179 Days – Red Rock Park AKA Wonderland!

Running in the cold has never really been my ‘thing.’  But for summer races, preparation typically starts at the beginning of the year so there is really no avoiding a little of it.  Fortunately in LA, things only get SO cold.  But no temperature could keep me from the Saturday morning adventure that I had planned for me and my Ultra Bastard friends.

It was 7am and 40 degrees when they started to arrive to Red Rock Park.  Dawn was first so I jumped into her car and showed her the route via iPad.  Not too long after, Bob, David A. and Mark pulled up behind us.  I lead them down a windy single lane road, full of ‘keep out’ and ‘no trespassing’ signs.  Half of the time it looked like we were running up someone’s driveway.  But in true Bastard fashion, none of them questioned me to lead them anywhere other than somewhere magnificent!

By the time we reached the trailhead, that seemed to appear out of nowhere, we were joined by Jill and her fiancé Dave.  Non-Ultra Bastards, but two teammates in search of an adventure nonetheless.

I had run these trails years ago but it had been years since I’d been back to this particular park.  I had forgotten how Grand Canyon-like it was, full of beautiful rock formations and scenic views.  We headed off to check out the rocks first, and the team, minus me, headed out to Calabasas Peak as I went searching for a surprise I wanted to show them.  As they headed back down, I lead them on a hidden trail that quickly revealed a giant rock with several caves inside.  It wasn’t long before most of them were trying their hand at rock climbing to explore them.   And of course we had to see how many of us could fit into one of them as well!

Runs like these reminded me why I loved being out here.  There are days that are about pushing yourself to an extreme, qualifying for an upcoming 100 or earning your next belt buckle.  But then there are days like this one, where the most important thing is discovering caves with friends.  It made me excited to plan more of these excursions and show my adventure partners places they have never been before.

From there, Dawn and I headed to the finish line of the Sean O’Brien 50k/50 miler, to cheer for our racers, and watch some of the other runners come in.  We sat down with Tommie’s wife, Michele and enjoyed my kind of ‘girls day,’ talking about our upcoming event and enjoying the beautiful day.  It was windy and cool, but sunny.  It was perfect!

As I sat there, I realized how many more fun adventures were ahead – the Old Goat 50 miler, Western States Training Camp, pacing my friend Steve at the San Diego 100, Tahoe… and of course the finale, the AC100.  Sometimes it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.  And even moreso, those that go with you on that journey!

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