I got a late start this morning for my one and only training run for The Saddleback Marathon. I actually started my run at 9:00 AM. I rarely start mountain runs that late. But it’s autumn now, so the weather was nice and cool. I even wore long sleeves and ran the heater on the drive to Trabuco Canyon.
It’s deer season in California. So, I was sure to wear clothing the colors not usually found in nature. I don’t want to be mistaken for a deer this time of year. I should have worn a bright orange shirt – but I don’t own one. I saw two male hunters hiking into the canyon (separately), both in camouflage (but one also wore an orange vest). Both carried their rifles with a sling over their shoulder, with the barrels pointed upward. Both also, though youngish men (younger than me), wore their heads shaven clean.
I ran up Holy Jim, reminiscing about Twin Peaks, or rather trying to reminisce. I don’t recall much now of running up Holy Jim. I know today the trail was a lot more crowded with hikers and mountain bikers. I timed myself going up, but that went out the window when my spouse left a phone message and started texting me. I forgot to leave a note where I was running today. This halted my run up Holy Jim because I was afraid to keep moving forward, lest I lose my cell connection. The other problem was that I couldn’t READ MY PHONE! Why? Because I can’t see close up or tiny things without my glasses. So, I texted HJ. And hubby brainstormed my oldest son to find out that HJ meant Holy Jim. (I was so proud of my son : )
Just before reaching The Main Divide, I heard a gunshot. Just one. My time was not good when I finally reached the divide. I turned right and continued running without stopping. More trucks than usual drove along the divide. A few motorcyclists did as well. I made the next junction (Indian Truck Trail) in good time, actually ten minutes faster than usual.
I made it to a secret water stash just in time. After refilling my pack I heard talking and laughing. I didn’t want to exit the hiding spot, so I remained hiding in the bushes. I waited and I waited. I didn’t want to expose the water spot by exiting just as they went by. Then again, they might have been runners who knew about the spot. I waited and waited some more. Thing was, I needed to pee. And I could not, would not pee anywhere a secret water stash. So, I finally pushed through the bushes, and ran up the trail to find four hikers taking photos of themselves. I came “out of nowhere” to them. And they were just about in the spot where I had decided to duck into the bushes to do my business. (I’m just telling it how it is : ) I took a picture of their group with their camera before taking off along the divide to find another sufficient “spot.”
Anyway, the gnats flew about my face as I ran toward Trabuco Trail. My timing wasn’t too bad. What was bad was my trip down Trabuco. This trail is one of the most beautiful trails I know. It’s also very rocky, and I tend to run it fearfully, which is not good for my time. There was a day when I ran down Trabuco much quicker. But with my falls over the past couple years, I’ve grown timid.
I think I’ll save my quicker running down Trabuco for this Saturday’s race. Overall, I ran to my truck at a slower speed than expected. But overall, I enjoyed my training run. I love these mountains.