"Gonna keep on tryin' til I reach the highest ground." ~Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
Today, I conquered one of my fears. I ran up a mountain. By myself! :)
I needed to do it. I had to do it. My fear was holding me back and I had to prove to myself that I could be out there on my own and be okay.
I was supposed to go to Laughlin this weekend. Today was my mom's 65th birthday and we were all going to meet there to celebrate it. But I had a message from her waiting for me when I got back from my 17miler yesterday that said the trip was cancelled because she had the flu. Poor mom. She sounded miserable and so sad that her bday trip was spoiled. :(
So, suddenly I had a chance to run the trails in our mountains this morning. I picked Lower Monroe Truck Trail in Glendora so I could visit my grandpa after (the trailhead is 15 min from his house) & take him to lunch for his birthday which is Tuesday.
I decided to take Mystic Canyon Trail (MC) to get to Lower Monroe Truck Trail (LMTT) so I parked on Big Dalton Road (the white circle at the bottom) which is the trail head for MC & Big Dalton. MC climbs up in the area of the white square on the map and meets up with LMTT (the distinct white trail). The trail to the left of the square is Poop-Out Trail (PO) which is REALLY steep. I'm not sure why it's on the map and MC isn't. Maybe because MC is mysterious? ;)
Anyway...MC was pretty steep in some places as well and I probably did 70% hiking to 30% running. It was fun though. This is one of the flatter sections:
Once I reached the meeting point for PO, MC, and LMTT, I stopped to enjoy the view...
(same view from a higher ridge later)...then headed north on LMTT and it flattened out a little so I could do more running. My run up the mountain was quiet. Just me & the birds and some other small animals I heard rustling in the bushes. I did pass one other woman hiking on MC and one mt biker coming down LMTT but other than that, I had the trail to myself. It was pretty nice. All I heard was my breathing. And the occasional souped up bike racing down the mountain on Glendora Mountain Road.
There were 2 sections where the trail had washed away/eroded and there was just a sliver of trail left. I was nervous crossing them both times going up & down but I did it without falling down the side of the mountain. I think that was my biggest worry. That I would trip and fall off the side of the trail and no one would find me. Yes, I have an overactive imagination. But it could happen. Right?
To be honest, I was a little worried about some of the bigger animals as well. There are mountain lions and bears and rattlesnakes up there. Some of my friends who ride up there have had run-ins. But I didn't see any. Thankfully.
I spent a little too much time sightseeing and taking pictures so I didn't go all the way to the top like I'd planned. I'd told my grandpa I would be at his house by 11 and I didn't want to be late and make him worry so I turned around when I got to the top of the ridge (the top white circle in the map above). It's hard to see but there is a tiny little offshoot just at that junction and there are a bunch of bee hives there. I didn't hear any bees though. These are some of the views from my summit (3280ft):
The run down was a lot more fun and took a lot less time. It was also more social as I saw a couple more runners, mt bikers, and hikers w/dogs. When I got back to the MC/LMTT/PO juncture, I stopped to take my phone off airplane mode and took a moment to figure out which trail I was going to take the rest of the way. I kind of wanted to stay on LMTT but that would have added more than a mile and I didn't think I'd have time for that. Poop-Out also would have taken me away from where I parked and meant some road running so I decided to go ahead and head down Mystic Canyon.
And then I was done! I made it back to the car! 2 1/2 hrs running/hiking for the day. I was tired & a little sore, but in one piece. It was a great feeling. 1185ft to 3280ft. ~2100ft of climbing for the day. Not bad. Didn't get lost. Didn't fall off the mountain. Did a little climbing. It was a pretty darn good morning. :)
I took it easy up there today because my quads were sore from yesterday's run and my 50K is one week away but I will definitely come back in the next few weeks. If I park on Glendora Mountain Road, I can do all of LMTT (which includes multiple stream crossings) and I'll give myself enough time to go all the way to the top.
I definitely think I'm ready to take advantage of living in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains! I've got my big girl panties on now!
How about you? Do you/did you have any fears when it comes to running? How did you overcome them?