This weekend was another long mileage weekend for Pigeon and myself. As I posted last weekend, I suffered quite a bit during the Way Too Cool 23 Mile Training Run and I was really nervous about tackling that mileage again.
In typical Pigeon fashion, she had a plan of attack. Our plan was somewhere between 21 and 22 miles in the form of two different loops. She had us doing two major climbs. However, we used her car as our own personal aid-station in between the two loops which really broke up the run quite nicely.
As we carpooled to the base of Stagecoach we talked about my run last weekend. The mental ups and downs that I had, the things that hurt or went wrong and how I loved my new Jenny Vesta (except for the bladder issues). As we parked, unloaded and was putting on our packs, I was telling Pigeon that I loved the two bottles on the front of my pack and I grabbed them with both hands and said “at least it doesn’t jiggle!” I would venture to guess that this was the start of our day of giggles, laughter and sarcastic comments. As Vans has told me many times, I am very oblivious and naive about a lot of things. Pigeon, who only saw what I was doing out of the corner of her eye just busted out laughing … “Woah, what are you doing!? What’s going on over there!?” she said. *Maybe this doesn’t translate well to typed words, but it was quite hilarious in the moment.
It was a chilly start to our run. We did what is called the Clementine Loop. My legs felt a little stiff at first, still tired from the effort I put forth in last weekend’s run combined with the little to no recovery that I had after the run.
We stopped shortly into our run so that Pigeon could use the restroom. The best part about our run was that there were numerous bathroom options along the trail, which I will say I took advantage of at almost every stop.
Pigeon knew her way around and did not tell me what was ahead of us most of the time. In my typical fashion, I just followed.
What was really neat was seeing that there IS water despite our massive drought here in California. I had to take a photo-op in front of the water fall/damn thing that we passed. That’s what flowing water is supposed to look like!
Just continuing along the trail it was fun to catch up with Pigeon and see some new trails.
Pigeon was feeling great. It was obvious. She had a great spring to her step, a great attitude and should I even say she was singing on the trail at various spots! I have never in my day heard her sing while running. If she keeps that up, she’ll be easy to pace at Tahoe Rim Trail this year!
Some of my favorite parts of this loop was the signage we saw. I just kind of thought the signs had funny names to them and it made me stop to take photos.
We finished the Clementine Loop which was shy of 10 miles I think and stopped at our aid-station to refill our bottles, have some fuel and once again use the restrooms.
The next part of our loop would take us up Stagecoach which is a pretty significant climb. The temps were warming just a bit and Pigeon insisted I take off my long sleeve. I told her that I only had a tank-top on underneath and she assured me that what we were about to run was in fully exposed sun and that I would get hot.
Taking her “experienced advice” I took off my long sleeve and left it in the car. Mind you, the air temps by the car were so cold you could SEE your breath! We set off on our climb. As were running we passed some hikers wearing wool caps, gloves and down jackets. Hmm, I am thinking to myself, they are pretty covered up but well, they are not running.
A little further up the hill we passed some runners coming down … wearing long sleeves, gloves and a neck scarf. Interesting. Where is this sun?
Pigeon kept insisting it was just around that corner, or just around this corner. Sure we’d hit pockets of sunlight but I wouldn’t go as far to say it was “fully exposed” by any means. As we’re running she tells me how hot it gets here because back when she ran this, IN THE SUMMER TIME it was so hot. Um, yeah, it is January and the sun is in a different spot. Maybe by 2 pm this section would be FULLY exposed but not at 9:30 in the morning!
The sarcastic comments were flying as we ran. We were just laughing and having a good time. When we made to the top of Stagecoach we ran through the town of Auburn which has some of the cutest homes around. Each has personality and I love it.
Soon we made a turn and found ourselves back on the trail. I saw a familiar sight too!
This canal leads to the Auburn Damn Overlook and I have “iced” my aching ankles and knees in this canal many times after a long run. I knew where we were headed when I saw this but first we had to conquer some new rocky terrain.
Pigeon was really testing my new ankle strength on this run from the various technical trails to the rocks that ran along this railroad track. I am happy to report that the old ankle felt great.
We did make it to ADO, ran past some horses and then descended down some very familiar trails towards No Hands Bridge.
Once we got to No Hands we had to make some decisions in order to figure out how we were going to get in some extra miles to reach out goal of 21. We decided to go run up K2 and do another mini loop that would lead us back to the car.
K2 is not an easy climb. It’s almost a mile straight up with a lot of false finishes. As grueling as it is, I do love it. You don’t run it all but it will give you quite an endurance challenge. Believe it or not, back in 2012, Be-Well-Run came out and we took her up K2 one hot Saturday afternoon because it is just one of those places that can give a person a real glimpse of what running in Auburn and Cool is all about.
While the climb up K2 was okay, it was the long long (long) down hill that followed that started to make my body feel like it was running 21 miles. The nagging back issues I had from last weekend started to tighten up my lower back and quads and the bottoms of my feet were starting to really ache. I’ve been working on trying to figure out the problem behind these issues but needless to say, I was not at a 100% the way Pigeon seemed to be when we finished but MENTALLY I felt 100% which compared to how I felt last weekend, was a huge difference.
We did another little round about loop to the car and called it a day. 21 miles, starting at 7 am to complete our high week.
Next weekend Pigeon works and I am solo. We are also cycling down mileage wise so I am going to keep it local and run with TiggerT in my hood probably venturing out on the Ridge Loop of Death combined with some Browns Ravine. Some where in there I will have to make up some mileage to equal my necessary distance.
One thing is for certain, laughter will follow. I am one very lucky girl in that I have the opportunity to run with two very awesome people who keep me laughing and keep me moving on all of my trail adventures.
Nothing feels better than laughing on the trails.