TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pity Party

The pity party is over.  I move onward from now on.  Life is one big adventure – the good and bad.  It all just IS.  And I just AM.  : )  Tomorrow I will juice fast (and juice does not include wine or sodas) to get the ball rolling, as a way to celebrate my new outlook. 

I am going to take things as they come, and not feel sorry for myself.

Wish me luck.  Old habits die hard. 

ps.  Tomorrow I go back to work, so what better time to make changes.

pss.  I haven’t chosen my next book.  Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Yet, Another Day Of Rest

Since I’m in between runs, I thought this would be a good time to document my PF (Plantar Fasciitis).  Where to begin?  (I really should shower though, since I base my showers on runs, and I haven’t run for a while!!).

First off, months ago, as far back as June 2012, I felt the tightening in my calves.  After that, it seemed I often felt that calf tightening in the beginning of my runs, and stretched within the first mile.  Thereafter, I felt fine.  Still I worried, and I looked up “shin splints.”  Nothing seemed to match.

Secondly, I insisted on not purchasing new shoes, since I’m in a financial bind.  I wore my favorite shoes when the tread was visibly worn.  Seriously, since I basically have a mid-foot strike, and it had done me well for so long, I thought it was a “cure-all.”

Thirdly, since I was putting in so MANY hours running, I wanted to get home quickly, and therefore began skipping my stretch sessions.  I told myself that I would stretch back at home.  Of course, most of the time, I forgot to do that. NEVER DO THIS.  Always stretch after running.

Yes, I do have a mid-foot strike.  But one of my running friends, Tom B., noticed that I tend to heel strike on the downhills.  I should have paid more attention.  On my last run, I focused on this, and noticed that I had to exaggerate, practically doing a forefoot strike on the downhills to avoid the heel strike.

All this is retrospect.

As far as the “now” goes, I still have this unrealistic idea that I can’t be injured.  I have to face that unrealistic, obvious fact now.  I now have a notepad by the phone where I record my icings, my stretching and my tapings.

Whereas, I had been only icing twice daily, I iced 4 times today.  I’m rolling more often, and I’m apply new tape more often.

Besides all this, I’m still doing my napping, and I’m fretting, and I’m drinking my Sauvignon Blanc once  7 PM hits too often.    I’m also doing A LOT of reading.  Though my “reading” blog entries should really be posted in my literary blog: www.simplyfictionaltales.blogspot.com, I can’t help but mention my readings now since they are more of my life than running is now.

Most recently I finished Gone with the Wind  (Margaret Mitchell).  It affected me so much with ideas so profound and out-of-date that I can’t begin to write about them now.  Let me just write that I am very fortunate, and though Scarllett, the main character, had loving parents, family and friends, I have never felt the destitute she had to endure.

After that novel, I visited my private library.  Yes, I have a library, with thousands of books, many of which I have not yet read.  I decided to read a memoir by Augusten Burroughs, whom I am familiar with.  I have to tell you, after reading A Wolf at the Table AND drinking wine AGAIN tonight, I can’t help but feel fortunate.

Unlike Burroughs, I have always had loving parents who believed in me.  While I think I am crazy for doing this trail running thing, they seem to understand.  I truly think without their understanding, I would never line up at Twin Peaks 2 weeks from now.  And though, especially with my injury, I may not finish, it will not finish me.  My poor unknown friend, Augusten, never knew the strength that a father can give (he did have his loving mother for a while thankfully). Either way, my parents, though I sense they feel I am  “way too old for this,” they are proud.  Simply stated, both my parents will thankfully support me in this crazy endeavor I have in two weeks. 

To sum up this blog.  If you have time and have a liking for classics, READ GONE WITH THE WIND.  Secondly, if you want a more contemporary author who is not shy about writing the truth as he sees it, try Augusten Burroughs.  Thirdly, DO NOT WEAR WORN SHOES WHILE RUNNING.  And fourthly, STRETCH, STRETCH, STRETCH.

Love you all!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Trial Run

Recently, I purchased two new pair of running shoes (I got steal deals).  I can’t wear my running shoes out to the utmost like I have been.  Assuredly, I have learned my lesson.

