Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mountain Runners....

That's the comment made by a hiker as Beiyi ran by on the trail today. Makes us sound like some kind of fierce, mountain-dwelling types! Beiyi, Maya, Kristen and I joined Lorraine Gersitz and Marisa Willment on a fun run in the San Gabriel Mountains.

We started at Chantry Flat (mile 75 of AC100) and climbed to Mt. Wilson via Upper Winter Creek Trail and Manzanita Trail.

Here I am on the trail, climbing up, up, up...

At the top of Mt. Wilson

Gorgeous views from the trail. See the snow on Mt. Baldy!

Then descend to Sturtevant Camp via Rim Trail (gnarly!) and Gabrielino Trail. Brief stop to fill water bottles and then down to Big Santa Anita Canyon via Gabrielino Trail. Finally a short hike up the paved road back to Chantry Flat. 17.5 miles of fun! What a great way to spend a Saturday!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Santa Monica Mountains Trail 50K

The Coastal Cuties had planned a fun weekend running; an easy 18-20 mile run on the sand at Huntington Beach, a relaxing afternoon by the pool at our hotel in Oxnard and then the Santa Monica Mountains Trail 50K on Sunday. Sometimes even the best made plans go awry; Maya (for once!) heeded Doctor's advice and decided not to chance further injuring her ankle by running on uneven terrain and Shelli was sick. So Kristen, Beiyi and I ran the Back Bay loop and then drove up to Oxnard where we spent the afternoon eating, shopping and then met up with Lorraine for dinner.

I'm fairly new to trail running but this was the best organized race I've entered: trails clearly marked, color of ribbons depended on distance, well-stocked and staffed aid stations, hot food and drink at the finish. Maybe it was because there were only 2 aid stations due to the "loop" course or maybe it was because the RD's are just good at this. Orange loop (La Jolla Canyon), pink loop (Sycamore Canyon), orange again, yellow loop (Ray Miller Trail) with downhill finish for total elevation gain of 5490 ft.

The only part of the course I really hated was a flat section on narrow single track through tall grass. I became convinced a mountain lion was going to jump me. Crazy really but I just couldn't get my legs to move. The only part of the race I hated was seeing the winner finish in 4:10 when I had another 3 hours to go!

Here I am still smiling as I head back up Ray Miller Trail (Backbone) for the final 5.3 miles. Finish time 7:19:41

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fame and Fortune....

On Sunday, 4 of the Coastal Cuties (as we now seem to be known), got together for a run in the hills of San Clemente and pre-run interview and photo shoot by Fred Swegles and Paul Bersebach of the OC Register. I had originally contacted Fred with the idea of him writing an article about the girls training for TCC, an advance story to get much needed publicity for the race. As we chatted via email over the course of several weeks, he became intrigued by how we were training for the race, in particular the Tahoe Triple Marathon and Grand Canyon R2R2R. Lorraine was kind enough to allow him to see the photographs she took of the Grand Canyon adventure and Fred was hooked. Unfortunately Shelli couldn't be with us but you can read the article at

Nicely written and certainly lighter reading than the horrific tales of neighborhoods ravaged by fire in So. Cal over the weekend. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this latest round of destruction and devastation.

Next up, the 5 of us will attempt the Santa Monica Mountains Trail 50K on 11/23.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"California's Toughest Marathon"

After 8 days of no running due to a bad case of flu followed by a sinus infection (!), I decided "what the hell" and ran the Saddleback Marathon. OC Register columnist David Whiting wrote about his experience in 2007 Here's my take.

The race starts at Blue Jay campgrounds and includes some of my favorite local trails in the Cleveland National Forest. This was the first race that all 5 team members of "Coastal Cuties" (the name coined by the Trail Headz) have been present at. Race Director Baz was in fine form, throwing insults to everyone and anyone as he explained what was to come. We were off, first on pavement, then on trails. Now these are not the easiest of trails and there's always rocks and roots waiting to catch you unawares and trip you. That's what makes it fun! Uphill start, down Trabuco, then up, up, up Holy Jim. Winding along on Main Divide and finally a welcome downhill finish. Maya screamed ahead as usual (she is so fast these days!), Shelli and I stuck together and Beiyi and Kristen were right with us. I found I could run the downhills reasonably comfortably but coughed all the way up. About 10 miles I began to think I maybe, just maybe, should have volunteered at an aid station rather than run. But, I don't believe in quitting unless you really can't go another step so I finished the race. Shelli (bless her) stuck with me the whole way, Beiyi finished ahead of us a full 2 hours faster than last year! And Croc Lady Lorraine had an amazing race too. Note the "Coastal Cuties" post-race shoe of choice....

Post-race analysis of GPS data by iDad Doug, and subsequent animated discussion by group techno geeks, showed recorded elevation readings for ascent and descent totals to be wildly inaccurate, with a spread of several thousand feet. I'm going to leave it to the Trail Headz mathematicians to figure out whether or not Baz's claim of 5100 ft of elevation gain is accurate or not. Until next year....