Today's run kicked my butt (literally my glutes are aching) and left me feeling like I ran at least 50 miles...too bad it was just 20. I met up with two members of the SocalTrailheadz for today's run; I always wanted to run in the Saddleback Mountains but have either had no time or lots of excuses. Today I almost talked myself out of it, including during the run, but was very happy to finish in one piece. It ended up being a warm day and much of the trail was exposed so I was very thankful we got an early start and that I had two gracious companions.
Going into the run, I knew where we were meeting and that we could go to Modjeska Peak and back down a different trail. Silly me never researched anything about the trails; or maybe it was smart of me as I would have bailed on it. We started in Silverado on a trail I believe is the Silverado Trail; it was the toughest climb I have encountered in a long time and I instantly felt I was in over my head. Thankfully, my running partners held a good pace and my legs eventually warmed up.
We eventually connected to the infamous Main Divide and I was not impressed; it was the first of many times we would encounter dirt bike riders and I did not like inhaling the dust or fumes; yet the views were phenomenal. It seemed like forever before we reached "Four Corners" and the majority of our climbing was done, as were my legs. The run leader then took us on the "Fifth Corner", an extremely steep (at times) and super technical trail. I started getting dizzy and my pace climbed as I tried to gain footing; the rocks meant I had to be very careful or I would fall and the surface often was soft and I would slide backwards. It was an absolutely beautiful trail that landed us on south Main Divide (?), which we took to the top of Modjeska Peak.
After a quick break where we refueled, we went back down. Daniel said it was all downhill from there and he was not exaggerating; thankfully, we skipped the "Fifth Corner" and ran down the less technical Main Divide. I am not the best on rocky paths and I turned my ankle numerous times, which got increasingly frequent during the descent. We ran down Maple Springs trail and my legs decided they were done. I am not accustomed to almost 11 miles of nonstop climbing and 9 miles of non-stop downhill running; I struggled to keep up with them as I kept turning my ankle and tripping as my legs got tireder and tireder.
By the time we hit the pavement for the run back to where we parked near Silverado Trail, my legs and body were so sore. In the end, we ran 20.25 miles and I was just happy that I did not give up. It was the type of tough trail run that makes me a better runner and I know I need to hit the trails in that area more often.