Sunday, December 23, 2007

Super-early pre-Christmas run at El Moro

We have had a wonderful run in El Moro on Sunday. At first I thought no one is going to show up at all. Then Mike K signed up on the condition though that the run should start at 5:30am. After Mike mentioned he would bring his famous cannabis brownies, few more brownies lovers signed up for the run too: Charles and Keira. Also Mike invited over a friend of his – Matt.

At the end of the day this Mike’s brownies thing turned out to be a scam and we did not get any. As Mike explained after the run it was a joke. I totally agree with Chaz on this: “There are a few sacred items you don't screw around with in ultra running: someone's hydration bottles, all Garmin products, trail shoes and fricken brownies.”

The day started with four of us impatiently dancing together in chilly morning dusk waiting for Keira to show up. The temperature at the Ridge Park was about 45F. As Charlie noticed, if it were a guy we had been waiting for, we would have been gone for good long before that. But Keira was worth every second of the wait. I did not have a chance to meet her before but just heard a lot about her from OCTR folks. Keira turned out to be another "Energizer bunny" constantly cheering and energizing everyone around her – very similar to iMichelle image I got after I ran with her in Aliso/Wood. Later on when we hit BFI and El Moro ridge uphill, and I lagged behind everyone and switched to walking, Keira waited for me and kept cheering me until we reached the top of it. Thanks to her I managed to run it up this time!

But when we started the run it was still pretty dark there. Mike and Chaz had headlamps. They turned out to be pretty handy on the Pacific Ridge trail, which had a couple of moderately technical downhill sections that would have been a bit tricky to get through with no lights at all.

After we reached the PCH and made a turn on BFI, I saw Chaz and Keira abruptly stopped staring at something on the trail. That something turned out to be a couple of empty Starbucks cups left by some careless hikers by the trail. I would normally just pass by not even paying attention to some trash in the park. Not these guys though. They picked up the cups and argued for the next 10 minutes who will have an honor to carry them out. Finally after the caps were properly smashed and loaded into Chaz's backpack, we went on.

After we reached the top of El Moro, Keira became restless and kept running back and forth every single little side trail or anything reminding a side trail at all. She recalled some magnificent down-hill switchback she ran down there with Kevin once before. We did not find it but the whole back-and-forth exploration process was quite a fun just by itself.

This is what we looked like when we finally hit the Bommer Ridge:

The first loop around Crystal cove was over 10 miles. After that we returned to our cars to refill our bottles. At that point Keira told us she was tired - something no one probably ever heard from inexhaustible Keira ever before - and opted out from the second loop. She had an excuse through - she had run 30 miles with LT just the day before...

We did our second loop on that spectacular side trail leading from the Bommer Ridge down to Laguna Canyon. I am not sure about the names of trails and canyons though in the north-east part of Crystal Cove. Probably this is the one reffered to by Ryan as Mudslinger Scramble.

Anyways while we were running there Charlie was entertaining us with various stories interrupted from time to time with short commercials about his new grey running bra with cupholders for Starbucks cups:

Our final mileage was: 18.3 miles
Overall time: 3:24:20
Average pace: 11:10 minutes/mile

More photos from our run:

El Moro Run 23-Dec-07


Charlie Nickell said...

For the record, the cup holders are for my pecks. And, Keira put the Starbuck's cup in sideways so I had an Exxon Valdez oil slick to deal with when I got home. White trash and white trash just don't mix. Thanks for posting the run it was fun. I need a brownie.

Treehopper said...

Hello fellow trail goer. This is Ryan from the Mudslingers. Drop me an email the next time you go run. I would love to hook up with you guys in the next couble days.