The La Jolla Legend races were postponed due to "Fire Danger & Red Flag Warnings" There are no specific fires in the area that I'm aware of, but with the dry hot Santa Ana winds blowing the conditions are right for a fire and for it to spread rapidly. The new race date is next weekend, which makes a little better sense schedule-wise anyway.
Thursday, I came home from work in a crabby mood. I was frustrated about the way a couple of things at work are going, about my darn hip bugging me most of the day and number #2 son procrastinating with his homework. I started to change into my running stuff and then decided the heck with it. Instead, I stayed home and shared my crabbiness with my wife and son. That was nice of me, huh?
Because my running plans for Saturday were postponed, I decided to go for a run in Chino Hills State Park. Friday evening I tried rounding up a partner. I gave Terry a call, but she was suffering from a pretty bad cold and had missed work the last two days. I tried Jesse, but he had an appointment at 9 on Saturday morning and had hurt his knee just a couple of days before.
My schedule (self imposed) called for 18 miles. With the planned 18k race that day, I originally thought I might make up the difference later in the afternoon with a jaunt through Bonelli. Last time I had run Chino Hills with the Cruisers and Jeff was a pretty tough effort at 16.2 miles so I didn't think I really wanted to go that far. I decided to just play it by ear, or I should say by legs, and determine the mileage as I went.
I got a slightly late start at 8:00 a.m. and headed into the back end of the park. I started up the North Ridge Trail. Within a mile, I ran into a runner heading out. He turned out to be the only runner I saw for the rest of the day. The North Ridge Trail is a relentless uphill for a good 4 miles before even a hint of down hill. After that there are a couple of down sections but overall the trail continues to climb. The last time I ran this with Jeff, Jesse, Michelle and Jim we headed down Sycamore Trail. Today I decided to keep on going out North Ridge until it eventually descended into Four Corners, the central hub of CHSP. This section of North Ridge had the steepest ascents yet, followed by a pretty steep decent into Four Corners. My efforts were rewarded with some amazing panoramic views of the valley and the mountains to the north. It was worth the steep hill. On this whole section I hadn't seen another soul for 3 or 4 miles. It was quite peaceful. I figured I had gone at least 6.5 miles. It had taken me 1:10, nearly 11 minute pace. I wasn't exactly sure how I felt about that.
My legs still felt really good at that point, much better than they had felt last week in Aliso Woods at 7 miles. I contemplated continuing east on Telegraph for a couple of miles before making the trip out, but ultimately decided that I should get out while the getting was good. I took a little break and talked to a couple of mountain bikers. They headed up Bovinian Delight to South Ridge and I headed back up North Ridge.
I intended on making my way out of CHSP down Telegraph, but before I did I added the little section back up the steep single track at the end of North Ridge and connected to McDermott Trail which led right back to Telegraph and added about a mile onto the run. Once I hit Telegraph it was a straight shot, roughly 6 miles out through the canyon back to the car.
Telegraph was way more popular than North Ridge. There were probably 20 or so bikers on the way in, in groups of 1 to 4. Near the end of the trail I came upon at least two groups of people hiking in. One biker I came across commented, "Hey, what happened? Did you lose your bike?" I thought that was pretty funny, maybe a little lame but better than being ignored. At one point I heard a pretty loud rustling to my left. More rustling than the birds would make. I looked up in time to see a deer crossing a small clearing. I stopped and ended up watching two more deer cross the clearing before I continued on.
My legs held up pretty well. They began to get tired but never to the state that they had the week before, i.e. no walk breaks required. I was a bit surprised at my time,at 1:14, on the way out considering the relatively flat to moderately downhill nature of Telegraph. This makes two weeks in a row that I've done the second "easy" half of a run in longer time than the first "hard" half. This doesn't make me feel too good about my current level of stamina. All together, I figure I covered about 13.5 miles at about 10:40 pace, way slow for my normal flatlander pace.
Sunday morning, I beat the alarm out of bed thanks to the end of daylight savings time. I drove over to Bonelli and got started at 7 PST (8 PDT). There was a significant line of cars trying to get into Bonelli. Some of them were parking in the Park & Ride lot. I was able to find a space. I asked someone in the line what was going on in Bonelli. It was the Muddy Buddy. They told me the race was scheduled to start at 8:30. This gave me plenty of time to get my run in and be out of there before it got started. The race route was marked and was only on the northern half of my loop. I got done today in 49:59, nearly 2.5 minutes faster than last week. By the time I left Bonelli around 8 there was still a significant line of cars waiting to get into the park. The backup extended onto the 57 freeway as well.
Someday I would like to try the Muddy Buddy. I've talked with two friends - both Bills, both better bikers than runners - about teaming up to do this thing but we never get anything solid together. Maybe next year. At the very least maybe I'll volunteer, since it is so close to home.
Miles for the week: 28.5