Serious runner's high from today's run. The kind of run where you just shake your head, smile at everything and nothing in particular and count your blessings to be where you are at that given moment.
Today, the Trail Runners Club had a route that I had not done yet (surprise!) - a looping, clockwise 14+ mile route that takes you up from Temescal Park past flowing streams and rocky ascents, to the lush and muddy downhill on the Backbone Trail in Will Rogers Park.
I was very apprehensive going into it as my foot is still not feeling a 100% and 14+ miles would be the most I've done since my injury. But I told myself I could just turn back around if I felt the foot acting up. Thankfully, it didn't.
With Josh near the start (thanks for the photos!)
It had rained most of the day yesterday so today, we were greeted to clear skies, crisp and clean air, and plenty of mud. My kinda day. Once the club had assembled and was about to begin, we saw a smallish Coyote wandering up the trail ahead of us. Shortly after we began, we saw another Coyote in Jimmy Dean and his friend. I ran with them and Josh for a little bit, before letting them proceed. The first couple of miles were a bit rough as I felt heavy, slow and out of shape. Then I eased into the run and the miles clicked away effortlessly. As I mentioned, the scenery and beauty of the day definitely helped.
Will Rogers State Park
Save for the initial mile or so, I ran solo the rest of the day. I had random hares, a trio of deers and the rest of the wildlife of the park as my running compadres. When I got closer to the more heavily populated and visited Will Rogers Park, I greeted each and every person I passed with a friendly hello and even a couple of ahnnyunghaseo's for a few Korean hikers I ran past. We had one last ascent near the end climbing out of Rivas Canyon up a series of switchbacks before running back into Temescal to rendezvous with the rest of the crew.
It was also a fairwell gathering of sorts as fellow club member Kai was leaving for New York in the upcoming weeks. So we surprised him with some cake, food and all kinds of other goodies at the finish. Best of luck buddy.
Legs were definitely sore but the foot held up fairly well. Very happy with how the day turned out.
Next week, Malibu Creek 25K!