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Monday, January 20, 2014

Mission Unaccomplished

First mission unaccomplished was my original plan to wake at the crack of dawn and go for a mountain run.  I did wake at the crack of dawn (actually before dawn).  I could not however, walk due to the pain in my foot.  I pushed myself from wall to wall to move about the house.  Even though I knew my foot would probably get better (it’s always the worst when I wake), this disheartened trail runner went back to sleep.

I woke again several hours later feeling way, way down in the dumps.

I didn’t have a good morning.

I didn’t have a great early afternoon.

Eventually, I laced up my shoes and ran out the door for a run along some of our beaches.  Yes, that’s right.  I opted for sidewalk and sand over dirt trails.  I felt a bit sluggish but enjoyed my time running the city streets.  One thing I noticed was that it was LOUD with all sorts of noises:  car motors, people talking, dogs barking.  But it was also beautiful.  I live in a gorgeous city.

 Beach Access:

Even though I see the Pacific Ocean every day, catching first glimpse of white water at Salt Creek Beach on my run this afternoon was breathtaking. 

After running Salt Creek’s crowded sand, I turned the corner for a run along Dana Strands.  Off in the distance I focused on the headlands, Dana Point’s famous headlands.  I’ve run on top of them, I’ve near and around them on both sides.  But it’s been a long, long time since I’ve gone around them.  It’s a daunting task, and probably shouldn’t be done alone.  The rocks are steep and jagged, and the way is very slippery.  On the plus side, there’s a private little beach where I could get my quiet solitude that I missed from trails.  I was game and a little giddy about it!  The tide seemed low enough to make it.  And I figured I’d be okay because I’d climb carefully and would certainly turn back if the tide was too high.

The Headlands:

Making my way along the base, prepared and confident for my first climb:

The First Big Climb (not so difficult, but slippery and a fall could mean a plunge into the ocean):

After making that first climb, this is where I stood – absolute bliss:

The front base of the headlands was numerous with tide pools as I remembered.  Occasionally, a wave crashed up on the plateau as I made my way across.  The work was difficult, as I needed to use both lower and upper body strength to make my way up and down the sharp boulders. 

With a water bottle in one hand, I clicked the camera in my other.  My private beach was now in view when I stopped for a few last pictures before descending down the plateau’s rocky edge.  I jumped that last step, as it was too far down to reach.  When I landed I took another step (I think) and then I don’t know what happened.  I remember realizing that I was losing my balance, and then I went down, down as in tumbled down over the sharp, jagged rocks.  My knee, my arm, my shin, they all took terrible hits.  Then on the last tumble, I flew right down into a gigantic tide pool.  I went under, fully submerged, taking my camera and phone with me and a big gulp of salt water. 

In utter disbelief, I quickly jumped out.  I stood there with my sopping wet camera in my hand and cried.  Blood streamed from a gash in my right shin.  My right knee as well ached with a minor scrape revealing itself right away.  And my right arm, specifically my elbow was bleeding.  I was most worried about my camera.

Okay, take control, Lauren.  That’s what I told myself.  I stopped crying and decided that I should not continue the journey.  I chose to carefully make my way back and call my husband for a ride home.  That is what I did.  Back at home, he cleaned me up, disinfected beneath the torn pieces of flesh on my elbow and arm. 

I didn’t break any bones.  I have worn my right arm in a sling all night.  The arm is swollen and ugly.  Ibuprofen did wonders.  So did a warm blanket.

These were two of the questions I got from my family:

My husband asked, “Were you scared?”  Funny, that’s one thing I wasn’t.  I never felt scared.  I felt surprised.  I felt sad.  And I felt angry.  And then finally relief.  But I never felt scared (too stupid to be scared Winking smile).

My middle son asked, “Did you almost drown?”  No, I didn’t come anywhere near drowning.  Even the gulp of seawater that I took in didn’t take my breath away.  Thank God I didn’t hit my head.  If I knocked myself out, there could have been much more dire consequences. 

Well, there you have it.  My missions unaccomplished today.  I did get in a 6.25 mile run.  So that is good.  My husband rescued me.  And that was good.  And I seemingly haven’t broken anything, and that is good.

Here’s one last picture, probably the last one I took.  Off in the distance is the private beach where I wanted to take in some silence.  My fall occurred probably about twenty five feet from my position.  It is beautiful, don’t you think?


  1. It is very beautiful! Now there is a run I can come and do with you one day. I would love it! I had many similar runs in Mauritius recently and loved it. Luckily I never had a fall. I see myself as quite a good rock hopper next to the ocean... ;) I'm glad you are OK. Take care Lauren!

    1. Mauritius looks like paradise. Would love to run there.

  2. Gorgeous photos! I'm glad you are OK. You are brave for venturing out there alone!