I overslept this morning and changed my mountain running plans to coastal hills running plans. Then I changed my plans back to mountain running. My feet didn’t hit dirt until after 9AM. That’s okay though. I felt rested and strong as I started the first leg (the uphill leg) of my version of The Candy Store loop. There many variations of this “loop” out there. The main parts of the run however, are always the same: Around 20 miles long, it starts or ends in the lot across the highway from The Candy Store, and goes to Blue Jay Campground, with the main trail being a long technical, rocky Chiquito Trail (which passes by Chiquito Falls, dry now for a good long while).
Fortunately, I experienced a cool breeze practically all day. Also in the fortunate category: I am still immune to poison oak, as the shady portions of today’s run were covered with the plant. However, unfortunately, I was NOT ready for this difficult run. I felt so fatigued, I experienced light-headedness and needed to force down additional calories. I also poked my leg by running into cactus, resulting in a trickle of blood. Then I fell flat on my butt running down a steep Old San Juan Trail. Running the uphills on the return “downhill” portion really got my goat. At one point, I turned a bend to find another uphill on my “downhill” route and hollered out a profanity.
On the slightly humorous, Lauren-peculiar side, a set of hikers stopped me with three miles remaining for my run and asked, “How much longer?” At that point, my brain could hardly form a thought. But I did manage to sound like a ditzy broad when I replied “How much longer to where?” (It always cracks me up when people ask me how much longer, as if I know where they are going). The group of three looked at me questioningly until I re-phrased my question to “Where are you going?” One of the guys answered, “Chiquito.” Still barely able to form a coherent thought, I answered, “You’re on Chiquito.”
Turns out they were hiking to Chiquito Falls (which I should have guessed – duh!). And though I figured out “how much longer” after we parted ways, I was only able to tell them that the falls are five miles from the parking lot. I forgot to mention that the falls are dry.
Despite not being ready for this run, I did finish it. I finished it without collapsing and without calling 911. I didn’t even run out of fluids. Hooray for the fresh water in Blue Jay! Who cares that my lower left calf aches (grocery store accident), and the plantar fasciitis in my right foot is having a painful flare-up.
Route: San Juan Loop, Chiquito, Viejo Tie, San Juan Trail, Long Canyon Road in Blue Jay, Old San Juan, Chiquito, San Juan Loop.