I purchased my regular mountain running shoes, New Balance 876.  And I purchased the next generation of my New Balance 101’s, the New Balance 110’s.  It’s a low rise, lightweight shoe that I usually wear running the coastal hills because the terrain isn’t so brutal.  Now I have 3 perfectly good shoes to run in.  All the rest I should throw away.  (I already threw away my NB 101’s and it was such a sad occasion, I had my husband do it, because I couldn’t myself). 

Anyway, the New Balance 110 is virtually the same as the 101’s, except for two things.  The material is more rubbery than cloth-like, and the colors are WILD.  Now, I’m not one to go for wild colored running shoes.  But heck, the 101’s were my favorite shoes, so I might as well get the next generation.

I went ahead and took the plunge late this morning.  No, I didn’t go for a swim (I wish!).  I went for a run.  With a taped up arch and heal I took off running trails for an out-and-back to Top of the World in Laguna Beach. 

(Oh, and I also got my new camera.)

I felt fine on the trip out.  My feet felt good, though I could tell there was something “there,” I didn’t feel any pain.  The way out was mainly uphill.  I made decent time and didn’t feel like I had lost anything after 5 days off (which I’m terrified of doing).  I stopped once to talk with a hiker who wanted directions to Dripping Cave from the Ridge down Rock It.  The instructions were rather detailed involving 4 or 5 different trails.  He wrote them down and we departed both hoping for a grand adventure on his hike. 

I reached Top of the World ready to refill my handheld.  The day was hot and sunny.  I stopped to take in the view, even sat for a second.  The tape above my socks was coming undone due to dirt getting in between my skin and the adhesive. 

The run back was a different story for this trial run.  Starting off on a downhill, I felt pain right away.  Eventually the pain grew to a point that I found myself actually limping as I ran!  I thought I may have to walk back to my truck.  But as soon as the uphills began, my foot’s pain decreased.  I had some pain the entire trip back, always less on the uphills.  I sadly thought to myself, “I’m never going to be able to put 50 miles on these feet.”  What a defeatist!  Sad smile

Back at the car, I did some math in my head however, and realized that I needed to make this morning’s run a little less than 9 times to equal Twin Peaks total Mileage (52 miles).  “Humph!”  I laughed to myself when I decided, “I could run that 8 more times. Yes siree, I can.”

Two more weeks.  TWO MORE WEEKS.  (The red star is above Santiago Peak):

Today’s bizarre looking profile (6.42 miles run):Running Cyn Vistas out and back TOW 9-28-2012, Elevation - Distance

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What I’ve been doing . . .

I have not run since my last 23 mile mountain run this past Saturday.  So, what have I been doing?  Before I start, let me say that I have received a TREMENDOUS outpour of good wishes, advice and prayers.  I can’t tell you how fortunate this has made me feel.  Alma from The Average woman’s Running Blog has e-mailed me wonderful advice on how to treat my Plantar Fasciitis.  My running friend Michael gave me some KT tape that really wraps my foot well.  My sister-in-law, a nurse who has also suffered from Plantar Fasciitis gave me some great practical advice.  Many, many runners, too many to name, have given me so much knowledge on the topic.  With two weeks remaining until Twin Peaks, you can bet that I’m taking it all.

To recap, what started with what I thought was a broken foot or stress fracture, ended up being Plantar Fasciitis.  I have not suffered from this before.  Quite frankly, I have been humbled after two plus years injury free.  I sincerely thought the mid-foot strike was the prevention for everything.  WRONG.  I also ignored the signs, which is better left for a later post. (Looking back, it is all so obvious now).

For now, what the heck have I been doing with myself since I’m not running?

Well, I’ll tell ya – it’s not all good.  But I am rested . . . definitely rested.

I wake early, do laundry, wash dishes, pack three lunches, make three breakfasts for our boys.  Then I get them off to their schools (different schools, different times).  I’m home by about 8:45 and I promptly nap until about 12:30.  NO KIDDING.  This is my life right now. 

I may run a few errands before getting the boys home from school.  I ice my foot.  I roll with a tennis ball; I stretch.  Then about 2:30, I promptly nap until I have to pick up the eldest.  Then I return home and nap again until it’s time to start cooking dinner.. 

After dinner, I finish up the laundry.  And I do some ab work.  I lift some weights (upper body), I do floor exercises, sit up against the wall (without a chair) for two minutes, plank for a while.  I ice some more, stretch, re-tape for bedtime.  Then I drink wine and read until it’s time for bed (around 10 PM). 

