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Jumping the Freight Trains

Today's story is dedicated to my good friend Austin. I moved from Boston to Austin my freshman year of high school and of course had no friends here. On the very first day I made friends with the people who remain my best friends to this day, and I consider that to be perhaps the most fortunate event of my life.

One of those friends is Austin. Now in the military flying whirly-copters, he used to be the one guy (well, actually I could pretty much always count on Terry too) who would always be in for a crazy plan.

This scheme fell right into our laps.

Los Gatos Dammit Run August 12th 2013

On GoJoGo

This is a local run which goes up our vicious hills, the foothills to the Santa Cruz mountains. I love it!

I ran it once before in 2009 when I was at my fittest ever having successfully trained for and completed a marathon. My finishing time then was 55:55, or an 11:11 pace, a bit slower than the pace I maintained for the whole marathon. Does that give you a clue how tough it is?

You start at the local high school, and run round the track. Of course, everyone hare's off too fast. People always do that at a race, but when it starts on a track, it seems to be even worse than usual. As soon as you leave the track though, you're right on the trail. About half a mile of flat, and then you climb. Gradually, for a mile, then there's a steep bit to shock you. You get a brief respite of flat and downhill and then you really start to climb and it just gets steeper and steeper until nearly mile 3 when you're well over 800 ft up. And then you run down down down down down. Until you're back at the school and haring round the track again. And by the way, a lot of that trail is quite rough. There's usually blood.

Things went a bit downhill on the health and fitness front after my first attempt in 2009, I didn't expect to do anywhere near so well this time, especially as I hadn't been training for this and hadn't run more than 3 miles since the half marathon in June, nor had I been running the hills. Nevertheless, when we heard some friends of ours had signed up, Philip and I decided on the spur of the moment to join them. I like attending the local events, and this one in particular has a very laid-back old-school vibe about it, despite attracting some seriously fast runners as well as enthusiastic slow-mos like me. Unusually for nowadays, this race also attracts lots more men.

It was a good day for a hard run, blessedly cool. It served our friends well, they both placed in their age groups. Philip had a good time, he took it easy for him. I had fun, gave it my best shot on the ups, ran hard downhill, and BOY! did my quads feel it over the next few days!

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