Well, I told Mike I probably wouldn't do a real write up for our run tonight, but after having such a great time, I thought it deserved a post :)
Mike Palmer kindly invited me along for his run tonight, and I decided it would be fun to push limits and opt for the longer 8 mile loop (with the potential of getting to use my headlamp!). After about half a mile going up the claremont canyon hill, I was regretting my choice but felt to embarrased to ask Mike about switching to the 5 mile option. So, on we went. Those hills were killer! My legs were just burning. But turning around and being greeted with panoramic views of the bay area definitely made it worth it. After the first mile we were in new territory for me, which was really wonderful. I love going on new trails, especially ones that are practically in my own backyard!
After a while we reached chaparrel peak (I think it's called?) and the worst of the climbing was over, thank goodness! Soon, we reached a road and headed into Tilden park, where we got onto the most delightful little singletrack. The bay trees (I think?) were just so beautiful, forming a canopy over the trail. I was walking much of the uphills while Mike trudged along a bit ahead of me, but I was able to keep up. Soon we popped out onto another road, and I recognized it from having driven up there before. It was so cool to connect all these areas I knew of in Berkeley through trails! It was wonderful to have company as well, as I never got afraid that I was going to be eaten by a mountain lion :)
After being on the road for a bit we arrived at the top of the familiar and well loved strawberry canyon firetrail, and enjoyed a fairly 'fast' trip down that. It was funny, I felt like Mike was really pushing the pace, and was happy at being able to keep up. After a few miles he commented to me that I was really making him run faster than he would have on his own. Ha...we both thought the other wanted to go faster! It was good though, I love running fast downhill, and there was lots of that here (all the downhill we earned from the earlier climbing!) We moved at a good enough pace that we didn't end up needing our headlamps after all (drat! I'll just need to find people to do night running with some other time!)
Mike ran me back to my car and then we parted ways.
It's funny, for the first year that i started running, I only ran by myself. People were always surprised when I said that I did all my marathon training solo. I never really minded the time alone, and generally enjoyed my runs.
However, now that I've been doing lots of running with other people for the last few months, I finally really understand where other people were coming from! Running with someone else is so much more fun, and really makes the run go by so much faster. Those 8 miles really flew by. So much in fact that I think I'll be joining Mike on a repeat of this run next week :D
Over the last 3 days I've run 35 miles! I'm going to have some awesome mileage for the week!
I love running :)