2021 Ultra #22 – Edge of Summer 50K

Originally I was thinking of running 4 laps in the Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, but then more recently discovered Pulgas Ridge Preserve which is just a short street crossing away (and dogs allowed!). So ended up designing a course that explored most of the trails (two laps) in these parks with the car parked in the middle. This would turn up to be the warmest run of the year, so far. I definitely felt the 80 degree heat (in the shade) in those last miles. Here’s my Strava activity:

Edge of Summer 50K

I had to drop off my son at the airport, so was up early (like 3:30am, though the alarm wasn’t until 4:30am). Saw an epic sunrise from the car on the drive back from the airport. The parking lot at Pulgas Ridge opens at sunrise (Edgewood, not until 8am) so that’s where I parked.

It was a gorgeous morning and climbing up on Dusky-footed Woodrat Trail, I could see the fog hovering over the Edgewood Park across the other side. It was pretty and quiet up at the top Hassler Trail.

Even though the elevation gain to the top of Hassler Trail was only about 800 ft from the parking lot, the vegetation pretty quickly changes from Oaks to Chaparral and Manzanitas. The trails also felt pretty dry and dusty.

Orange Bush Monkey Flower

I was moving well in these early miles, but wasn’t sure if I was completely recovered from the last run. Felt a bit stiff and took 4 or 5 miles before finding the groove again. Entered Edgewood Park and headed up Old Stage Road, eventually connecting to Edgewood Trail. Lots of hares and cotton-tailed bunnies everywhere. Plenty of deer too and not very shy. Some of them were grazing right by the trail and didn’t scamper when I ran past them.

When I was to finishing the first lap (mile 12?), the fog had lifted and I could feel the warmth of the sun on the exposed ridges. Back of my mind, I was a little worried how hot it was going to get. I’d say miles 14 to about 19 (2nd lap on Pulgas) was pretty slow going. The classic mid-ultra blues with my brain going, “why are we doing this again?”. Shut up brain. Before heading into Edgewood for the 2nd lap, I made the right call of bringing a handheld with ice-cold water as the next pit stop was 8 miles out (back at the car again). Dunno if it was the second wind, but I was moving well again, occasionally dousing myself with cold water to stay cool. This is the first run this year in 80 degree temperatures. I definitely felt a bit rusty managing the heat, but doing ok.

Ruby Chalice Clarkia (aka Farewell To Spring)

Right before I descended into Clarkia Trail, I took a picture of these flowers and then later on looked them up on the iNaturalist app. Something that’ve been consciously doing lately to better understand the land I’m moving through. These are endemic to California and there were huge fields of them. Also happened to see a Western Tiger Swallowtail. This is definitely turning out to be a new hobby – identifying flora and fauna all around us. There’s a certain bond/connection you feel once you can name flora/fauna – instead of just “wildflower” or “butterfly”.

The last few miles out of Edgewood was mostly trying to manage heat and keeping the core cool. It was about 80 degrees in the shade and I felt every bit of it. For the next few months, I prolly have to do shorter laps to go past the car more frequently. Finished the run around 6:29 or something. The highlight of this run was definitely learning about the “Ruby Chalice Clarkia“!.

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