Sunday, January 1, 2012

Out with the Old

I woke up yesterday with a decision to make. Being of Asian heritage, I can be convinced of the validity of certain superstitions. One of those is that whatever you do on New Year’s Day will set the stage for the rest of the year. And therein lay my decision.

I had 9 miles planned for “the weekend”. I really wanted to do them on Sunday to set the stage for the rest of 2012. But, my week is rounding up to be pretty busy. I will not be able to do a Tuesday run – I have an Tuesday afternoon appointment, which coupled with the famous L.A. traffic means the whole afternoon/evening is shot. So, I will need to use Monday for my Tuesday run, which means that I need to use Sunday for recovery from my “weekend” run. Oh well. I guess my decision got made.

I was a little hesitant about going. The weather forecast was for a spectacular Southern California day, but even at Noon, it was a foggy, hazy, damp 55 degrees. I packed up some sleeves just in case, and headed up to the Laguna Coast.

As I headed up the hill, I drove out of the inversion layer* and into a bright, sunny gorgeous day. I parked and got my feet moving. The first thing that I was thankful for was that despite this being much more wild than the Back Bay, there apparently aren’t any skunks:


Did I mention that it was a gorgeous day?


At least until you got looking toward the ocean, where the fog and moisture were clinging to the lower elevations.


One thing that is quite amazing of these coastal hills is that even in December, there are still flowers in bloom. Although I wouldn't try picking one of these blossoms to put in my hair.


The other thing that is pretty amazing about these trails is as often as I blog about them (and I have run them more than that), there are always little side canyons that I haven’t explored. Today, I decided to do just that. I headed along Bommer Ridge. I had great views of West Ridge and Top of the World across Laguna Canyon, where my blogging buddy Lauren can be found most days. I looked for the cloud of dust that would have been at her back as she ripped the hills, but I didn’t see one.


Wait a minute. I didn’t see “deer” listed as one of the dangers on the sign.


After about 3 3/4 miles of gently rolling hills, I arrived at the turnoff to Boat Canyon. I hung a right and was ready for some exploring.


I’m sure that on a clear day, the views must be breathtaking. Unfortunately, the coastal haze and fog made things a little less than spectacular today.


If you are new to trail running, or are thinking about taking it on, I have a tip for you. When you are on a ridge top, and a spur trail has the word “Canyon” in it, you’re probably going to have to climb back out.


All in all, it was a beautiful day for 9 miles in the hills!


Happy New Year from The Running Fat Guy! May 2012 be filled with joy, health and prosperity!

* To understand “inversion”, you have to keep in mind that the L.A area is really a big flat desert flood plain surrounded by mountains on three sides and the ocean on the fourth. In the winter, as the sun comes up and warm air rises, cool, damp air is drawn in off the ocean. Bring heavier than the warm air it is replacing, the “inversion layer” sits for (sometimes) a couple hundred feet next to the ground. On windless days (like yesterday), nothing moves the air to mix the cooler air next to the ground with the warmer air higher up, making it cool and moist at sea level, and quite comfortable just a few hundred feet higher in elevation. Here’s a photo of the inversion layer in action:



  1. Happy New Year, Glenn! Let's make this a better year for running for the both of us.

    P.S. As an Asian, I don't think I am all that more superstitious than others... =P

  2. Running desert trails is so inspiring for me too. Much more interesting and motivating than pounding the pavement.

  3. Hi Glenn.....and Happy New Year!

    As a former Angeleno, I remember so well what inversion layers are....and I so miss those spectacular winter days in the Southland. Is it just me, or do they always dial up a spectacular day for New Years?

    Anyhow, love the the pictures!

    All the best, Bill

  4. fun to look back at the end of 2012 to see if Jan. 1st of the year was a predictor. fun.

  5. I used to live in your neck of the woods and I remember all about the inversion layer. I haven't hear the term for quite a while. Thanks for sharing the photos. I wish I had some nice trails like that to run.