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Saturday, June 22, 2013

No Matter What, Do Not Open That Door!”

Do you remember the scene from the American movie Young Frankenstein, when the doctor says, “No matter what, DO NOT OPEN THAT DOOR!”?  “No matter how much I scream and beg, do not open it!”  The next scene Dr. Frankenstein was banging on the door, “Please, please open the door!  Forget what I said before.  I was only joking!!!”

This morning I remembered that scene (actually I remember that scene often, as it is so reminiscent of life).  Anyway, I told my husband last night, “When my alarm goes off, do not let me go back to sleep – kick me out of bed!  I WANT TO RUN.” 

Thing was, after I said this, I tossed and turned for an hour last night, anxious where I might run in the mountains without several downhill miles.  Why?  My ankle.  I feel asleep unresolved where I would run.  Good news was, I had money for gasoline. (Hip-hip-hooray!!)

My phone alarm rang at 4:00 AM, and though I was awake and ready, I didn’t want to drive an hour for a mountain run.  I didn’t think my foot could hack it.  So, I set my alarm for a later time and tried, tried to fall back asleep.  Remember, I told my husband not to let me fall back to sleep?  He is such a good hubby, my biggest supporter.  And he stayed true to his word.  HE WOULD NOT LET ME GO BACK TO SLEEP.  He took away my blankets.  He groped me (I know T.M.I. Smile); he wasn’t going to let me out of this.  I was going to run DANG IT.

“NEVERMIND,” I said.  “I didn’t mean it!  REALLY.  I WAS JOKING!!!  Seriously.  I WAS JOKING.”

Finally, I headed out to the living room, plopped myself onto the couch with the cellphone by my side.  My dedicated husband came out to cover me with a blanket and shut the windows.  Thing was, it was 4:15 AM, and I was wide awake! 

I tossed and turned again, then finally rose from the couch.  That’s when I made a 2-cup pot of coffee, got dressed and decided I would eventually open the front door.  First however, I would toss ideas in my head, for a couple hours, how I would manage this. 

I packed a full bladder of fluids, deciding that I would run around 14 miles.  but not in the mountains.  I was pretty certain that I would re-injure my ankle on long technical down hills.  Coastal hills it was.  So fearful of a chronic injury, I wrapped my ankle in a corset.  Not one like this (I wish!):

ankle corset


No, my ankle corset was this:

I took off on Aliso Creek Trail before the wilderness park even opened.  Funny thing was, I took off exactly the same time as three other male runners.  One of them looked just like my running friend Tom B., whom I have not run with in over a year – well since he ran the Mexico Copper Canyon 50 miler (Born to Run).  I kept up with the trio for a while, but had to stop and readjust the corset.  It felt too thick beneath my heal, causing discomfort.  About then a few cyclists rode past me on this cool, overcast morning.  As I began “The Big Loop,” I really thought I could do it. 

Along the way I ran up on 3 deer:

I ran into Wood Canyon feeling okay, glad that I opted for short sleeves.  Even though the weather was overcast and breezy, the air was humid.  I ran Meadows Trail completely, utterly (& happily) alone.  And I recalled the first time I ever ran trails solo.  It was this very same wilderness park.  And I was scared out of my mind.  Today, I felt no fear.  I just ran, fully aware of my surroundings, and fully aware that my pace waned. 

I joyfully marched up Mentally Sensitive.  It’s a bear of a climb, but a delightful climb when I can hack it.  (And I can always hack it, just sometimes better than others).

Caught without a smile!  I thought I’d post this one, because my running pals think I’m always smiling on the trail – I tell them it’s because I’m the one who holds the camera!  When I press “click,” I smile. Smile  I’m almost finished with the toughest part of Mentally Sensitive here.  And though I’m not full of laughter, I’m lovin’ it. (And it’s not even 8AM on a Saturday!)

Taking a look back on the climb up Mentally Sensitive:

As I ran toward Top of the World, I knew I would need to make a decision.  Should I run my 14 mile loop?  My right ankle had no spring to it whatsoever.  As I ran along the ridge, I stopped to change out my corset for a looser ankle brace.  I hoped this would bring some of the spring back.  This it did not.  

Goats along the ridge:

I managed to gain on the runner ahead of me.  He ran the hill toward Top of the Word in a switch-back fashion.  I did so by running straight up the hill (which I can do now with many miles of practice).  He kind of chuckled when we met.  “Good job,” he said, I’m sure noticing my brace. 

Even with the looser brace, my ankle felt wrong.  Still, I could NOT pick up my pace.  That caused some minor aggravation beneath my hot breath.  How important is mileage right now? I asked myself.  

Breakfast at Top of the World Café (You supply the food, water supplied by fountains):

Heading down West Ridge on the loop back:

I made my decision at the Mathis / West Ridge intersection to  cut my loop short.  My ankle without spring began to ache.  And I knew that I was going to put in too many hours for my 14 mile loop.  And so I headed down Mathis in a leisurely manner instead of running all of West Ridge down to Wood Canyon. 

About a quarter mile down, I saw a blonde man raise his arms and yell out “Lauren!”  Baffled at first, it took me a few seconds and a peer at those perfectly formed teeth to realize this runner was Tom B!  The very same runner that I thought I recognized at the start of this morning’s run.  The very same running friend that I would not have crossed paths with if my ankle didn’t cause me problems.  Imagine that! 

I stopped at chatted with Tom, enthused by his enthusiasm.  I learned more about his sandals and saw that he was wearing pair.  I couldn’t help but think my ankle and feet would be better off in them and out of the constraints I had put them in.  As soon as I have more cash than enough to get me to the trails, I’m going to buy me a pair, even if it’s just for walking around. (Tommie’s Toes).   

The trip down Mathis:

Even after the lifter from seeing an old friend (not as in “old age”), I still could not gather the strength to increase my pace.  My pace in fact down Mathis Trail was ridiculously slow for me.  Down hill did me no good today.  Ends up the last .75 miles in to the Ranger Station, I hiked.  I watched my pace and tried to increase it in on the hike.  Amazingly, my hiking pace was quicker than my somewhat lame running pace.

Here’s a final foot pose, using the model (childish) foot pose I’ve noticed on websites.  Apparently when one poses feet, you hold your feet at an awkward, childish pose.  LOL:

The Gain:

Running Up Mentally Sensitive down Mathis 6-22-2013, Elevation


  1. Nice one Lauren and wise to take it easy with that ankle. Lol! I just learned how to do a feet pose :)

  2. Thanks Johann. Because I want so much to get back into shape, it was so hard to rest the ankle. But I'm glad I did.