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Exploring Airman's Cave

We sat in the tiny passageway, exhausted. Our muscles were fatigued from overuse. We were over a mile deep into the cave, hours away from the surface, hours away from food, and hours away from water. Had our curiousity finally gotten the best of us? For the first time ever, I was worried for my life. I couldn't imagine dying, but making it out of the cave seemed even less likely.

It started months ago. After exploring the small caves at Enchanted Rock, we were eager to tackle something a bit more challenging. A search on the internet led us quickly to Airman's Cave - perhaps the most well known cave in Austin. What we didn't know at the time was that it was also an advanced level cave. Few members of the caving community in Austin would attempt the cave. With an average ceiling of 18", Airman's cave was a full 2.5 miles long. But we didn't really know that either. In fact, we knew nothing of caves or caving.

To access the cave, we had to take a hike down a dry creekbed and search for it. After wandering around for a while we spotted a large opening on the hill. That was it.

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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