Due to a series of circumstances, I was to host the new member’s run for OCTR (Orange County Trail Runners) that I had to change the date on, less than a week ago. Pretty certain that no one would show, I arrived to Aliso/Wood Canyons at 7:00 AM just to make sure. I would have probably slept in today had it not been for this group run.
I stood around in the parking lot for about ten minutes. When I determined there was no “New Member” run for me to lead, I thought to myself, “I can just go home.”
But I had dressed for a run. The satellites had already loaded on my garmin. I had my running belt on, had already dissolved a Nuun tablet. “I’ll just run to the edge of the paved trail and turn around for a mile and a half round trip.”
And so I ran.
When I arrived to the dirt single-track, I thought to myself, “Okay. I’ll just finish up Aliso Creek Trail for a 3 mile round trip.”
And I ran onward through the misty canyon called Aliso Canyon.
At the end of Aliso Creek Trail, I felt okay. Not magnificent. Not super strong. But just fine. So, I thought to myself, “I’ll run some of Meadows and turn around before the climb for a 4 mile out-and-back.”
I am happy that I turned off onto Meadows. As I ran the overgrown single-track, a honey-colored weasel ran across my path. It was the cutest little critter, its belly so low to the ground as it scampered across the trail. I would have loved to have scooped him up and taken the little guy home for a pet. But alas, there’s no way I would have been quick enough to snatch it up. And if I had done so, the weasel would have most likely left behind quite a few scratch scars before I finally dropped it to the ground, both of us screaming.
Well! At the base of the Meadows climb, I thought to myself, “Heck, I’m already here. I might as well run to the top for a 6 mile out-and-back.” And so I ran up that great switch-back hill, running first through bountiful mustard plants like these:
The run up Meadows was misty and foggy. I couldn’t see the top. A few mountain bikers and hikers made their way down. One hiker caught up with me from behind. With him right on my heels I picked up my pace because I wasn’t going to let a hiker pass me going up Meadows. I gained my distance on him and beat him to the top. But I have to point out he was ONE DANG STRONG HIKER. Because I focused so much on not letting him pass, the top of Meadows came as a surprise. A welcomed surprise.
By the time I reached the top of Meadows, I felt strong enough to keep on running. I thought that I could go for a 9 or 11 mile standard loop that I frequently run. Then on second thought, I figured, wouldn’t it be nice to surprise my family and arrive home in time to attend church with them?
And so I ran back down Meadows and through Aliso Canyon to my truck and drove home.