Boy, I sure missed running with my OCTR buds. The last couple of weekends I couldn't join them on our Saturday long runs due to other plans-- (1) Cactus to Clouds hike the weekend of Mother's Day; and (2) the Joshua Tree Music Festival the following weekend.
This past Tuesday, Pete scheduled a run up Modjeska Grade Rd past Old Glory and going towards Old Camp then turning back at some point to be back at our cars by 8am. The run was scheduled for 5:30am (damn that's early). I got up at 4:30, and I was still 5 minutes late in getting there. This trail is pretty nice in that it is a nice steady uphill. I slowly jogged up with the group, and I was very pleasantly surprised that I didn't really walk while going uphill which has been my regular mode of ascent. Am I getting to be a stronger runner?
The following morning, I joined the group again for another run, this time at Black Star Canyon. Runners in attendance were James aka Vinnie, Pete, Gregorio, Skip, Wendy, Abbie, and Alexa. At one point in the run there was a hill that steadily went up for about a mile and three quarters (well, actually more than that but that's how far we went up it). Greg, Abbie and I jogged the hill together till we got to our turnaround point at about 4 miles. I was amazed again that I did not walk at all at any part of this hill.
Hills, specifically going up them, have been the bane of my fledgling trail running “career” (a little over 3 months at this point). When I see a hill coming up, my natural response has been to walk up it. To be able to jog at least part of it and still feel strong gives my running confidence a boost. There's pleasure in thinking that I may have reached a small milestone here.
Of course the funnest part of going uphill is turning around and zooming downhill. My legs felt great to stretch out and turn over as fast as they can after the initial grind. After a little over 8 miles we were back in our cars and a few of us celebrated with a carb-loaded cold one. Now that's what I'm talking about.
(Photos courtesy of Wendy)