Last week I was stoked to hit some easy trails around the Quail Hill part of Irvine, off the 405 at Sand Canyon. I ran the dirt trail along Sand Canyon a couple of weeks ago and decided to try the Quail Hill loop, which is about 1.8 miles and only has a 250 foot hill. A few loops of it in the sunny, warm afternoon made me want my climbing legs back. I enjoyed finding a new easy trail that I could combine with the dirt path for some easy, after work runs. Looking online at the Irvine Open Space Preserve wesbite, I noticed there are some more open-to-the-public trails in the area and planned on venturing on those this week.
But first, I had to make it through the weekend. I planned on getting up at 3am Saturday to run 4-5 hours before heading to a traditional Chinese wedding ritual with my boyfriend's family; however, I felt sick in the morning and had to forgo the run. :( Sunday I waited until noon to head to the Ridge Park entrance to Crystal Cove park/El Moro/Laguna Woods; I was hoping to get in some heat training and test out my gear and new shoes (Mizuno Wave Ascends, the shoes I'm considering wearing as my 2nd or 3rd pair during the 100 miler). However, it was overcast/foggy and that kept temps low; wearing Moeben sleeves and UD Wasp hydration pack made me sweat like a pig (uh-oh, need to hit the sauna for heat training ASAP).
I planned on 20-30 miles and taking it very slowly, walking anything uphill and being careful on the downhills. I decided to head down (and up/down the rollers) No Name Trail, a trail I'd never explored. After a few miles, I had to fiddle with my insoles as my custom orthotics were sliding around...that didn't work and I had to deal with them again after running back up the trail to my car. Glad the plan of the day was to experiment as 6 miles and 2 adjustments to shoes/orthotics is something I want now, not during a race. I took off along Bommer Ridge trail and decided to take it until it ends...I ended up doing that and going out/back along Laguna Bowl Road trail and the Water Tank Road trail. I loved taking in the sights and feeling stronger on the trails than I have in so many months!
However, I was dealing with pain at the front of my ankle. Thursday's 11 miler I had worn an ankle brace with adjustable velcro straps and developed a sore spot/bruised area in that region either from the brace or from when I rolled it. It got progressively worse and wearing a brace on Sunday, I felt the pain get so bad that I had to stop after those out/backs to rub the area (ouch!!!) and remove the brace. I had fiddled with it a few times during the run and it seemed less painful when it was not on the tender spot.
After about a mile sans-ankle brace, I felt some relief from the excruciating pain so I decided to make the run 20 miles, not the 18 I had decided on when I removed the brace. To add the additional 2 miles, I ventured down El Moro trail for short out/back; on way back, I was feeling great running uphill...until my left ankle landed in a sandy area and buckled under me; I landed on the ground and yelled some choice words as pain shot through my ankle and leg. I gingerly stood up and was relieved that I could walk on it; in fact, I was able to jog most of the way back to my car, even on the uphill sections. Big plus= running hills was easier that late in a run that it was early in a run a couple of weeks ago! Big negative= my ankle hurt like hell later and the bruised area seemed to initiate from the bone.
I loved being on some new trails, feeling stronger on trails than I have in a long time (though the total elevation gain was only 3100 for 20 miles...not exactly that tough!)...now let's hope the ankle issue is just a minor tweak. Monday was my typical follow-up with Dr.Marcus and he was not that worried about the twisted/swollen part of the ankle; he did some tests on the bruised region and mentioned a MRI to rule out a stress fracture; I told him how I bruise without knowing why quite often and we decided to wait on the MRI. I am to monitor the area, wear my AirCast all the time (had it off during run), and see him again next week.
I'll update later this week on how it's feeling as I put it to the test today....