Monday, February 13, 2012

Its Official

Remember that job that I mentioned a couple weeks ago? Well, tomorrow it officially starts. I will be on a flight to Sacramento bright and early. For the next 10 weeks or so I'll be visiting Terminal C at John Wayne Airport (that's how we roll here in Orange County) early Monday mornings for my flight to Sacramento and then back again on Thursday evenings.

Going back to suitcases and hotel rooms will be a huge departure from the lifestyle I have been accustomed to for the past 10 years. I'm anticipating a couple weeks of adjusting to my new surroundings and schedule. So, I may be scarce around these parts. And you may see my comments on your blog posts weeks after they happen.

If only I were French. Or French Canadian. Then I would know whether it's adieu or aurevoir. Maybe it was best said by our old Governator, Ahhhnold. "I'll be back."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, February 3, 2012

The “D” Word

Some might call it “D”etermination. I think I call it “D”umb. Whatever it is, I was back for some more “D” this week. Being shutout the last time I tried to run in Buck Gully, I decided to try a different approach. The goal was to run the “green” trail down into Buck Gully. I would be entering from the top of the canyon and going as far as I could. I was pretty sure this was doable, since I had done it before.

2-3-2012 9-00-52 AM

I started out at the top of the hill off San Joaquin Hills Road in Newport Coast. For locals, the park is called Canyon Watch Park:


I ran about half a mile to the East. Just past this sign:


Is the entrance to Upper Buck Gully. If you’re driving on San Joaquin Hills Road at 60 mph, it’s easy to miss:


Damn! What’s that sign doing there?


The rest of the is journey is imaginary - the way the trail *will* look once trail maintenance is complete.

The trail down into Buck Gully is really more like an access road, and from the looks of it, is, errrrrr, will be regularly travelled:


The upper reaches of the canyon, errrr, will offer some escape from the million dollar ridge top homes:


The lower canyon will be a world apart from the hustle and bustle of the resort up above:


Bridges will be placed at stream crossings to keep you from having to get your feet wet:


Just don’t touch the water! Who knows what type of chemicals and fertilizers are filtering down from the golf course above.

There will be trees filled with mistletoe:


The downside *might* include some muddy spots on the trail:


Ooops. I thought trail maintenance was complete….


Just be ready for the climb out:

Running Buck Gully 2-1-2012, Elevation

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting in on the Fun

One of the benefits of being waaaaaay behind on blog reading is that I can wait until the furor has died down before answering the posts where I’ve been tagged. Over the past few weeks I’ve been asked to join in on the “11’s” three times. So here goes.

Or, as I’ve been reminded now – four times. So here goes again….

First I’m supposed to post some rules or something. But, being a rule breaker…


Next, I’m supposed to tell you 11 random things about myself:

  1. I am a second generation native Los Angeleno. I was around when there really was smog and traffic.
  2. I love to drive. I guess that has that has something to do with growing up and living in L.A.
  3. I live near the beach, but I love the mountains. Especially places like this:3896172267_d4a738b512_b
  4. My grandmother (on my father’s side) came from Paris. No. Not France. Idaho. Ever been to Paris, Idaho? Don’t blink as you drive through. With a capacity of 2000, The LDS church in Paris seats four times the population of the town.
  5. Speaking of Paris, I’ve never been to France. Or Europe for that matter. I drive my wife nuts because I don’t really have a desire to go. You can’t drive there can you?
  6. But, I have been to Tehran, Iran. Have you ever driven in Tehran? Take Mexico City traffic and multiply it by 10.
  7. Which means I’ve also driven in Mexico City. It’s kind of like driving in Manhattan except with street performers and fewer rules.
  8. I have a bucket list. You tend to start thinking about that as you get older.
  9. One item on my bucket list is to set foot in all 50 states. I am currently 13 states from my goal. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how or when I’m going to get to those centers of cosmopolitan life – Maine, North Dakota and West Virginia. The rest I can somehow swing through when I’m in the general vicinity.
  10. My “visit” to Arkansas came when I drove through the southwest corner of the state (Texarkana) on my way from Dallas TX to Shreveport LA. Likewise, my “visit” to North Carolina involved changing planes in Charlotte.
  11. Shreveport should tell you something about my other hobby. Up for a game of poker anyone?

