Sunday, October 22, 2006


It seemed like a good idea at the time. Bryan, our son, wanted to spend the day at the NPPL tournament at the Orange County Fairgrounds on Saturday. He wanted to be there about the time that I would normally be in the middle of my run. My wife would also be at her yoga class. I can run anytime so I got him there around 9:00 and then drove on down to Laguna Niguel for my run in Aliso & Wood Canyon.

I was surprised at the number of cars there around 9:45. I had thought that maybe a lot of people would have gotten out early and been done. I had checked by log and blog entry from the last time I ran this with the Cruisers and Jeff. The trip from the parking lot up the canyon trails, up Cholla and Westridge to the Top of the World was 14 miles roundtrip. My schedule called for 12. Since I wouldn’t be able to tell where the 6 mile turnaround was I decided to do the whole 14.

About 3 miles into the run I came upon a lady runner. We exchanged greetings and I commented on our late start. It was at least 10:00 by then. She asked me if I was going to Cholla and back. I told her my plans to make it to Top of the World and back. She commented that I had a long day ahead of me. I wouldn’t realize until later just how long.

It was pretty warm out there. We are having a pretty typical heat wave for October in SoCal. When I got to Cholla, I determined to make it all the way up without a walk step this time (Jeff!). I made it and then took a nice little break at the top. Up to that point I had only seen about a half dozen runners, most of them heading out and a couple dozen bikers. I’m not sure who was in all those cars in the parking lot.

On the way up Westridge, I started feeling the toll of the heat and the up hill. Basically the run is 7 miles up, from the canyon to Top of the World, followed by 7 miles back down. I crested what I thought was the last hill, even walking part of it, to find that I still had another section and hill to go before I got to TotW. I thought about calling it 6 but kept going. I really needed to refill my water at the fountain at the Top. I walked part of that hill too. Last time I commented that the hills on Westridge weren’t too tough. Saturday I’d say they were a lot tougher. I took another break at the top and then headed on down.

The run down was pretty uneventful through Cholla and about halfway down the Canyon trails. About 11 miles into the run, I was getting really tired. I began to take 1 minute walk breaks and then shuffled along. The walk breaks stayed at a minute but came closer and closer together. Finally, the last mile I think I walked more of it than I ran. I had absolutely no gas, no steam, no nothing left. I remembered feeling like this at about the same point on my runs after SEAFAIR. Here I was two weeks post SGM with nothing in the tanks. I promised myself that after Tecumseh, I would take some time off.

As I approached the last 100 yards of the trail or so, I began to run again. It was a joke. I wasn’t fooling anybody that would have seen me. I certainly wasn’t fooling myself, but I just couldn’t “cross the finish line” walking. My time up was 1:11; my time down was 1:22, pretty pitiful. I had expected to negative split considering the downhill return.

I learned that Aliso & Wood Canyons are more challenging than I first remembered. There is almost no tree cover so running in the middle of the day is not the best idea. Having a partner along would have kept the motivation level up. I was also happy to find out that my legs didn’t end up with that shredded feeling of the last run.

I followed up today with my usual Bonelli loop (clockwise). I woke up on time and contemplated going later in the day to ease the Sunday morning breakfast/church crunch. Then I remembered how warm it got yesterday and jumped up to take advantage of the morning coolness. I’m glad I did its 85°F right now at 4:30 p.m. I didn’t break any land speed records this morning (52:21), but my legs felt good.

Miles for the 31.

On a random note, on the trail Saturday, I came upon a couple walking the coolest dog. It turns out it was a Labradoodle. It looked like a curly haired Lab. It had a super easy going personality. I like larger dogs. We currently have a German Shepherd mix, Boomer. I doubt that I would actually seek out this breed, especially since they are considered designer, but this particular one was intriguing.


backofpack said...

Those dogs crack me up! Remember when they used to be called "mutts"? Now they are designer, with designer names...

I bet that was a tough run in the heat and all alone. Good mental training though.

robtherunner said...

Heat, what's that? I think you deserve a break after you finish the next marathon. It will be nice to have some mental downtime as well.

Sarah said...

That's a tough run 2 weeks after a marathon! Glad your legs are feeling good.

Wes said...

I'm glad you are going to take a l'il break too :-) That's a tough schedule for anybody. Well, except maybe for Dean, but we can't all be a running god, can we?

Seven miles to the top, huh? Would that count as a hill on Galloway's plan? LOL. Even walking on the way down is still an awesome accomplishment so close to your recent marathon. You probably just need a four week taper before the next one :-) You'll be awesome.

Joe said...

Fascinating how the body responds to a marathon. I think you are doing pretty well, though.

I guarantee we won't have 85 degree heat here for Tecumseh :-)

Jessica Deline said...

Yea Aliso is definitely a challenging place to run! And you're right - not a lot of shade around there...

kivster said...

sounds like a couple of huge runs - i am amazed that you could do it so soon after your marathon. wish i could get out to cali and run with you - maybe one day, too bad I am not applying to any residency programs in california - though i will be in San Diego the beginning of march (which reminds me I should check out if there will be any races around that time).

great runs - thanks for your encouraging words on my blog. hope one of these days to run a marathon with ya. go blow those hoosiers back into their cornfields.

Mike said...

That trail is very tough but two weeks after a marathon that is KILLER. I remember those trails well..spent a ton of time mountainbiking there...why is Cholla so friggen steep!??
If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger right?
Definitely schedule some down time after the next big race!

jeff said...

yeah, the coastal trail around here can be brutal when it's warm we found in chino hills.

congrats on making it up cholla without a walk step. seeing that in your blog made me laugh.

miss runnin' with you, darrell. headed to la jolla canyon this weekend?

Anonymous said...

looks like you can really use some company on your saturday runs. i joined jessica's yahoo group of trail runners in oc, the octrailrunners. i ran with them two saturdays, at aliso woods and at el moro canyon. there's a trail run every saturday. even if you don't want to run with them on saturdays, as it would conflict with the cruisers, you can use the list to find people to run with. there's usually people trying to pair up for runs. that must have been a really tough run. i've had those in which the second half is downhill and takes longer than the first half. sucks.