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Thursday, August 23, 2012


I knew the third consecutive run of “Hard” week would be difficult.  I didn’t think the run would be brutal.  Ten miles, that’s all the plan said.  But I decided to run my ten miles on a Holy Jim Out-And-Back.  That’s a five mile trail in The Saddleback Mountains that ends at The Main Divide (Bear Springs).  It’s a tough five miles up (even down).  I’ve got it down now that I can usually run it all. 

I didn’t feel rested this morning, as I haven’t been sleeping well.  And I felt a little weak.  "Don’t care about time,” I told myself, “just do the miles.”

Slightly muggy and a little cool at the same time, about a thousand, yes ONE THOUSAND gnats decided to accompany me during the first two miles of Holy Jim.  I’m sure that I breathed in half a dozen through my nose. 

The downed tree still blocked Holy Jim just after the water falls turnoff.  That was delightful, hiking up the mountainside with a thousand gnats buzzing my face so that I could get around the tree.  I pushed it a little harder, though my pace was still slow, just to get away from those tiny bugs.

I tired easily running up that switch-back that I used to call “Holy Crap” instead of Holy Jim.  Today it felt once again like “Holy Crap.”  I felt a little light-headed and even hiked a few portions of single track.  Then I finally settled in and began enjoying the immense views.

I don’t know how this occurred, but at about 3.5 miles up, my camera flew out of my hand and off of the mountain.  You can imagine my horror as I looked down the side to see it resting lightly on a small tumbleweed-like plant.  The camera was probably about twenty feet down, so I needed to get down there.  Somehow.  I stood sideways at the edge figuring the best way to get down to my camera when the ground beneath me gave away.  I immediately fell and began sliding.  I quickly slid past my camera, unable to reach it.  I grabbed at plants on the way down to easily uproot everyone of them.  This slope was not secure!  Everything I touched went down with me. 

Many, many things go through my mind when stuff like this happen.  I knew instinctively to push my body into the mountainside.  I didn’t want to go airborne.  And I also knew instinctively to dig, dig, dig my foot into the mountain wall as I slid.  What I thought was this:  “Dang it!  It’s going to take ‘them’ forever to find me if I slide all the way to the ravine!”  I even kind of chuckled over the fine mess that I had found myself in.  My main thought, not really thought, but feeling was, “Don’t fall backward!” 

I finally dug my foot deep enough into the slope to stop my sliding.  And I began the slow process of digging in and climbing back up.  I looked for my camera on the way, didn’t see it at first.  Apparently, it slid some too in my avalanche.  Thank goodness there it was laying, as if not a care in the world, in that loosened plant, it’s lens still extended.  (Also, thank goodness I bought that extended in-case-you-throw-your-camera-off-a-mountain-and-break-it warranty). 

Climbing back up onto the trail, I found myself covered in dirt.  I had a minor cut on my left hand, a gash on right elbow (with a tiny bit of skin flapping),and welts up and down my left arm (that I didn’t notice until I got home).

Needless to say, the remaining trip to Bear Springs was excruciating!  Fatigue overwhelmed me, but eventually I made it.  I walked about on top, into the sun mainly to get away from my newly found gnat friends.  You can’t imagine how dang glad I was to have reached the top.  It was only five miles, but heck, what a brutal five miles.   I ran back so, so, so happy that I had only five miles left of mostly downhill.  And best of all, my camera still worked (for now!). 

I made decent (not good) time on the way back, especially considering my fatigue.  I even worked (ever so slightly) on my pivots around the switch-back turns.  And then of course those ONE THOUSAND gnats were back to greet me and run in the last two miles of this brutal run.  Smile

My Activities Holy Jim out-and-back 8-23-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. Wow, that could have been a nasty experience. Luckily you stay calm and think when something like this happens. I believe that is the only way to handle these "little" mishaps. Hope your next run is less brutal. Have a good weekend Lauren!

    1. Thanks Johann. I had a great weekend. I have been VERY fortunate in my mishaps. I think it happens to everyone, but for me time slows down, which enables me to take my time thinking. It was very stupid for me to stand at the edge of the trail. Lesson learned. : ))

  2. Should have asked all those gnats to get your camera instead. Glad to hear you didn't fall off the mountain!

    1. If only I could train those nasty gnats Lumberjack. Even so, by then, they had left me. Thanks for reading.

  3. Oh my gosh! I was fully expecting you to say that you left the camera instead of attempting to go after it. I'm very happy you made it off the mountain in one piece and slightly amazed that you continued upwards after that incident.

    1. Thanks Rachel. I just couldn't leave my camera behind. I'm so poor right now, if I didn't have a camera to return, the extended warranty wouldn't have worked for me. I am amazed too that I continued onward. But I feel so, so behind right now for Twin Peaks, I felt I had no other choice. Thanks again for reading!!!