Sunday morning I ran a 25k race to the top of Mt. Diablo and back with Pacific Coast Trail Runs. It was my first time on Mt. Diablo and definitely the longest/steepest race I've ever attempted. I grew up on Mt. Tam, hiking, running, and mountain biking as a kid, but Tam is a mere 2,572 ft compared to Diablo's 3,850. In the blazing sun, no less.
I completed the race in just under four hours, the hardest part being the downhill. Typically I love to steadily run the uphill sections, but this race was literally over 7 miles straight up, so I adjusted my expectations. Another runner and I joked that it had become a "hike-race".
If you're interested in how to hike or run this trail, simply start at Mitchell Canyon Trailhead at Mount Diablo State Park in Clayton, and you can use this trail guide to help you to the top. I cannot recommend enough PCTR, they are a group of especially kind, professional, and enthusiastic runners and volunteers.
I know there are a lot of people out there who do not understand why someone would want to run like this, but I get so much nutrition from it. I learn things by doing them, and when I run I think about all my problems that need solving and somehow the running helps me build the connection between where I am and where I want to be. A good run is abundant in epiphanies and good ideas, healing and love.
Here are some of the things I learned on this run:
1// It's perfectly okay and awesome to have limitations. I was running a 25k loop, but there were other runners who ran twice the distance, essentially to the top, down, to the top again, and back down again. Their power and ability does not in the slightest diminish mine and I draw no reward, ever, from comparing myself to other people. Best to concern myself with staying in my flow, my rhythm, my body.
2// Speaking of body, I read a chapter from Women Who Run with the Wolves in which the author discusses the body not being a 'sculpture' that we are in charge of shaping, but rather a vessel for information gathering. I love this idea, and I really felt it on my run. The core truth of who I am as a person on this planet resides in my spirit, not my body or even my feelings. I realized that emotions actually belong to the realm of the body, not the spirit. I think it can be easy to confuse the way you're feeling with who you are. I am practicing listening to what my body and emotions are communicating to my spirit, what useful information they each are delivering that I can use to develop, grow, heal, and create.
3// This run happened to coincide with the 4th anniversary of when I quit smoking. If there are any smokers out there reading this, may I please share with you this: When you are ready to give it up, the world will open to you in ways that you right now do not even have the ability to fathom. You will have a fundamental shift in how you feel about yourself and the world around you. You will experience real freedom, love, and joy. It is absolutely, hands down, the BEST thing I have ever done for myself. Best. I cannot wait for you to feel the same way.
4// When you just dig in and do the work, it is amazing how far you can go and high you can climb, without even realizing it. I look back at the last few years of my personal and professional life, and this rings so true. Don't forget to take stock, take a moment to look at the view, let it sink in a bit. Maybe there is still more mountain to climb, but don't forget to stop and look at the view from where you are now.
Okay, enough new-agey runner wisdom for one post, here are some shots from my day:
L O V E + M E T A L