Mt Diablo 3,864 feet (1,178 m) was my destination a couple of weekends ago. It is quite a drive for me so I don't get there as often as I would like to. This time my plan was just to go long and fast on any trail my eyes would find interesting. That was fun except for one nasty spill. I wanted to take a picture but I did not want to stop on a gravel downhill. The rest is a big, black and blue bruise on my butt. I saved my camera though. I was also very grateful for the advice somebody gave me to keep hands out of hiking poles straps on the way down. The way I fell, I am sure I would have done some serious damage to my wrist had I kept them in the straps.
The challenge was to do a on day 30 mile hike/run in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I have never hiked that distance in one day. I had attempted it a few months ago but the strap on my backpack broke and I had nothing with me to fix it so that ended that try. This time I examined our packs very carefully and figured that we would just do our best. Considering how lousy I felt the weekend before I did not hope for much.
We started in the dark. For some reason it seemed fun to us not to turn our headlamps on. I know, I know, I was just asking for another spill, especially that the hike starts in a very dark canyon the moonlight does not reach, full of roots and rocks. But guess what, we managed without even one stumble. As we got on the side of the mountain, the skies lightened and we could see almost to the ocean where our hike would end.
We could have not asked for better weather: not too hot, not too cold with slight wind, just perfect. I decided to skip running to pamper my Achilles and I am glad I did. I will run that trail yet but right now I do not want any injuries before my John Muir Trail adventure.
We kept a pretty steady pace trying not to go faster than 3mph. Pacing is something I don't do well. I tend to go too fast in the beginning and I pay for it later. This time I made sure to be smart about it and actually paid attention to my Garmin. Usually I only check the distance and wait till I get home to check the pace and other data. This time I was making sure that we did not push to hard especially during the first 15 miles.
I cannot believe how fast the time flew - must have been good company. We talked, joked, and then there were stretches of time when we would just hike in comfortable silence. A truly enjoyable experience. I those silent moments I was reminiscing about our past hikes. I recall our first hike, a 2 mile loop, 2.5 year old kid, and a very overweight mom. We both ended that hike tired but happy. Now both of us were going for a 30miler. Not too bad, I thought.
The last 3-4 miles were very hard on my "baby's" feet but I heard not even one word or complaint. Now that made me really proud. I am actually glad for that painful stretch. It is one of those experiences that makes a person stronger.
As for me, strangely, unlike the weekend before, I felt great. I still had quite some miles left in me. No aches, no pains, not much of a fatigue.
We finished our 30 miles with a huge hug and a feet soak in freezing ocean waters.
I got up on Sunday all stiff with my body blackmailing me that if I don't start moving, it will totally freeze up on me. So I hopped on my bike to hit the trail early before it got too hot. I usually carry two spares but this time I had only one since I used the other one just the day before. Guess what, one mile into the ride I get a flat. That trail is covered with these little thorny things that seem to like my bike a lot. I was not going to ride without another spare. So I had to wait for the stores to open while the temps kept on climbing up. To make the long story short, I did my 34 miles in the hottest part of the day and for the first time in my life I welcomed the headwind.
A short update on my blind friend, Teresa. She is working hard. Her weight lifting is going great. We are slowly intensifying her cardio workouts too. She is improving her diet too though that change is the most difficult for her so she is not losing much weight. It will take time and I only hope she won't get discouraged. Right now her enthusiasm is still very high and we are both working hard on keeping it that way. She seems to like it that I feel comfortable making jokes at her expense. Good. :)