Today, I put back on my vest. With 64 fluid ounces of water, a few gels, my camera, phone, tissues, Nuun tablets and more, it felt heavy on my back. About a mile in, my good ole’ vest felt just like normal. And I was back to normal, hocking loogies off the trail. What is going on with me?
This morning the weather was hot, the skies blue. I decided to run a clockwise loop up Meadows at Aliso/Wood Canyons. Why Meadows? Because now (ha, ha) I consider that a “runnable” trail (see elevation profile below and perhaps you will laugh too.) I took in one gel when I reached the top of Meadows Trail and kept on going, admiring the ocean view on the run.
The weather so warm, I didn’t see many runners out today. They probably made an early morning run of it. But I came across plenty of hikers and bikers, especially at Top of the World. There, I watched a group of three ladies with backpacks and water (good girls) studying the kiosk map, exclaiming how they didn’t want to get lost. Then I watched as they hiked up a dead-end trail. I watched them hike back down as I ran Park Avenue Nature Trail to Westridge. It’s funny how I’ve lost perspective on getting lost at Aliso/Wood Canyons. The trail system makes perfect sense to me (now). There’s absolutely NO POSSIBLE WAY to get lost. (A sign I’ve run these trails at least one too many times – that’s a good thing.)
So, I ran down Cholla Trail back into the Canyon with pretty decent time, especially after feeling so sluggish at the start. I thought, heck, kick it in a little and try for a negative split. Of course, I didn’t have the elevation gain on the second half of this run. All the more reason to go for a negative split.
I watched my garmin periodically, and that helped me pick up my pace when I slowed. Cool breezes blew through the canyon. Bikers made their way through, smiling. I concentrated on keeping my speed faster than I wanted to run (not an all out sprint of course). And as I ran, I noticed dozens of snake tracks across the width of Wood Canyon Trail. I would have loved to have seen the actual critters so that I could snap a photo. But I never actually saw the culprits. Instead, I found myself flying (yes flying!) through the air. I didn’t even feel the trip that my foot made over something like a rock or root. Usually, my foot feels something, I know I’m going to trip and I can save the fall.
Not this time.
Nope, I found myself, completely unexpectedly flying through the air. And though only a moment passes during the time you realize you’re falling and when you land, I knew this was not going to be one of my ballerina falls. A ballerina fall is that fall where the impact spreads evenly, I roll over my right shoulder, bounce back up and continue running.
Instead what happened was this: First my left knee crashed to the dirt. Then my right knee hit, but not as hard, as my right elbow skidded along the trail, my momentum still moving forward. Then my left wrist/palm made impact, soon after my right wrist/palm followed. That’s when I rolled. Yup, when it was all over, I rolled over my right shoulder to lay on my back, actually my vest back.
I got up quickly, noticed some blood on my right elbow and left knee, and redness on all the other impact spots. Covered in dusty dirt, I sat at the side of the trail and looked about to see if anyone witnessed my little air dance. I was alone in the canyon.
After a couple seconds, I stood back up and continued running. I ran slowly at first with an aching knee and aching hands. Within a couple miles I picked up my pace. Even though I might have run quicker without the fall, I still made it into my truck running the second half of this run about 20 minutes quicker than the first half.