TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mentally Sensitive

I read about a new trail opening in Aliso/Wood Canyons.  I talked to the rangers about it, heard it dumped out into a Laguna Beach city park, that it was steep, and that I “wasn’t going to be running it.” (Challenge!!) They told me Mentally Sensitive was officially opening October 16. 

What intrigued me about this trail, firstly is that IT’S A NEW TRAIL!!  I MUST run all trails at Aliso/Wood Canyons.  Also, it will make my “big loop” longer, and lastly it dumps out into a park, which means possible parking and new park entrance possibilities.

Before heading off, I stopped by the ranger station, just to make sure the trail had opened.  Indeed it had.  Then the ranger commenced to look about her desk for a tool to help me pull the adjustment elastic in my shorts back through the slot to the button.  Nothing she could find worked, so I took off running slowly on Aliso Creek Trail working on my shorts (it paid off).

Though this entry is a preview of the new trail called Mentally Sensitive, first things first.  This is the defensive position of the stink bug: 

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I thought it was cute.

Mentally Sensitive hits Meadows about a half mile of running Meadows, just before the switchback climb to the top (a total of 2.09 miles from the ranger station).  The trail’s easy to find with the brand new sign in about the middle of nowhere.

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Mentally Sensitive started off in a dry meadow with small rolling hills.  Fun, easy, not difficult running.  I knew it wouldn’t last like this with all the talk about how steep the trail is (Challenge!). 

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And then . . . AND THEN, the trail abruptly ended and I found myself running an asphalt road.  What the heck!  I wondered where I took a wrong turn.  The obviously new fences dotting the trail hinted that I was probably still running Mentally Sensitive.

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Not too far on this asphalt portion I came upon another Mentally Sensitive sign.  And then the climb began.  It wasn’t so bad, steep, but very runnable.  I thought, “Hey, I can run this, what are they talking about?”  But deep down I knew that the trail could get steeper.  Much steeper.

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And that it did.  The higher up the trail I ran, the steeper it grew.

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I found myself forefoot running (on my toes) – not good for me and my toe problems.  At times I ran sideways to avoid the forefoot strike.  And at times I hiked.

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And then there was some relief! 

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In all, Mentally Sensitive was single track.  And it was kind of switchbacky (I know I made that word up).  It wasn’t exactly switchback, that is travelling to the left, then the right, then the left and so on.  The trail would move straight up, then travel to the right, then maybe up some more, then to the left, then up more, and then maybe to the left again – that sort of thing. 

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I actually “ran out of breath” in a couple of parts of this trail and resorted to a fast hike once again.  There were even occasions where I slipped backward (though I didn’t fall.).  That is just not like me, especially when I have all the time in the world.  I had no idea though how to pace myself since I had never run Mentally Sensitive before.  I think eventually I will be able to run Mentally Sensitive in its entirety (of course at a snail’s pace).  But not today.  Not today.

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Nearing the top, Mentally Sensitive finally flattened and I looked forward to the city park I assumed to be at its end.  I came upon the trailhead sign on a dirt truck road.  The top of Meadows was about a half mile to my right, to my left the dirt road continued.  No city park in sight.  So I ran some more to my left. (Picture below is top of Mentally Sensitive).

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After about a quarter mile running this slightly sandy dirt truck road, I finally came to the park.  And I promptly tore off the drenched long-sleeved shirt that I wore on this cool morning.  And of course I posed for a picture:

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And then I pushed this tree back up and headed back on the trail:

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I continued running my regular loop.  I saw Jeff before reaching Top of the World.  He was running a similar loop, except counter-clockwise.  Hi Jeff!  (He’s training for Saddleback too):

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The sun showed its face along the way.  And I ran onward dead-dog tired.  I think that I should have had more than a tall glass of carrot juice for breakfast.  I powered on nonetheless, fortunately with lots of fluids remaining.  On Wood Canyon I came upon a lone coyote with a long flowing tail.  Then a bit further along, at least six deer stood about in the middle of the trail.  They didn’t move on until I took out my camera.

The last 3 miles of this run were pretty dang difficult.  That worried me a bit, until I remembered that I ran yesterday. 

Saddleback Marathon is just about 2 weeks away!

Elevation Profile:  Miles logged today:  12.88 (20.73 km)

My Activities Mentally Sensitive 10-20-2011, Elevation - Distance

10 comments:

  1. Looks like an awesome trail. Wished I had some hills like that in my backyard!

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  2. Great new trail!!!

    I've never seen a stink bug before...... just learned about their existence in Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago. Not interested in smelling them :P

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  3. A new trail...how awesome is that! The profile looks drastic! The stink bug is cute. We have many varieties of them here in SA. I'm so glad you got to save that tree. Have a great weekend Lauren!

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  4. GREAT post. The picture of you 'pushing the tree back up' made me LOL. After seeing the ele. profile I'm starting to believe you actually could push that tree back up. Wow that is steep.

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  5. Thanks for reading Thomas! I am very lucky to have hills like these so close. And with ocean views. : )

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  6. Thanks for reading Stacey. We have stink bugs all over the trails here. Their defense stance cracks me up!!!

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  7. Though the profile looks more drastic than it actually was Johann, it was ONE TOUGH COOKIE. So tough, I got a little goofy there at the top and had to save that tree. : ) I actually needed to STOP and rest one or two times up that trail. That hasn't happened in a long while. Next time though -- I'll conquer it!

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  8. Thanks Scott! Yup, that was one steep trail. The only shoe prints I saw were going down. Glad you liked my tree picture. I was a little delirious, in a fun way. What do you do when your're goofy and all by yourself -- try and take funny pics. : )

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  9. Wow! 800 feet in less than a mile? It will be a few weeks before I go up that one!

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  10. It's the most difficult trail at Aliso/Wood Glen! I'm not touching it until after Saddleback.

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