Today was RBF meet-up Part 2 for myself, Jeff and Matt. Matt made the drive down from Thousand Oaks to Jeff's house and the 3 of us all met up at the Aliso Creek Park entrance (the ending point of our run). It was about 7AM when we left Jeff's car there and headed up to "Top of the World" in Laguna Beach for the start of our run. To my delight, Adrian and Judith were there waiting for us. They are some good friends and great running companions who I haven't seen or ran with much over the past few months. They are from Switzerland and speak swiss, english and german. After some introductions and Jeff showing off that he knew some German, we were off.
The first part of our run was nice. All downhill! We ran through Aliso Woods for a bit before getting to a singletrack trail called "Stairs". I was excited and love singletrack downhills. As were paused for a moment at the top I was took the lead and took off down this fun but technical trail. Definitely had to walk a few places since there were literally stairs of slippery rock just calling out for an injury should you take them too fast.
We made our way down and then had to cross Laguna Canyon Road - one of the main roads into Laguna Beach. On the other side we were in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and after "signing in" we tackled our first climb - and it was a doozy!
Our trek took us over into El Moro and onto an extremely fun singletrack called fenceline. Jeff took off this time and it was fun to see him run so fast - and to see Adrian right behind him pushing him all the way. They are both such strong runners!
After the singletrack we went downhill (with some rolling hills) into the El Moro Parking lot. We refilled our water, hit the restroom, and after a brief break and were off again. At this point we were around 8.5 miles.
I really can't complain about Jeff's route he picked. But the next trail we hit was called "BFI" and it was a killer. Matt and I hung in back pretty much walking up the whole way. There was a beautiful view of the ocean at this point though so a good time to walk!
Up to the top of El Moro we went and along the way I got some good catch up time with Judith. Then down it was again back into Laguna Canyon. We didn't see Adrian around (he ran ahead) so we figured he was waiting down in the canyon - but he wasn't. Judith called him and we found out he took a wrong trail. They were going to be cutting their run shorter than us anyway so Judith waited for Adrian while Jeff, Matt and I pushed on.
This time we had to go UP the Stairs trail. Before we hit it Jeff did some backwards running uphill ( check out the photo album ) proving yet again that he IS a superhero. He was up first while Matt and I sucked some major wind climbing up the VERY steep .7 mile trail. Before we hit the top Adrian and Judith had caught up with us! Dang! And they haven't been running much lately. Very impressive!!!
At the top we split and the three of us had about 5 miles left to go (mostly downhill). Before long we were back at Jeff's car.
The run was purely amazing! I even felt pretty strong at the end and probably could have gone at least a few more miles. 21.5 miles in 4:45 - not bad!! Below is an approximate elevation profile. The mileage is off because we were closer to 21.5 but this gives you and idea of the hills. You can see the 800' .7 mile climb up Stairs that happened around mile 15.
Even better was the chance to spend 5+ hours with Matt and Jeff to get to know them better. These guys are awesome! A joy to be around and fun to run with. A couple of guys who are just plain stellar!