Gaskill and Lawson Peaks

New landscape at the perfect time.

I found my love for trail running while I was living in San Diego, but only ventured as far as Mission Trails and Cowles Peak which is pretty much in San Diego proper. I hadn’t yet discovered the value of driving an hour or more to get to the backcountry. I didn’t even know San Diego had a backcountry until I had moved away and learned how to hunt for trails.

A few weeks ago I went out to San Diego to visit girlfriends and I set a day aside to visit a trail I never experienced when I lived so close.

Wet trail and one of the objectives in the background.

Gaskill and Lawson Peaks
TH: No proper TH. There is room for about 2 cars right in front of the gate that blocks off the road and then it is street parking. The shoulders are virtually non-existent though, so I suggest not going on weekends.
Conditions: Mostly 4wd road until you start getting on the peaks and then it is scrambling that is not as intuitive as you would like.
AllTrails Route: Gaskill and Lawson Peaks
My Route: Same
Miles: 8
Elevation Gain: 2,600ft.
Water: No way.
Bathroom: Nope.
Dogs: On leash. Always.
Special Notes: I am used to the best months in the backcountry being June-October. This trail and this backcountry is best in Winter, (October – March.) There is no water and no shade, and in the summertime would be awful.

This was the best time to do this trail. This backcountry is desert, and if you go out in the peak of summer it will be hot and there is not water and no shade.

Someone left a comment on alltrails that the views weren’t that good. What were they expecting? We aren’t in the alps. I’d say these are some of the best views you can get in this area. You can see the ocean as you stand on a peak! I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the views.

We went when the clouds were hovering just above the peaks, the trails were wet and we even crossed a few streams! There was so much life yet my dad and I were the only two people on the trail. It really was a beautiful time to see that area.

My dad, scramblin’ toward Lawson.

I am kicking myself for not utilizing that area when I lived there, but it was such a special hike to do years after I had moved away and to do it with my dad.

No crack climbing required, but crack squeezing a must.

I am convinced that there is wild beauty in every corner of the world, you just have to want to find it.

Resistance or Strength Training. Workouts

I have no pictures of me working out, so here is Xena. This makes me think of running repeats up stairs which I consider an aerobic and a strength training workout.

Hopefully soon, I will write much more about the benefits of strength training. My love for fitness actually started in the gym and I have some experience with weights and body weight exercises.

I love to feel strong, and even in the summer when I am ramping up the running miles and spending a lot of time on the trail, I make it a point to squeeze in a few days a week of strength training. It improves my running form and performance and improves my physical ability to get around in daily life easily.

I am just starting out with this whole thing, so this first post is just to get a page started where I post a specific workout I have done. It is meant to inspire and allow you to cherry pick what you want to try and what might work best for you.

Keep in mind, I am a trail runner and I usually do exercises that directly benefit my running. My goal is to be toned, light and lean. I am not interested in bulking up. I just want to be strong in places that matter when I run and when I engage in daily physical activities as a part of living. In order to accomplish this, I do a ton of body weight exercises and only occasionally add light free weights.

**If you try this at home, adjust reps to your ability. You most likely will be weaker or stronger in the exercises.**

Workout for 9 January, 2019:

3 sets each:

Round 1:
Burpees 8 reps.
Wide-legged squats 10 reps
Plank 30 sec. – switched to forearm plank for second set
Side crunches 20 each side.
Crunches 15 reps

Round 2:
Pull-ups 10 reps (I own a body tower)
Dips 15 reps
Hanging Leg Raise 10 reps
Jump Squats 15 reps

Round 3:
Sliders 15 reps (mixed up what I did with them each time)
Pistol Squat 3 each side
Push-ups 12 reps
Lunge into single leg stance 10 each side

I did 3 sets of each round and I didn’t rest until the end of the third set. That way I had 10 or 15min. at a time of an elevated heart rate, improving cardiovascular and respiratory strength. This workout took me 50min. If I become more consistent with strength training, I could probably get the time down or I could start to add more reps to each workout to keep the time the same.

Happy 2019!

Oh, Breckenridge.

January, 1 2019. I am sick as a dog. It started as a little chest thing on Monday, and was full blown chest cold/flu yesterday.

Today – day one of my goal to get outside and get moving every single day of this year – my chest is wheezing and I can’t breathe through my nose. Oh, and the fatigue. Oh, and it is 12° outside.

Game on.

We got out on the XC skis. It was cold, but the sky was blue and the sun heated our cores. The trail was fast and the crisp air helped clear my stuffy nose. I made it an hour before the fatigue set in and I knew it was time to call it.

Frank and Xena headin’ uphill.

Full disclosure, yesterday was the worst of the sickness and beside some light stretching, I took the day off. I slept a lot. Rest is important, especially when you are sick. The more you move and get to know your body, the easier it will be to know when you need and don’t need rest.

Today I knew I could find the balance of getting some fresh air and not over doing it. With the exception of a few circumstances in life, (only a few), I still believe any movement, no matter how big or small – short or long – is still better than no movement at all and can always be worked in to your day. Even rest days can and should include light, easy movement.

So, day one already an adventure – as it usually is in the mountains. I am excited to see what the rest of this year will bring.

Get wild, be free.

Nutrition Note:
We spoiled each other for Christmas and bought ourselves a VitaMix. Tonight we made hummus and pita bread. Another goal of mine this year is to really dive in to healthy eating and home make as much as I have time for. I will also get better at taking food pictures.

Homemade pita and hummus. MMMMM.