I agreed to meet a friend and his friends for a 10 mile trail run this past Saturday at 5:45am. What that meant is that I actually woke up at 4:45am in order to eat and then drive to the trailhead. To run. 10 miles. Up a mountain. Challenging my intellect at this point is acceptable.
We ended up going to Moraga (the Eastern side of the Oakland Hills). I could tell I was in trouble when A) I couldn't see the top of the hill from where we parked and B) Everyone had a headlamp but me. As we started running up the hill in the dark, I could tell I was in for a world of hurt. The first mile was worse than Diablo. These trail runners are seriously crazy. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see. And everyone around me was laughing, having a great time, including a woman whose apparent job was to keep me from being last in line.
We finally summitted the ridge and from there it got worse. Up and down and up and down we went. Into the valley and then back up to the ridge and then into the valley again. Beautiful run, I think. Most of the time I felt like I was going explode from one end or the other, but I was never quite sure which one was going to pop first.
Seriously, the run was amazingly beautiful. Redwood groves everywhere and the feeling of being in Jurassic Park. What I've learned is that although I am a fast runner, I am not a strong runner. Time to change that.