Quick list of takeaways from the trip and the actual run last weekend on Santa Monica Mtn's Backbone Trail. I wrote a bit about the actual adventure here: http://runwithziel.blogspot.com/2016/03/adventures-on-backbone-trail.html
1) when the most reliable way to get back to rental car/starting point involves thumbing a ride from a random German tourist after walking a few more miles down the canyon road, arriving to Hwy1 and cell phone reception, dialing and getting a ride from an old stoner pal who is just the same dude he's been since way back when (complete with him blazing a bowl all the way down Hwy 1 just like the good ol days), and THEN signing up for an Uber account and getting 1st Uber ride ever for the final leg YOU KNOW YOU'VE NAILED ALL THE PLANNING.
2) follow your bowels: we accidentally nailed one not so obvious turn (unmarked per usual) by succumbing to our bowel movements. we saw a trailhead parking area and bathroom, ran down the access trail to destroy some toilets only to then see a sign right next to it reading "Backbone Trail".
3) bring TP/napkins: They don't weigh much and when wet grass is the only natural alternative it's just, well, wet and grassy. if there are bathrooms they are probably locked when you need 'em.
4) print the maps and study them. both people. multiple times. adventure partner MM seemed so on top of it (and he was, especially compared to me) printing little intersection maps and such that I got really relaxed and.... didn't do anything really. oops.
5) technology is pretty cool but not when your screen and fingers are all wet. the BBT feels quite remote and some parts actually are (sort of) but it's all in LA for the most part. so i thought, like any Hollywood superstar, there wasn't a problem my cell phone couldn't handle/get me out of. i spent more time fighting dropped pins in Cuba (google maps would zoom way out and drop pins wherever a little drop of mist hit the screen) than i wanted to. this really boils down to #4 above.
6) the trail running world is tiny and friendly. we came up on a group of 3 runners to: "are you guys the ones running the whole thing today?" how did they know?! they helped us not get lost 3-4 times until we really out did ourselves and got too lost for them to be able to reel us in. we later learned that they were Ellen (a fellow SWAP "teammate") friends. cool catz.
7) having a conversation about quitting is hard for some people to do within their own mind. try doing it with another person (even someone as awesome as MM).
"I don't know man" (translation: we should stop here)
"it's gonna be late and dark and all..." (translation: we should stop here)
"ok, let's just go a little more" (translation: we should stop here)
"you feeling good" (translation: I am a bit tired)
"yeah, I am alright" (translation: I am fucking tired)
"I don't know how good the phone reception will be" (translation: we should stop here)
"yeah, hitching a ride in dark is no bueno" (translation: we should stop here)
"ok, well, let's just keep going" (translation: we are stubborn grown up men)
8) more time in shoes=more funky smell. i always assumed there was some maximum level or funk that a shoe could possibly hold that was attained after 2 hours or so. wrong. it get's worse. way worse.
9) safety's numero uno. it's true just like mom always said. use your head.
10) even "incomplete" (because there's no such thing as "failed") adventures get BURGERS AND BEERS.
11) Airbnb profile pics (both host and digs) can be a bit misconceiving. Just an observation. The cats were real though. She forgot to mention sweet nighttime sounds of domestic disturbance across the narrow alley from time to time.
12) a pho place in the back of a run down convience store is actually a really good place to get a pre-adventure gut load up. so, just keep going past the tampons, cat food and Twinkies and order up!
13) you can try to run when you are (or have been) sick but be prepared for some revelations about your condition. it's just part of life though, no reason to stress about it. just kick back and go see a doctor every now and then (like once every 5-10 years?)
14) if you only have one car/ride park it at the finish and figure out how to get to the start... wait, actually just have 2 cars for the point to point adventure.
15) more time. we were under the gun to get in and get out. more time (had it been available) would have been super cool whether that time was spent prepping for the run or just going for a swim in the ocean it sure would have been nice to have.