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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Big Loop (Counter-Clockwise)

I ran my regular Big Loop in Aliso/Wood Canyons this morning.  But I did something different.  I ran it counter-clockwise.  Instead of a short drastic climb closer to the beginning of the loop, I ran a more gradual climb, lasting several miles long.

And it was delightful.

And it was hot.

And it was stress free.

Gopher Greeting at Park’s Entrance:

Bunnies hopped across the trail.  Squirrels squealed from trees.  Stink bugs and Potato bugs crept along the dirt.  It was a lovely day in the wilderness.  Ended up that choosing the counter-clockwise direction was definitely best for today.  Why?  Because of the heat.  The canyon traps in the heat and it gets like you’re running through an oven.  Since I ran it fairly early, the heat was still bearable.  If I had run the canyon last, the afternoon heat would have been already settled in and baking.  On the other hand, running the ridge during the hotter part of the day provided lovely breezes.  And the best part was . . .  wait for it . . .

I got to run DOWN Mentally Sensitive.

Wood Canyon:

One of Two Staircases (both going UP) on Wood Creek:

I reached Top of the World feeling relaxed, nasal breathing the entire route.  Felt like I wasn’t physically working hard enough, which means I CAN work harder.  Smile  I love finding new techniques that make my run better, even if they are baby steps. 

By far the best part of today’s 13 mile run was my descent on Mentally Sensitive.  I have only run up that trail.  And I am here to report that I did not truly understand how steep that trail is until I ran down it today.  Wow!  I wasn’t sure how to run it.  Carefully for sure.  Some parts of the single track I debated whether I should sit and slide down on my butt.  I decided instead to kind of skip from side to side.  One steep portion was too short to get a skip started, so I ran tiny steps very quickly, nearly running straight off the cliff, which I wouldn’t have done because I would have forced myself to the ground in the opposite direction.  Glad I didn’t need to do that!  I was amazed to find myself still standing at the end of that slope. 


Top of Mentally Sensitive:

Great, great fun (Mentally Sensitive):

I had so much energy left that I ran on in to the ranger station faster than I began my run this morning.  Chalk this baby up as one of those delightful, adventurous, easy runs. 

I soared over this critter on my way back to Wood Canyon (just a gopher snake, but a beaut still):

Elevation Profile of The Big Loop Counter-Clockwise:My Activities Aliso Big loop counter clockwise 5-9-2012, Elevation - Distance

Checking out.  Bye.  And thanks for reading! : )


  1. Nice! I love how switching things up can be so good sometimes!

    1. I would love it if I could switch it up more. Thanks Khourt!

  2. Awesome run Lauren! I have a few routes I run in both directions and have to admit I sometimes do it because I'm lazy to run up a specific part.