Such is my life right now.  And I’m not feeling particularly joyful about it.  But I have a wonderful family.  And I’ve had such a great outpouring of concern, I can’t help but feel lucky. 

Thanks to all!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Not So Good News

First the quick one – I actually broke ANOTHER camera.  Monday, I’ll embarrassingly put in a claim on my replacement plan / extended even-if-I –accidentally-throw-it-off-a-mountain warranty.  (Not to worry though, I still have pictures to share, and while I’m waiting for my reimbursement check, I always have my phone if I absolutely have to take a photo). 

Secondly, while I did not fracture/break my foot, unfortunately I cannot blame the no-support, no-give sandals for my foot pain.  The pain has returned, in abundance, but sporadically.  And I have self-diagnosed my problem as plantar fasciitis.  How do I know?  Well, I have a textbook case.  I run on uneven surfaces.  I’ve been running in worn shoes.  The pain is in the heal and arch.  It’s the worst in the mornings, etc. 

Friday, before I knew that I had this dreadful condition, I drove up into Saddleback Mountains (a very long, rocky dirt road) to stash 200 flluid ounces of water at Modjeska Peak for this morning’s long run.  The drive was delightful and scenic, but also very stressful.  I had to focus so hard on my driving (so that  didn’t wreck my truck or drive off the mountain), that I was actually drained upon returning.  It seemed actually more tiring to drive the route than to run it.  (I wouldn’t be able to run it though, carrying all that water).

A proud trail runner, for the first time stashing water in the mountains by myself : )

The drive down from Modjeska Peak:

Well, since I had already stashed water and planned to meet Cody L. for another training run, I wasn’t going to miss this morning’s run.  Pain or no pain.  Thing was, when I got out of bed at 4:30 AM, I practically fell to the ground when I stepped down on my left foot.  I iced my foot as I got ready and I was on the road by 5:00 AM wondering how I was going to do this.

First off, I cut our route short about 5 miles.  Instead of 28, we went for nearly 23.  It included two peaks, Santiago and Modjeska, lots of elevation, and a delightfully cool morning (but not minus the gnats).  I’m certainly grateful for Cody.  If he hadn’t made the long trip out, I may have not got in this run. 

Setting off up Holy Jim under darkness:

As I worked into this morning’s run, my foot pain became very bearable.  We made decent time to Bear Springs (top of Holy Jim), though we were five minutes slower than last week.  The best thing was, I made it to Santiago Peak in 2:46 (my record is 2:45 from what I recall).  Cody made it in 2:40 (but it was only his first time there – I have been to “the peak” countless times now).  It’s a hard, hard climb for me.  Very stressful.  To deal with it, I absolutely cannot think about the climb while going up.  I pretty much can’t think about anything.  I just moved forward, running some, mostly power-hiking that final couple miles to Santiago Peak.  The views made up for some of the struggle.  And of course, finally arriving, made up for all of the struggle.

The Main Divide on the way to Santiago Peak:

I saw one runner coming down about a half mile from the top.  I didn’t recognize him. But I bet he was training for Twin Peaks.  We also saw 2 other runners at the peak.  I know one of them, and he’s definitely training for the ultra, so I bet the other guy was as well. 

A quick stop at Santiago Peak to take in the view (beneath Cody’s hat, my Saddleback Marathon t-shirt – very cool that my race shirts can go to good use : )

Group Photo:

Looking  back at Santiago Peak on the way to Modjeska Peak:

The last 8 or so miles were downhill and quite painful for me.  My foot pain became progressively worse with each step.  Four other runners training for Twin Peaks (3 who I know) met up with us on Upper Holy Jim as they made their downhill trip from the peak. They gave me some good advice on treating my foot condition.  One of the guys said I can get rid of it in five days.  FIVE DAYS!  I am following his regime, you can be sure.  (I’ll go into that in another blog entry).  

Cody and the other four guys made it down to the lot before me.  I urged each one who passed not to wait or worry about me.  (Men tend to fear that I  need help or can’t be alone if I’m having trouble on the trails.  It’s sweet and part of their upbringing.  But really, I had to do this by myself).  My pain was increasing, and I didn’t need an extra voice, caring hand or someone to try and keep up with.  I basically tilted forward and with a blank mind plodded down Holy Jim, sure in a lot of pain.  At the same time, I was oh so grateful that I was able to make this run after all. 

