What do you do when your running is suffering (utterly failing), you doubt that you even want to do it anymore, and you can’t find time to pull your wits together and figure out what to do about it? Well, um . . . you get out there and run when you can, and figure it out later. That’s what I say. Later.
Later. I like that word.
Let it be said. Let it be done.
Monday, after making lunches and breakfasts I took off out my front door for a run along the southern beaches. Word was, waves had been ten to twelve feet the days prior. Although we live a mere half mile from the sand, I had not ventured down to see the spectacular show. Monday, the waves were still strong, but evidence of the past day’s destruction was stronger. What used to be asphalt parking lots were covered with sand and rocks. The volleyball courts in the sand were washed away. Cement benches and trash receptacles were strewn about like toys.
I had to pick up my pace some to get home in time. In all, I ran 5.12 miles (8.24 km), with a lovely flat 171’ (52.12’) of elevation gain. After this, I picked up boy number one from school, prepped to teach a PowerPoint class, then picked up boy number two, showered, dressed, ate dinner and drove off to teach my one class for the day.
I did not get out again until Thursday – and it took several hours after waking at 6AM. Of course there were lunches to pack, breakfasts to make, boys to drop off at school, not to mention two cups of coffee to down. But I also needed to do some grocery shopping. Finally at about 10:30 AM, I hit the trails in Aliso/Wood Canyons for a good-size loop up to Top of The World for a grand view of the Pacific Ocean. Word was that rain would fall soon, but the skies were blue when I set off. Fearing rain, not to mention being squeezed for time, I cut Wood Canyon short and ran up Mathis – the very first trail I ever took to the top. Honestly, I hiked much of Mathis on Thursday, and I was okay with that. Hell, it’s pretty close to a miracle that I can make it up Mathis without crawling, or stooping beneath the shade of a shrub and sobbing for that matter.
In all, I put in 9.3 miles (14.97 km) with 1,140’ (347.47 m) of elevation gain. Mere sprinkles of rain fell during it all, but winds were strong. Back at home, I showered and got ready for an AB86 meeting at the local community college in a record fifteen minutes. (I didn’t have time to do my hair, but I was clean. I jumped in the truck barefoot, knowing that I had some black pumps in the back seat, and drove my oldest up at the high school for a study session as I headed off to my meeting. Hardy laugh . . . when I got a fright after my son peered toward the back seat and said, “Why is there only one shoe on the seat?” He knew I was rushed and thought that was a funny joke. Me, not so much so.)
Friday, I spent all day at a seminar, of which I was a break-out group facilitator. After the break-out session, I presented our discussion in front of the entire seminar crowd. And when I didn’t think that I would feel nervous at all (because I am so used to speaking in front of groups of adults), I found myself quite nervous. That wiped me out. I mean, really! I am 50 years old, I speak in front of people lot of times! However, speaking in front of students is a completely different thing than speaking in front of colleagues and superiors in your field. Whew! I crashed hard Friday night.
Finally, this morning (Saturday) I hit the trails again around 11 AM in Las Flores. I took Tijeras Creek Trail down to Arroyo Trabuco Trail (a semi-usual stomping ground). With a down pour of rain on Friday, I hoped for full creeks. But alas, they flowed only slightly fuller than the last time I visited these trails.
It was a difficult time this morning with dark cloudy skies. I felt tired and depressed, but I put my head down (I know, bad form) and ran nonetheless. At one point, I came up on a man carrying a giant cross covered with red and white roses on this lonely trail. Following closely behind him were at least one-hundred other hikers, many with red and white roses in their hair. How odd this felt to encounter so many other people on a trail that I rarely see one other soul. Their presence was so spectacular I wanted to snap a photo, but then re-thought that, since they were on some type of religious journey. I didn’t want to intrude on that. They definitely lifted my spirits for part of this run. I always fin it uplifting to encounter other travelers along a lonely road.
I got in 9.72 miles (15.64 km) today along Arroyo Trabuco, with 650’ (198.12 m) of elevation gain. The week’s not over, and my feet managed twenty-four miles running. And as usual, I am definitely better for it. Later I will think about what the hell I am doing and what my plans are. Until then . . . I will smile. That’s all I can promise, a smile.