Sunset run on the Chimera Course

I got up Saturday morning completely bummed. Mark had left an hour earlier to Palm Springs to go do the Cactus to Clouds hike with a couple of our other friends, which is a hike I have been wanting to do for so long. The C2C hike is claimed to be one of the steepest hikes there is in the lower 48. It goes up to San Jacinto peak and climbs 8,000 ft in only 11 miles. Although the hike is less than a two hour drive away from us, there are only a couple good months out of the year that provide good enough conditions to do the hike and we also have to wait to go with someone who actually knows the route. Unfortunately though, it was my weekend to coach at my crossfit gym and so wasn’t able to join in on the adventure.

Even though I couldn’t join in on C2C, I still had plans to do a long run with some friends on a portion of the Chimera 100 course later in the afternoon. However, while at work it started to rain, which meant that weather up in the mountains would probably be even crappier. My hopes dwindled that I would get in any sort of good training run that day and that I would probably have to resort to some lame run on the roads.

Despite the crap weather, I decided to still meet up with everyone for the run. Maybe we could get lucky and the weather would be ok. The plan was to meet up with my friend, Keira, and her friend Eric at 2 in Silverado Canyon to drop cars and then Keira was going to shuttle us over to the start of our run in Holy Jim. We were then going to meet up with her boyfriend, Jesse, and some of his friends who were mountain biking the 55 mile Vision Quest course from Blackstar Canyon to Holy Jim. Some of the mountain bikers were then going to run the whole 55 mile course back, while Keira, Eric and I were going to stop our run midway back at Silverado Canyon.

However, once we got to Holy Jim, we had to change plans a bit. Keira had decided not to run because she was feeling a worn out and thought it would be more beneficial for her to just rest with Pinhoti 100 only 2 weeks away. Jesse also was also going to be a no go on the run due to flying over the handle bars of his mountain bike going while going down the Silverado Motor way and ending up with some nasty bruising on his quad. So the group dwindled down to Eric, Josh (who was one of the mountain bikers) and myself. Although the Vision quest course consisted of a 12 mile loop that went up through Holy Jim, up Trabuco Trail, down West Horsetheif and back down Holy Jim, we had to nix it. Eric and I were unaware of the extra 12 miles and didn’t bring enough water and fuel for more than about 20. Fortunately Josh was ok with the re-route. We were now going to run up to Santiago Peak, across the main divide road, down Maple Springs and into Silverado. Josh would then decide if the wanted to continue for another 20 miles to Blackstar Canyon.

So despite Josh having already having rode 55 miles on his bike, oh and Eric had done the 25k Whoo’s in El Moro trail race in the morning… I was the slowest one! To my defense, I am just getting back into trail running shape lol. We made it up the 8 miles to the top of Santiago Peak in about 2 hours and 5 minutes. As we were climbing higher and higher as we got closer to the top we started to get higher above the cloud cover and the crappy weather that was lingering over the OC all day. When we started to run on the Main Divide road, it was just about sunset and we were overlooking a thick blanket of clouds. It was breathtaking. Clearly on top of the mountains was the best place to be in Orange County. I was also quite happy that it turned out that I went on this run instead of the C2C hike. Funny how things end up working out sometimes.

When we got to Four Corners on the Main Divide it was completely dark out. I kind of suck at night running and so this was really good practice for me. It was about 3.5 miles of downhill down Maple Springs until we reached road and then we only had another 3.5 miles left till we were at our cars. I was still feeling really good at this point and so decided to try and push it the last few miles. According to Eric, we were running 7 minute miles at the end, which was pretty cool to be able to feel that good and run that fast at the end of a long mountain run.

We finished the whole run in right over 4 hours and right around 8 pm. We had originally thought we would be done closer to 9 or 9:30 and so it was good to be done early! Josh decided to call it a day as well and not continue on to Blackstar. I don’t blame him. 55 miles of riding and a 20 mile run… all in the mountains.. is a plenty good day!

As soon as I got in my car I downed some Vitargo with protein for recovery and then was excited to get home to see Mark and I got to hear about his day. It took them 5 hours do to the hike and he ran out of water at mile 5 in the 90+ degree heat! I showered and then we made a quick trip to Chipotle and spent the rest of an evening watching a movie and enjoying some well deserved relaxation 🙂


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