It started early Saturday morning — Lucy and I had planned to go out for a run, something we usually don’t have a chance to do based on our busy and mismatching schedules. This would also happen to be on trail, which we’ve never done since I met her over 2 years ago. She picked the route — supposedly, a 10 mile out and back that started at the Rose Bowl and eventually out to some trails nearby. We parked in the lot across from the stadium, and began our counter-clockwise loop around the golf course — found out that there were quite a few others, including cyclists going clockwise, who use that loop for their workouts as well. About a quarter of the way around, we got onto the dirt section, and eventually ended up behind Johnson Field, the finish line of the AC100. I had no idea that section existed, mainly because I had never gone beyond it, since neither the race or training required us to.
After we got to the El Prieto trailhead, I talked her into taking that up all the way to Millard and back, which was about 5 miles one way from the field. It was a little odd, since I had never run that section “backwards” before, so I kept thinking that we were on the wrong trail — it just looked a little different, so every once in a while, I’d turn 180 degrees to re-orient myself.
I actually managed to enjoy the route this time, since all the other times I’ve run through there was at the end of a hard training run (we’d typically start at Chantry Flat — mile 75 of the race) or the AC100 itself, so it was nice to do it on fresh legs and without hallucinating. There weren’t many bikers out, and the water-level in the stream was pretty low, so we made it through the canyon without too much trouble, other than Lucy stopping at all the water crossings and steep spots because she was still a bit nervous about running on that type of terrain (her background is primarily in triathlons).
We got to the Millard campground (almost called it aid station) in about 1.5 hours — roughly 7 or 8 miles from where we started. We filled up our bottles, then started making our way back. The return through the canyon went by a little faster since Lucy started getting more comfortable with the trail, but we took a few walking breaks once we got onto the final mile before J Field. We saw a lot of TnT runners training for the marathon, and even bumped into Coach Jimmy Dean at one of their water stops — we chatted briefly, and he told me he’s targeting AC again as his big race for the year.
After going through the tunnel, and down onto the road heading back to our car, Lucy started having severe cramps, so we ended up walking most of the last couple miles around the golf course — I had forgotten to remind her to bring E-caps, but at least now, I won’t ever have to remind her, since I’m sure she’ll never forget after her experience.
So Lucy survived her first long trail run escaping injury, and even with her cramps, she mentioned how much she enjoyed running on trails. Her first trail race will be the Santa Monica 30k a little over a month away, and her first ultra this summer will be at either Mt Disappointment or Bulldog. I’m really happy she’s considering doing these, since this is the same person who did not want to have anything to do with trails up until only a few months ago.
After a quick Starbucks stop (Caramel Macchiato and a Beard Papa cream puff), I got home, took a quick shower before meeting Bill in Old Towne Pasadena at Lucky Baldwin’s for the first day of their bi-annual Belgian Beer Festival. On the way over, I had to stop by Ceniza’s to drop off a box of Padrons I ended up having to sell unfortunately. Ok, I need to briefly mention this, since this wasn’t just any old box of cigars — it was the 1926 40th Anniversary with 40 maduro torpedos in a hand-painted and individually numbered humidor (only 500 made). I managed to get my hands on it about a year ago, but because of my unemployed situation now, and my upcoming race schedule, I needed the money.
After leaving Ceniza, I tried not thinking about the cigars, while walking over to Lucky’s. I thought we would be passed the lunch rush, but the place was packed — standing room only, but Bill managed to grab a table outside. We both ended up getting the same tasters, plus their little souvenir package — t-shirt, beer glass w/ beer, and $5 refills for $20.
Here was our selection:
- St Bernardus Prior 8
- La Chouffe
- Gouden Carolus Grand Cru of the Empereur 2003
The first two were good, but I didn’t like the last one — it was too sweet and fruity. I also would’ve expected it to be better with a name like that.
Now back home to meet with Lucy again for dinner — we planned to have Korean BBQ/Tofu at Young Dong, which we were both craving the last few days. When we got there, it was about as crowded as Lucky Baldwin’s earlier — there were several groups waiting for tables, but we only had to wait about 15 minutes. I got the usual bbq spicy pork and dumpling tofu combo, and Lucy ordered the cold noodles (which she didn’t end up liking) with the mushroom tofu.
Ok, so after dinner, we dropped by Hollywood Video to rent a movie. Boy, I didn’t think we would ever agree on what to get, because Lucy and I have completely opposite tastes in what we like to watch — I tend to like adventure/action stuff, and she likes the romantic love stories. Well, after 30 minutes browsing through most of the store, we agreed on American Flyer with Kevin Costner. Unfortunately though, we haven’t gotten to watch it yet because I had to meet some friends of mine back in Pasadena.
So after we got home, I drove back to Old Towne, and ended up at Lucky’s again for another round of Belgians. This time, I ordered the following:
- Urthel Samaranth 11
- Abbaye Val-Dieu Triple
- N’Ice Chouffe 2006
The first two were good, but I didn’t care for the last one. While we were finishing our beer, we got recommendations to try the Urthel Dark Ale and the McChouffe, which I found out afterwards that they were already out of the latter. After our drinks, we walked back to Ceniza for a quick smoke, then finally made it back home around 1am.
On Sunday, I didn’t run since it was cold and rainy most of the morning, but it was actually nice to relax and do nothing. Later in the day, I met up with JJ in Pasadena again, for dinner at Akbar Cuisine of India (I recommend the coco lamb, the chilean sea bass, or the prawn madras), then made it back to Lucky’s for a third time in two days. I only ended up getting one beer this time (Witkap Pater Triple, which was pretty good), because we wanted to make it back to Ceniza to catch the Grammy’s. After watching some amazing performances (my favorite was by Christina Aguilera), I finally called it a night.