TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last Runs for a Tough Year (2014)

2014 has been a year of struggles – my running has not been the least of those struggles.  Suffice to say, running nears the top of of the list of 2014’s struggles.  So, you might imagine my surprise when I totaled 2014’s miles to find that this year’s 1,413.25 miles is the third highest since I began this adventure called running in 2007.  THIRD highest.  

I ended 2014’s runs with friends and alone, in the mountains and on the beach.  The best of both worlds.

Sunday, I met up with running friends at Harding Truck Trail.  It was a pre-storm, cold winter weather day.  The higher we climbed, the colder it grew.  It was a tough, tough 18.5 miles, at times feeling so fatigued I don’t know how I put another foot forward.  So glad to have friends to see me through it.

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Today, on the last day of 2014, I didn’t much want to run off the trails being that today is a very popular drinking day – didn’t feel like dodging driving drunken drivers.  The trails were closed due to “wet and muddy conditions,” and my gym, though open 24 hours most days, closed early tonight.  But it was early enough, I believed, to run safely out in the streets. And so I onward toward the beaches I ran as the sun made it’s descent on the California’s coast.   

The 4.5 miles were cold with views of snow covered mountains.  The beaches were fairly empty.  I ran solo along the wharf and when the night finally enveloped us on the west coast, I phoned my husband to ask him to bring the two boys that were home, down to the harbor so that we could take in the marina lights.  And that’s how I ended this night’s run, walking through the marina with my two youngest sons and hubby. 

Happy New Year!

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Caught out in the Dark (again)

Christmas day wiped me out.  I had hoped to hit the trails 7:00 AM the next day.  Not the case.  It took me all day, the next day to recuperate.  I didn’t hit the trails until 3:30 PM on the 26th, and as I headed into Wood Canyon, I realized it was much too cold out to venture onward without warm clothes.  Problem was, I’m not used to cold weather running, so I forgot my long sleeved shirt.  Fortunately, I have a truck full of junk and was able to scrounge up a beanie and pair of knit gloves from the backseat.  They did wonders keeping me comfy for my 6.4 mile run up to Top of the World and back.  I had to laugh to myself when once again, I got caught out in the dark.  Obviously, I’m also not used to running in the evening.  All’s well that ends well however  The night was beautiful, with birdies and bunnies scampering about as the sun made it’s final descent.  I found myself running back down Cholla Trail a bit cautiously because I could not make out the depth in the ground. And I made my way back up Wood Canyon and Canyon View Park in pitch-black darkness.   

Coming around the bend to Top of the World:Last ascent to Top of the Word (overlooking Laguna Beach, CA):Heading back on West Ridge with a view of Saddleback Mountains (Cleveland National Forest):Gazing at the moon on Cholla Trail:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Back to Old Camp

It’s probably been three years since I’ve been to “Old Camp” (a historical American Indian Camp in the Cleveland National Forest).  Last week Santiago Truck Trail encouraged me to head back there again.  Monday, I ran with my friend Kelly, a smiley, optimistic runner, whom every runner should have the great opportunity to run with.  She is funny, witty and pretty – a funny lady with a lot of patience.  Usually, I’m a lone runner.  That’s not always good.  Why?  Because left to my own devices, well . . . let’s just say, it doesn’t always end well (or at the very least, I don’t always get what I should from the experience).

Monday, I got what I should from the experience.

My friend Kelly is a blessing.

She helped me stay in the present (THE ENTIRE 16.5 MILES)

View from Santiago Truck Trail (overlooking The OC and the Pacific Ocean):The Vulture Crags at approximately 3 miles on Santiago Truck Trail:Snack break in “Old Camp”:Climbing out of “Old Camp”:

This was one tough 16.5 mile run – one well worth it.  There were times (at oh, approximately the half-way point!! that I didn’t think I could take another step forward, yet I did –- this is what it is all about sometimes with me).  Thanks for reading!!  Merry Christmas.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Being There

“Where you are, be there.”  Master Lee, one of my son’s taekwondo instructors said to him.  And he said this to him again and again, until I never forgot the words.  But thing is, I did forget those words.  I always forget those words.  But they are back now, brought back by a multitude of circumstances. And I am ever so grateful.  Being there.  This is how I want to live life.  This is how I want to run trails.  For the longest time, I had not been showing up to my runs.  Sure, I was there, but I was not really there.  I was in the past, thinking of how things used to be, of the things I neglected to do, etc.  Or I was in the future thinking about where I wanted to run next time, what I needed to do to get my act together, etc. This is not how I want to live, how I want to run.  I want my feet firmly planted in the now. 