Next, I have some questions that I need to answer:

Questions from lindsay:

  1. you have the skills to go pro in any sport (except running/triathlons). what sport would you choose? C’mon lindsay. I expected hard questions. BASEBALL!!!! Duh!
  2. what is your favorite vegetable? Steamed broccoli.
  3. they're making a movie about your life. what actor/actress would play you? Hmm. I’d probably have James Brolin playing the part of Peewee Herman playing the part of me.
  4. last book you read? Now we’re getting to the hard questions. “Professional No-Limit Hold ‘Em” by Matt Flynn. Although I’m currently in the middle of “Chasing the Runner’s High” by Ray Charbonneau
  5. last text message you sent? To my wife: “Just passed Alan Cunningham and Men the Master!”* * You’d have to be a poker junkie to understand
  6. what is your favorite meal/recipe to cook? I make killer braised short ribs.
  7. do you prefer dusting or vacuuming? (and when are you coming to do my house?) Neither. “Maria! Can you please go take care of the living room?” is the way it’s done around our house.
  8. if you could go on vacation to anywhere in the us or canada, where would you go? Ooooo. Tough question. There are so many great places that I’ve visited in both the US and Canada. But every year I find myself back in Bishop, California.
  9. what something you love about where you live? It’s February 2. It’s going to be 70 degrees and partly cloudy today.
  10. something you don't love about where you live? On February 15, it will probably be 73 degrees and partly cloudy.
  11. what do you do when you have trouble falling asleep? I have a ton of podcasts that I listen to.

Questions from Kepa:

  1. Do you keep a training log? Yes. Although like everything else in my life, it’s digital these days. I use SportTracks.
  2. Do you think videos of guys getting hit in their privates are funny? I’m a huge fan of slapstick. So yes.
  3. Train/Race - socks or no socks? Socks. Otherwise my shoes get all stinky.
  4. What is your favorite movie? Wow. Tough question. It would have to be a tossup between “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, “Spaceballs”, and “Blazing Saddles.” Umm. No the fart scene makes “Blazing Saddles” the winner.
  5. Do you listen to music while you train? Usually not. See my answer to lindsay’s question 11 above.
  6. Heel striker or mid/forefoot? Mid foot. It took a lot of practice, and multiple readings of Matt Fitzgerald to figure it out.
  7. How many pairs of running shoes do you own?  Not really sure. I’m not a woman, so I don’t count.
  8. What is your favorite color? I’m a guy. Blue. Is there any other color?
  9. Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, Other... Don't Care? I live in Orange County California where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2 to 1. Conservative is my middle name.
  10. At what training distance do you decide to carry your own hydration? Since I do more trail running than road running, I make a distinction by time more than distance. If I think I’m going to be out for an hour or more , I carry hydration. There aren’t drinking fountains on the trails.
  11. Do you wear your workout clothes more than once before washing them? I’m a guy and I pretty much run on my own. Do I need to say any more?

Questions from Slomohusky:

  1. Paula Radcliffe has to hold something in her hands when she runs? Do you have anything which is a must when you run that only you do (outside of typical clothing, shoes, gadget) ? Nope.
  2. CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, CSPAN, PBS or Comedy Central? (pick two please). PBS!!! I was pretty upset when the old PBS station here in L.A. (KCET) dropped it’s PBS affiliation in 2011. But, all that being said, I *detest* NPR.
  3. Biggest Dare you did and/or compelled someone else to do? Do you regret it? Hmmm. Either I’m too old or too embarrassed to remember.  The only one that comes to mind was streaking through the cafeteria with some dorm mates when I was a sophomore in college. And no – I didn’t regret it. I picked up an extra steak dinner coupon for completing the dare.
  4. Name four famous dead redheads? Oh man. Four? Danny Elfman isn’t dead yet, right?
  5. What is your favorite Shakespearean Play, or the first one that pops into your head? The one about the fairies in the forest. The one I was forced to read and go to the Music Center to watch when I was in High School. The one I slept through. Where’s the non-fiction section?
  6. Should Ingrid Bergman had stayed with Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and why? Well, 99 stayed with Max, so I suppose yes.
  7. If you could pick your ideal city, state or country to live - which one and why? Bishop, California. Oh wait. I’m not supposed to tell anyone. I’m letting the best kept secret in the Western U.S. out.
  8. What is your favorite cheese? Cheddar. Borrrrrrringggggg.
  9. Burgers, Pizza, Burritos (or Tacos), Fish and Chips or Gyros? Which one is your favorite and what restaurant? From this group? Gyros hands down. There’s a market with a deli close to us (Wholesome Choice) that has the best gyros around.
  10. If you were the hottest recruit in the Country for any sport - what College or University would you pick to play, and what sport (running doesn't count)? Why would you pick that School? There is only one sport. It’s called BASEBALL. And if I was going to play at the University level, it would probably be at either UC Irvine or UCLA.
  11. Name a place you could sit, think and watch life go on around you for a complete day if you had to, could or ever wanted too. Why? ANY PLACE on the planet counts, but try to be specific if possible. This spot comes to mind – a high mountain meadow at the base of the Conness Glacier just outside of Yosemite. Sigh.


