TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Thank God for Holy Jim

I got a really late start this morning, late for a mountain run.  I didn’t get into my truck until 8:30 AM, didn’t begin my off-road driving until about 9:00 AM.  My feet, ever so delightfully, hit dirt at 9:30 AM.

I decided to run my semi-usual Holy Jim / Horsethief loop counterclockwise, the opposite that I usually run it.  Oh. My. Goodness!  The climb up West Horsethief was brutal.  BRUTAL.  Instead of growing angry up that grueling climb, I told myself to use this as a learning experience.  (And it worked, I didn’t grow angry or throw a pity-party-temper-tantrum once up that blasted hill).

up horsethief down holyjim

The views brought to me by West Horsethief:

Even after reaching the top of W. Horsethief, I still had plenty of climbing ahead.  Heat came down in abundance!  At times, I needed to stop in the shade to cool my body temperature.  I felt the heat sickness coming on, but thankfully was able to keep it at bay (experience did its job today!). 

I didn’t see any other runners out on The Main Divide, though I did see two mountain bikers.  All I can really say is that it got DANG TOUGH out there on the mountain ridge.  Thank God for Holy Jim!  Though gnats swarmed my face when I hit this giant switchback, I was oh so relieved, because Holy Jim signified a downhill, mostly shady, five mile run.  And it was glorious.  Truly glorious.  There’s nothing like downhill shade when you’ve been doing uphill sun!

Yay shade!!!

I met two hikers on this fun downhill trip.  We chatting briefly.  When I mentioned West Horsethief, they said in unison “Everybody hates Horsethief.”  Euphoria hit with about 3.5 miles remaining as a breeze hit my face and the multi-colored wildflowers swayed at my shins.  Again, it was beautiful.  Truly beautiful.  And amidst enjoying this beauty and euphoria, a thought entered my brain.  That thought was,  “This is the part when you fall.”  (Falls usually happen in the center of euphoria). Wouldn’t you know it????  Not three steps later, I tripped on a cluster of boulders.  I tripped hard, but was able to save it, and thankfully didn’t fall.  (It would have been a terrible fall).

I washed my face at the trickle spring and made the last 2.5 miles in good time.  As I ran that last mile in I approached a dry Holy Jim Creek and opted to run across a small log to practice my balance.  I was almost patting myself on the back for good balance when the log turned and dumped me onto the dry, rocky creek bed.  I hit hard, with no roll whatsoever.  I guess the “Fall Fairies” still had it in for me – they didn’t so much like my “save” earlier up Holy Jim.  They made sure that I bloodied my palm and knees before the end of today’s run.  I lay there in the rocks, bees buzzing about my head, and also my cap that lay a couple feet away.  I felt light headed as I pushed myself back upright and needed to think twice on whether or not I hit my head.  I did not hit my head, but my wounds, caked in wet dirt, ached a great deal.  I staggered a bit before picking up my run again.  With just about 1/2 mile remaining in today’s run, the “Fall Fairies” left me a treat in the middle of the trail – two nice sized chunks of ice.  Yes ice!  Can you believe it?  I iced down my knees and palm and then made my way across Holy Jim creek, this time across a board secured about 3.5 feet above the creek.  I didn’t run it, though I made it across without falling and was able to pat myself on the back for good balance.  Winking smile  Finally, with some fluids to spare, I made it back into the Holy Jim lot where I promptly jumped into my truck for that tedious off-road trip out of the canyon.

Oh how I love mountain runs!  I can’t wait until the next one. Smile

Miles 14.18 (22.82 km)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Goat Recovery

I can now talk about Nanny Goat without tearing up.  It’s not that I’m sad about it. But even thinking about the event teared me up.  I don’t know exactly why.  I just know the whole experience has made me emotional. 

I haven’t had time to run since I crawled ran walked across the finish line on Sunday.  I’ve done some workouts at the gym since then.  One thing that I noticed immediately was that the weights I had been lifting suddenly seemed quite light this week.  I guess it’s time to up the weight.  Smile

Today, after some set-backs getting out the door, I finally made it to Aliso/Wood Canyons for my “recovery run.”  I ran a semi-big loop which included climbing Mentally Sensitive -- a hard-ass incline with an ocean view at the top and a stop by several adorable goats grazing upon the meadow grass.  Talk about a goat recovery!  

