January marks the beginning of a new year: another birthday for Martin Luther King Jr and me, and the Gap to Gap training run. At this point I've become accustomed to the frigid temperatures and actually enjoy winter runs. Gap to Gap was my first ever mountain trail run, back in 2005. I was completely stunned by the interminable climb up Jawbone. When I finally struggled (dead last) to the top, I didn't think I could run another step, much less another six hours. The body never ceases to amaze. I learned a lot that day. For instance, Kerry Owens will convince you that you can do things that are perhaps beyond what you should attempt. And you will somehow survive, and fall for her seductive invitations again. If you're not careful, this will become a way of life.
The climb up Jawbone puts you on Kerns Mountain, a rock-strewn, technical, breezy ridge. It's not the most runnable section, and perhaps that's why I have such an affinity for it. The rocky, undulating path forces you to pay attention, and to dance rather than run. It doesn't get any better than that.
(Photo by Sophie Speidel)