Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hollywood Sign "Fun-venture" Run

 Last Saturday, my Running partner, Melissa, and I embarked on a journey to run to the famous Hollywood sign. Once a month there is a group from our running store, A Runner's Circle, that makes the 13 mile round trip journey from the store to the sign. We have talked about going, but it never seemed to fit into our schedule. Last week, she had 18 miles "of hills" on her schedule and I had 13 miles on mine, so I volunteered to run the extra miles with her. We decided to try and make it to the Hollywood sign and I mapped out a route that would give us approximately 17.5 miles round trip.The weather looked to be in our favor as well, the forecast was 67 degrees when we started and predicted 77 degrees when would would finish.

We started out at 7:30am with 6 water bottles between us. We made our way past the LA Zoo and Travel Town before heading up the hill. At the top of the "hill loop", we turned onto an old access road that is no longer used by cars. The nice thing about that road is that it is fairly shady most of the way up. We continued on at a nice, easy pace all the way to the top where the trail starts to the Hollywood sign. We took a quick break and downed a Gu and some gatorade.

We started down the dirt trail that leads to the sign, now we were running in full sun and it was getting hot. The trail goes approximately 1.5 miles and runs into a paved (and I use that term lightly) road that takes you all the way to the top. This section was by far the steepest, the last mile to the top had about  400 feet of elevation gain. We would our way around the backside of the mountain and finally made it to the top.

At the top is an antenna array that is used by LAPD and LAFD. The area is highly secured, even the area where the Hollywood sign sits is off limits and gated. We took a  few minutes to enjoy the views, take some pictures and rest up a bit for the 8.6 mile journey back.

We sent this tweet to Craig Moss, Just got to the Hollywood sign. 8.5 mi uphill. Time to go 8.5 mi down. Whose idea was this??

And this was the response we got... that was all you guys. I didn't suggest it  Huh, who wrote the schedule?

We started back down and we could feel it really heating up. We tried to stay in any shade we could find but it was difficult along the trail that really had no shade. We walked a bit until we came to the end of the dirt trail and found some shade. We were now getting dangerously low on water/gatorade. I knew of a  "water bubbler" (learned a new term as well) that I had seen on my Tuesday trail runs with Craig Moss and his group, but it would mean that we would have to take another route down. We got to the water tower and filled up all of our bottles and drank some water until we could drink no more. We headed down the path that would take us past the Old LA Zoo and eventually the Merry Go Round. It was hot and we were feeling it. When we got to the Merry Go Round parking lot, we realized we were going to be short on miles. We opted for a stop at the ranger station to pick up more water and then a loop around the golf course which hopefully was shaded. As we worked our way around the golf course, we were both feeling really tired and overheated. We even pulled out the phone to check the temperature and it was 85 degrees... a far cry from the predicted 77 degrees.  We would do a run/walk interval, and eventually made it back to our cars. We fell a bit short of the 18 miles, but it was all good. In the end, we covered 16.63 miles with 1300 feet of elevation gain in 3:35:55

I would like to try this run again in the future, but I think I will wait until the temperature drops a bit. I will also bring a camelback with water as well as a water belt with gatorade.

Here is a link to the data from the garmin


Glenn Jones said...

What a cool trip! If you do it later in the fall/winter when it's cooler, let me know. I'd like to tag along of you don't mind.

Bob said...


You are always welcome to join us. Maybe we can plan something in November.