As I ran along the ridge, I began receiving text messages from my oldest son.  He was sitting in his high school class during a school-wide lockdown.  Apparently, (though we had no verifiable facts at the time), someone had found an empty rifle carrying case in the parking lot.  Knowing only for sure that they were on lockdown (all students locked within their classes), the police were swarming the campus and a helicopter hovered above (reports from hubby’s text messages), I decided to pick up my pace a bit for the last five miles.  Though I was quite fatigued, I managed to run it all the way in, not as a speed-racer mind you, but in plenty of time to make it home to worry more and see all the television news vans and parents lined up along the road near the high school.  (The students were finally released at about 4PM, an hour and fifteen minutes past regular time, and as far as we know, no gun was found.) 

10.88 miles run

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nanny Goat 2014

My family drove me eastward Friday night to Riverside.  They set up my tent on the ranch that would serve as the course for Nanny Goat 24 Hour the next day.  We walked the course and timed it to see how long my longest loop might be the next day (22 minutes).  Then we went off for dinner at Denny’s, a franchise diner that’s been around longer than I’ve been alive.  I had a bacon and avocado egg omelet.  It was a nice family outing with little bickering.  I finally bid my husband and three boys farewell outside of my tent at 9 0’clock PM.  I was gonna miss them!  (And for good reason too!!)

The ranch quieted down early as I drifted off to sleep after reading the last chapter of my book.  I did not wake again until 4:50 in the morning.  Dozing off and on into sleep, I finally unzipped my tent a little before 6:00 AM.  I roamed about the barn in my camouflage flannel pajamas while others arrived  and picked up their race gear.  After two cups of coffee, I grabbed my bib, etc., changed my clothes, and leisurely took in the pre-race excitement without pondering or anticipating what lay ahead for the next twenty-four hours. 

7:30 AM, race director, Steve Harvey  (aka: spouse of race director, Annie Harvey) gathered all the runners into a pen to announce race instructions.  They actually locked us in!  One of the runners sang a beautiful National Anthem.  Still, I thought nothing about what hell lay ahead of me.  I couldn’t think about that.  We were all just too damn happy!

In the pen:

Steve Harvey:

And then we were off!  FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS. 

The first five to ten miles were easy physically but difficult mentally, because they were so few in the total to be tallied in the end.  I took those miles at a decent pace.  When I noticed that I veered into the ten minute pace, I purposely slowed to save myself for later.  I figured that an 11 to 13 minute mile for the first 25 miles would do me good.  It was okay to veer into the 14 or 15 minute mile, but not good to go below an 11 minute mile.  I realize that sounds a bit slow for such a relatively “easy” course.  But when I’m looking at 24 hours, I’m not in good enough shape to go out too fast. Smile with tongue out

All I really wanted was to average four miles an hour.  That goal was easy-peasy for the first marathon of this race.  The sun came out hard, but I am somewhat heat trained, so I was ready and able.  Others not so heat trained suffered some.  By mile twenty-five I was ready to stop by the homestead for a ten minute break.  I certainly didn’t make my best marathon time.  But I was happy.  I was still within my four mile hour. 

Heat continued to bear on.  I took in calories as I passed through the barn where the sensors picked up our miles.  Old Goat Trail Races provided quite the feast – hamburgers, tri-tip burgers, veggie burgers, muffins, colas, water, fruit, gels, endurolytes, nuts, potato chips, candies, and more.  Out on the one mile course, there were two ice chests at the half-way point filled with ice and bottled waters.  At about my mile thirty, we seemed to be all growing weary beneath the warm sun.  That’s just when the race directors filled those ice chests at the .5 mile mark with popsicles.  Yes popsicles!  I have never been so delighted in all my life to be offered a popsicle.  I chose a purple one, no I changed my mind and went for a blue one.  That’s when I met running pal, Nathan who was also delighted to get a popsicle.  He was probably thirty years my junior, having for the first time attempting more than a marathon distance.  We ran that popsicle mile together (or rather ran-walked) and chatted a bit before parting ways.  I warned him a bit about the demons we would meet come night time, and was tickled pink over meeting someone who was stupid   young enough to try something like this without realizing just what “fresh hell” we were going to encounter.  I told him, “No matter what you go through, it will make you stronger.”  He was eager. 

