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Coyote Fourplay 2005

By Sue Johnston

[Editor's note: This was originally submitted as an e-mail to several friends.]

I'm sitting here back home in Vermont sore, swollen--I have no ankles at the moment--sunburned, and downright exhausted from C4P. You guys really MUST put this on your agendas for next year. We had rain, wind, and a bit of hail for the first day of the Scrub Run, but after that it was all Southern California sunshine and warmth (mostly 60s during the day). Blake Wood, Howard Cohen, Scott Mills, and I did all the mileage (33, 30, 7, 54, 40, and 32 miles). Scottie was mean and never once let me finish ahead of him... and believe me, I tried like hell.


Day #1: Tuesday, 2/22. ~33 miles - Scrub Run
First half of Backbone Trail through the surprisingly "wild" Santa Monica Mtns. How many trail runs can you actually start on Sunset Blvd? About 15 of us are pelted with intermittent wind, rain and hail throughout the day, but most are still able to stay relatively comfortable in shorts, even after a couple of wild river crossings. I witness my first "Scottie." Tonight it's Italian at a restaurant in Malibu.

Day #2: Wednesday, 2/23. ~30 miles - Scrub Run
Northern half of Backbone Trail. The sun comes out! I'm running in shorts and a sport bra! In running shoes! Carrying a small fanny pack! I am happy! Life is good! I pass through Butt Crack Rock three times in order to purge myself of sin... although I keep my clothes on so I don't think it counted. Dinner is at Neptune's Net on Zuma Beach, kind of a dive, where it doesn't really matter what you order because it all tastes like fried grease.

Anstr Davidson and Sue Johnston before start of last day's run.Day #3: Thursday, 2/24. 7 miles
Coyote Fourplay proper begins. About 100 crazy--and I do mean crazy--runners show up to run a warmup 7 miler in Point Mugu State Park. We descend the incredible Ray Miller Trail, I would say the single best trail I have ever run on. Over the next few days, we get to descend this trail three times and climb it once. She who has no speed--that would be moi--is a tad excited and finishes sixth overall and first for the women (not that this is a race or anything). This evening's dinner and beer are at an Oxnard brew pub. I am awarded "Studmuffin" hand soap, "for hunky, macho, manly, delicious YOU." Most everyone receives some "prize" or another over the next few days.

Day #4: Friday, 2/25. ~54 miles
The "50 miler" in Ojai/Los Padres National Forest turns out to actually be more in the 54 mile range. (I think Horton was involved in the course planning.) We climb a loooong way up to a ridge, drop waaaaay back down, then aaaaall the way back up, do an out and back along the ridge, the turnaround being a 6500 foot snowy peak called Topa Topa. We even get to slip and slide in Hardrock-like snow for a couple of miles--woo hoo! After the return 13-mile trek along the ridge, it's a looooong, quad-pounding downhill to the finish. Those of us doing the whole thing--we have the option of running as many or as little miles as we want each day--finish late and almost miss the evening's Mexican buffet, margaritas, and TALENT COMPETITION. The word "talent" is used very loosely: one guy's "talent" is wiggling his ears to music. Next time you see Anstr, please ask him about his performance. He is one VERY talented guy!!

Day #5: Saturday, 2/26. 40 miles
We're back in Point Mugu for a joyful, mostly singletrack jaunt through the park. I am feeling very good today and run the first half with Dr. Horton and Bruce, one of the Canadians, later a few miles with Ann Trason, one of the highlights of the week for me. What do we talk about? Mostly about our dogs. :) Tonight is pizza and bowling night. "Team Furbutt" consists of Anstr, Laura Dewald, Stan, Margie and me. Anstr buys pitcher after pitcher of beer (I think he was trying to get Laura and me drunk) which at first seems to aid my technique; however, the pins eventually get kind of blurry and I end up scoring only 88. I do win the coveted Testosterone Award for the day, a condom with a bull's head at the tip that plays "Old MacDonald Had a Farm."

Day #6: Sunday, 2/27. 32 miles
The quads feel heavy and I have to work a bit harder today; still, it's not a death march because the scenery is so beautiful, the trails are awesome, and the temperature is just right. We again run in Point Mugu State Park. Some of the trails are washed out due to the heavy rains. I witness my second "Scottie." A couple of trail sections are marked with thongs. By the end of the day, most people get to take a thong home with them as a souvenir. (Gary, C4P is calling your name; when are you going back??) The grand finale is another flying sprint down the Ray Miller Trail.

See most of you at Catawba, if I recover by then.

Virginia Happy Trails Running Club
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