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Western States 100 Training Weekend on the Angeles Crest Trail

by Carilyn on April 9, 2012

With Western States 100 less than 3 months away, it is time to get serious about my trail training.  So, with that in mind, I spent the weekend running through the San Gabriel Mountains and doing sections of the Angeles Crest Trail.  It was so much fun – the weather was perfect, I wasn’t rushed, and there were no scary animal sightings (Yay!).

Saturday I decided to just do a little exploring, as I only needed a 2.5 hour easy run.  I parked at the bottom of Brown Mountain and headed into the National Forest.  There are basically 3 options once you are in the park:  Brown Mountain Road (which used to be a fire road, but is now just a steep trail), El Prieto Trail (the end of the AC100 course), or Waterfall Trail (my own made-up name since I don’t know what it is actually called).  On Saturday, I chose Waterfall Trail because I had never run it and it seemed like the perfect day for a nice, easy run.

Waterfall - Angeles National Forest

On Sunday, it was time to get busy.  I decided I wanted to get a four hour run on the Angeles Crest 100 course.  We parked at the bottom of the mountain and went from the finish of the race in about 8 miles.

Angeles Crest 100 Course - miles 83-100

It was a beautiful course, but very hot, and a little more technical than I had anticipated in some spots.

Sierra Ridge Trail - AC100 course

We were only carrying one bottle of water because we were passing through a campsite that was supposed to have a fountain.  Unfortunately, when we got there, we found that the fountain had been capped.  Uh-oh.  Luckily, when we got to the turn-around at Echo Mountain, a nice lady gave us some water that she was carrying in a backpack for extra weight (now that is tough!).

We finally made it in 4.5 hours, happy, tired and a little sunburned, but no worse for the wear. Here is a brief summary:

Bottles drunk: 2
Bottles needed: 4
SPF used: 30
SPF needed: 50
Anticipated Falls: 4
Actual Falls: 1 (with no injury, just scraped up knees)
Mountain Bikers passing: 17
Mountain Bikers running me into the rocks: 1
Anticipated Wildlife Sightings: mountain lions and bears
Actual Wildlife Sightings: one very trail-savvy dog

Mountain Dog


Next weekend I hope to get back on the trails – but be a little more prepared.

What did you do this past weekend?

Happy Running!




{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kent April 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Hey Carilyn I finally got the 15 mile monkey off my back and was able to run 17 1/2 on Sat. I possibly shouldn’t have gone that far if I was adhering to the 10% rule, but I was really stoked to finally have broken the barrier. I won’t say how long it took me cause I’m really SLOOO. Maybe I will get to run a full marathon this year after all.

Marcia April 9, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Sounds like quite an adventure! Thank heavens for no mountain lions. EEK!

olga April 9, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Thank God for the lady with extra water, silly! This is trail running, girl, gotta count for various crap! Glad you’re enjoying trail running, who knows, next thing you do could be AC100:)

Anne April 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Glad your only wild life encounter was an overexuberant canine. I would have pooped my pants if I’d seen a mountain lion that deep into the woods.

Carilyn April 9, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Yay, Kent! That’s awesome! 17.5 – Woo Hoo! Looks like we will be calling you Marathon Man by the end of the year!

Carilyn April 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Yes, Marcia – so glad for no mountain lions! But I did think about it the whole time 🙂

Carilyn April 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I know, Olga – it was really silly of us. You’d think by now I’d know better 🙂

Carilyn April 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm

I would have too, Anne! I hope it never happens!

Char April 9, 2012 at 9:04 pm

It just blows me away that you can run where there are bears and lions roaming free. The most dangerous wildlife that I’ve seen around here is a few rogue chickens, the occasional snake and a couple of geriatric dogs. But I do live in suburbia.

Carilyn April 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

I do it, Char, but I am scared! But since I live in Los Angeles, the bears and mountain lions are probably the least of my problems 🙂

Kate April 10, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Oh, the area looks beautiful! Glad you only fell once and weren’t hurt. 🙂 I always expect to fall plenty, too. That water thing could have been bad. How funny –and lucky!– that she wanted the extra weight. There have been mountain lion sightings in some of the parks in our areas, and now feral pigs, which apparently are nothing to joke about. And unfortunately, I’m typically the slowest one of my group, so you know who’ll be the one to get picked off and eaten, right? 🙂

Carilyn April 11, 2012 at 7:36 am

Ha ha! Yes, they always say it’s the “slow seal” that gets eaten, but I know that isn’t you, Kate! I definitely need to get braver, but not sure that’s going to happen!

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