I also met another runner during these daylight hours who was attempting such a crazy feat for the first time.  It seemed that every time I was trotting at a slow pace, there was this young man WALKING who was keeping up with me.  Finally, I said to him, “I hate it when I’m RUNNING and a person WALKING is keeping up with me.”  We both laughed as he tried to apologize for keeping my “running” pace while he walked.  His name was Phil and he said something about his legs being longer and having a longer stride as an excuse for keeping up with me.  He was good company too, and through his own confession, not a runner at all – he was a motocross guy and some other sport that for the life of me eludes me at the moment (was it tennis?  gosh, I can’t recall!)  Anyway, I saw him throughout the daytime course, every time I slowed, there he was keeping my pace with seemingly little effort. 

On the finish of each one mile lap, we ran through a barn where our mileage was projected upon a screen.  Several runners and crews had stalls in this barn as their homesteads.  (It’s not difficult to get a stall space, there’s 7 to a stall, first come first serve – I could have gotten one easily, but I opted for privacy over convenience).   Relay team members also had their running members waiting and cheering as we ran through the barn.  I noticed early on, one woman sitting in a chair off to my right.  She clapped and cheered as each and every single runner came through.  And if I turned her way, which most of the time I did, she made eye contact with me and said, “Great job!”  I smiled at each eye contact.  Before I officially met Nathan, I noticed him run up to the woman and ask her name.  I said once to her that her hands were going to bleed before the race was over.  She just smiled and clapped even more. 

A stop at the homestead: Mile 25!

After mile 25, things got tougher for me.  But I was still maintaining the four miles in an hour (barely).  I stopped by the homestead, dropped off the cap and tied on a bandana.  My feet hurt, especially my plantar fasciitis foot.  My shoulders were beginning to ache.  And my lower back was sore.  I am fortunate for the little heat training I had already endured before this event, else it would have been a lot worse for me at this point.  I saw Nathan here and there on the course, Phil as well, not to mention all the other runners that I already knew or knew of.

Miles 25 through 30 were not terrible, in fact they were still kind of fun.  Occasionally, I walked. The bottom of my feet ached, especially my plantar fasciitis foot.  I felt confident with ample stretching I could strangle that snake.  

50k came and went.  My body continued to deteriorate, but not my mind.  The tops of my feet were taking a pounding from my shoes.  The Achilles of both of my feet were taking a beating from constant contact from the rim of my shoes.  Quickly my lower back ache crept up into my mid back as my shoulder pain crept down into my lower back.  I tried all the loosening tricks I could remember to get rid of the tightness in my shoulders.  Nothing worked.

Finishing up a mile at Nanny Goat:

And so the evening began to dwindle.  Runners were trotting or walking as the sun set on the horizon.  We ate, we drank our fluids, we smiled and kept up decent conversation, as this is the one-of-a-kind race were we see each other over and over and over again.   I was still going strong and able minded enough to grab my camera for a sun-setting shot.  All the while, I felt like my back was crumbling.  Seriously, it was as if some alien had shot me with a poison arrow in the shoulders, and my body was slowly failing downward with each step.  Before the sun set I knew there was one thing that I had to do – tape my arches.  Before I headed off toward my homestead, I chatted with another runner about taping my feet.  She pointed down at her feet where I could see that she had indeed taped her arches.  “Did it help?” I asked.  She responded, “It’s the only part of my body that doesn’t hurt right now.” 

Boo-hoo, I bid farewell to you dear sunlight:

At mile 40 I wanted to quit.  There was no way that I was quitting; still I wanted to.  The sun had set and so I set off for my homestead.  I had a lot on my mind to accomplish during this stop at the homestead – enough to take up oh, about fifteen minutes.  It took me ONE HOUR.  I painstakingly peeled off my shoes and socks and walked to a nearby hose to fill my “bin” with water.  After walking back to the homestead I soaked and washed my feet.  I dried them for a long time then taped my arches.  With a clean pair of socks, I laced up my dusty shoes, brushed my hair (yes, brushed my hair!) and set about changing my clothes to get me through the night.  I put on some running pants, falling over inside my tent several times.  I put a long sleeved shirt on backwards and turned it around again for a better fit.  Then I put on another shirt, because it was freezing (not literally) outside as far as I was concerned.  Amazing as it may seem, I also put on a beanie and gloves (okay, it’s not so amazing, I’m still delirious).  Finally, I zipped up a hoodie, put on my headlamp and headed out the zip-locked doors of my homestead for the darkest hours of my 24 hour run.  All the while during my homestead visit I could hear the woman continue to clap for each runner coming through the barn.

