This week I have been thinking a bit about our place in the mountains (as humans). On Tuesday I ran and found yet another dam blocking up a river coming out of the San Gabriel Mountains. It seems that there is not one free flowing river in all of the San Gabriel's, that all have been dammed up for one reason or another (and we wonder why LA has no water). Its sad that we have treated the land and the water with such hostility over the years, just so we can live here. After running into the Brown Mountain barrier dam (see Tuesday below) I did a little research and found that this one, and many others, were built in the San Gabirels to prevent the destructive floods that would happen every year when it rained. So they decided they had too much water! This is the same reason that the LA river is one giant concrete drain instead of a beautiful wild place (check out the history here). This seemed to be a pattern for the Los Angeles area: instead of learning to live with the land, we decided to manipulate it to suit our desires. Perhaps instead of bringing in truckloads of concrete to prevent the floods we should have just not lived so close to the rivers.
As a mountain runner and climber I find myself immersed in what is left of these wild places, sometimes enjoyably, sometimes suffering, but always engulfed in a world much bigger than myself. I often find myself in situations, in both running and climbing, where I wish I was not so surrounded by such formidable terrain, but as many others will attest to, when you are in such situations in the mountains you have to learn to make one move at a time, to cover the ground that is before you, and there is no way that you can make it any less than what it is. It's these situations that I have found drive personal growth. When you are at your end and you are forced to live each moment with the land that surrounds you, you learn new aspects about being present with yourself and the place around you. This always gives me more appreciation for the majestic nature of a place; a place that on its own is beautiful, and to add to it would only take away from that beauty.
I have the privilege to work for a company that takes this idea very seriously and inspires others to engage themselves in how they effect the world they live in. This keeps our environmental crisis on the forefront of my mind, and helps me to always re-examine in what manner I am coming to the mountains. My goal is to go into the mountains with only what is needed, and to take only what is freely given, along the way learning to move in rhythm with the land.
Wasn't feeling too fast up the hill today. Ran up to Muir Peak via Price Ridge trail and back down Castle Canyon.
Lower Steep and Cheap Loop with Mike. It was great to have Mike out running again! Ran to work after.
Planned on doing a fast 15 miles up the Arroyo canyon, but I didn't do much research and turns out that after about 3 1/5 miles you are blocked by a dam. Stupid! So I ran two laps on it and called it a day.
Took the long way to work. 7ish miles of mixed road and trail.
A quick jaunt up to Echo Mountain before work.
I put in a beautiful 20 miles (after I got my keys unlocked from my car) up Mt Wilson Trail over the top to the Sturtevant Trail, Tagged Mt Zion, and then back up Winter Creek. It was a bit hotter than I thought it was going to be, and one bottle of water quickly disappeared. I refilled it twice, but ran the last few miles thirsty.
I climbed at Echo Cliffs with Jess in the morning. We had a blast (despite the rough hike in). It was wonderful to spend the day out in the mountains with Jess. In the evening I ran 22 miles on the Backbone Trail as a safety runner for the Coyote Backbone Ultra. The event had a great atmosphere! Everyone involved was having a good time, the course was well marked, and the weather was beautiful. The race is definitely on my list to do next year. I was pared up with a guy from Barcelona named Ignacio who ended up being great company on the run! I always love getting to know people while running; it seems like the motion and energy being exerted makes everyone more present, and knowing that you shared the miles together breaks down a lot of barriers that might take more time otherwise.
We started at 5:30 and ran into the night finishing around 11 or so. Running at night always adds a bit of excitement to the trail. Everything is a new sight as your field of vision is lessened to the few feet within the reach of your headlight beam. The night was clear and we stopped a couple of times to shut our head lamps off and take in the beauty of the stars.
The week was a good one for training. I had originally wanted to bump my mileage up into the 90's but only made it into the mid 80's. Nonetheless, I feel good about where my running is going as Leona draws nearer.