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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Back on the Horse

There was a familiar saying in my house when I was a child.  We were a house of sayings.  I’m talking about the saying that goes, “Get back up on the horse,” meaning if you fall off a horse, get back on quickly or else you may never get back on it.  We also said, “Get back on the bike,” meaning the same thing, or “Walk it off, and get back into the game.”   We were all about never quitting and trying harder.  (No wonder I always fell short).  But I am adult now (many, many years) and know that these sayings were meant to be helpful and inspire.  And indeed they have done that.

After about five minutes of the total pits, then running 7.5 miles down the mountain back to my truck yesterday, and returning home to tell my husband that I thought I might not run anymore, and hearing him burst out laughing, then having a good night’s sleep, and then running about thirteen miles this morning . . . I AM AGAIN A TRAIL RUNNER.  (Yay!)

Today, I got back on the horse.  I took yesterday’s run hard at the time.  I doubted all the hours and effort I put into trail running and thought, maybe I should chuck it.  But then, early last night, I thought that I needed to “get back on the horse.”  And that is just what I did this morning.  I didn’t train.  I simply went for a nice relaxing trail run, the “Big Loop” at Aliso/Wood Canyons.  And it was delightful.  And it was fun.  And my pack didn’t weigh me down.  And I never tired.  And I enjoyed the steepest climbs, the mountain views, nodding to all the mountain bikers, and simply just being there.

And here is the beauty to prove it (the scenery that is).  My route for the locals who are curious what “The Big Loop” is: 

Aliso Creek Trail, Meadows, Mentally Sensitive, Aswut, Top of the World, West Ridge, Cholla, Wood Canyon, Wood Creek, Wood Canyon, Aliso Creek Trail.

Aliso Creek Trail (total miles 1.5).  You can run this trail all on asphalt or single-track trail.  This morning I ran half of it asphalt, the other half on this:

After a short stint on Wood Canyon, I came to Meadows and shot my usual pose.  Meadows is about 1.5 miles, of which I ran about 1/2 mile of before turning off (I think I look a lot like my sister here, though she looks a lot younger, I think because she takes much more care of herself – I didn’t even apply sunscreen this morning!!!):

More of Meadows:

Mentally Sensitive looked a bit overgrown (tickville).  This trail runs about 2 miles, the first part, rolling, green and fairytale-like, the second part hellish (in a fun way – REALLY):

Climbing Mentally Sensitive:

View of Aliso Canyon and Saddleback Mountains from Aswut Trail which runs along the ridge to Top of the World:

Top of the World:

Running West Ridge (which totals about 2.5 miles of rolling truck trail and glorious views):

Another shot of Saddleback Mountains, this one from West Ridge (on a little single-track that branches off and returns to the trail):

View of Wood Canyon as I ran down Cholla Trail:

Prickly Pear blossom on Cholla:

Wood Creek Trail (About a half mile detour that begins and ends on Wood Canyon Trail):

Wood Canyon, heading home : )

Elevation:My Activities The Big Loop Clockwise Aliso 3-14-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. Good lord! That graph is insanely steep!
    How ca n you do that without pitons and ropes??


    1. LOL Paul. Thanks for reading. The trail is kind of switch-back (not totally), but the elevation profile makes it look way worse than it is. Though I do admit that there are two places that I used to slide backward going up. I simply cannot run those two short places, but I can hike them now without sliding backward. It definitely is a devious trail starting off so green and "meadowy." : )

  2. Glad you got back on the horse although I knew you would be back out on the trails very soon. Yes, you are a trail runner!

    1. Thanks Johann. Coming from you, that means a lot. I kind of knew I would get back on the horse. It was how I was raised. : )

  3. Wow that is some crazy elevation!

    Great photos...i miss the green, the trees, and the dusty path...

    1. Thanks for stopping by Ed. I too would miss the green and dusty paths. My cousin's daughter lives in Alaska, and the only pictures I ever see from her parts are of snow, snow, snow. I know I think it's beautiful, but for her, seeing it so much, it gets tiresome.

  4. What a beautiful prickly pear. Glad you are back on that horse.

    1. I love it when the prickly pears bloom Kate! Thing is, it also means that I need to keep my ears open and eyes peeled for rattlesnakes. : ) Thanks for reading!

  5. Dear Trail Runner, I had the same experience this week myself. After a hard first half of the week, an easy 10 miler made me feel really fatigued, and couldn't wrap my head around the problem. It was warm (80s) and humid, but I shouldn't feel this bad. My pace was spot on, but felt way more tired then I have with more miles on my feet. I was ready to just through the towel in when it hit me - My body was saying time for a recovery week with all the hard training the past two months. So I listened, and hope next week is better.

    Love the trail pics - Looks like an awesome place to run. But I don't see any sweat running down your face or shirt? I'm soaked with all the humidity in the southeast!

    Thank you for your comments. Yes we are.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts Thomas. I really appreciate them. We've been pretty cool weathered here lately. It was like we didn't have a winter. Now, it's like it's wintertime in Southern California (I don't recall if the groundhog saw its shadow). Believe me, the sweat will come. So too will the humidity (as I live on the ocean). HOWEVER, I doubt it will ever get as humid as it does in the southeast! I've heard rumors. My brother was based in Georgia for a while. My friend lived in Florida for some years. And I know this isn't the southeast, but my sister-in-law and her family live in Missouri. Ever since I visited her, I no longer call that state Missouri. I call it Misery. : )