Last week I focused on cross-training to give my hip rest while maintaining fitness leading up to my peak in training. On Friday morning, I went for a 3-mile test run to see if my hip was good to go for the weekend. My hip and legs felt great so I geared up for a big training weekend in Warner Springs and hit the road with my buddy, Austin.
We checked into Warner Springs Ranch , then Austin dropped me off at the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead on the north side of town at 4 p.m. I took off running north toward Indian Flats campground with the intention of turning around 8 miles in. I passed a group of hikers who were heading down when I was on my way up. The run was beautiful and the trail was in great condition. It climbed 1,500 feet up to 4,444 feet above sea level, where I actually reconnected with a portion of the trail that I ran in March.
Naturally, the descent was faster but I ran out of daylight by the time I caught up to the group of hikers. I chatted with these guys for a bit, and they were a fun bunch. It turns out they are all school teachers who hike together and are attempting to do the whole PCT in sections gradually over the years!
With my headlamp guiding the way, I finished up the last 1.5 miles along the dark road back to the ranch for 17.5 milesa total of 20.5 miles for the day. After my recovery routine, I prepped my gear for an early wake up and another long run the next day.
On Saturday morning I was running by 6:30 a.m. and headed south to the PCT intersection on the 79. From there, I set off into the woods along a stream and climbed up to a clearing where I entered a wide-open rolling meadow that spanned as far as the eye could see. I was averaging a comfortable 5 miles per hour with a plan to turn around after four hours or 20 miles. At mile 6.5, I crossed paths with the same group of hikers from the evening before! They were completing the Barrel Springs to Warner Springs section of the PCT. Heres a picture of their group:
I continued on and reached Barrel Springs in two hours. I noted the six jugs of water in the shade under a tree and planned to refill my hydration pack on my return trip. From here the trail climbed for the next hour and then continued above San Felipe Road until my turn around point, four hours in. Click here to see where I was .
I bring my iPhone along on these outings because of its lightweight camera, the GPS functionality and, of course, the phone in case of emergencies--but I seldom ever get service in the remote areas I run. So it was interesting when at the turn around point in my run, I randomly got a text from my brother! I took a photo of the amazing view of the valley below me and sent it to him with the subject line, Wish you were here: mile 20 of 40!
Next I called my parents, who were boating on the river in our home town. After checking in with them, I was excited to begin the 20-mile run back to Warner Springs and set off on my way. The next two hours were uneventful and I comfortably cruised into Barrel Springs a little ahead of schedule because of the major descent out of the San Felipe Hills. I topped of my hydration reservoir and set out in the heat of the day for the final two hours.
My legs stayed strong for the entire eight hours, and my hip was fine too. Its only a little sore now after the fact, but I got back to Warner Springs right on schedule and was very pleased with my first of two peak training weekends.
This weekend Im off to the mountains for my final peak training weekend and a solo car-to-car attempt at the
San Bernardino Traverse. The traditional route is a challenging day-hike with a car at both the start and finish, but I will only have one car and want to run as much as possible.
Ill be going in reverse order, starting with San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek trail to get the monster 8-mile climb up to 11,500 feet done as my warm up, then run all nine peaks along the ridge above 10,000 feet, down from San Bernardino peak to Angelus Oaks, where Ill have cached water the day before. Then Ill finish off the final 10 miles on the road (between yellow markers on map) back to my car at the Vivian Creek trailhead. Heres a map for a better idea .