Questions from See.Kate.Run:

  1. Where were you born? Los Angeles. Yes. I’m an anomaly.
  2. What is your favorite way to relax? I get away from the computer.
  3. What is something you did as a child that you got in trouble for? Wow. This is a stretch. Child was looonnnngggg time ago. Probably when I stole some nerd’s lunchbox in 4th grade and then danced around him with a group of kids while he cried. Boy. I got in trouble big time for that. I’m sure this also had some karmic effect because by the time I was a sophomore in college I was fully decked out in nerd wear including pocket protector and calculator belt pouch.
  4. What was the BEST race you ever ran and why was it the best? This would have to be the Long Beach Marathon in 2009. The only one that I felt appropriately trained for.
  5. Which do you prefer - ocean or mountains? I live near the ocean, but all my photos of the ocean seem to be views from the local hills/mountains.
  6. What is the furthest you have ever traveled from home? Tehran, Iran in 1993. Literally half way around the world. It was a 22 hour flight over and a 26 hour flight home. The. Experience. Of. A. Lifetime.
  7. What is your favorite restaurant? Tough question. If we’re talking about my all time favorite restaurant that I keep going back to, it would have to be Antonello in South Coast Plaza. It’s easy to spend a couple or three hours at dinner there. If it’s about the experience, then it would have to be Club 33 at Disneyland. One waiter and one busboy for every two tables. You never even know that they are there, but your water glass is never empty. In we’re talking about normal neighborhood place for casual dining, it would have to be El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights.
  8. Would you rather be able to teleport or be able to turn invisible? Teleport. Then I’d be able to run a four hour marathon. Yes. It’s Rosie Ruiz style, but at least it’s high tech.
  9. What is your favorite body part? My hair. There’s a lot of it. A little grayer these days, but I still have a full head of it.
  10. What is your favorite song to workout to? I’m not sure I have a “favorite”.
  11. Would you rather run trails or the road? The only roads I don’t mind running on are fire roads.

So there is probably more than you’ll ever want to know about me. You know the other good thing about waiting until a “tagging” has run it’s course before I respond? Everybody else I know has already responded to it.

Yes yes yes. I *am* a rule breaker….


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Dead Ends

I think this post is kind of what life has been like the past few months. When I finally get the urge to run, I run – right into obstacles.

I decided to check out a trail that I hadn’t run before. I found out about this trail from a story that appeared in our local newspaper about a month ago.

I found the unmarked entry to the trail pretty easily and headed down into Buck Gully:


Unfortunately, after about half a mile, I found out the hard way they weren’t done with trail construction:


When the trail work here in Buck Gully is done, we’ll have another 5 or so miles of pristine wilderness in the middle of civilization:IMG_1400IMG_1401IMG_1402IMG_1403

And if you don’t believe that it’s in the middle of civilization – check out the green on one of the holes at The Resort at Pelican Hill:


Where there’s a will, there’s a way. A different way down into Buck Gully. I climbed into my car and headed off to the entrance to the canyon from up above off San Joaquin Hills Road:


Guess what?


No problem. This one was easy to get around.


By this time it was getting dark, so I slowed down to enjoy the setting sun and the views toward the ocean and Catalina:


Long story sort, I made it down into the depths of Buck Gully from above, only to run into this:




Oh well. I got to climb back out to this:


Next up – I know I’ve been tagged Kepa, lindsay and Slomohusky!