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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

With A Cheerful Heart

I knew that I had to get back to Santiago Peak before my big race just a month a way.  The last couple times I ran to the peak, I experienced great stress.  I threw a tantrum here and there, and just couldn’t beat the negative self-talk.  When I’m alone, the peak is a HUGE mental battle for me.  I could not let the last time before the race be an anxious, terrible trip up there. 

My main goal today:  run to Santiago Peak with a cheerful heart.  That’s right.  No anger.  No tantrums.  Just go up there, and accept it as it is.  If the trip was easy after all, there’d be trash all over the place, and tons of people and I probably wouldn’t do it.  So, why the heck have I been beating myself up for the struggle being so difficult?  Silly.

An empty Holy Jim Parking lot, prepping for this 16 mile run:

The weather did not cool down for me today.  In fact, it was HOT.  The gnats also had returned.  But they were little, baby-like gnats.  I wondered if a new group had hatched.  These little guys were not so bothersome, especially because their numbers weren’t huge.  One did get lodged in my nostril though, which made nasal breathing a little difficult.  Unsure what to do, it donned on me to attempt what I’ve seen many of my male friend runners do – blow a snot rocket.  What the heck.  With one attempt I blew that gnat out and was one my way up Holy Jim.  My first snot rocket ever!

I ran Holy Jim in its entirety.  I felt good.  I drank my fluids at a rate though that worried me.  I had only brought along 82 fluid ounces.

Me and my gnat friends:

Gorgeous views on the way up:

When I hit the Main Divide, I concentrated on a strong power-hike for about a mile.  I ran the flats, and the shady up hills.  No negative thoughts crossed my mind.  When it got really tough, I said to myself, “It is what it is,” and I prayed for strength.

I made it to the peak from the Holy Jim Parking in lot in 2 hours, 45 minutes.  This is going to be a time problem in Twin Peaks.  But . . . it is what it is.

A quick pose at Santiago Peak:

Running down from the peak, I felt stronger than usual.  I hit Upper Holy Jim with a cheerful heart.  It seemed that someone had done some work on this technical single track since I’d last run it.  Rotten wood was thrown to the sides.  And some of the ruts had been filled.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself taking this trail as quickly as possible.  And then wouldn’t you know it?  (It always happens when you think things are going good).  I took a hard, I mean HARD fall. 

When I hit the rocky terrain, my calves knotted into cramps.  As usual, it happened in slow motion, and I remember saying out loud, “Straighten your legs!  Straighten your legs!”  I was able to get out of the leg cramps, but in doing so somehow ended up on my back.  I sat up to notice a gash on my knee, and the drip, drip, drip of blood coming from my elbow.  I didn’t have enough fluids to rinse my elbow and see just how badly it was injured.  But the dripping slowed soon enough.  And after sitting there for a bit to take in the scenery, I stood up, with no anxiety or anger in my heart, and continued onward down toward the Main Divide.

Upper Holy Jim:

Where I fell:

Though I recovered from the fall well, things got even tougher.  I RAN OUT OF FLUIDS.  With three miles left to the spring, I kept my downhill run at a slow pace.  Heat exhaustion was beginning to take its toll when I finally made the spring which was barely a dribble.  I waited there in the shade filling my handheld again and again until I had about 40 fluid ounces in my pack.  I drenched my head, my face and washed my elbow, though it was too painful to dislodge all the pebbles from my skin.  I filled my handheld as well, and after a good twenty minutes in the shade, I finally made my way down Holy Jim, with a cheerful heart.

Running The Main Divide toward (lower) Holy Jim:

At the spring, finally refreshed and ready to finish up this run:

Nearing the final stretch of Holy Jim, ahhhhh, the lovely shade (& gnats too : )

The profile:Running Holy Jim Santiago Peak Lower Holy Jim & back 9-12-2012, Elevation - Distance


  1. Smile while injured. That's the spirit :)

    1. Once the shock of the fall was over, I was smiling because I wasn't seriously hurt. Whew! Thanks for reading Daniele.

  2. Wow your hardcore, you should meet my buddy eric, you two would love running together!

    1. Not too hardcare, just a silly lady. Fiddle-dee-dee. Thanks for reading. And I really appreciate the comment.

  3. Snot rocket - ewww you're gross ;P j/k

  4. Oh the things I could teach you about blowing snot and spitting out on the trail.

    1. Wow Lumberjack. I didn't even know there was anymore to a snot blowing. LOL.