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Jesusita Hike/Trail Run; my first real trail run

Posted Jan 07 2010 9:58pm
Oh Glorious Friday! Freedom is so close I can taste it!

And before I get any further, don't forget to enter my Giveaway that's full of goodies from Japan! Get your entries in by Saturday night. Click here!

I keep hearing about horrid weather on the eastern/northern side of the mainland. I am a complete and total waste of life in cold weather. I am convinced I am cold blooded; I need a certain level of warmth before I can function in the world. Otherwise I just lay unconscious in my bed with foam coming out of my mouth. That's why I escaped to "southern" CA.

I really applaud all those braving the frigid temps right now. You are a stronger and better human than I am. I am fighting the good fight here as well in the chilly almost 70 degrees weather.

To warm our cold bones last Saturday, James and I set out for our first real Trail Run on the base of the Jesusita Hike. (pronounced like He-su-si-ta)

We were greeted by this weird guy:
Oh hi, nice to meat you. My name is Harry. I'm a hairy cactus
I run on the bluffs a lot, and that's kind of trail-ish, but this Jesusita trail was actually in the mountains, with rocks to dodge, roots to kick over, streams to cross, and surrounded by trees. Yes, a bona fide TRAIL.
I'm sorry. I know it's January. Sorry I', in my shorts and T-shirt in 70 degree sunshine.
The Jesusita Trail has kind of an unfortunate story. In May 2009, we had the horrendous Jesusita Fire that burned over 8,000 acres and consumed 79 buildings, including people's homes. Basically most of my city got evacuated, or was under evacuation warning. It was really scary. The trail had just opened up again for public use in November, and the damage the fire had caused was still very apparent.

Look at the black, charred branches. But life goes on, as evidenced by the new brown branches growing despite it's burnt exterior.
Back to the run. Since it wasn't a training run, I didn't wear a Garmin, or look at my time because pace and mileage weren't a concern. I just wanted to smell the trees, feel the fresh air, feel the dirt under my feet, and get my adrenaline up!

The base of the hike is relatively flat, and the trail is wide enough for one person to run. We actually got the idea to run this trail because, once upon a time before we were runners, we climbed this hike, and was in sheer awe of the people jogging the trail. I thought they looked like Superman and Wonderwoman. We vowed that one day, we would be just as bad-ass.

I guess you should call it more of a stop-and-go-jog, since with this trail, it was hard to continue running. There were several STEEP little inclines with loose dirt that seemed too dangerous to run. I am also deadly paranoid of catapulting off the sides, so I walked on the steeper declines. And I definitely wanted to avoid the mud-butt look, so I took extra time and caution when crossing all four streams.
Trail running is A LOT more difficult compared to road running, or even running on the bluffs, IMO. With so many obstacles to dodge, with so many uneven surfaces to tread, with so many sharp inclines and declines, it's hard to keep a steady pace. I also lost my footing a few times, and made a mental note to work on my ankle balance some more at the gym. I don't know how it is on other trails, as this is my first trail experience, but I think trail running is a lot more like interval training and hill repeats combined into one run. Wow. Sounds like the ultimate fat blasting workout!

James and I ran to the point it got too dangerous to continue, and then just walked up the rest of the way. It was crazy to see the aftermath of the fire. There were some parts untouched by the blaze, but just five feet away, every single tree had burnt to a crisp, like this one:
The hike itself is relatively quick and easy. This hike is supposed to lead all the way up to "Inspiration Point," which, as the name implies, is one of the most spectacular views in all of Santa Barbara.

However, due to the fire, the summit just looked like a huge tree carcass dumping ground/tree graveyard. The views of the city were beautiful just the same, but it somehow felt different- kind of sad-to see all the damage.
Camouflage. I am a branch. You cannot see me.
I feel like Simba is going to appear and roar over his kingdom or something
View from the top
We walked down until it was safe to start running again, and trail ran back to the car. Let me just say, the run back was SO much easier! No wonder the run up was so difficult: I didn't notice just far up the mountain we were running! No surprise here, but running on a decline is easier than running uphill. (DUH) haha.

Santa Barbara has some really beautiful trails and it would be a waste not to take full advantage of them. BUT, I think I will have to put trail-running on pause for a while now though... because I may or may not be starting training for another event!!! I haven't made up my mind 100% so I don't want to disclose it just yet.... but I will be back! (said in terminator voice)

Thanks for reading you guys, and I hope you have a fantabulous weekend ahead! I have my first "training" run planned, along with a trip to the bike shop for some researching (hopefully).

Stay tuned for some more updates coming on my blog soon. I updated the About Me and My Favorite Products pages (found on the right side column), so please check it out! I also plan on changing up my posting structure a little bit, so it hopefully will be more than me just blabbing on and on about me, me, me :)

And don't forget to enter the giveaway :)

Adios! Ciao!
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