One lap after changing for my night time running I found myself back at the homestead.  I had dressed way too warm.  The first things I chucked across the tent were the beanie and gloves.  Who was I kidding!!!  Then I took off the jacket, and everything underneath and went for one long-sleeved tech shirt. I stepped outside of my tent, no better refreshed, but still a bit cooler in this night air.  Any change in comfort was comforting.

After mile 40 I felt miserable.  MISERABLE.  I was frantic inside my mind, though I was able to talk to other runners with ease.  My frantic self-talk stemmed from this:  “How I am I going to be able to cope through the dark-time hours??????”  Though a short course, there were times that my headlamp was the only light.  I’m not sure if it would had made a difference if there were hundreds of other contestants around me.  All I knew was that my body was collapsing.  A helicopter flew about downtown Riverside that really drove me nuts.  “Just shut up!” I said to myself as the heli flew about. To pass time I posted a few facebook posts from my phone.  I listened to music as well, trudging through those dark hours.  And I laughed at the occasional drunkards who hollered out as I stumbled by (team members had the opportunity to drink alcohol and not damage their game too much – I myself could never accomplish such a thing).  These guys, the “drunkards” as I’ll call them now (unfairly), as they might not drink that much except for that night,” said lots of silly words of encouragement as we passed in the night.  One of them hollered to me, “Looking good lady in black pants!”   The funniest thing I heard them say was this (one relay guy to another)  “I’ll tell you what it takes to do what they’re doing one grown up fucking’ man, that’s what it takes.”

At about mile 42 it seemed that God had granted me a new body.  I was able to run full mile laps again.  I was smiling.  I was comfortable on the course.  The hours however, dragged by and I again began to dwindle both mentally and physically.  One young guy, one who would eventually run 100 miles, sang loudly through the night to keep himself awake.  I don’t think he knew just how loud he was singing as he wore earphones in his ear.  I found his out-of-tune singing endearing.  

At 2 AM, I finally took Lumberjack’s advice about taking small naps and nestled down in my tent for a thirty minute snooze.  I woke refreshed but shivering from cold.  For the next lap I wore gloves and a beanie.  I was not “one grown up fuckin’ man”, but I did make it through those dark hours.  They were TOUGH.  I glanced down at my garmin frequently for the time as I waited for the sun.  My feet ached, my shoulders felt like they were sliding off of my body.  My abs, well, I felt like I had no abs, they were mush.  My arms, they felt like they had been lifting weights since the start at 8:00 AM.   I ran a lap with Nathan, then I think we walked one together as well.  He was having difficult time and stopped for a bit before carrying onward toward his fifty mile goal.  (He ultimately did 52 I believe).

From 3:00 AM onward I have never yearned for the sun so much.  Time passed excruciatingly slow.  When the sun finally rose I wanted to cry from sheer happiness.  Oh to see faces again! That’s when I saw Tony, the guy who was set up next to my tent.  Neither of us could run any more, and so he offered to walk with me.  We walked, and we walked.  We talked, he told me some interesting stories, and we were silent too as we walked, and walked some more, never stopping.  During those last five miles I just wanted it all to END.  I didn’t care about anything.  I didn’t care about goals.  I didn’t care if I came up short from the last time I ran this event (67 miles).  It HAD TO END.  My stomach was cramping from intestine issues.  When we hit mile 65, I rushed off to the bathroom (Tony did as well), and then we both sat at our homesteads.  Sixty-five sounded like a nice good number to me, and so at 7:10 in the morning, I walked up to the finish line and collected my finisher’s medal.  With my medal in hand, I walked back to my tent, thanked my new friend for keeping me company, then into my tent I went.  I fell down on my air-mattress bed,  Sweaty and dirty and aching, I wrapped myself up in my sleeping bag and slept.  I believe Tony went on to walk more miles with a friend, totaling his miles at 74.

Finishing up Mile 65 (photo taken by Jean Ho at the finish line):10322748_10204175682498100_2004332384294295861_n

I still do not care that I stopped at mile 65 and didn’t squeeze out two more miles.  I am proud of my accomplishment – not so much the mileage, but the fact that I was able to push through the night.  I did not run this event to hit a certain amount of miles.  I ran this event to face the demon – the demon within myself.  I fought the demon and I won. Smile

Click here to read some amazing finishes at nanny Goat 2014.  I am so happy I got to be a part of this, and so grateful that my family was so supportive. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Nanny Goat is less than 20 hours away, and I am beginning to fear that dark place that I must go.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Way Past the Fact

Having posted an Old Goat 50 link in my last entry, I just read through it myself.  And I must say that the Old Goat report did not relay everything that I would have wanted, had I waited before writing it.  I think it might be better to let more time pass before making a race report.  Way past the fact, two things that seemed minor at the time, ALWAYS come to mind when I think of Old Goat 50, and I didn’t include them in my report.   

