I'm currently training for the Leona Divide 50 Mile Run on 4/27/13 as well as Ironman Oceanside 70.3 on 3/30/13.  Not my brightest idea but it seemed like a good idea at the time. 

My main focus has been on the 50 miler and about four weeks ago, the realization that a 70.3 was looming on the horizon put me into a slight panic.  Up until that moment, I was more concerned about running 50 miles than Oceanside.  But a couple of the longer runs put my mind at ease and then I started getting expectations for Oceanside.  To those I guide, yes, I know, I'm not taking my own advice of picking one to be my primary.  I, too, want it all. :)

But truth be told, I'm not Veruca and I do not want it all.  I just want to keep from embarrassing myself at Oceanside. 

For the past four weeks, I've been very bike focused.  My swimming is coming along and my running is awesome as long as I only need to run a 9 minute pace.  :/  But my cycling has taken a back seat since the start of the year and that was my main concern. 

The quickest way I could think to play catchup was to put the bike on the trainer, in the garage, and leave it there for the remaining weeks leading into Oceanside.  

The skies were sunny and the temps were warmer than usual but I plugged away in the garage, trying to kick my bike fitness in the a**.

The past weekend, I took the ride outside for the first time in weeks because at this point, it is what it is.  It wasn't bad, it wasn't good, it's the best it will be as long as I'm training for a 50.

That was Saturday.  Sunday brought back our regularly scheduled program of running, more running and running long.

I decided that after the 38 miler I ran last Sunday that a lower mileage day on hills might be in order.  Not that hills don't wear me down but the really long runs seemed to suck the life out of me and that's not how I want to roll into Oceanside.

The plan was to run 20 miles with the middle part of the run being hilly.  I decided to explore the Las Trampas Regional Wilderness which boasted steep hills. The park is located close to the house but I wanted to drive to the bottom of the road leading into it because I wasn't sure exactly how much mileage I would get out of my little expedition.  The road leading in has a gradual ascent which was appealing because I wanted the back half of the run to be a little easier.  Just a little.

On the way to the park entrance, you're basically running up a country road where anything is possible.  In this case, it is possible to see an ostrich!?!?

Now, I'm very familiar with their aggressive behavior but I had to get a photo.  As I paused to take the photo, the one on the right decided I had been there too long and began to approach.  He was behind a large fence but I didn't want to take any chances so I took off before the title of this post became:  "I got my a** kicked by an ostrich"

Big Birds!

When I arrived at the park, I had fewer miles than I had anticipated but the climbs would put a dent in my legs which was sort of the real goal.  Steep climbs they promised.  I had dismissed their warnings but they weren't kidding. 

Photos can never really give you a complete picture but trust me, this is a park filled with trails that either go up or down and its relentless.

Once up on top, I took the camera out to snap a few pics.  Man, the views were just awesome.  It obviously helped that the skies were clear but this place sits in an ideal spot to get some really good views of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Face in one direction and you get Mount Diablo...

Flip around and I'm pretty sure that's Mount Tam in the very distant...

I found that I was frequently yanking out my phone to snap photos and I one point, I just ran with the thing in my hand.

The terrain and views kept me very entertained along the way. 

I basically run up the near side, a little along the ridge and then down the back side which went forever.  I seem to recall something about 5000 acres but I could be mistaken.  However big, it's BIG.  And did I mention steep?  :)

Random pics...

As I explored the area, fellow travelers were scarce.  As you can see, the paths look infrequently traveled and this pic below which appears to be some sort of gateway (at least that's how I saw it), looks almost untouched. 

Along the way, the lavender and

poppy were in full bloom. 

As I continued running around, sort of getting lost, I saw a sign for Rocky Ridge (I think that's what it was called) and off in the distant, I saw another mountain top.  I should run up there, I thought.  First, one must descend into a canyon though.  The descent was sketchy because the ground was extra steep, loose and the drop off looked unpleasant (read:  f'ing scary).  I slowly made my way down, hugging the side and then I was clear. 

I was almost ready to make my ascent when I stuck my finger in front of the camera like a dumb a**.  No.  I was almost ready to make my ascent when I was presented with this...

Ack!  The thought of getting hit with a shotgun filled with rock salt didn't seem appealing.  I just saw that in a movie and it was fresh in my mind.  They don't make that stuff up, you know. 

At this point, it seemed like a good idea to turn back.

I eventually made my way back up to the top and off on one of the fingers leading to the west side of the top, I took this pan pic.  Click on it to see a larger version...

As I got back on the main road, I thought this tower would probably be a good place to get cell service. 

Seriously?  I can't even get 5 bars sitting next to the tower?  sigh.

Next up, I try not to embarrass myself at Oceanside...