Sunday, March 31, 2013

Last Big Run - Solo Trip on the PCT

So as with all things, a training cycle must eventually wind down, and come to an end.  After all, that is the point of training, right?  A build up with a goal?  Well, as that goal approaches, there is always that "culminating point."  That was this run.  

I wanted to have my last big run of the cycle to be in an epic, new location.  Great thing about SoCal, is you are never too far from the Pacific Crest Trail; and as such, my destination was chosen.  Here it is in pictures, with a little bit of writing thrown in - Cougar Crest Trail to Little Bear Springs via the PCT.

Cougar Crest Trail out of Fawnskin, CA.  It climbs from just under 7k to just over 7.5 k in  little over 2 miles.  I wish this pic could really showcase the technicality of much of the trail, but it doesn't do it justice.  Most of the trail is highly technical.

View South from Cougar Crest.

Lookin' south towards the Big Bear ski slopes.

Nice open view of the lake and the snow caps in the back.

Once on the PCT, it opened up into some smooth, soft, single-track.

There was some snow left on the north side of the ridge, despite it being almost 60 degrees.  Good thing, because when I ran out of water, the snow came in handy!

Very smooth track running just below the ridge line.  Nice alpine running.

It just keeps on rolling....

Eventually, due to a past fire, the view opens up and you can see the 10k footers to the west.

Despite the damage a fire does, there is still something serene about a new beginning.

It did get rocky in some portions on the PCT.

The burned trees stood there watching...lifeless.  

Little Bear Springs Trail Camp.  Too bad there was no potable water...I could have used it!
 All in all, it was the perfect place to do a long run.  I don't know why I hadn't been out there yet, but I'm glad I went.  The couple of places I've run on the PCT have been amazing, and I plan on exploring much more of it in the coming months.  I know there are even better places to go, and plenty of miles to keep me occupied!

This was a solo adventure, and I'm glad it was.  Sometimes that's just what you need.  It's good to just turn off the Ipod sometimes, sit on a rock, and just enjoy nature around you.  It's hard to imagine for those who have never done it, but such a tiring exercise can be so refreshing.

In the meantime....Keep Running!

Maize Loop - JTNP

I've had the opportunity to explore most of the marked trails in Joshua Tree National Park over the past several months, simply by looking them up in my guidebook, and setting off on the trails.  One trail I hadn't explored until last weekend, was Maize Loop.

I didn't even realize that this trail existed, until my new trail running partner (who is a converted hiker, you're welcome) told me about it and asked if I wanted to run it and check it out.  Of course I was down for it, so off we went.  It turned out to be a pretty nice trail, very runnable, with some rolling climbs and descents.  As always seems to happen, it turned into more of a "scrunbling" trip (to steal Tony Krupicka's phrase), but that's ok, because on these adventures I'm never too concerned with time or distance; just the experience.

I took plenty of photos on the trip, as always, in an attempt to capture the beauty that is the high desert area surrounding where I live.  Enjoy!

Maxwell tearin' it up on some desert single track

Not sure what it is, but it was cool looking!

Look, over there!

Looking toward the Wonderland of Rocks.

I never get pics of myself...until now.

A rare desert tortoise on the trail.  We hung out to make sure no one stepped on him and he made it safely off the trail.
Not a bad trip overall, and a new great place to run.  I highly recommend you check it out if you get the chance.

In the meantime...Keep Running!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

We're Back....

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted anything up here.  Truth is, it's been pretty, family, training; add to all of that I started taking college classes again, and my plate has been pretty full.  But, I'm back.  I'm going to try and stay consistent here and post at least twice a month.  I don't think that's unrealistic, right?

So my training for my upcoming race, Leona Divide 50k has been going pretty great.  Matter of fact, I guess it's almost over at this point.   About 2 more weeks then it's time to start tapering.  Great news, is that I've managed to get out and run in some new areas recently, and it's really stoked my fire.

1.  Palm Desert, California.  There are a whole series of trail systems down there (it's about an hour away), and being right at the base of the San Jacinto and San Bernandino Mountain ranges, there is some serious vertical to be had if you want.  Last time I was out there, I did a 10 mile run, with over 2k feet of vert.  Not to shabby.  I've got plans for another run/hike in that area with twice the distance and 5x the vertical, but I'll hold off on that one until after this first race of the season is complete.

2.  Right out of my front door.  Well, not right out, but after about a mile or so of some pavement, then I hit some dirt (or sand, rather).  There's a nice little series of single track trails in the ridgeline behind my house.  It can get pretty brutal terrain and technicality wise (it's all lava rock, and yes, it hurts to fall on), but the vertical is not too serious.  There's definitely some grunty climbs, and a few sketchy decents just due to loose rock, but I would say on the average 6-7 miler in that area, you get about 12-1500 feet of vertical.  I'll take it for being less than a mile from my house.

3.  Pacific Crest Trail.  The other day, I ran a section of the PCT with a buddy.  A fairly simple 10 miler, doing an out-and-back from the Palm to Pine Highway.  It's amazing out there.  And being at about 2500+ feet higher than where I am now, the weather was significantly cooler.  I've got a feeling when things heat up this summer, I'll be doing many of my longer runs at higher elevations, and that's definitely on my list.

4.  The beach.  I've been spending alot of time in the greater San Diego area for work lately, so I've taken that opportunity to run on the beach.  No hills, no gnar, just simple beach.  I still love the simple runs;  the relaxation of it, the smell of the ocean, and the constant perfect breeze.  I do love running on the beach, especially in the early morning.

I plan on doing some more runs with friends coming up, and I need to remember to bring my camera along to get some pictures to post.  I've got a few epic adventures planned for the coming months, and I plan to share them.  I also need to post up some of my reviews on some new gear I've been wearing (shoes, especially). 

As for now, that's all I've got.

In the meantime....Keep running!