisingly, I found myself running quicker than usual.  I suppose Saturday’s race was a bit of speed training.  Staying in the present helped me to keep good form and a quicker cadence, but the present also posed a problem.  I would often get distracted.  When you’re in the present you hear a multitude of sounds.  The sounds of nature, not to mention the sounds of silence between those noises.  I found myself investigating these distractions.  One particularly high-pitched chirp sent me on a mission to find what I thought would be a bird.  After drawing my attention to every single bit of my surroundings, I finally found the culprit.  Deep within a tree cluster, a perched squirrel set off this alarm-like squeal.  (They seemed shouted in exact increments).

Crossing creek on Wood Canyon TrailSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

Not only did I notice all the different sounds while staying in the present, I noticed things, like ladybugs, a colorful caterpillar.  I spotted a spider crawling out its hole in the dirt, then quickly slam its leaf trap door as I ran by.  I also noticed this unmarked trail, that I turned onto without a thought:


It lead to this delightful shade:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

And the trail dead-ended here:SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

From Wood Canyon trail I hopped onto Wood Creek trail.  It was dark from shade as I ran through the spider webs, crumbling leaves beneath my feet.  Camera in hand, headphones off I ran this trail on another mission – to finally snap a picture of the deer that has scared me on TWO occasions.  It’s got to be the largest deer that I’ve seen in this canyon.  And both times it about gave me a heart-attack while I ran Wood Creek.  I wasn’t quick enough to get the camera out. 

This time I listened closely to the wooded trail and I heard birds I’ve never noticed before.  Finally, I thought I heard hoof steps.  I stopped in my tracks and listened very closely and could tell the direction of the noise.  It travelled closer to me, but to my right.  I stepped lightly waiting . . . waiting . . .  waiting.  Any second, whatever it was would appear from around a cluster of trees.  And then, I saw it – a large black bird hopping about rustling his beak through the leaves!

Gladly I made the climb to West Ridge via Cholla where I came across fellow trail runner Jeffrey traveling in the opposite direction.  We chatted for a few seconds, and I was off again to The Top of the World.  I got to enjoy a cool breeze this entire run.  And I got to run DOWN Meadows Trail.  Surprisingly, I kept up my faster than usual speed all the way in to the ranger station.

Lovely run!

Top of the World, Santiago Peak in distance (the right of the 2 tallest peaks)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA


Miles run today:  12.29

My Activities Aliso Wood Cyns Big Loop counter Clockwise 9-12-2011, Elevation - Distance


  1. I always find it odd when a trail just dead ends. I love a good "lost in the moment" run though!

  2. Amazing how much gear gets "lost" ( maybe jettisoned is a better description?) on RockIt.

    Way to get out there Lauren.

  3. I loved reading this Lauren! One day we'll do a run together like that.:)

  4. For a while there Lindsay, I kept coming upon deadend trails and it was driving me crazy. This was my first one in a long time. Thanks for reading!

  5. What surprises me Glenn is the expensive stuff that get's lost, like computers, ipods, etc. I actually collect bike reflectors from my trail runs. I practically have a drawer full. I plan on an art piece when I get enough. LOL.

  6. I'm super glad you liked this blog Johann. Just name the day . . . name the day : )