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Saturday, May 25, 2013


When my phone alarm rang out this morning at 4:15 AM, I thought (seriously!), there’s got to be some mistake.  I must have forgotten to turn off my alarm.  Today’s sleep-in day.  Isn’t it??  But then I remembered, today is drive- to-the-mountains-and-run-day. 

I have only one or two days with enough time to run in the mountains.  This week, I had only one day.  Sleep.  Yes, that would have been delightful.  I lay there face up in my bed, struggling to keep my eyes opened.  “Don’t close them,” I said to myself again and again.  At 4:30, I finally jumped up because I knew that I couldn’t lay there much longer without dozing off.

The skies were black when I finally made it out to my truck with hot mug of coffee in my hand.  The moon was full and bright, lighting up the entire beachside neighborhood.  Not another person stirred.  Not a bird chirped.

If I didn’t absolutely love running mountain trails as well as fully understand the good they would do me, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made it out to Trabuco Canyon this morning.   Trabuco Canyon not only meant a tough run, but some tough off-road driving for my 2X4 truck just to get there.

I would like to make this post short, as mileage was under 15 miles.  Mountain runs . . . they are hard to make short because they are so beautiful. 

That is why I will mainly do a pictorial for today’s post.  But first I want to point out that this weekend is the one of a race that I wanted to run more than any all year.  I had it on my “For Sure” list.  Nanny Goat 24 Hour run began this morning and I was not at the start.  I pretty much dreamt about this race for months.  However, family commitments made this race impossible.  The sacrifice was difficult to swallow.  But I did this sacrifice knowing that it was best for me, and best for my family.  Actually, there was no choice.  I had to omit Nanny Goat from my race calendar.  Our oldest son is being confirmed tomorrow.  This is similar to a bar mitzvah (though not as triumphant) or a quinceanera to the Mexican culture. (To make a long story short, a Confirmation kind of represents a youth’s acceptance of certain religious doctrines – it includes a church ceremony and communion – to not attend due to a race would have been unacceptable in my eyes.)

Since I didn’t run Nanny Goat today through tomorrow, I was able to get in a Saddleback Mountain run this morning.  And that was truly glorious.  Truly. 

I took off up a lonely mountain.  I thought I was surely alone, when three miles in, three men came hiking down Holy Jim.   Somewhat armed, I couldn’t help but think, “Crap!”

Of course, I kept on running headstrong past the group, chatting with them along the way.  I learned that they took off at 2:00 AM for a hike to the peak.  With a full moon, I’m sure it was glorious.   I would love to do that.

Climbing up Holy Jim – the best thing about Holy Jim is that the climb is spread out over five miles.  The worst thing about Holy Jim is that it’s five miles long!:

Glorious Flora along the way:

Running Along The Main Divide:

Amped up to finally run downhill on West Horsethief:

Flora on Horsethief:

Trabuco Trail:

Only a tad of dirt in the end. Smile

Running Holy Jim - Horsethie loop 5-25-2013, Elevation


  1. I love the photos as usual ... but this post is one of my favorites since you climbed Holy Jim ... ha, awesome!

  2. Holy Jim is definitely awesome : )