Last January, I posted that “I am back,” after running the Calico Ghost Town 30k.  Well, just in time for this year’s Calico run, I am once again back.  Back on my feet, back in the now.  And I ever so love the freedom.

Friday’s Run:  I ran an out-and-back up to Top of the World.  But heck, who says that I have to run it the same ole way EVERY SINGLE TIME.  This time, I took an obscure single-track that I have neglected for years as I approached Top of the World.  And then on the way back, I ran down Lynx instead of Cholla.  And I searched out a meadow that I noticed from afar.  Found it.  Smile (Miles 7)

View of Saddleback Mountains from West Ridge Trail:View of Laguna Wilderness from West Ridge (look at all that green!):The meadow off of Lynx:

Saturday’s run:  I ran up a trail I haven’t run before named either Cadillac Trail or Trabuco Creek Road.  And I really didn’t run it.  At times, it seemed like I crawled up it.  Yet, I was present the whole time and enjoyed the struggle immensely.  The trail met up with Santiago Truck Trail where I ran up the road that leads to Old Camp.  But I never made it to Old Camp because I wanted to get back home in time to see my middle son off to his music lesson.

Scrambling up Cadillac Trail (& that’s probably a Cadillac on it’s back – it was actually kind of freaky come up under it, what if it slips and falls???):Looking back down at my truck, way down there. SmileMore climbing:And some more climbing:Time to turnaround and head back:

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Santiago Truck Trail

Monday, I drove out to Modjeska Canyon to run a trail I haven’t run in ages.  I needed something new.  I really did.  I didn’t realize how much I needed new scenery.  Yes, parking is a pain (I need to park about a half mile away down in the canyon), but it is well worth it.  The skies were cloudy, the fields were green, the ground was like wet clay. 

Here’s ten miles’ worth why it was all worthwhile Smile:

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

An Evening on West Ridge

The weather feels like winter– crisp and cold.  It’s lovely.  LOVELY.  This evening I took off for a run into Wood Canyon and up Cholla to West Ridge (an evening run because today was the church Christmas pageant, and afterward I took a two hour nap – TWO HOURS).  

I ran through Canyon View park with the sun quickly sinking.  The playground was active with children at this late hour.  I stopped momentarily, sitting on the cement ground to tie my shoe before descending further into Wood Canyon.  A boy about ten or eleven years old slowed as he passed me, and he called to his father to wait.  And then he said to me, “I thought you . . . I thought you . . . “  He seemed nervous and astonished at seeing me, though we have never met before. I told him that I probably looked like someone he knew.  But he just shook his head in bewilderment.  “I thought you . . . ,” he uttered again and continued with something too quiet for me to comprehend.  “Who do you think she looks like?” the boy’s father asked.  Finally, he said clearly and with resolve, “I like your hat.”  I thanked the little guy, and ran further on into the canyon wondering if perhaps I looked like someone the boy knew who had died. 

I ran the ridge all the way to Top of the World, where I turned around and headed back for a 6.63 mile round trip run.  It got dark on me however.  And being that I could not tell depth very well in the dark, I gingerly ran down Cholla back into Wood Canyon.  The experience was peaceful, and also delightful with the Christmas lights surrounding me from the neighboring homes. 

So happy to get this run in.  So, so happy.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

I Didn’t Run

The last time that I hit the trails was Tuesday, and that seems like ages ago.  Heading down toward Tijeras Creek, it took everything I had just to stay out there.  Really, I wanted more than anything to go back home and sleep.  I think the only thing that kept me out there was the fact that I had driven so far to get to these trails.  I didn’t want to waste that gas for nothing.  But, I hardly ran at all.  Well, actually, I pretty much didn’t run – just a few steps here and there.  I told myself, “just go to your happy place, then you can turn around.”  My happy place is the Tijeras Creek / Arroyo Trabuco junction.  It’s so peaceful and beautiful there – even in the fall when everything is basically brown.  Before I even arrived to my happy place, I decided to plod right through the creek.  Reason: I had already decided that I wouldn’t need dry feet because I was going home.

My Happy Place:

On my way back up Tijeras Creek Trail, I stopped to listen to the rushing water.  And then on a whim, I walked up mid-stream to explore the waters.  I’m not sure how far I hiked, but it was enough to soothe my soul.  I haven’t even downloaded my garmin yet, but I’m pretty sure the entire trip was about three miles long. Winking smile

Heading back, beaten by the preceding days, yet refreshed by the day’s little adventure (wearing my trail glasses so that I could read my text messages):