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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Oh, No! Not Again.

Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve gone up West Horsethief FIVE times.  Four of those ascents have been over the past 4 days.  This morning, I went up the fifth time with a small group of friends.  Thank goodness for them because the climb was harder than ever for me.  As soon as we began that switchback up, my body and soul shrugged, “Oh, No!  Not again!”  Without Judi, Matt and Kurt this morning, I think that I may have turned around and taken another route.

I suppose I’m a little rambunctious to expect improvement going up this much hated loved trail so early.  My calves still felt like stone this morning.  And honestly, I haven’t been foam rolling as much as I should with climbs like this (I’ve been working more job hours – glory, glory : )

Anyway I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember – expecting immediate results from my efforts.  Thankfully, trail and long distance running has taught me a bit of patience.  At the same time, fortunately, one of my qualities is that I don’t know when to quit.  Hopefully, that won’t be the death of me.  For those of you who have been reading this blog for a LONG time, you might remember, I finally made the decision to drop Bulldog 50k to prove that I knew when to quit.  I did it once (quit that is), and I haven’t quit since.  My husband is right.  I really don’t know when to quit.

Thing is, I am extremely nervous over next month’s 50k.  That race climbs Horsethief at mile 23.  And I’m pretty much scared out of my mind.  I haven’t decided yet on a “game plan,” except for the fact that I plan on training smart and hard for all of March.

Despite the extremes of our loop this morning the run was delightful, as well as the company.  The weather was perfect, though a little warm, breezes added an extra comfort, as well as, the shade here and there. 

Climbing up West Horsethief (notice ocean in background):

“Ultra runner” Judi, training for her first 50 miler:

I bet that I never mentioned that I’m a gum chewer.  Well, I am.  I think that’s true of many ex-smokers LOL:

Top of West Horsethief Trail.  It’s an honor to run with this group and all trail runners I’ve run with (from left to right, me, Kurt, Judi, Matt):

After West Horsethief, we ran The Main Divide for approximately 6 miles.  The Main Divide, is the truck trail that runs along the top of this portion of The Cleveland National Forest.  There’s lots of ups and downs, with views of the west and the east.  On a clear day like today, we could see Lake Elsinore, Lake Matthews and Riverside county on one side.  On the other, we could view Orange County, The Pacific Ocean and even Catalina Island.

Main Divide View of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island:

Frolicking along The Main Divide:

Making our way down Holy Jim Trail:

After tucking my camera away, I had to pull it out one more time for a view from Holy Jim Trail:

The run down Holy Jim Trail is five miles.  And though it’s downhill, after what we’d already run, I found it quite challenging.  Two runners rolled their ankles.  I tripped at least 3 times, but saved myself from falling.  With all the snow melted, you can be sure, I stopped at the spring and drenched my cap.  After 8 stream crossings before the trailhead (and 3 or 4 afterward) we made it back to the trail alive and well and lively.  Driving that bumpy off-road trip back, we all had a chuckle because after describing how difficult that run was, we couldn’t wait to get out there again.

14.15 miles logged (22.77 km):My Activities West Horsethief - Main Divide - Holy Jim Loop 3-4-2012, Elevation - Distance

ps.  I really can’t say how fortunate I am in this difficult time in my life to have such a grand refuge. 


  1. Powerful running, great stuff and awesome photos as always!

    1. Thanks Stuart! These mountain runs are really something else! : )

  2. Wonderful pictures - I'm insanely jealous. .

    Next time work drags me to So. Cal, I will have to look up some of these trails - a climb that would have me giggling about much fun I am having at a blistering 25-30 minute/mile pace. Awesomeness.

    1. Thanks for reading Jimbo. Definitely look up West Horsethief. It will insanely kick your butt (or at least it does with most everyone). I will give you explicit directions so you too can enjoy the awesomeness. : ))