First, when I passed that Holy Jim aid station more than a year ago, before the eight mile uphill climb to the peak, I pretty quickly became ill.  I could barely walk, felt like collapsing, was near delirium.  No lie.  There were some hikers up ahead that I managed to pass.  For a while, I only kept a few feet ahead of them as one of the men struck a conversation with me.  He learned from our chat what I was doing, that I was at approximately mile 31 in my quest.  He could tell that I was sick and possibly getting sicker.  He chuckled questioningly, perhaps nervously, and said these words to me:  “And you do this for fun?”

On that same climb, about three miles later, I came upon another hiker.  He was hiking down Holy Jim as I struggled my way up it.  I thought he was a running friend Scott B.  He looked just like him, and I had seen him earlier that day at the eleven mile aid station.  I thought it odd that I’d see him again, here at mile 34.  Still, I didn’t question whether I was talking to Scott when I said to him, “I don’t know if I can go on much longer.”  He in return answered, “Keep going til you cry uncle.”  You can imagine my confusion when I saw Scott again at the Santiago Peak aid station (mile 39).  It was the real Scott this time.  The man, if there really was a man, on Holy Jim, was not the “real” Scott. 

I find it amusing to see what memories stick with me.

Well to the point of today!  I did get in a run.  I didn’t want to go out hard, as Nanny Goat is just days away.  And, I have been cross-training too, so I am quite fatigued.  Today on the 101st day of my fitness streak, I ran 10.75 miles along Arroyo Trabuco trail.  A lovely run, with few obstacles, except for blasted rocks that want to take me down (but didn’t!).  You might recall, my last big fall was on this very trail.  But not today.  NOT TODAY!

Miles logged:  10.75

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Art of Suffering

Somewhere along my journey on the trails, I lost my way.  It didn’t happen all at once, but began when I was training for Twin Peaks 2012, in the last month before the race with my first signs of plantar fasciitis.  That was just the beginning.  Being pulled from Old Goat at mile 41 was the clincher.  I still tear up when I recount that moment when the jeep pulled up and the driver gave me the bad news.   All that work, all that suffering was for nothing.  But it wasn’t really.  I gained a lot that day, though all that new-found knowledge was not immediately known.  

Fast forward to May 2014, I’ve been making my way back since January of this year when I ran the Calico 30k.  I’ve been building up my mileage, albeit slowly.  I’ve been losing some pounds, albeut slowly (11 so far, but hey, at least the scale number is now going down and not up).  I’m also registered for 3 upcoming races, Nanny Goat 24 Hour (very soon!), Spartan Beast (September) and Twin Peaks 50 Miler (October).  And as soon as I get paid, I will register for Harding Hustle 50k (July).  

And then this:  Saturday, while riding the gym bike, I pulled out my complimentary copy of Spartan Up!  And within the first paragraph realized what the heck went wrong with my endurance running.  I realized that while trying to get through these huge challenges, I thought that I needed to “suffer better.”  By “suffer better,” I wanted to more quickly win the mental battles, stop throwing the little temper-tantrums when I couldn’t summit fast enough, and most of all, stop the sobbing.  But somehow that “suffer better” quest turned into “not suffer at all.”  Ya!  Like I’m going to run 30 to 50 miles in the mountains and not suffer!  What was I thinking?  I knew all along, but somehow forgot, that it’s not the “doing” that’s the prize -- it’s the conquering, it’s enduring the suffering to have it come to an end.  I once knew this!  I FORGOT.  Thanks goodness I remembered.  Thank you for the reminder Joe DeSena.  

Once I remembered that it’s not about the suffering, it’s about ENDURING the suffering, it changed a whole lot about my training these past few days.  The very next day in fact, I didn’t wake at the crack of dawn so that I could get my trail run done in cool weather.  Instead,  I went to church with my family (I haven’t done that in a long time!), did some errands and finally hit the trails at 1:30 in the afternoon, in the thick of the heat.  I made the run much more difficult on purpose.  Imagine that!!  The hills were difficult because of the heat, yes, but I gladly endured them.  Climbing Mentally Sensitive was a bear, but somehow it was not as difficult as it normally is.  It wasn’t as difficult because I realized that the prize wasn’t the actual climbing of this monster hill.  The prize was reaching the top, putting an end to my suffering, and looking out over the miles of trails I had already covered.  It doesn’t have to be pretty going up.  But it sure is pretty looking down. :)

up MS down Mathis 5 18 14

Friday, May 16, 2014

Heat and Fire

We began this week with heat.  And it got hotter.  I subbed girls P.E. all day Monday and returned home wiped-out.  I practically had to crawl the minimum mile to keep up my Fitness Streak.