As I sit here writing this entry, I’m rolling a tennis ball beneath my foot.  Now it’s time to put a sock on and ice.  I shall conquer this!  I must if I’m to run Twin Peaks.  I can’t attempt 50 miles with this foot. 

Today’s profile:Running Up HJ, Main Divide to Santiago Peak, Modjeska Peak, down MD, Upper Holy Jim, M 9-22-2012, Elevation - DistanceRunning Up HJ, Main Divide to Santiago Peak, Modjeska Peak, down MD, Upper Holy Jim, M 9-22-2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Which Is More Stupid?

After yesterday’s trail running fiasco adventure, I returned home to a hot bath, got the boys home from school and then I napped.  I slept miserably, feeling every single scratch on my skin.  Then I put on a dress and matching fancy flip-flops with no support or give in them whatsoever.  But their beads matched the color of my dress perfectly.  I spent the next two hours at our teenaged son’s back-to-school night, bumps still covering my arms and legs. 

By the time I arrived home last evening my left heal was giving me such miserable pain, that I could not put any weight on it.  Even when sitting and my feet up, my heal ached immensely.  Before I went to bed last night, I cancelled this morning’s planned run.  A great fear gripped my heart that today I would be scheduling an appointment with our orthopedic surgeon. 

I could barely sleep last night, having to eventually elevate my foot on two pillows.  I dreamt all night that I broke my foot, that I had somehow fractured it as I plodded down that steep trail during my trail running adventure. 

This morning I was pretty much convinced that I had fractured my foot.  “What a dummy!”  I thought.  Three weeks out from Twin Peaks and I got myself injured!  My morale was dipping quickly.  My middle son said to me, “Mom, if you broke your foot, you’d be screaming in pain – that’s what Dad told me when I thought that I broke my foot.”

After getting the boys off to school, I returned home and went straight to bed.  I took two ibuprofen and elevated my foot once again and hoped, oh did I hope that it was those dang sandals I wore last night that caused the pain.  I vaguely remembered them causing pain before.  Perhaps that’s why they were buried so deeply beneath my bed.

After sleeping for three hours, I woke with much decreased pain.  By two o’ clock I could put full weight on my left heal with no pain at all.  It was a miracle!!  : ) .  I’m sure I’ll never know what occurred, but I couldn’t help but wonder, which is more stupid – unknowingly running down a dead-end trail into a closed canyon or wearing a pair of no-give, no-support sandals simply because the beads matched the color of my dress?

I’m playing it safe from now on.  Really!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Should Have Turned Back!

I went out for 16 trail miles late this morning.  I was READY.  I had my fluids, my calories.  Hubby was going to pick up the boys from school.  Opting for something semi-different today, I decided on El Moro (the coastal hills in Newport Beach).  Unfamiliar with the trail mileage there, I had only a general plan in mind. 

I ran along a lonely, sunny Bommer Ridge, hopeful for a nice fulfilling run.  I admired the Top of the World across Laguna Canyon.  I looked at Santiago Peak wistfully.  Then I decided to tune-in and look into El Moro Canyon.  That’s when I realized I had missed my trail.  So I turned around and took the first unmarked trail down into Emerald Canyon.  I thought Old Emerald was unmarked, though I wasn’t sure.  But this sure seemed like Old Emerald . . . AT FIRST. 

The trail grew tighter and steeper. And I began to think I had taken the wrong trail.  I broke my own rule concerning situations like this.   I should have turned back.  Oh how I should have turned back. 

Running down what I thought was Old Emerald Trail:

It grew so steep, I slipped and fell.  I had to scoot down over large boulders.  The brush grew thicker  and I found myself sliding, face forward.  And when I landed on my behind, sticks and small branches slipped beneath my shorts and underwear and stabbed my bear butt.  Ouch.

And then I found myself boxed in.  I really, really should have hiked back up to the ridge.  But I was so worn out, I just couldn’t do it.  Big mistake. I followed all forks to discover the brush impenetrable.  Eventually, I spied a trail through the thickness, a trail that I recognized as Emerald Falls (Or maybe it’s called Emerald Canyon).  Either way, it’s a portion of the trail that has been closed for a couple years, so destroyed it was by massive rains.  If only I could get to this trail I could get back on track.  But a large ravine with ten foot walls separated me from this trail, not to mention, massive brush growth. 

