With reports of rain and more rain to come, I rushed off to some trails this morning after getting our boys off to school. Let me tell you! I needed this after taking a ton of verbal abuse from our oldest boy. I wasn’t going to engage though – I laughed and laughed which only made his anger and disrespectful manner worse. I think that I need a better approach.
The skies were gray and cold at Aliso/Wood Canyons as I headed up Aliso Canyon for the toughest trail in the park: Mentally Sensitive (AKA Psycho Path). I knew I was going to run some kind of “big loop” around the park, probably 12 to 13 miles. I should point out, because I think it’s so important with running, that I never, EVER think about the end of the run. Never does such a thought as “Only 8 more miles to go,” run through my head. Instead, I just try and “BE.” Simply “BE” where I am, experience the mile I’m in. This way, I don’t have to stress over the difficulty that faces me. Instead I get to enjoy where I’m running.
On the way to Mentally Sensitive, I spotted a bobcat meandering along the paved trail that runs up the canyon. Too far for a picture, I ventured into tickville (the area of tall grass where ticks are sure to latch onto flesh passing by). I didn’t want to full-out run through the pasture for a better picture of the wildcat, as I was certain that would scare him away. Therefore, I slowly stepped through the grass (allowing more time for ticks to cling on). I didn’t get 15 steps in when the cat darted off into the brush. Though I didn’t get a good picture, my eyes did behold the beauty of the beast. Imagine a cat the size of a medium size dog. This one was striped with dark and light brown fur.
Running up Mentally Sensitive was a glorious chore. Rain began to fall about a quarter of the way up when I was already sweating buckets. I didn’t worry about the rain too much – the only thing I would really worry about is the rangers closing the park. I figured since I was already running trails, I would get some kind of loop in.
I worked hard running up Mentally Sensitive. And where it got ridiculously steep, I forced myself to stop running and power hike instead. I need to learn to power hike better. This habit that I have of forcing myself to “run” up even the steepest terrain isn’t doing much good at this point. I believe it’s making me physically stronger, but it’s also training me to run slowly and not to hike quickly.
When I reached the top of Mentally Sensitive, I phoned my husband to tell him my son’s punishment. It came to me running up Psycho-Path that I needed five written paragraphs on “respect” from our boy. Hubby liked the idea but suggested a re-write of the three pages of the black belt rules he had broken instead. I agreed. (Our son is second degree black belt, only a few months away from third degree – disrespecting anyone, especially your elders, is an egregious action for the black belt).
Scenes from Mentally Sensitive when the punishment popped into my head:
The sun came out in abundance as I ran along the ridge. I thought to myself, “Some early heat training eh? Bring it on!” I stopped shortly at Top of the World, took a few photos, and ran off on a detour onto Park Avenue Nature Trail. Utterly lost in my own world, I didn’t realize that I had ran into a swarm of bees making their way across the trail. I looked up for no particular reason, and aghast at the literally thousands of bees, I wasn’t sure what to do. First I ducked. Then I stepped back. Then I fumbled for my camera. By the time I retrieved my camera, the bees were busily on their way across Laguna Canyon.
I felt good, happy as I made my way toward Cholla Trail. When I arrived, I did not think “Five miles left!” No way. Instead, I thought, “I get to run DOWN Cholla – Yay!” I won’t lie. I did look at my garmin to make sure I had enough time to finish off the run, get some groceries and home in time to get ready for work. I didn’t stress over my pace though. Today’s run wasn’t a training run. It was a fun run.
As I ran into Wood Canyon the heat was sweltering. A cool breeze came in once in a while. But overall, the canyon seemed to trap in the heat. It was oh so beautiful too. And fun. I finished off this run a bit tired, but I ran it ALL THE WAY IN, totaling 13.53 miles today (21.77 km)
Tonight the rain pours down upon our rooftop.
ps. no ticks.