Sunday, July 22, 2007

Running the Backbone Trail

This summer I've had the pleasure of doing some awesome trail runs along the Backbone Trail, which extends for 60+ miles through the Santa Monica mountains. Bruce has been the driving force and organizational whiz, and he's now completed the whole thing. (What a champ.) While I've only run parts of the trail, the sections I saw were beautiful--and challenging--and I definitely want to continue to explore...maybe by fastpacking it over an extended weekend?

My running companions, L-R: Bruce ("Rolling Hills"), Karl ("I Found A Shortcut") and David ("The Animal").

I'm smiling because the run hasn't started yet. Fortunately we had a nice steep hill to hike so that I could properly warm up.

David, on the other hand, ate the hills for breakfast...and then went back for seconds.

The views were completely stunning the entire time. Too bad the trail was so rocky, we had to constantly choose between admiring the scenery and staying upright.

It's like the skeletal version of Mt. Rushmore.

It's hard to tell from this picture, but I'm straddling two rocks about 4 feet off the ground. There's a narrow passageway between them, and supposedly if you walk through the rocks, your sins are magically forgiven (according to a highly reliable webpage Bruce read.) I wish I'd have known in advance, since I would have sinned a lot more Friday night, but I made do. I don't know if it worked, but the air between the rocks was really cold and refreshing. I could have happily stayed crammed inside for a good half hour.

I didn't get the memo about wearing Cho-Pats. How embarrassing!

Bruce: We just have to ascend that trail for 4 miles, then it's aaaaallllll downhill to the finish.
Karl: Um, haven't you've been saying that for two hours?
Bruce: But these will be rolling hills.

I've fallen for Bruce's tricks for the last time!
(In all seriousness, he did an awesome navigational job. It's not his fault I'm a whiny baby who doesn't like uphills).

Ultrarunner's secret #42: Pringles are the best method of sodium ingestion. Karl recommends seasoning them in a sweaty pocket for several hours. Gourmet!

I don't have pictures of the end of the run, but the last few miles were definitely the highlight. We ended on the Ray Miller trail, and it was 3 miles of gentle downhill switchbacks, cruising towards the ocean. Sweeping views and a nice sea breeze made the pain disappear and reminded me why I love trail running.

Thanks, guys...let's do it again soon.


Sunday, July 08, 2007

Fangs for the Memories

Sometimes people ask me how I knew Jason was "the one." Was it his intelligence? His sense of humor? His dashing good looks? His impeccable dental hygiene?

Yes, all of those things were important. But what clenched it was how well he fit in with my family.


Through a Glass, Darkly

Jason is more ominous when behind translucent plastic, yes/no?