On Tuesday December 15, 2015, I met up with good friends for a little jaunt around Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park or “Tha Nut” as it’s known in my circle.
It had been awhile since Miguel, Anthony and I had gone for a group run. In my eyes, these two represent the young blood amongst the Ultra Community. They have few obligations, they love the sport, some of them have a ferocious determination, and well, they’re young. In other words, they can consume their competition in a racing scenario.
Don’t get me wrong, when you’re training for an Ultra, a bulk of your training will consist of solo missions, but it’s always nice to catch up with your buddies, push each other a bit and share the sport of running. I like running on my own, but a group run has a place too.
We met up at the pool lot and congratulated Anthony for his massacre on the Tarahumara at the Brazos Bend 100. I say this facetiously of course but I was damn proud of the young buck for besting some of the most elite runners in the world and running under 16 hours to take the win. We exchanged young-man like pleasantries and took off on the pool lot trail without any real direction. “Brandon, this is your territory. Why don’t you take the lead”. Wanting to take it slow and be unaffected by the cubs to go faster, I reluctantly lead the pack. I took them out for a warm up on Point Six loop and after some circling in the dark, we ventured out into Walnut Creek’s “canyon” which in my opinion is the only portion of the trail with any technical terrain. We slowed down to cater to Anthony whose ankles weren’t exactly in top form but it was a quick tangent. Afterwards, Anthony had no issues taking the lead and escorted us through a few ups and downs into the first Log Loop. The dude looked damn good for running one hundred miles forty-eight hours prior.
The log loop circled us back to a point in the trail we previously covered and after some struggling on my end, I requested to stretch on the power line structure we came across to. Currently, my running crux is a super tight hip flexor that sometimes extends into my upper back and at it’s worst creeps into my right shoulder and elbow. It gets to the point where Due to this lack of mobility, I’m literally consuming more energy to reach the same speeds as my colleagues. After a very therapeutic stretch session, I gave the all clear to continue our adventure. We roller-coastered through “Mark’s Art” and the “Tangle of Loops” until it finally met the foot of “Mondo Hill” i.e. “Piss at the “Top Mountain” as we so fondly refer to it as. Anthony elected we pass on PATM, and soon we ended the run after a steep but brief hill back to the pool lot.
It was a damn good run. The boys pushed me out of my comfort zone, and the hip flexor appeared to be more forgiving at the end. In total, we ran 6 miles a few minutes short of an hour. We laughed and discussed our future running goals until it felt right to end the evening.
Photo Credit: Deborah Scharpff Sexton (FYI, we ran at night)