Sunday, February 10, 2008

Chantry Flats to Henninger Flats Run

Spring is in the air!  Can you feel it?

Compared to last weekend, this weekend is night and day different. I started solo at 6:30 am from Chantry Flats for my Saturday long run. It was 57 degrees! Can you believe it? The sun was just coming up. The sky was crystal clear and blue, and there was not a cloud as far as you can see. It was going to be a gorgeous day in the mountains.

I knew it might get warm, but I thought that I should better be prepared than sorry. I wore my tights and long sleeve, and packed gloves, a wind jacket, and a beanie hat.  You never know what the weather was going to be like at the higher elevations - especially during seasonal transitions as we are going through now. I also carried extra water because I was not absolutely sure that water was flowing at Henninger Flats - I had not been there since last summer. I drank 20 oz right before I started and wore a 60 oz hydration vest and carried a 22 oz hand bottle. So, in case there was no water at Henninger, I would barely make it.

Some guy approached me at the parking lot and introduced himself.  He said, "hi, my name is todd and I'm training for the AC100." I said, "cool, I'm training for the AC100 as well."  I don't know what it is, but I guess people who do these 100 milers stand out from the crowd.

I started running and pretty soon settled into a run/walk up the steep climb leading up to the Toll road. It was a nice pace, not too fast, because I knew that I had a long day. It was getting hot as I ascended and I knew that I had definitely over dressed. It was probably in the 70's. As I came to the places that were covered with snow last weekend, there was almost nothing left. A lot of the snow has melted, and I think the rest of it would melt after this weekend. Spring is coming!

I got up to the Toll Road and started running down towards Henninger at about 7:30 to 8:00 minute pace.  About 1/2 miles down, I saw two runners coming up, as I got closer I recognized them.  It was Carmela and Ben, both of them are seasoned ultra runners and did the AC100 with me last year. We stopped and had a nice chat. It was good seeing some familiar faces as I was doing a solo run.

I got down to Henninger and the water was flowing. Great!  I drank a whole bunch and filled up my vest. My Garmin said 10 miles. Time to head back. It was going to be about a 5 mile climb up some pretty steep fireroads.

On the return climb, I kept to my run/walk routine, going about a 16 1/2 minute pace.  About half way up, I was going through some mental low points. So, I quickly concentrated on thinking positive thoughts and I was able to kept my spirits up and kept on pace for the remainder of the climb.  The view, from a distance, of snow covered Mt. Baldy was breath taking; the white peaks really popped out from a background of blue and beautifully clear skies. What a gorgeous day this turned out to be. I wouldn't miss this for anything.

Upon seeing the Winter Creek Trail, I knew it was all downhill from there. I felt good and flew down the single tracks. There were a whole bunch of hikers. They probably thought I was crazy wearing so much clothing. 

It was a great day to be in the mountains. The run took me 4 hours and 55 minutes, including all the stops.  Not too bad for 20 miles and about six thousand feet of climbing. Driving home, the temperature dial in my car said 79 degrees. 

Yes, spring is here!

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