My training plan for Twin Peaks is basically this: Rest, then three runs back-to-back (short/semi-long/short), then rest again and end the week with two back-to-backs (long/semi-long). Today I ran my semi-long run at Aliso/Wood Canyons. Scheduled for ten miles, I decided on a lovely, semi-tortuous run up Meadows trail. After running through a field of countless swallows nose-diving into the grasslands and twirling about like little children at play, I noticed dozens upon dozens of these gorgeous bugs fluttering between bushes:
Looking back, Meadows doesn’t look so bad (but the climb has barely begun):
By the time I reached Top of the World, I sensed (from using mental math) that my loop wasn’t going to equal ten miles. 9.5 / 10 miles – what’s the difference??? I tried to convince myself that it didn’t matter. But I knew it would matter to me and began thinking of ways of adding a half mile.
I didn’t run directly to the ridge route (West Ridge.) Instead, I took Park Avenue Nature Trail to add just a tad to the run. And then I hit the down hill of West Ridge, pushing my pace for that negative split (ya, ya, I know, not too difficult to run a negative split when the major climb is in the first half – perhaps for some runners, but not this one). I pushed it even harder for the long down hill called Mathis Trail. When I hit the mileage marker in Wood Canyon that indicated that I had 2.5 miles remaining, I knew that I was going to come up short at least a half mile. So I ran a bit up Dripping Cave, but turned around before the cave because I knew I’d waste time playing in the cave.
When I hit Aliso Creek Trail, I thought that I might find myself running around the parking lot when I got back to ranger station. Then I remembered a new trail marker that had popped up a few months ago. It’s located in an odd place, actually alongside the road adjacent to Aliso Creek Trail. There’s a sign on the way in that says “no pedestrians.” How someone’s supposed to get to this trail is a mystery. (By the way, I see lots and lots of pedestrians on this road. In fact, I rarely see pedestrians on the trail, they almost all opt for the road.) So, I ran off my dirt trail, crossed the “no pedestrians” road to this “new” trail:”
After about a tenth of a mile, the dirt trail ended at a cement road that crossed over Aliso Creek. I found no more trail markers and wondered whether or not I was “allowed” here:
Quite quickly I ran up on a three-wall structure, filled with odd things like a table, a chair, buckets, backpacks, and books. It felt eerie, like I wasn’t supposed to be there.
Then I kept on running on a trail that looked like this:
After a while I came upon an apiary or bee yard. Notice the Do Not Enter sign. I obeyed that sign, really feeling like I was being watched or something and turned around and ran back to my nice, safe trail.
Turns out I didn’t need to run around the parking lot to get in my miles.