I hit the road Saturday before dark in the first time in a long time. I much prefer sleeping in nowadays, to at least 6:00 AM (7:00 AM is even better). But on this day, I was out of bed by 5:30 AM. While driving out, I noticed that one of our neighbors a couple of blocks away still had Christmas lights lit. Other than that, the drive to Santiago Canyon was uneventful.
Ever since my trail accident, I have been nervous about running alone in the mountains. I prefer the coastal hills right now when I run solo. I have cell service there, plenty of people and easy emergency access. I’m wondering if I have been crazy rarely feeling any fear going off into the wilderness on my own all these years. With the recent death of an Oregon Trail/ultra-runner, I can’t help think that perhaps I should run with people more often. Fortunately, I know a wonderful lady named Sheila who likes trails too, and we met up together in Modjeska Canyon, where she followed me into Santiago Canyon for a parking space off the side of the road She’s much more in shape than I am, and getting ready for the LA marathon, but she’s also good company and not seemingly annoyed by me lagging behind.
It was a beautiful morning, not very cold at all, especially compared to recent mornings. And we had the trails all to ourselves for quite some time. We took Santiago Truck Trail out to the vulture crags, where a U.S. flags flies across the way, then headed back. The views were immense with clear views of the ocean and Catalina Island from there.
On the return trip, we came across several mountain bikers. And I even saw another trail running friend, Janine, whom I have not seen since Chimera, where she volunteered to work the Start Line aid. In all I put in 7.39 miles with 1,305’ of elevation gain.
Running Santiago Truck Trail with Sheila was the best of both worlds. I got companionship, and I got alone time. And I got home before 10AM.