I headed back to Meadows Trail this morning in Aliso/Wood Canyons. I had my heart content on hill repeats today, but got to thinking how much I’d enjoy running the “big” loop. Then at the very last minute, as I snapped on my gear, I changed my mind. If I ran the big loop, I’d end up playing – I’d put in some swing time, maybe climb a tree, pose for too many pictures. Yes, my main goal is to have fun running trails. But with next month’s race (the one that I foolishly registered for because I had birthday money burning a hole in my pocket), I felt I needed to train, not play.
So, I ran 3/4 miles of Aliso Creek Trail and hopped onto the single track to finish off the 1.5 opening miles to Wood Canyon. I only visited Wood Canyon for a short stint, as a left onto Meadows came quickly. After another mile of mildly rolling hills, I arrived to my destination – the point where I would begin and end my Meadows hill repeats, where the trail really begins to climb, just a few feet past Mentally Sensitive.
The day was warm, though I wore a light cotton shirt, which never dried. It provided a nice coolant when the wind blew. I felt strong on my first and second trips up that steep switch-back. Mountain bikers made their way up, some riding, others walking. A few runners also made their way down. On my third trip up, I noticed one of the runners was doing repeats as well (he ran it twice, that I saw, and appeared much stronger than I). Hikers also made their way up and down Meadows Trail, in lesser numbers.
The fourth trip running up Meadows was the most difficult of today’s repeats, both mentally and physically. I could feel by the weight in my pack that my fluids were low. I conserved on my 4th trip down (which I swear against, conserving fluids that is) so that I’d have some for trip number five up the hill.
My fifth run up Meadows was most difficult physically, yet I found it not as challenging mentally. Why? Because I knew that it was my last trip to the top. I made it to the top with fluids still and couldn’t help myself from guzzling down. Well . . .
I ran out of fluids with about 3 miles remaining to my truck. It was a bitch of a run from that point on. I took a slightly different route back, opting for the pavement for all of Aliso Creek Trail, because it’s slightly shorter. Without fluids, I could barely run. I’d pick out a tree or spot of shade and tell myself, “run to that.” Using this method again and again, I finally arrived to my truck, and without even stretching, grabbed for a nice large bottle of cold Gatorade from the back seat.
Dehydration is not good. I felt ill for much of today. Stupid mistake. I was running repeats and could have easily stashed extra water at the bottom of the hill. Live and learn.
Top of Meadows #5:
And . . . oh yes! It’s snake season again. More importantly, rattlesnake season. Here’s my first sighting of the year, a cute little baby. Do not fear. Be alert, turn down the music so that you can hear rattlers, and just remember to give them their space. Though they can coil up in a split second, their striking distance is probably only half their body length, if even that. : )