Saturday, Ann and I headed to Topanga Canyon for our long runs. There is some singletrack towards the back of the mountainous park that I love to run, although the 2 times I've run it alone, I've both heard and seen mountain lions.
We ran the first uphill mile together and then I headed up the next massive incline to Eagle Rock, a lookout point that hangs roughly 200 feet over a side of one of the hills. I dashed ahead to scope out the singletrack entrance, and by the time I was back, Ann was stopped, drinking from her handheld, so we turned our toes to the entrance and hopped in.
Each time I've run it, the trail is under-maintained, as no one really hikes back there that often, so our faces were constantly swiped at by branches and the like. We whizzed down the switchbacks, laughing like 2 kids playing in the woods the entire way down into the canyon, where I told Ann that the climbs back out can be rough and pretty steep. She told me to run ahead, that she'd likely hike up most the climbs. I warned her that she might want some of my water (I had one bottle filled with water, the other with Gu20), but she declined, stating she had plenty. After asking if she wanted another gelpack or some of a Clif Bar, she pointed out she already had a Gu and demanded that I to go ahead and have fun, so off I took...completely paranoid about running into one of my 4-pawed "old pals".
Of course, I sang to myself the entire run up, clapping my hands, yelling out to the lions that I'm rather lean and stringy, nothing worth pouncing on. And then, the piles started: Piles of lion scat, in total about 10, all over the trail for the next 2 miles.
I ran the rest of the 15k course and tacked on an extra 3-4 miles at the end (a total of around 14 miles), finishing in 2 hrs, 15 mns. Sitting for no more than 5 minutes, I saw Ann trudging down the trail toward the car, shaking her head. She'd bonked, HARDcore. I grabbed a Gu from my bag and handed her a Clif bar. Within 10 minutes, she was less shaky but exhausted. This was easily her toughest run to date, and once I got over the feeling that I almost killed her with it, we hit In and Out for 2 celebratory double-doubles, fries, and Cokes.
Sunday, I hit Temescal Canyon for 1 hour, 30 mns of intense hill running by myself: Sunny skies, ocean breezes, and dead quads.