I set out running up Holy Jim this morning in cold weather (in the middle of summer!). No idea whether I ran a good pace, I merely refused to look at my garmin to inquire. Why? It simply didn’t matter today. My goal: run the loop. Just run the loop. And enjoy.
I decided this morning not to get down on my training. Trail running is my passion after all. My PASSION. Good times and bad times come with my passion. Mostly good times. But ever since I began my training for the hardest race (forget that, hardest physical challenge) of my life, I’ve been getting down on my physical abilities way too much. So today, I worked, yes. And it was DANG hard. But I enjoyed running the trails without negative self-talk. I relished the dark cool forest of lower Holy Jim and then switch-back after switch-back after switch-back to the Main Divide.
I ran Holy Jim in solitude as the sun rose above the mountains. When suddenly, I came upon 6 young men and women hiking down – pre-twenties, I’d guess. Shocked was I! And I learned that these “kids” began their hike up to Santiago Peak at Midnight. And then they watched the sunrise from the highest point above Orange County. Talk about great wholesome fun!
I finally looked upon my garmin at the Main Divide. And I admit, I was a little disappointed that I ran it about twenty minutes slower than my fastest run up Holy Jim. (I’m okay with that – the first time I went up Holy Jim I walked most of it!) After exploring Bear Springs a bit, I actually found a trickle of a spring in the crack of the mountain. Then I took off along the Main Divide with time goals in mind. I gave myself 90 minutes to get to West Horse Thief. It’s only about five miles, but a TOUGH five miles. I enjoyed the up and down, mostly up. And isn’t it weird that I made it in exactly 90 minutes?
I didn’t waste much time at the West Horse Thief trailhead. Instead, I hopped right over the railing and headed down running as quickly as possible. My goal was to run without the fear, and not take that rocky switch-back so slowly. I ran, and I ran fast, focusing hard on my surroundings. And then somewhere in that, it seemed that I grew into the mountain. I was in the zone. In a surreal manner, I noticed everything around me at once. I saw the smooth places to step. I noticed the flat spot on boulders. And I ran so quickly over the rocks they didn’t roll. I also noticed where horses recently fell off the trail into the ravine. (I’ve ran that trail many times since that terrible incident occurred, and never noticed the obvious location where it occurred).
I never tripped on my way down Horse Thief today, and I kept my speed up. Success! When I hit Trabuco trail I increased my speed, and ran hard all the way back to the truck. I found it mentally tiring to stay in the moment focusing so intently. But it was great!