Sunday, January 13, 2013

Figured out a good Irvine trail

I've worked in Irvine for a while and haven't found any good trails which would compare with those in Habitat Authority. I'm talking about something like a 10 mile loop (NOT PAVED) with hills in a fairly wild area. The Puente Hills in the Habitat Authority area (by Whittier/Hacienda Heights/Roland Heights/La Habra Heights) are about 700 feet higher than the surrounding area. It's not difficult to find a trail or dirt road with a significant amount of climb - 400 to 500' - in a mile or less. So although there are some hills in Irvine - for instance off Portola Parkway - I had not found any hilly remote areas with accessible trails. The Quail Hills 1.7 mile loop is pretty flat, not that remote (it borders the 405) and it's only 1.6 miles long (boring). I had also run along the crushed granite path that borders Shady Canyon. Crushed granite is nice because it doesn't turn to mud when it rains but otherwise, boring. So I was browsing through the area via Google Earth and started looking at the trail which started across the street from the Quail Hills trailhead on the south end of the sports park. I got around to exploring it this week after work and it's pretty good. The route I took is 9 miles with what Strava says is 1.6k worth of climb, about evenly split between the initial out-and-back and 4.3 mile loop at the far end. I've also figured out another option which would add 2.6 miles on to the loop. The far end goes through the Nix Nature Center in Laguna Canyon (with bathrooms and water and even maps). Coming back from the nature center would have been confusing with various roads splitting off from the one I want to stay except for 3 things: 1) I can usually figure out which road I should take 2) I had my phone with Google Navigation and 3) they have very good signage on the road which keeps you going the way I wanted to go. On Wednesday, I finished in the dark which wasn't much of a problem. The last fairly steep downhill is not perfectly smooth but I didn't have problems with it in the dark. On Friday, I cut 19 minutes off my time and 0.3 miles of detours I took on Wednesday and finished before it was dark.

One thing to mention is that there are plenty of wildlife cameras next to the trail. There's one by the really expensive homes that has a flash which bewildered me (lightning?) on Wednesday. I figured out the source of the flash on Friday so the next time I run through there, I'm definitely going to "moon" it.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been losing weight on the new diet. That got turned around once I told my wife about it but at the end of the week, I got tired of packing myself with food. So now, I'll eat per my appetite and see what happens to my weight.

Also ran half of what used to be my easy hill repeat workout in Whittier - repeats of a 2.5 mile loop with 689' of climb as I recall. That seems like a good candidate for Thursday workouts when I can get up there with at least an hour of daylight. I used to run 4 washing machine loops (counter clockwise, clockwise, counter clockwise, clockwise) in what I recall was close to 1:50. I'm interested to see how close I can get that to 2 hours.

My legs were sort of dead this past weekend. I had to walk on stretches up the Silverado Motorway this morning. In the recent past, running Silverado Motorway on Sunday set up some good track runs on Monday so I'll see how that goes tomorrow.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
4.5 miles on track. Just didn't feel like it. 2xS Loop in Whittier, 5 miles, about 1.4k Irvine Loop, 9.4 nothing (rain) Irvine Loop, 9.1, allegedly 1.6k 5x1k, averaging about 4:50 (legs dead), "A" drills Silverado Motorway, 6.2 miles, 2k (legs tired)

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