Lately, my runs have been either races where I talk about the courses, or a quick run in the friendly confines of my home in Salt Lake City which I have already described in great detail. It has been a while since I have been on a nice new training run.
However, this morning I got to get up at the crack of dawn and tackle a nice little 3.6 mile climb in the Santa Monica Mountains. If you know anything about my running, you may be aware I am NOT a morning runner. So when my hosts Jimmy and Kate asked me if I wanted to go on a trail run with a group of runners I was more than ready to go. Then they told me we were meeting at 6:15 AM. Ugh. But I am a trooper and can't miss an opportunity to meet new runners so I of course agreed.
So, LONG before the sun came over the mountains and showed the smog settling in the greater Los Angeles area, Jimmy, Kate and I were in the car driving up Sunset Blvd to our destination - Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park.
Meeting about 5 or so other people, some with headlights on to pierce the pitch blackness, we exchanged a few pleasantries and soon were underway. I knew the run was more or less 3.5 miles up hill and then turning around and heading back down the hill. Doing my best to not wake up until we got to the turn-around I silently fell in behind Jimmy and some of his friends. Poor Kate hit a little ditch in the darkness and lost her footing. But in spite of an ouchie on her hand, bounced back up and hit the trail.
Jon, owner of his own successful apparel company, is training for his first 50 miler. Lukas, a chap I met in June who himself is a Kona Ironman finisher, was running with him. When Jimmy and and another runner named Chad his some hillier sections, I said no thanks and stayed on the fireroad. No sense killing myself with a marathon in 72 hours!
We hit the top of the trail as the sun was fully cutting through the sky, illuminating the Nike Missile Tower in front of us (nope, not that Nike).
After a little pause to catch our breath and just enjoy the morning, we hiked up our shorts and headed back down. Normally one who loves to crush downhills, I kept the race this weekend in mind and just cruised on down. About an hour after we started, 7.3 miles later and a nice solid 1,000 plus feet of up and then back down, we were back where we started.
A few high fives on a job well done and away we went to start our days. Not a bad start to the morning.
I still like to run in the evenings.