Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend of trails and snakes

Can I go from 0 to 100 in 3 weeks? That's what I'm trying to determine and last week and weekend left me no closer to figuring that out but closer to getting back in trail running shape. After tweaking my ankle last weekend, I took Monday and Tuesday off from land running and spent time in the pool. I swear that pool running is incredible therapy for recovering from sprains and injuries. My ankle felt better and the bruising around my tibia subsided. I get poking around at sore spot (one doc was concerned about) and realized it was not a bone issue; instead, the anterior tibial tendon had a lump in it. I did some excruciatingly painful deep massage on the area and it started to feel better. With the thought of a possible stress fracture out of my mind, I cautiously took to the trails.

Wednesday I did a gentle, easy trail run on the Quail Trail, one that I discovered last week. Only about 600 feet of climb (mostly in two climbs) and a mixture of fire road and single-track for a 5 mile out/back made for a nice test run. I wore my Aircast to prevent spraining and to help healing, something I'm going to be doing for a long time! Thursday I did the same run, except I continued past the Quail Trail to Serrano Ridge (trail part of Laguna Woods) and loved it! The views were fantastic and I got in some gentle rolling hills and took some pictures. Another out/back for a total of 10.1 miles and 1400 feet of climbing. Best of all, no ankle issues!

Newly opened and I got to be one of the first to discover this little jewel

A view from Serrano Ridge...then time to put camera away and focus on running!

A pink ribbon along the way...where's Billy?!

Friday was a rest day because I was getting sick. :( Saturday I awoke with a fever, the feeling of knives sticking in my throat, and overall ickiness. But I knew I needed to get in some miles so eventually I made my way to the Ridge Park entrance to Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The fever made running harder, as did my taking two new trails and discovering what goes down steeply must come back in, straight up! I took Bommer Ridge across/down, with my first snake encounter early in the run, to Big Bend and then climbed back out of Big Bend (holy smokes!). I then continued on Bommer Ridge until I got to Laguna Bowl Road and took that trail (very sandy at times) down to the end, while thinking how much of pain it would be to climb back out...yep, it was and I got my second snake encounter on the trip up. I haven't done climbs that steep in a year and they, combined with my sickiness, made the run challenging. However, I had hoped to make it through 6 miles and I wound up with 14 miles and about 2400 feet of climb.

Sunday I still felt sick but I was determined to get in 30 miles on the trails, even if it took me all day and night! I decided to combine some trails run previously, leaving out Big Bend and Laguna Bowl Road. I started at Ridge Park, ran along Bommer Ridge to Willow and ran down Willow for some technical training. The climb back up was easier than when I first did it months ago but I could feel my butt burning from Saturday's run. I turned on Laurel to Upper Laurel trail and did the slight up/down until I got to where it goes under the toll road to connect to Serrano Ridge. An out/back on Serrano Ridge, with a quick out/back on West Cayon (will explore another day) and I was at about 14 miles. However, I had only consumed 1 ShotBlok at that point and I realized I was behind on nutrition, though I had taken a salt pill every hour.

Emerald Canyon...very pretty single-track and very green- too green!

I hate snakes...and wonder what kind of snake is this one????

I contemplated going back to the car and refilling my water but decided to run down Emerald Canyon trail first; I ran down until it became gorgeous single-track; I loved it until I got sick of dodging what looked like endless bushes of posion oak (or something with leaves in thress) lining the trail; I turned around to go back up and had my third snake encounter of the weekend; feeling braver, I hopped over its tail and kept on my merry way. I started to feel very tired heading up and realized I needed more fuel so I sucked down a raspberry Cliff Shot and waited for it to kick in. I ran along Bommer Ridge (or more accurately, hiked the ups and jogged) towards my car. I hit my car around mile 19.5 and filled up water and realized I needed to start drinking more and eating more to finish the mileage.

I ran down No Name trail to the end, ran back up and then back down to add mileage, ran down/up some random trail, and then started to head back to Ridge Park. Extreme lethargy set in and my legs felt so spent that I had to pause to catch myself; I had flashbacks of my last 50K and realized I needed sugar; I took another Shot Block and it kicked in enough for me to get back to the top. I was at mile 28 and I decided to resist the temptation of stopping and ran past my car for another out/back. 30 miles done, 5350 feet of climb in a little over 6 hours. My legs were beat and I was starving! Note to self: eat more during a run!!!


  1. That sounds like a fantastic run. Except for the snakes they have and always will stop me in my tracks and every stick I see from there on out is a rattler...terrified.

  2. Very cool Rachel! I'm going to need to map out your run - I've been wondering how to get more than 10 miles in in Laguna Coast/El Moro. Thanks!

    There are basically three kinds of snakes in that area. The first makes noise and you definitely want to stay away from (Rattlesnake!). I've seen two of them up there this year. The second *looks* like a rattlesnake, but has no rattles - Gopher snake - completely harmless. The third is striped lengthwise - California King Snake - also harmless. From your photo - that looks like a gopher snake.