I’m trying to put in some last minute miles. How it will help me for next week . . . well, I don’t think it will. But I am going to show up at next week’s race anyhow. Reason 1) because I am running a relay with my friend Hank which will be fun (and as such will only need to do half the course), and 2) the Sycamore 100k is Dirty Feet Productions’ new race – and I want to support Jessica Deline, the race director.
If it wasn’t for Jessica, I may not have put in ten miles along these awesome trails on Friday. They were tough miles (because I am so DANG tired), but they were awesome and worthwhile. Trail miles always are, and I might have never known that.
Before Jessica Deline, like Friday’s trail, I was mentally sensitive. I was scared to death to venture out in the wilderness alone. It all started like this (not Friday’s run, but my first trail run): In an effort to get trained on trails (because I had stubbornly decided that I HAD TO run the Calico Trail Run, as I had camped there when I was in the fifth grade, and it made a big impression on me), I sought out other runners for help. I searched the internet until I stumbled upon a Yahoo group, called OCTR (Orange County Trail Runners), which was founded by Jessica. The group was free, so I signed up right away, and some time in June 2008, I signed up for a group run in Peter’s Canyon.
I got lost on the way to Peter’s Canyon, parked no where near where the group was supposed to meet, and anxiously looked about for any group of runners. Feeling defeated, as I had missed my chance to hit the trails with a group, I stubbornly decided to run them nonetheless. I. WAS. SCARED. TO. DEATH. Seriously, I didn’t know what was going to get me – a rattle snake, a mountain lion, an axe-murderer? I think that I may have even picked up a stick as I headed off down a trail that was surrounded by tall dry, brown grass. I remember meeting two women coming up from the trail. And I asked them if it was safe to venture there, to which they seemed hesitantly to agree that it was okay for a while if I was alone. (hehe!)
The first hill nearly knocked me to the ground, panting. Those were the days that I thought I needed to run every inch (I have since wised-up ). My confidence grew as I made my way around the lake. Each step was exciting and offered something new – a strange plant, a lovely boulder. I asked every group that I came up on, “Are you the Orange County Trail Runners.” Finally, I came upon a group, and they answered “Yes!” It was a small group, consisting of Jessica Deline, Tom Fangrow (the guy who since taught me almost everything I know on the trails), a swimmer named Laura (that I ran with one more time), and a couple more males. I kept up with the group fairly well because I was a road runner back then with a much quicker pace. They all carried jugs of water or packs on their backs. And they ALL wore shorts. I only wore pants back then – lesson learned on this day: don’t wear pants running trails (not unless it’s snowing!). Tom asked me on that first day, “Where’s your water?” I laugh now at my answer: “I don’t run with water.” Little did I know that you can die trail running without water. I went on to run some solo miles with Tom that day when the group ran back to their cars. I put in 9 miles total (my long run on the road was 14 miles). For several days afterwards, my glutes ached to lower myself into a chair. I felt exhilarated. I couldn’t wait to get back out on trails, which I did about a week later, at Aliso/Wood Canyons with Jessica, Tom and Laura. This time, I wore shorts. And I carried water.
Oh my gosh, little did I know how that day in Peter’s Canyon would alter my existence. I cannot imagine a life without wandering about trails all by my lonesome. And I cannot help credit Jessica and Dirty Feet Productions for helping me find this part of myself. And for that, I ran on Friday so that I could somehow go out and attempt the Sycamore 100k and be a part of Jessica’s new race. Thankfully, I have an awesome partner in my relay who will probably make it possible for us to finish the race within the time requirements. (Yay Hank!)
Before trail running I was like this tiny caterpillar I came across on Meadows trail as I made my way along this oh-so-tiring 10+ mile trip in Aliso and Wood Canyons: