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Monday, January 2, 2012

14th Day of Streaking into the New Year

On the 14th day of my running streak I wasn’t sure where I would run, nor how far I would run.  I simply knew that I would run.

I woke earlier than expected with a little boy at my side kicking me out of my bed.  Baby had a bad dream and wanted to cuddle with Daddy.  My feelings weren’t hurt.  Boys need to cuddle with their dads, and there comes a certain age when that just isn’t going to happen.  I wanted to know what he dreamt about though.  But unfortunately, he couldn’t remember, else he just didn’t want to tell.  So I decided at 5AM, what the heck.  Just get up!  And that’s what I did, with my running shoes in hand.

As I dressed for a run on a cold, federally-observed-holiday morning, I still wasn’t sure on the location or distance I’d run.  I had plenty of options in mind.  I fed our dog, drank two cups of coffee.  I carried along a 1/4 filled jug of carrot juice and stepped onto the front porch with the fog horn blowing.  Right away I noticed  four Raider’s glasses carefully arranged on the top step.  Just so happens, the Raiders is my husband’s favorite football team, and he was watching their game the night before.  But I didn’t know whether the Raiders or the Chargers won.  So, I didn’t know if the Raider’s glasses were a dig or a congratulations (turns out the Raiders lost – and the glasses a mystery).

I arrived to Aliso/Wood Canyons park a little before 7:00 AM, and I do believe it was close to freezing.  The parking lot was crowded as well as the church lot across the street.  But there were plenty of spots along the rode where the curb was mischievously painted red years ago.  Knowing this, I park along the rode all the time, with no tickets.  The fact that the road had plenty of parking spots told me that the park was crowded with lots of people who don’t frequent it enough to know the red curb is bogus. 

I took off on an empty, yet cold, cold, cold,  Aliso Creek Trail and after 1.5 miles took a left onto Wood Canyon.  From there I gleefully, yup, truly gleefully turned onto Meadows Trail.  Why do I say, “gleefully?”  Well, heck, because I knew I was headed toward the hardest trail in the park, Mentally Sensitive, aka,  “Psycho-Path.” 

Running onto Meadows Trail:

A deceiving beginning to “Mentally Sensitive” Trail:

I like to run Mentally Sensitive because of its mood modifying qualities.  The trail is so dang steep that I need great strength just to NOT slip backward in a couple spots.  In order to conquer that hill, I have to make sure nothing at all, except conquering that hill, enters my mind.  Then almost miraculously, before I’m even finished (about halfway) any kind of sadness, or anger, or worry that I carried along with me, vanishes.


Like magic!

A quick swing-time break at the Fountain of Youth:

After my swing break, I ran along the ridge with an awe-inspiring view of Saddleback Mountains.  I witnessed a large group of people off in the distance huddled in what looked like a prayer session.  As I ran a single-track on my way to Top of the World, I saw a woman sitting on a boulder with a man on his knees weeping in her lap.  I tried not to look that way because I didn’t want to invade their privacy.  At the same time, I couldn’t help wonder about the man’s tragedy (though there are many reasons people cry, and hopefully his was not over some tragedy).

View of Saddleback Mountains as I ran along ridge after conquering Mentally Sensitive:

Breakfast at Top of the World:

At each mile, it seemed I peeled off a layer.  First came the knit cap.  Then I stuffed my gloves into my pack.  Of course that meant the cap came out and the sunglasses came on.  Next I took off my long sleeves.  Finally, I was running care free, happy, yes, HAPPY, if I may use that word, because it really isn’t the right word.   I can’t say enough about just “being”, that is, enjoying the beauty that surrounds you, the company, if there is any, that graces you.  The moment you are in wipes away all things.  Like magic.

And like magic, I ran into the park at Top of the World.  There I chatted with a young man who really wanted to know what I’ve seen on the trails and how to get to the good trails in Saddleback Mountains.  He was a young adventurous soul, but not confident enough to have made the ventures.

As I ran along the ridge, I noticed how dang crowded the park was.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so crowded.  Though I came upon very few runners, I saw lots of hikers and COUNTLESS mountain bikers. 

Running along Coyote run, overlooking Wood Canyon, the bikers are so steep, I needed to turn off and run up to another ridge, Nature Loop, because it was getting so difficult dodging the bikers:

Taking a moment to pose as I run down Nature Loop:

View of Wood Canyon from Nature Loop Trail:

Hikers coming up as I make my way down Nature Loop toward Mathis:

I didn’t plan on ten plus miles today.  I really didn’t plan on much anything.  I didn’t plan on witnessing three deer cross Wood Canyon Trail.  I didn’t plan on nearly missing my good friend, Blue Heron, on Meadows Trail.  I didn’t plan on a bee stinging my arm.  I simply planned on running.  And I would have kept on running if I didn’t need to get back home.  I kind of missed my family.  Though I love to run, it’s difficult when I leave the house before anyone awakens.  I don’t get to say, “Good Morning!”  My mother always cheerfully said “Good Morning,” to us kids, and that always irritated the hell out of me back then.  I would like to do the same for my children. Smile

Miles run this morning:  12.83 (20.65 km):My Activities Mentally Sensitive down Rockit 1 -2-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. Great pic of Saddleback. There is something cool about irritating the hell out of our children. The amount mountain bikers is crazy on the trails. Everyone must be using there x-mas presents.

  2. Don't you just love those runs that make you feel life in 3D!

  3. Mentally Sensitive looked beautiful that day!! I love that there was a swing break on your run. :-)

  4. Thanks Jeremy. I thought the same thing. Lots of people got bikes for Christmas. : )

  5. I do Thomas! Thanks for stopping by : )

  6. Thanks for reading Kate. I like the swing breaks too. I've always loved swinging. Fortunately, this park is pretty empty, so the old lady on the swing doesn't freak-out the little ones. LoL.

  7. Thanks Khourt. Mentally Sensitive is truly beautiful, even when it's a beast. : )