Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dirty, dirty, dirty

I FINALLY tried trail running.

Before I was ever a runner, I was a hiker. I lived in SoCal alone for months when I got a great job, and my kids were finishing out the school year in Florida. I had a lot of time on my hands, so I hiked. A lot. I loved the trails, I love the beauty of the hills and the way the land changes with the seasons (it's true!).

I even got The H to hike a few times, and it was grand.

And then I ran, and the hiking took a back seat. Such a bummer, because I really miss it. But between work, kids, cooking, life, I just can't squeeze in everything I want to do all the time. It's truly unfair, that there are only 24 hours in a day.

I've been following Lauren On the Run's blog for a few months now, and am always super jealous of her - all galavanting about on the trails, running, happy, shiny. But I have been pretty well focused on training for Long Beach for months...

So here I am. Between races. I'm not in SUPER hard core training mode right now. The weather is pretty much perfect for being out on the trails. Why not?

I wanted to start small, and with a trail I'm familiar with - I always have this fear that I'm going to get lost in the (vast) Orange County wilderness. I'm a moron, because obviously I won't. But it terrifies me anyway. So after much waffling, I decided to try Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, and the Laurel and Willow Canyon Trails.


I meant to get up early enough to hit the parking lot at 8am when it opens, but I didn't. And it's fine, I was freaking exhausted - last week was super busy, and I'd been getting up super early for over a week, so sleeping in an extra hour was like heaven. Plus, unlike my long runs during training, this was only about a 3.5 mile loop, so it would only be about an hour, not 2-2.5 like a long run. Easy peasy.

Obviously, fate was on my side...


The hillsides in OC go all brown during the summer, since we don't get a drop of rain for something like a million and five days, but the trail is so scenic, it makes up for the brown fields of grass...


YELLOW LEAVES!! I'm a sucker for fall.

I'm also a sucker for cool geology, and took a hike on this trail once led by a geologist, who pointed out some interesting (if you're a geek like me) features...


No, seriously. That's a REAL fault line. Like, that cause earthquakes. Pretty neat, right?

The first part of the trail is fairly flat and sandy, through fields, before you head up into Laurel Canyon... then it climbs up to the ridge. I was pretty slow once I got into the canyon, because, let's be honest, I am grateful every time I move that I don't end up on my ass. There's this....


The trail is pretty narrow. And it's about a 20 foot drop into the canyon here... after you go in a bit further, the drop is obviously farther, but the trail widens up and ventures further away from the edges.

I sometimes get the impression The H doesn't care for hiking with me, because I have a ridiculous obsession with taking pictures of flowers. It's a sickness, really. I can't be stopped.


It makes spring time hikes take forEVER.

Anyway, through these narrow paths, between trees, and giant rocks, and hillsides, and then.

And then it goes UP.


The really exciting part, for me, about this is I distinctly remember the first time I hiked this trail, over 2 years ago, with that geology group. And this hill. This hill almost broke me. I was the LAST one up the hill (except for the guy with a cane, and only barely). And there were MORE after this. It was an ugly sight.

I did the hike again about a 1.5 years ago with The H, and the hills were still HARD. There were breaks taken. It was still ugly.

But this time... I ran, probably 2/3 of the hill. And then I hiked the rest, but that hiking was SO EASY. I reached the top and was ready to run.

That was rad.

The views from the ridge are pretty nice. It was a really foggy morning, but I'm not complaining.


I started waaaaaaay down there!


It's so FLUFFY!


Not a bad day, my friends. Not a bad day at all.



Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

I love hiking and trail running. We need to plan an outing!

theAlmostRunner said...

Awesome job with the hike and the hill. I'm so glad you make time to work out and be active with your husband and kids.

funderson said...

You are an official badass...it looks lovely!

Molly said...

wow, your trail is gorgeous! I'd love to run there!

Molly said...

wow, your trail is gorgeous! I'd love to run there!

Molly said...

wow, your trail is gorgeous! I'd love to run there!

Molly said...

wow, your trail is gorgeous! I'd love to run there!

The Jesse said...

i LOVE hiking! there is a section of trail that we run sometimes on our long runs that i would consider makes it a "trail" run and its so fun and a nice change :)

Pam said...

this is a very beautiful trail!! :)

beautiful day indeed! :)

Fruit Fly said...

That is so cool!! I seriously need to come down on a little vacay and we can have a Team Jam hiking trip and take pictures of fault lines and flowers!


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