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Sunday morning coming down (the trail)

October 2, 2016

The recent late September heat wave sure got me in the rhythm of running at first light (except for a few fun twilight runs to the tune of 90+ degrees at sunset).

This Sunday morning the car thermometer showed temps back below 60 degrees at 7 am when I pulled into Irvine Park . . . perfect running weather on a clear fall morning . . .


. . . and I guess perfect mountain biking weather as well; the Barham Ranch trails were crazy with packs of speeding gleaming technology, which got me somehow thinking of the song “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson and made famous by Johnny Cash).

The real lyrics:

On a Sunday morning sidewalk,
I’m wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cause there’s something in a Sunday
That makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothing short a’ dying
That’s half as lonesome as the sound
Of the sleeping city sidewalk
And Sunday morning coming down.

My version this morning:

On a Sunday morning trail run,
I’m wishing that I was alone,
’cause there’s something about almost getting run over by speeding mountain bikers
that takes you out of your running zone.
And there’s nothing short of dying
that’s half as scary as the sound
as derailleurs rattling behind you
and Sunday morning bikers coming down.

Along with the distraction of having to move to the side of the singletrack every few minutes, more people meant more comments on my shoeless state of being: “You’re barefoot!” “Where’s your shoes?” “How do you do that?” Etc. & Etc.

At the beginning of this 6.5 year adventure, I would enthusiastically reply with all kinds of witty & educational comebacks; at this point I’ve realized it’s waste of breath that could otherwise be used to fuel my loping legs.

So I just smile and give a thumbs up and keep. On. Truckin’.

During breaks in the hurtling hoards, this:


Morning light in oak canopy


Oak gall and acorn caps



15 feet above the trail: my first orb weaver sighting of the fall


Cottonwoods going gold


A favorite trail bird: the California towhee, my role model for how to get the heck out of the way


Far far far from the trailhead: this random act of stupidity


My hydration pack is also a temporary trash holder.


I reserve one of the pockets for bits of micro trash; today yielded a big harvest, unfortunately.


Just this morning’s trail shizz . . . 


But this sycamore image is the one I will keep with me all week. Welcome fall!

After two glorious hours of running barefoot up and down champagne-dust (albeit crowded) hills, I even made it home in time to make the 9:30 am service at my church-from-birth, St. John’s Lutheran in Orange, CA, whose senior pastor is one of the local mountain bikers,


but who I don’t have to worry about getting run over by on Sunday morning, at least.






6 Comments leave one →
  1. Gina permalink
    October 3, 2016 10:53 am

    I saw The Highwaymen play this on an older recording a few weeks ago. It was the loneliest song ever! Yours gave me a good chuckle. I love how you pull the best out of stuff while marking areas for improvement, Thea. Keep on truckin’!

    • October 3, 2016 11:34 am

      Hi Gina! Thanks as always for the encouragement . . . I hope your feet and legs are trail-ready again . . . let me know when you’re up for a barefoot adventure 🙂

  2. October 3, 2016 12:16 am

    Thanks Thea for your posts!
    I’m still in the answer back stage of bare footing, to the point of being evangelical about it. We’re in fall up here in the North and I’m glad of it, as this season seems to be my best running season. Looking forward to learning more and hopefully improving, but mostly searching for those fleeting moments of realizing it feels like I’m gliding along the trail.
    All the best, Scott

    • October 3, 2016 7:30 am

      Hi Scott! So glad to hear your barefoot running is inspiring you . . . I also am a fan of “those fleeting moments . . . gliding along the trail.” And I’m not quite as cynical as my post may have sounded; if someone asks an intelligent question (other than “how do you do that? I could never do that!”) I am actually quite excited to stop and chat for a bit and encourage that person to give barefoot hiking/running a try. I usually offer the advice of just removing shoes/boots for the last little bit of the hike/run, and keep increasing that distance at the end of their trail adventures. Congrats on having your “best running season” too! That’s exactly how I feel . . . better late than never 🙂 Happy fall trails, Thea

  3. October 2, 2016 7:36 pm

    Beautiful post.
    I’m waiting to hit the trails but the rains have been playing merry mischief!

    • October 3, 2016 10:09 am

      Thanks! And what is this “rain” you speak of? 🙂

      I’d be willing to trade a few non-running days for some of that “merry mischief” we are longing for in Southern California right now!

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