I’ve been neglecting trail running for a while now because frankly, hills are my enemy and I hate them with a passion. I finally decided to join some people for a trail run up in the Santa Monica mountains because I have heard it improves your running a lot. After Pasadena and getting killed on the hills, I figure I should give it a chance and see if I make it out alive. A group of us met up at the ungodly hour of 6:30, I haven’t been up this early in a long time, but I was ready for the challenge. To get to our meeting point, I drove up the Temescal Canyon hill, usually when I run with the Leggers and the mentor suggests doing that route, I tend to opt out because it is a veryy long incline up and did I mention, I don’t like hills. Wow..the first 3 miles or so were deadly, I have never experienced anything like it. It was steep, with loose rocks and at some points, I just wanted to get on my hands and crawl up the mountain. But, I didn’t want to lose sight of anyone and fall behind otherwise I might not have made it back. The trail was narrow and we had to do single file, I just kept my head low and kept my pace trying to avoid any loose rocks. The uphill climb didn’t stop, and when it did level out, it was only for a couple seconds before it ascended again. I saw the elevation map beforehand and couldn’t believe we were going to be running to 2000 ft elevation. After a while, I would run for 15 strides, and walk for 3 strides. I knew if I kept walking, I would just end up climbing up the hill. The air seemed thin the higher up we ran, and that combined with heavy breathing made the run that much more challenging. We ended up losing everyone along the way, and it was just me and the leader of the group. I tried to keep up with him and think about the top of the mountain and how good the downhill will feel. At some points when it did level out, it made running feel so easy compared to the uphill climb. Finally we made it to the 5 mile turnaround point and we were up at the top. It felt as if we had done 10 miles already. The last 5 miles were pretty awesome, although there were some steep downhills, you couldn’t just run really fast because of all the loose rocks. I had to be careful not to trip and fall on my head, but it was nice knowing we ran up the beast and now we were reaping the rewards. The trail back was nice because it was shaded and kind of like we were in a forest and we even saw a little bit of a waterfall. I understand why we run so early because it is pretty brutal running uphill when the sun is beating down on you. I am so glad I came out and did this and I can see how much it will help my running, it really puts all the hills I have ever run to shame. I’m ready to explore new trails and hopefully run a lot more with these guys. It was definitely hardcore and a nice change in scenery from the beach. Now I just need to get some trail running shoes…Here are my stats, check out the elevation tab. Garmin was acting up the last 5 miles saying there was a lap error, and it kept beeping every 4 seconds but the timer was still going, so there are no split times after the fifth mile.