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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birthday Run

I’m not much into “training.”  I’m really into trail running.  When it comes to “training”, I flail.  My confidence plummets when I “train.”  Negative self-talk sets in.  (I’m working on that problem.)

This time around, I’m just getting in the miles, best I can.  And I’m practicing sections of my upcoming race.  I like to know every ditch and boulder on the trails that I race.  That way I won’t need to look for markers.  And there’s less surprises.  (With trail running however, just like in life, it’s impossible to eliminate all surprises.) 

This morning, for my 48th birthday, I woke at 5AM, the entire household asleep, and drove up Ortega Highway into the Saddleback Mountains.  I stashed some water across the highway from The Candy Store and drove on up to Blue Jay campground (total drive = 1 hour). 

Then, on a cool weathered morning, I commenced to run approximately the first 20 miles of the 50 mile race I’m registered for next month.  I came in under the section cut-off with only minutes to spare.  That’s cutting it a bit too close for me.  But I learned lots on today’s run, mainly how to pace myself.  I also came upon the race director, Steve Harvey running with his Trans Rockies partner, Jennie (imagine my luck!!).  I told him, exasperated, “I don’t think I can make the cut-off.”  Steve hugged me and said, “You might not, but I think that you can do it.”  I believed him.  What he said is true.  I might not make the cut-off, but I CAN do it – it’s not out of reach.  To add to my luck, I got to clear up some things about the Candy Store Lollipop loop I was running.  Turns out, I’ve been taking a wrong turn about three miles in.  (Next PRACTICE run, I shall correct that).  

San Juan Trail trailhead – stooping down so that I can fit into picture frame (I cut my head off in first picture):

Chiquita Trail:

Changing socks for ankle socks near my water stash.  Across the highway is The Candy Store.  After refilling my pack, I found it very difficult to depart with my water jug.  And I spent TEN minutes here – much too long.  But that’s okay – it was a lovely time:

Heading back to Blue Jay on Chiquita (Though I believe the first picture below is part of San Juan Loop.)  The trip back is mainly uphill, quite technical and grueling beneath a warm sun:

A rock on Chiquita trail with beauty that stopped me in my tracks:

Still heading back on Chiquita:

Climbing Old San Juan Trail back to my truck:


  1. Excellent way to spend a birthday!!! Yes, you have to get that level of confidence up, trust your abilities, and don't be afraid to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. I can't say enough how much you continue to inspire. Lock in mentally and the rest will take care of itself. Happy Birthday my friend!!!

  2. O sorry, I am late. Happy b-day from Italy :)

    1. Thanks Daniele! I don't think I've ever got a "Happy Birthday" from Italy before.

  3. Nice run! Chiquita is indeed a technical trail - rocks and those gawd awful ruts left by the mountain bikers...

    1. So, so technical Glen. It really slows me down. :(

  4. You CAN do it. I know you can!!

    Happy birthday!!!