I completed day 12 of my fitness streak (from the Fitness Streakers Facebook group). Very few of those days have been running because I prefer the air-conditioned gym to the sweltering heat on the trails. This of course adds to my stress-level because I need to run. I love trails.
This morning, I overslept for an early morning mountain run. I went to church with my family instead. Afterward, I thought I’d get in some more gym time. Then I decided, No way! Suck it up, Lauren. Get out there and put in some miles in this heat.
And that is what I did.
1PM, I ran through Moulton Park in Laguna Beach toward Mentally Sensitive Trail. I ran down that insanely steep trail into Aliso Viejo. This took a lot of concentration, else I fall off the edge. I jumped from side to side of the eroded single track. Quite often I stepped directly to my side to slow my pace. This fancy footwork maneuvering the downhill kept my mind off the heat. When the trail finally leveled out, I ran through a desolate, brown field, in 93 degrees Fahrenheit with 92% humidity.
Aliso and Wood Canyons was practically empty today. I came upon two hikers in Wood Canyon and two mountain bikers a little later. The trails were still. The woods were quiet. The air was so thick, I had some difficulty breathing. The only reason I didn’t cut this ten mile loop short by running up any of the drastic hills to the ridge, is because I wanted a more gradual climb. Gradual of course is relative.
I ran the ridge alone, and needed to rest two or three times in the shade. Then I came upon my trail friend A-Rod. We stopped and chatted for a short bit, as a young man stood to his side. I was a little delirious I think, because I couldn’t get out the word “humidity.” I tried three times when A-Rod offered me his inhaler. I declined, then asked about his friend. “He’s my son,” said A-Rod. This shocked the heck out of me. I looked at his son and almost asked, “What high school do you go to?” And then, AND THEN, in my heated, misery kind of dumbness, I asked, “Are you a man or a boy?” I laughed out loud when I said this. So did A-Rod’s son – “I’m 27,” he said.
The break, friendly faces, and a good chuckle gave me the strength I needed to continue on up to Top of the World. Thank God for Top of the World. I was plumb out of fluids. I refilled my pack and drenched myself down as well. I took off refreshed for the last 2.5 miles of this run.
As I ran that last mile upon the dry desert-like terrain, a breeze came along. I was completely alone out on the ridge making my way back up to a high point. All vegetation was chewed to the ground from the goats that occasionally roam there. My head cover blew in the wind, and out there in the middle of nowhere, I felt like a desert nomad. I felt tranquil and comforted and thought to myself, all that misery was worth this very moment.