I

I managed my way into the ravine, falling of course.  I popped up right away and scoured the area, left and right for a way up to the other side.  There was absolutely NO WAY up.  But I did notice a tree in the distance growing next to the edge.  Holding my handheld with my teeth, I grabbed a branch with both arms, pulled myself up  and climbed the trunk with my legs.  I sat in v-section for a bit to gather my wits.  Then I scooted from the tree to the bank’s edge.  Really.  No lie. 

Popping up after my slide-fall-run into the ravine:

My tree:

Yup, sitting in the tree (got to document it all! : )

Now on the the other side, I’ll tell you – I STILL SHOULD HAVE TURNED BACK.  I was stuck in the midst of a tight thicket.  A thin, thorny vine wrapped me like a cocoon.  “Push through it,” I told myself.  “Push.”  Everything time I tried to break through, the vines tightened and tore at my skin and clothing.  I thought about reaching into the back of my pack to see if I packed my knife.  But I was growing so weary, I didn’t think I could reach back.  I used my hat to push down some of the brush on my right side.  Then struggling, I lifted my right leg high and stomped down on the brush.  I did the same with my left side, and continued on this way until I finally made it to the trail.  I was beat. 

The trails won today.  I don’t usually consider myself playing against the trails.  I play with the trails.  But there are those days like today . . . when I should have turned back!

“Get me the heck home,” was all I could think.  My legs were bloody and scratched.  Welts covered my arms and legs as well.  I wanted so badly to madly sob.  But I really just didn’t have the energy.  The only thing I had the energy to do was run.  I kicked up my feet and ran back up to the ridge and all the way back to my truck, for a total of 8 miles today. 

I’ve been “out of sorts” all day.  Why, why, why, do I break my own rules?  I thought I learned in Texas when I got lost, that I need to turn back and go the same way I came AS SOON AS I REALIZE I’M OFF-TRACK.

It’s not just trail running . . . IT’S AN ADVENTURE!

Finally making it to the trail:

A last glimpse at Santiago Peak:

Just about a mile left:Running Crystal Cove Adventure 9-19-2012, Elevation - DistanceRunning Crystal Cove Adventure 9-19-2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thus Begins My Last Hard Week

This morning I ran the first run in the last “hard week” of my Twin Peaks Training.  I could have definitely used another day of rest after my 38 mile weekend.  But I was out there on the trails this morning nonetheless.  Don’t have much to say about the run.  I was tired.  I felt sluggish and didn’t much enjoy myself.  Then I escaped into the moment and just “was.”  That’s right.  I didn’t think about anything.  I neither enjoyed nor suffered.  Simply ran and did my miles.  I sprinted in the last 50 yards. 

Tonight, I am tired still. 

Miles run: 6.37

Weather:  Perfect; warm, but not hot, with an occasional breeze.

Running up Cholla Trail:

Time to harvest the Prickly Pear:

View of Pacific Ocean from Park Avenue Nature Trail:

Cheers from from a weary lady at Top of the World (Laguna Beach):

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I’m Not Proud (But I Didn’t Have A Choice)

After spending the morning with my family, I drove off to the coastal hills for a 1:00 PM trail run to finish off this “hard” week.  When I arrived the gates were closed, yet cars were parked in the lot and along the road.  People were also turning around their cars and driving back the way they came.  I pulled up next to the ranger who stood at the gates.  She told me the park was closed for everyone coming in.  There was a fire in Laguna Beach.  It wasn’t out of control.  But if it did get out of control and they had to evacuate the park, they didn’t want the trouble of evacuating too many people. 

As this kind woman spoke to me, my brain was elsewhere, thinking:  “Please stop talking.  I get it!  I just need to somehow sneak into the park, then I can stay.” 

“Okay, thank you.”  I smiled, turned around and drove off.  I thought of all the park entrances and decided that Top of the World would be my best bet.  So, I went on my way, taking about a half hour driving into Laguna Beach.  I could see smoke in the distance.  Then suddenly the traffic came to a near halt.  At this point I figured that the rangers could easily block entrance at Top of the World.  Then I remembered a way in that most people don’t think about.  There is a park in the neighborhood that Mentally Sensitive ends near.  So, off I was, driving approximately 5 miles an hour to my destination, hoping I could sneak into Aliso/Wood Canyons.  I had to run trails today, especially so close to The Taper.

