End of Year Wrap-Up

I spent the last week in California, trying not to eat too much and getting in some morning runs. No chance to get to a pool, so my first day back in the water will be an adventure.

We were in Anaheim Hills, and as the name says, flat ground was hard to come by. My topographic map and my iPhone both said I was at 250m elevation at the front door, and this is what it looked like at the end of the driveway.

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Those houses showed as 300m on the map! It wasn’t all that bad, a short climb of about 40 feet up about a 35 degree incline. Steep, but over quickly. Then between 5k and 6k of running, depending on how many side streets I went up and back, all pretty much uphill to get to that top street.

After two days of that, I decided to try and work my way out the back of that neighborhood, and look for something flatter. Silly me, I crested the hill and decided I needed to quickly find a side street and get off of this hill. You can see the grade by the difference in the two light pole’s height.

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This is looking north down in to the Santa Ana Canyon, with the San Bernadino mountains way off in the distance. I had to stop my run, take this picture, and just take in the view for a couple minutes. Those peaks are 8,000-10,000 feet high, and two days later had snow on them. Then I found that side street I needed, and got off this hill. Later I found out that there is a great running trail next to the Santa Ana river that you can follow from the Pacific Ocean up in to the mountains for 110 miles. But at Christmas, short runs were all I had time to do.

On Christmas Day, I was told I could go down the hill the other way, and get in a “flat run” of about 1.5 miles to the Walnut Canyon Reservoir, which has a great trail all the way around it for 1.6 miles. So off I went. The road rolled up and down about 45 feet, but better than what I had been running.
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As I was running around the reservoir, I again had to stop and take a photo. Same mountains off in the distance.

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Including a fast couple of walking circuits around the Phoenix airport during a long layover, I managed to get in 21 miles and lost one more pound. With three days to go, and 1.6 pounds left to lose to meet my goal of 40 pounds by the end of the year, I am really thankful I started this phase of my life – but my legs have been letting me know they are not used to those kinds of hills!

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