There are some runs that are left unfinished, unfinished because I could not complete them. I don’t have lots of them, but I have them. And those runs always linger in the back of my mind as unfinished. Last Sunday, I got out and finally finished one of those runs. This run: I bet my walk of shame is bigger than yours. Sunday, I redeemed myself by finishing the twenty-one miles that I set out to complete in the summer of 2013.
The run started off cold, yes COLD, and I was oh so grateful. I slowly made my way up The Main Divide with views of Lake Elsinore to my right, and the Pacific Ocean to my left. The air remained cool, and the skies cloudy as I ran along the ridge. Not a single person stirred for quite some time, when finally, as The Main Divide curved around to the Riverside County side, a lone mountain biker came pedaling by. An instance like this always amuses me – I mean, here we are, two lone travelers passing each other on a lonely mountain road. I couldn’t help but wonder why more people weren’t flooding this desolate mountain road. I mean, doesn’t anyone else know just how wonderful it is out here?
I felt good and strong . . . well, let’s just say “not weak,” as I ran the nine plus miles along the divide. I came along one other person, a barefoot hiker, and we talked for a short bit when he asked where he might find West Horsethief. After telling him that it was about a mile and a half on his right, I realized too late (as he was long gone) that I calculated my math with Trabuco Peak as my frame of reference. Drats! He actually had three miles to West Horsethief. I wanted to yell my error to him across the divide, but that effort would have been of no use.
I met no other people along The Main Divide, and came up on Holy Jim feeling surprisingly good.
I literally raced down Holy Jim in a race against time to make up for my regular slow speed along the rolling ridge called The Main Divide. Best thing was, gnats were nowhere in sight. What a welcome relief – no tiny bugs banging against my ear phones, no little critters flying up my nose or into my eyeballs. The tide had definitely turned; there was no better day to attempt this redemption run.
I ran out of Holy Jim Canyon with 14.25 miles on my garmin. According to EVERYONE who has something to say about it, I had less than five miles to travel up Trabuco Trail back to The Main Divide. I had always doubted people’s claims that the trip was 4.5 or so miles, and then eventually doubted myself that it was a little over 5 miles. I was after all, somewhat out of my mind last time I made that trek out of the canyon via Trabuco Trail. So this past Sunday, I set my mind on a 4.75 mile trip, with an arrival distance of 19 miles at the top of Trabuco. This somehow gave me peace of mind. It was less than five miles, and no matter how hard anything gets, I can always do less than five miles!
The first two miles were lovely, and not extremely difficult. The climb was gradual. I stopped at my water stash along the way and refilled, though I really didn’t think that I’d need the extra fluids. One of my number one rules, if not my actual number one rule, is to ALWAYS refill fluids when I can, even if I don’t need it. I’ve made the mistake not to, too many times.
Well! At about mile 17, my trek went from tiring, yet comfortable, to pretty close to hellish. The climb grew steeper, and fatigue kicked me in the head. I couldn’t believe that I had tried this during 100+ degree weather in the summer of 2013. I recognized spots where I had collapsed on that “run,” and though it comforted me some that I was no where near as bad off as I was then, seeing those spots of prior despair added a little anxiety to this terrible march.
My eyes glued, and I mean glued to my garmin, I was counting down tenths of a mile until I reached The Main Divide. I did not need to stop and rest, and thankfully, the weather was not overly warm. But, still, it seemed as if this trail was never going to end!!!
I just might flip out the next time someone tells me that the Trabuco Trail trek is less than five miles. I’ll tell you exactly how long it is. The trail is 5.25 miles. And I’m never going to doubt that again.
I was so dang relieved to finally run down The Main Divide, I wept. I had been gone from my family way too long on Sunday. I missed my guys. This is just about the only true negative aspect to my hobby – I’ll take the terrible uphill treks, the loneliness (in fact, I kind of like that), the utter fatigue, the failures (which ultimately are triumphs), the gnats, the heat, the cold, the falls, and everything else. The absence of my family for so many hours, well, that kind of sucks!