The weekend started off with what was originally billed as the Moonlight Madness run on Friday night. Due to stupidity on the part of the organizer (me) it should have been billed as the Moonless Madness Run. (Note to self: Next time, make sure the run is scheduled for the weekend BEFORE the full moon, and check moonrise time.)
Headlamps illuminated, we worked up the Canyon Trail to Seven Steps. For this part of the run, the lamps were helpful for seeing what was on the trail, but not critical, that came a bit later. As we took off across on Seven Steps, lighting became critical, and the line of runners on the trail began to resemble a moving, shifting constellation of stars. Wait, is that last one Antares?
After Seven Steps, the original plan was to head back down, and make the run a 3-ish miler. As anyone who runs with Abbey knows, once on the trail, she's tough to get off. So instead of turning for the warm bright comfort of an establishment that sells adult beverages, we headed further into Ash Canyon. You know, just for fun.
For me, at the back (my usual place), I originally attributed it to
We continued toward the Creek Trail along the Unnamed Trail until encountering Ash Canyon Road. This is wide enough to run with the headlamp off, the ground illuminated solely by starlight and the city lights. I'd have taken a photo, but by this time I was quite a distance back, and that's a cause for concern for the rest during a night run, so I didn't.
The route then doubled back up the hill to catch Jackrabbit Trail back down to the start. This is where the unfortunate Field Mouse incident occurred.
Illuminated in my headlamp a stride ahead, a mouse appeared. I zigged my foot, but unfortunately, he zagged. I felt the impact, but not as much as he did. Looking back, I saw he didn't make the edge of the trail, and remained where (I assume) he was greatly impressed by the aggressive tread of my Innov8 Roclite 295s. RIP, Mousie.
I hoisted my lemonade in his honor (OK, I didn't really, but I thought it) once we reached Bully's for the adult beverage portion of the run.
Saturday we met at Centennial Park. I was looking to do 6-7 miles in getting a GPS map on the Mound House loop and North Canyon. Runners were Patti and Evan, Joe and Michele and Gino, Hector, and Victor - a friend of Hector's. I trailed the speedy runners magnificently through Mound House loop, bursting into the lead when they stopped. It's a good trick when racing those that don't realize it's a race.
The Cairn Climb up North Canyon was normal: slow and painful. Once attained, I once again burst into the lead, as the rest were eating and drinking. Fools. Also, I had kids at home, so I needed to get going. I finished my run by connecting with the West Canyon Lasso route back to the car. it was a pleasant 6.5 miles.
Sunday was billed as an exploratory run, and it lived up to its billing. We met at the mouth of Brunswick Canyon. The hardcore Abbey, Sandi, Georgia, Ali and Hector warmed up with a 1-miler prior to the start of the real run. Wait, did I say 1-miler? I meant 10. TEN, An Order of Magnitude greater. What, are these people NUTS? Before a 10 mile run up hill and down dale, they go and do 10 ahead of time? Craziness.
I should be grateful, as that's about the only way I can keep ahead. I should encourage that sort of behavior in all my running partners: "Hey, double the distance, and do half before I get there, OK?"
After the rest of us slackers showed (Joe, Gino, and DotBen), we crossed the bridge on Deer Run Road and headed up the dirt, following the CdC Running Leg 2 route in reverse. Steady climbing got us an elevation gain of almost 1600 feet in 4 miles. Some of that was on single track trails that aren't specifically a part of the CdC route, but more fun in a small group.
I should have taken a photo of the huge sand hill along that Bunker Hill Mine Road (39.1388, -119.6702). My initial reaction was to strip down and sunbathe in the sand, but there were three problems with that: I had premonitions of (a) screams of horror from the women running with me, and (b) getting run over by a sand rail, and (c) I'd have never gotten back up to finish the run, as it was finishing me.
The rest of the run is a blur. Not of speed, though — rather of sweat. It was warm in the canyon, and there was a final climb past a rolled 4Runner(?) that was both steep and insulting. Once that was surmounted, though, the 1/3 mile down to the bridge and back to the car was all that remained.
Thanks all, for dragging my carcass along! This will probably enter the pantheon of CCRunner routes, and would be a good candidate for a long winter run, as there is not often a lot of snow on the east side.