California State Parks face imminent closure by Governor Schwarzenegger

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Governor Schwarzenegger's proposed cuts to reduce California's budget deficit include closure of over 200 of the state's parks.  This includes many of the state parks in the Santa Monica Mountains including Topanga, Will Rogers, Leo Carillo,  Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon, and Los Encinos to name just a few.  Unless we all take action now to save the parks, they may be closed as early as July 2009.

Michael Qualifies for World Duathlon Championship

Michael on his recent trip around Mt. Ranier (100 miles)

Well, our own Michael Becker has been a little absent so far this year, but for good purpose. His goal this year, as always, is to qualify for the World Short Course Duathlon. This year the event will be held in the United States (North Carolina) in September. He already qualified with his strong showing in the Desert Classic Duathlon in Scottsdale, Arizona in February. Then, March 28 he came in 1st in age group at Camp Pendleton’s Devil Dog Duathlon. As if that were not enough, on May 3rd he came in 1st in age group and 4th overall in the Spring Sprint Tri/Du in Mission Bay, CA.

Pier to Peak--The Locomotion

It started innocently enough. Our own infamous Black Widow, aka Mieko, heard of a Pier to Peak Fun Run from some of the ultra-runners she had met during previous events. It starts out on the Santa Monica Pier on a Friday evening at 6:00 PM, and after 63 miles finishes at the top of Mt. Wilson, favoring fire roads and trails where possible. This year’s run was dedicated to Craig Chambers (Moose), a much beloved ultra-runner who passed away last year.

Trail Runners Discover a Sandbagger

Sharon Does Boston

She just seemed like one of us—casually enjoying our Sunday runs—laughing and jogging with the group. Inside the shell presenting herself as a mother of three, who ran only when time permitted is a whirling dervish. Yes, our own Sharon Hanley (second from the left in the photo) is a monster on the racing circuit. Do not race this woman for pink slips or any other monetary amount she might propose—She will eat you alive. She came in second overall in the Pasadena Marathon last week end in 3:15 despite the rain and strong winds.

Ann and Mieko Celebrating

After a Sunday run, Ann and Mieko celebrated their runs the previous week. They indeed have contrasting training techniques. Ann focused on training for the Catalina Marathon for the better part of a year. She is extremely disciplined, and always kept the final goal in perspective as she incrementally increased her mileage. When her day finally came, she breezed through the marathon, running a negative split, and taking 5th in her age group. All without a single injury—just like in the books. Mieko’s is a different story. She is from Japan, and evidently there if no Japanese word for “quit”. She started running with the club 1 ½ years ago, and went from 10 miles a week to participating in 50 mile trail runs and last weekend the Coyote Two Moon 100k, with 19,000 ft. elevation gain. She completed it in 23 hours, starting Saturday morning at 10AM, running all day and night, and did the victory lap at 9:00 the next morning. To acquaint you with this run, the pitches in the course are of the 3,000ft in 3 miles variety, there are stream crossings, the temperature ranges from the low 30’s to the 70’s, and a lot of your running is at night—alone. None of this seemed to discourage the squealing with joy Mieko. At mile 40, she went into multi-tasking mode. That is simultaneously running, vomiting, and dealing with diarrhea and dizziness. Not being able to keep anything down—not even water—didn’t help. Picture yourself under these conditions in the dark with 22 miles to go, then you come to a 4,000ft. hill. Well, our Mieko never considered quitting, and finished passing other runners at the end, and winning the Zombie Runner Award. Most would say “I’m glad that’s over”. Her words-- “I really loved it. Yes, I will do again. Maybe 100miler next time…” Incredible.

Are we runners or computer geeks?

The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA.ORG) recently held their annual competition for best running club web site.  The Trail Runners Club web site was chosen as one of the top three web sites in the small club category (clubs under 250 members).  You can read the RRCA page about the competition.

Congratulations Art and Mieko!

Most of us in the club have run many parts of the 70 mile Backbone Trail. Sometimes it is hard to get a perspective of the whole trail when done in short segments at different times. Art and Mieko have a pretty good picture of the trail that runs from Will Rogers to Ray Miller. This year, in 3 consecutive days, they ran the entire trail. January 2 they ran 25 miles from Will Rogers to Tapia, then January 3, 26 miles from Tapia to Mishe Mokwa, and finally on January 4th, the last 16 miles from Mishe Mokwa to Ray Miller.

Attention Trail Runners--Black Widow Danger!

Large Black Widow

There has been a resurgence of western black widow (Latrodectus hesperus) in our local mountains. Although varying greatly in size, she is very easy to spot-- The female is black, and has a red hour glass shaped marking on her belly. As her name implies, she has a habit of causing the demise of her male partner after she has no more use for him. It is best to avoid contact with this species if seen on the trails. Common symptoms of black widow infection include swollen knees, tendonitis, and utter exhaustion. Look for her as depicted in this image, and beware:

Exciting New Spring 2009 Schedule

The Spring 2009 schedule is posted, and has some exciting events. We are running Morgan Creek, off the Ortega Hwy. followed by brunch at Sarducci's on Feb. 15th. On March 28th, we make our yearly trek to Santa Cruz Island with a new 8 mile course to Montanan Ridge. April 26 ushers in a new loveable 12 mile Backbone course from Kanan Dume to Encinal Road and back. Try not to miss our Chantry Flats run May 17th. And the weekend of June 6th-7th is a trip to San Francisco with a heavily forested Pt.

Palisades Post article about the Trail Runners Club

The Palisades Post recently printed an article about the Trail Runners Club.  Unfortunately, the online version doesn't include the great picture of some of the members.  The full text of the article is available, though.  Click here to read the full article.
If you're wondering why the article seems to be just about men, it's because this article ran in a special section of the paper called "Everything for Men". 

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