Tuesday, temperatures grew to three digits Fahrenheit.  I thought that I really didn’t have a choice but to run, being that this was the only morning I would have available during the week.  And so I headed out to Wood Canyon where I took Cholla to the ridge and ran to Top of the World in Laguna Beach.  I ran 6.64 miles and drank every single drop of my 70 fluid ounces of water.  Yikes.  I fared pretty well though, I’m sure because of my responsible fluid intake. 

5 13 14 elevation

I didn’t realize that the fires had started on Tuesday.  Wednesday, we all knew.  Wednesday came through, and the heat blazed down ever hotter.  Someone said 107 degrees, others 104.  Fueled by high winds, wildfires marched their way through San Diego County.   I live in Orange County, which borders San Diego County, where many of my family and friends reside.  I was kept constantly updated through Facebook or texting.  After another P.E. substitute teaching assignment, I was in no shape to get in a run Wednesday afternoon.  I cross-trained at the gym that night. 

Thursday I subbed P.E. again.  It got hotter, and I first began to see blackened skies from a fire in north county (north county being the northern cities of San Diego County).

Views from my parents’ backyard:imagejpeg_0imagejpeg_1

From Airport Park, up the road from their home:IMG_0007 

The nighttime heat was even too much for me to attempt a run on Thursday.  I didn’t even make it to the gym to cross-train.  Instead, I stumbled out my minimum mile. 

Today, we have some relief heat-wise, as the temperatures have dropped into the 90’s.  But the fires have reached my county.  Though I subbed P.E. (and home economics) today, all physical activity was called off at the schools.  We sat in air-conditioned rooms instead and watched movies.  Outside, the skies were gray and smoky.  Having not been out in the heat all day however, I was able to drag myself to the gym for some cross-training this afternoon. 

Hoping to run tomorrow.  Going to prepare like I am, but we shall see what the morning brings.  This fire has got to be gone before I run because I’d rather not run in the smoke (views from San Clemente, the city south of us):

20140516_154111

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Lazy Twelve Miles

I woke late for a weekend run yesterday.  It was Mother’s Day in the USA.  And I got to feeling that I should stay home with my family instead of run.  I am a mother after all.  So, after dressing and packing for a run, I sat in my car with its motor running, and changed my mind about running.  I came back into the house so that I could spend the morning with my family (who were all still asleep at the time).  Fortunately my husband heard me, came out into the front room and said, “No way!  Today is your day.  You need to get out and do what you love to do.” 

And so, after an hour drive, thirty minutes of it off road, I headed up Holy Jim Trail at 8:30 in the morning this Mother’s Day.  Then I commenced to run a very lazy 12.71 miles of trail.  I write “lazy” because I really didn’t try at all.  It seemed that I didn’t put any effort into the run whatsoever.  I was there for the scenery, and enjoyed every second of it. 

The first five miles were a switch-back climb up Holy Jim.  I jumped over fallen trees and climbed beneath another.  I listened to a howling wind make its way through the canyon.  And I even took the time to stop at Holy Jim Falls.  It’s about a 1/2 mile detour off the main trail, which I rarely take because I’m usually too eager to make it to Bear Springs, the top of Holy Jim at The Main Divide.  I had a lovely time of solitude at the falls before the numerous hikers I passed along the way made their way to them.  I lost the crowds of hikers as I made my way back to the main trail and started up the big zig-zag alone.  

The wind blew so strongly along The Main Divide that I had to just stop and be there.  Wow.  It’s fierce howling made so much noise, it sounded like a jet airliner was flying close above.  I really just had to stand there (in awe!) and film this short clip so that I could show you a little of what it was like.

Beautiful Wind

I kind of liked running a lazy twelve miles.  It was no pressure, no guilt, no negative self-talk.  And I was actually able to finish strong, and that felt great.  I can’t remember the last time I was able to finish a mountain run that strong. Winking smile

Miles run 12.71 (my guess was 12.63)