For a long time during my short trail running “career” Bulldog Road was my nemesis. Bulldog Road is dirt road in Malibu Creek State Park that runs a little over 3 miles. Then I ran Holy Jim, a local trail in the Cleveland National Forest (5 miles). And Holy Jim became my nemesis. Once I conquered Holy Jim, I couldn’t wait to get back to Bulldog. But I didn’t get back. Instead, I met West Horsethief. I thought I had kind of conquered it – conquered it, as in I could run the whole thing in training. And conquered it, as in, hopefully, it wouldn’t “kill” me in a race. Problem is, West Horsethief CONQUERED ME in my last trail race. I think that I was feeling a little “cocky,” so the beating took me by surprise. AND all of Horsethief is only a little less than 2 miles long. The major climb portion is even less!
That beating that Horsethief gave me really pissed me off. I try to be a calm, patient person. But I’m really not. I took West Horsethief’s beating personal. And silly me – before this “beating”, I went and registered for a 50k that goes up this trail at mile 23! I needed to do something, and something fast.
My grand idea today was to run up and down West Horsethief three times. I must be the “Queen of Denial” because it was WAY harder than I thought it would be. Going up that third time was a death march (I don’t mean to lighten or disrespect those in the Bataan Death March WWII or other death marches throughout history). Actually, climb 2 was pretty bad. Climb 3 was terrible, but I had the mental battle over during climb 3, knowing that I was running my final “lap.”
Almost the entire adventure, a helicopter with red blinking lights flew in and out of Trabuco Canyon. At times it flew lower than I ran. At times, it seem to be attempting to land on a high meadow across the valley. It would leave, then return and hover and circle the same area for quite some time. This made me nervous as I mentioned in the video of this adventure below, for a few reasons. First off, I wondered whether someone was injured, and if so, I worried (selfishly) that the injury could be due to a cougar attack. Secondly, I worried that someone was missing, or worst yet, dead. Other things that crossed my mind were 1) the dumping of a corpse or 2) a psycho was running loose in the wilderness.