I felt sneaky.  I felt selfish.  I didn’t really like what I was doing.  But I really wanted to get in this run.  And besides, I tried to justify, if anyone’s going to be safe and know what to do if trouble arises, it’s going to be me.

Before I continue, I should go into a little background for people who don’t live here.  October is fire season in California.  It has always been (Okay, it’s not exactly October, but it’s close).  Some Octobers we escape without fires.  Other Octobers we get clobbered.  A few years ago, my parents were evacuated in San Diego county from wildfires that burned down several neighborhoods.  Also, some years back in Orange County, we had some pretty bad fires, closing some mountain trails for a year or more. 

I remember as a child living near the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains (L.A. county), seeing those mountains ablaze again and again.  Ashes used to fall down like snowflakes in our backyard.  Our car windows were coated with ash.  I guess you probably got the point that October is fire season, and that we are a little paranoid about it around here.  But more so, we are paranoid about it in Laguna Beach.  In 1993, during my senior year in college, Laguna Beach had a firestorm like no other that I can remember.  Other areas got hit too.  But Laguna Beach only has 3 ways out – Highway 1 South, Highway 1 North, and Laguna Canyon Road. 

We lived pretty close to the Dana Point / Laguna Beach border at the time.  Standing outside our apartment, we could watch for hours, miles and miles of headlights trying to escape the city.  A bright orange glow shined at the tops of the hills.  Ashes rained down everywhere.  Entire neighborhoods burned to the ground, 366 homes total and 17,000 acres in Laguna Beach alone.

The local community has very good reason to be paranoid about fires.  This is why I’m not proud of circumventing this paranoia so that I could run. 

The hills were smoking as I drove on today toward the park near Mentally Sensitive.  Dozens of firemen, dressed in heavy gear climbed the hillsides in 90 F degree heat.  A helicopter occasionally flew by to drop fire repellant. 

I finally made it to the street I needed.  It was blocked by police.  So, I drove around to get to the other side of the smoldering hillside.  I parked along the street, happy to see no law enforcement or fire crews, and ran into the city park toward Mentally Sensitive.  Before I arrived to the trail, I spotted Meadows Trail in the distance.  Three fire trucks were parked at Meadows’ entrance.  So, I wouldn’t be running down Meadows.  Thing was, Mentally Sensitive’s trailhead is visible from Meadows.  And so, I bushwhacked my way down the hillside so that I could reach my trail unseen lower down the slope.  Thing was, when I came upon my trail, I could still see the firemen.  I don’t know if they could see me, or if they even cared.  But I ducked, yes, I’m not proud.  I ducked as I ran along the trail.  If only I wasn’t wearing my dang orange hat.  Eventually I had to stand erect, the trail was so steep.  When I did, I didn’t look back.  I ran down Mentally Sensitive and didn’t ease up until the trucks were no longer in my sight.

I was in!  And unless they evacuated the park, I was going to stay in.  But I didn’t see anyone for at least three miles, so of course I worried that they had indeed evacuated the park.  Finally, I came upon some mountain bikers.  Later I came upon small groups of hikers, so I felt confident the rangers had not evacuated.  Unless the same ranger who told me they were closed saw me, and remembered me (dang orange hat), I was home free!  Just to make sure, I took a single track as soon as I could.  I ran Coyote Run, feeling pretty good physically.  But the heat was tough. 

In all I ran a ten mile loop.  I was supposed to run 12 miles.  I goofed, because I forgot to look at “The Plan.”  Therefore, I came in about 2/3rd’s of a mile short of my 72 weekly miles.  (My oldest son said that I should just run around the block, I laughed at that notion – smart boy, but this Mama’s done running for the week!).

Shhhh (please).  Running down Mentally Sensitive:

Finishing up Meadows, headed into Wood Canyon:

Coyote Run Trail:

Running up Rock It Trail:

Headed back to my truck:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Second-To-Last Long Run Before The Taper

Yesterday, I stressed somewhat over today’s long run.  Why?  Not so much the distance, though I knew 28 miles would be difficult in the Saddleback Mountains.  I stressed because weather forecasts reported 107 F (approximately 42 C).  And guess what!  It was 107 degrees according to reports this afternoon.  Thank God for some breezes.  And I was also very fortunate to have company on this blazing hot run.  Cody L.  woke at 2:30 AM to make the drive to meet me at 5:30 for this 6:00 AM training run.  He’s running Twin Peaks also, but being that he lives in another county, he hasn’t had the chance to train much in The Saddleback Mountains.

