After several false starts with the brunch run coinciding with several solo Saturday summits (okay, not really summits, but, for the sake of alliteration!) today saw the gathering of the few, the strong, The Brunners (brunch run runners).
It was a cold and stormy morning – read: partially cloudy and a forecasted high of 65 degrees. Mindful Mule met up with Out And About In LA, et al. As usual on these cooler days (it was a little windy and colder than the forecast up on the mountain) I couldn’t figure out what to wear to attain perfect heat/moisture transfer and comfort. But did my best with shorts and a longsleeve shirt and visor – no sun glasses, ditched at the last minute due to threatening clouds overhead, and turning out to be a fine decision but it’s always hard to leave them in the bike basket for fear of theft and or sunbursts.
The shirt was the Mount Wilson Trail Race shirt from 2008 which I sometimes feel a little silly wearing on the same trail and route of the race (which we were running today) but also feel it makes my presence on the trail quite justified and/or nearly official to other trail users.
The final coming to terms with my outfit was the realization that there is really no way to be completely comfortable when you’re running straight up a mountain.
As one might expect with a group of runners that don’t run together very often, we were rather spread out over the trail. So the group brunch run, at times, felt like another solo run. But we were rarely very far apart and once reassembled at the Orchard Camp turnaround concluded that it might just be a waste of precious energy reserves to try to actually run the whole way up. And in fact, a good brisk power walk might be nearly as fast and save energy for the speediest of descents. Of course, this is all taken from the perspective of the race, which this was not.
It was a beautiful (if a bit gloomy) day on the mountain that just happened to provide excellent training and, as I also decided on the trail this morning, trail familiarity, which may be as important, or even more so, than fitness. If you know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em, so to speak, you’re at a huge home-trail advantage.
As much as I’d like to say that this trail run is as much about the beauty of the place, I have to be serious and say that this trail is brutally tough and I’d never really just run it for pleasure – that’s what Brown Mountain is for! I run this trail solely in preparation for the race – every Memorial Day Weekend.
That being said, I’d like to add, that it really is a beautiful place up there that shows you several different eco zones as you ascend. And with changing weather and time and awareness factors it (the trail/place) put on quite a little magic show of awesomeness and endlessness and depth, even fooling me for a moment into wondering what trail I was on and how I’d gotten there and had I just been running here forever on this ever-changing route, never starting or finishing, a Sisyphus-ian spell. That was a great, great suspended moment and the real reason to be up running on a mountain. Of course, decompressing over coffee and treats afterwards isn’t half bad either.