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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hard Week’s Long Run

Today I ran 24+ miles in the Saddleback Mountains.  I began in the dark and ended in sweltering heat.  I began loaded down with fluids.  I ended with one handheld filled from a small spring on the way down the mountain.  I had no choice but to load myself down with fluids.  It’s unfortunate (possibly, maybe not) that the only months to train for an autumn ultra is during the hottest months in Southern California.  Even with all the water that I carried (around 110 fluid ounces), I knew that still wouldn’t be enough.  I planned on two re-fill points, one at a secret stash for trail runners, and the other at Holy Jim’s spring.  When refilling at the “secret” stash, another runner came into the deep brush.  I think that I startled him. I heard him approach and amusingly made a step to hide.  Hilarious.  Ended up he is an ultra-runner that I’ve seen countless times, but have never met.  What an apropos place for an official meeting.  We departed in opposite directions.  But I was oh so glad to learn that I wasn’t the only nut out running in the Saddleback Mountains today. 

If you’re returning you may recall that I’m running my weeks, “Hard, Hard, Easy.”  This is the first week of “Hard.”  You probably also know that I’m having a difficult time with “training.”  It is making me feel weak, and it’s putting fret into my heart.  Frankly, I don’t like it much. 

I went out today thinking, “Just do the miles, try not to think about training.”  Most of the time when I run, I don’t think.  I try to stay in the moment.  That’s when running is most comfortable for me.  Today, I succeeded somewhat in not fretting over THE BIG RACE come October.  And I did have some fun.   Tiring, hard fun.

As always on these crazy runs, I broke it into sections/segments.  Otherwise, I don’t think I could accomplish this type of run.  But I did, all six segments.  And oh yes, do purchase a protection plan for your cameras.  Because I did, and already have a new camera.  Yes!  (And that’s with even admitting that I dropped my camera, and pretty much every camera I’ve broken).

The Pictorial:

Pre Run / Holy Jim Parking lot after a dang bumpy half hour off-road drive – READY TO RUN!  Don’t worry, it’s not as lonely as it looks.  At least 7 hikers just took off ahead of me:

Section 1:  Segment BlissfulApproximately 5 miles, Blissful, included Trabuco Trail (a lush beauty mixed with rocky desert) and my old friend, West Horse Thief, a delightful, STEEP switch-back, when taken in the cool morning air:

Section 2:  Segment Awesome Views, approximately 3 miles of rolling, ridgeline, truck-trail running along The Main Divide:

Section 3:  Segment Gnat-ville, 4 miles, 2 miles down Indian Truck Trail and 2 miles back up, with plenty of gnats flying up my nose and crawling on my face:

Section 4:  Segment Hell, approximately 5 miles up The Main Divide to Santiago Peak.  It got pretty tough for me during this segment.  Still, I was able to plow past the hikers starting up after their Holy Jim hike.  I am improving a bit:

Section 5: Segment Relief, 3 miles back down The Main Divide to Holy Jim Trail.  I met two young women resting in the shade on their way up.  They exclaimed, “We saw you FLYING up this earlier.  You are good!”  Flying?  I laughed at the word, but if they say so, okay, I was flying.  LOL.  I thanked the young ladies.  When they asked how often I did this, and I told them once a week, they both laughed and further exclaimed, “You’re crazy.”  Fun times:

Section 6: Segment Homeward Bound, 5 miles down Holy Jim in the sweltering heat, focusing on the moment, so that I didn’t fall:

The whole:My Activities up Horsethief to peak down Holy Jim 8-4-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. Wow. Another impressive, super tough run!

    1. Thanks Rachel. Let me know when you're up for craziness. It takes a lot of time out of the day, especially going to Santiago Peak. It really kills me. Yet, I'm still alive. : )

  2. Replies
    1. I'm glad you liked the stash story Lumberjack. I got a kick out of it myself. It actually gave me quite a lift to continue on with this wild run.

  3. I love how you chit chat (if only briefly) with the people you run into.. I tend to just give a smile, nod or wave and continue on.. Perhaps I need to make an effort to not be so caught up in myself that I can take the time to stop and say a proper hi to others!

  4. Thanks for commenting Khourt. Up in the mountains, it seems like whoever I meet is my friend, we're all on the same team up there high above the cities. It's much easier to talk to people who are on my team. In the city, I pretty much don't talk to anyone (though I do smile, nod or wave : )