Sunday I met with a trail running group, the Trail Runners Club. The instructions for newbies was to meet at a local High School and then convoy to the trail head. So I met with Stan, the club's founder, and a few others at the early hour of 6am, from there we drove to the trailhead at Westridge. The run was explained to as a out’n’back with a small loop at the end and was to be 13 miles. I recognized Billy from his blog LARunner and we shook hands. After a short brief and a round of hellos to Kenna a fellow newbie and myself we set off up the fireroad, Kenna, Billy and I found a comfortable pace and we chatted our way to the retired Nike missile site, a throw back to the cold-war, at the junction of Dirt Mullholland (DM) stopping for a photo en route (stolen from Billy's blog). Here we followed the flour arrows that were our trail markers along DM again at a comfortable pace and enjoying each others company.
The trail ducked down into a single track and contoured its way along the side of the hill, at one point we came across and abandoned, somewhat of an understatement, VW dune bug, how long it had been there was a good question, how it got there in the first place would be a better one?! We meandered along the trail which broke out onto a set of rollers and then down a steep section that seemed to drop off into nowhere, we stood for a while scratching our heads and chatting to a couple of hikers who didn’t know where or if the trail continued to, Billy braved it going down to see if a trail could be found, we were then joined by two other club runners who said that there was no way this could be right and so we about faced and started back up. We had covered around six miles so as a turnaround it was a good half way point.
We made our way back up to DM and headed back to the Westridge trail; around mile 9 I felt the unwelcome return of an old friend Mr I.T. Band! Slowly niggling it way around my left knee and becoming quite pronounced on the uphill sections. I fell behind the group and walked up the ups, running on the flats and downs. I got back to the car park and enjoyed the table of goodies that had been provided by Jes, thankyou! Members supply the replen on a voluntary basis; I love the idea of rotating the goodies through members; it creates a real sense of club. After chatting to a few members I was surprised to find out that Stan was one of the co-authors of the 50 Trail Runs in Southern California, this is a great book and I have a well thumbed copy on my bookshelf at home.
It’s more annoying than surprising that it the ITB issue has returned, and while the last month or so has seen little mileage of any substance except on my bike. It is, excuse the pun or is it a mixed metaphor; my Achilles heel, and is something that I will need to factor in as I start up the next training cycle next month. I seem to have got the work thing under control and despite the fact that I am walking out in the morning at 6:15am and walking back in at 7pm, there is some training time to be had and I’ll be starting up again in the next few weeks working towards Twin Peaks in December.
Running with a group is a whole new experience for me and I have to say it makes a great change, while I have covered hundreds if not thousands of miles with my iPod in recent years, there is something to be said for sharing the trails with kindred spirits and good company. I’ll definitely be back for more next weekend. Right now I am off to give my foam roller a nice big hug.
Here’s the Forerunner data and photos can be found here.