We ran 2 fourteen mile loops (A Holy Jim/Main Divide/West Horse Thief loop).  First we ran it clockwise back to the truck which we used as our aid station.  After fluid refills and a snack (or two) we headed off on the same loop, except this time counter-clockwise.  Climbing Horse Thief in the heat was brutal.  I was aiming for brutal.  I wanted to take Horse Thief on tired legs in the heat to see how long it might take me in the race.  (Today, we hit Horse Thief at about mile 17; Twin Peaks we’ll go up at mile 32!) Overall, the second loop was nearly unbearable for me because of the heat.  I took all precautions and didn’t suffer from heat exhaustion though.  I’m learning. Smile   

We made it back, alive and kicking.  Well, maybe not exactly kicking.  I felt fine, just exhausted, driving Cody back to his car.  He was still smiling and even still looking forward to Twin Peaks.  “We need to run it faster,” he said to me as we chatted about today’s run. 

“You think?” I responded almost deliriously and then busted up laughing.  He’s a good guy (half my age by-the-way), it’s endearing to see someone so carefree and looking so dang forward to this race.  I’m on the other hand, pretty much scared to death!

LOL.  So why do I do it?  I guess I’m just crazy. 

And on to the pics, with some additional information . . .

Running The Main Divide (for the first time, before the heat really set in):

Group shot standing at the top of West Horse Thief before a rocky run down to finish up loop one:

Running down West Horse Thief:

Heading off for loop #2 with a drenched bandana on my head:

Trabuco Trail:

Cody headed toward Horse Thief with my San Juan 50k t-shirt wrapped around his head for sun protection (he forgot his hat : )

Running Main Divide, eager for the down hill / semi-shady trip on Holy Jim:

The crazy profile:Running Double loop Saddleback Mountains 9-15-2012, Elevation - Distance

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ouch

The aftermath this morning from yesterday’s trail running “mishap” (fall) was greater than I expected.  Perhaps the heat exhaustion added to my overall sense of health.  Overly fatigued this morning when I woke at 6 AM, the entire right side of my body ached, especially my right butt cheek.  I found yet another pebble in my elbow, but overall, the wounds on my elbow and legs cleaned up well.  It doesn’t look nearly as bad as yesterday, but I ache.  My elbow aches, my knee aches.  So does my shin, and my entire right arm, and a tad bit of my left arm.  . 

I took two ibuprofen and went about my morning chores – making breakfasts, packing lunches, getting the boys off to school.  The weather was cool and the air wet, the skies gray.   I rushed back home to do some laundry and clean the kitchen.  Then I was off.  Off to the trails at Aliso/Wood Canyons.   I had ten miles on the agenda, and I wanted to get them done in this cool weather.  Only thing was, a few miles inland and the skies were blue and the sun beamed down pretty harshly. 

That’s okay.  I could deal.  I can deal with just about anything.  Dang it!

Well, I sweated profusely as I ran through Aliso Canyon, then into Wood Canyon.  I took Meadows Trail which is now completely brown with a few yellow flowers dotting the landscape.  On the way, I was oh so fortunate to come across a little red weasel as he poked his head out of his ground hole.  He seemed to look at me with curiosity.  We made eye contact and he darted back down beneath the ground.

I opted to climb the hardest trail in the park (Mentally Sensitive) because I only have two “hard” weeks remaining.  It was pretty hellish.  Perhaps I am too harsh.  I enjoyed the climb, really.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t enjoy something truly hellish.  It was rather good “hard fun.”  : )  Best of all, when I reached the top, I was back in the cool, wet clouds. 

Tomorrow, I rest.

Not really.  I’ve got tons of chores to do, especially with all the miles I’ve got stacked up for the weekend.  But I rest from running.

Overall, despite my “mishap,” today was a success on the trails.

Thanks for reading!

 Meadows Trail (I’m aiming for those clouds ahead):

Climbing Mentally Sensitive (with a cheerful heart Smile & so much sweat that I thought my pack was leaking):

Top of Mentally Sensitive, notice Santiago Peak in distant background:

Greetings from Top of the World (once again):

Today’s profile:Running Up Mentally Sensitive down Mathis 9-13-2012, Elevation - Distance