TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Saturday, November 23, 2019

The Vulture Crags on Veteran's Day

The Saddleback Marathon is in two weeks. There are changes, and plans to finalized. That is a tad stressful. And then there's the regular work hours, and I don't have time to work (or prep for work!). But, I'm doing it, and hopefully a good job. I'm also continuing my training for Calico. Phase I ends this weekend. And I am a tad behind. Will post those stats later. For now, here's a glimpse of my Phase I Road to Calico Training -- a beautiful hike along Santiago Trail with my husband to the vulture crags across from the flags. The flags were brand new on this morning, creases still visible from the folds. Someone got up bright and early on Veteran's Day to get them flying. 7.13 miles, 1,596' of elevation gain. 







Monday, November 11, 2019

Breaking 4:30

If you have read this blog before you know about The Big Loop -- it's basically the biggest loop I can do in Aliso/Wood Canyons (before they added the newest trail, Mentally Sensitive). The loop covers about 12 miles with some decent climbing. I go up Wood Canyon and then return through Aliso Canyon -- that's the easier direction, gradually climbing to the top.

My goal for my Road to Calico Phase 1 (Getting Ready) was to cover The Big Loop in under four hours and thirty minutes. That meant that I only needed to shave off about 7 minutes from my best time in Phase 1. Friday (11/8) was my day to attempt breaking 4:30. I set out at the Ranger's Station with a goal to make it to West Ridge in 2 hours. If I could do that, I would deinately break 4:30. My hike was good and strong through Wood Canyon and to my amazement, I made West Ridge in 1.5 hours! That got me giddy, thinking that I could possibly make this loop in 4 hours! And so, I kicked it in and really pushed. 

Ends up I didn't break 4:30. I crushed it. And it wiped me out good, covering my legs in dirt, and draining my energy for the day! Time for Friday's loop: 4:07:22.  Since Phase II does not start until 11/25/19, I think that I am going to change the final Big Loop goal for Phase I to four hours. Perhaps I am too ambitious, but I think not, as I was quite conservative in creating Phase I's goals in the first placej.

The Road to Calico is long and difficult, and at this early stage in the game, I feel little progress in gaining my strength back. I know it will come. Patience is key! Today at least, I can celebrate this milestone.  

View of Saddleback Mountains from West Ridge

View of Pacific Ocean from Alta Laguna Park, Laguna Beach

Walking through the neighborhoods to re-enter park in Aliso Canyon (@ Meadows)

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Measured Hike

I hiked the The Big Loop (really a lollipop loop) at Aliso (pictured below) last Sunday (11/2).(How's that for parentheses!) 


I'm purely hiking this loop right now, but I can certainly tighten it up and cut my time quite significantly by just picking up the pace of my hike. I want this 12(ish) mile loop under 4:30 hours to start. I figured I could do that with a minimal push, as the last time I hiked the loop (toward end of October), I finished in 4:37. Seven minutes over twelve miles isn't much to cut. 

Sunday, my husband accompanied me and I thought for sure I'd come in less than 4:30, merely because I would be trying to keep up with his pace. We would have probably come in at around 4:30 if he hadn't stopped to look at EVERYTHING. I'm half joking. It didn't bother me to stay above the 4:30 mark (I'm still only in the "Getting Started" Phase on my road to Calico). We ended up completing the loop in 4:44, which is still better than the Big Loop from three weeks ago, by 8 minutes. And the company was better too. Last time and the time before that, and before that, and so on, I was solo. 😉

The Big Loop






Monday, November 4, 2019

Making a Habit

The key to so many things that I want to accomplish, for me anyway, is making a habit. If I want to write well, I should write all the time. Great piano players make piano playing a habit. Alcoholics make drinking a habit. Habits run our lives. I start morning the very same way every single day: I turn on the computer and make a pot of coffee. Every morning. That's my habit. Once you've elevated some behavior to the status of habit, it's smooth sailing for that habit, it runs on auto-pilot, and it's very difficult to stop it. Just as difficult almost as breaking a habit though, is the making a habit in the first place. Especially so if it's a beneficial habit. Creating a good habit sucks. (This by the way is not necessarily so with bad habits).

Some years ago, running was my habit. I didn't need much motivation to get out and run. It was part of my routine; it had become habit. It wasn't always like that of course. The process of developing the habit was long and took a great deal of patience. I was about 36 when I dabbled in running again (the first time being during my teen years). Though I had keep active most of my years with other sports and activities, I couldn't run a street block without it feeling that my heart was going burst out of my chest. That pissed me off, which is the catalyst for my subsequent running years. The road was very slow; it took months, perhaps more than a year (I don't even recall!) to have the endurance to run ten miles. By then of course, I was already hooked, the habit had been formed, and just like all habits, it stuck with me for a long time, until it didn't (injuries and life took me down).

So, here I am once again systematically trying to make running a habit. Fortunately, I can run much more than a street block. I ran five miles at the harbor this past Friday (Nov. 1). Five miles is a lot more difficult than it used to be, that's for sure. It didn't kill me though, and it didn't feel like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. My goal for this run was just to establish a routine, get my feet moving for consecutive miles. It's all part of Phase I (Getting Started) on my road to Calico -- then I will bide my time (in other words force myself) until it becomes habit.

5 mile harbor run: