When I started this journey 8 weeks ago I said to Jamie that I could not wait to climb Cowles Mountain…and this weekend I did it!

I live in San Diego, one of the most beuatiful cities in the nation, yet the 6 years I’ve lived here I have not enjoyed all this amazing city has to offer and it’s time for that to change. We have an abundance of beaches and beauty surrounding us here, time to get outside and bask in it!

My go-to person for everything is Christy, she’s my bestie, and the 1st person I want to play with! Her answer to 99% of my invitations is NO (insert sarcastic snarky remark her) – So when I texted her last week to invite her I said “even though I am pretty sure I know what your answer will be, do you want to hike cowles with me this weekend?” – to my surprise she said YES! I was waiting on the text of her flaking on me, and it never came and Saturday Night we were on track to meet at her house at 8:30am! Once I heard she bought shoes for this event I knew she was serious (but seriously who wears new shoes on a hike?).

After getting a little lost and looking at the parking situation, so wait you have to park a mile away, walk up hill then start the hike?? No thanks! Ha Ha! We scored and got a great spot but we still took a few mins as the base of the hill to sit in the shade – check-in on facebook and amp ourselves up for this journey! It was a gorgeous day and the mountain was packed full of people. Kids – Couples – Besties – Elderly….everyone – all shapes sizes and athletic abilities.  So up we went…..

Christy had never been on a hike before and for me, well “back in the day” I had hiked but considering climbing the stairs in my house was a battle I was pretty nervous. I expected that I would be listening to her complaining the whole way about being hot, dirty, tired, sweaty and over it, but she didn’t, well at least no more than I did!

I am not sure what I expected, I guess I was thinking 1.5 miles….ok well I walk a mile in about 20-22 minutes for what maybe 45 minutes to the top??? Yeah that sounds about right….?? About 20 minuntes into the hike we saw a couple of girls coming down with their dogs so I asked “how much further to the top?”. They looked at me like I was a total nutjob and said “Oh you have a long ways to go”. Oh well lets just keep going….can’t be that much further…..and then we saw it…..the Zig Zag of little ants WWWAAAAYYYYY off in the distance and we both looked at each other like are you kidding me? We are going there?? What were we thinking??? But we just kept going.

Christy was awesome – I know I tease alot about her sarcasticness – but deep down….way way way deep down – she is a great friend with a huge heart and is her doing her best to support me – I don’t know if she “needed” to take as many breaks as I did or if she was just getting in tune with my pace but we took frequent breaks and just went at whatever pace we could.

For me, the best part was the people watching and little exchanges with people who you passed along the way (who am I kidding we didn’t pass anyone) – We saw dads with their kids in backpacks (Hi James!) – we saw little girls holding their dads hands – kids crying and not wanting to go (that would have been Axel) – we came around one bend, seemed to be a popular break spot with a good view and lots of big rocks to sit down. There were 3 kids there, I don’t know why but I started chatting with them. It was their 1st time and they were done but waiting for their Mom. The little boy, probably in 6th grade, was really overweight and said he couldn’t go any further but that as he made his way to that spot people were encouraging him the whole way and Christy & I headed back up he told me to “just keep going” and “you can do it” – I wasn’t so sure!

But we kept going! And we kept chipping away at that mounting a few feet at a time. I remember looking up at one point and saying to Christy, we are actually gonna do this. We were getting closer and closer but that last part – the Zig Zag, looked brutal. Short Steep Sections. As we approached that final section some guys behind us were rooting on some woman so I turned around to see who they were talking about and up comes this lady who is telling these guys “I used to weigh 300 pounds, I lost 150!” – My ears perked up and I started talking with her. She was 52 years old, she climbos Cowles twice a day and that was the minute when I knew I wasn’t giving up! We exchange high fives and off she went ahead of Christy & I.

The entire time on the mountain there were hundreds of people racing up & down but at one point in the final stretch we got to a fork in the road and weren’t sure where to go….and for the 1st time in 90 minutes we did not see one other person. It was like a scene from a Stephen King movie or something…..where did all the people go? We stood there for what seemed like 10 minutes, which was probably 1 or 2 minutes, before we saw people heading back down. Whew, we weren’t lost!

We came around the final bend and could actually see the top and all the people taking pics and relazing before the journey back down. We did it – one last push and we would be there. We saw a group of 4 eldery women about this point and one of these ladies was big, really really big, but she made it to the top and they were all in great spirits and having fun and told us that it was tradition to “touch the rock” when you get to the top.

and then…there it was….the top! We had done it. I had done it. and Christy was a rock star, I think she knew I would have been ok to stop and go back down but she kept her cool and didn’t push me and she wasn’t complaining and she didn’t mind the breaks and slower pace. We looked down and were stoked, we had done it. We were at the top. SELFIES! We touched the rock, took some pictures and took a seat and I busted out a little mini bottle of champagne to celebrate our success! We each only had a sip or 2 but it was awesome to be sitting there with my best friend feeling accomplished and proud! We chatted with a few people at the top, I didn’t know Cowles was the highest point in San Diego (well the city of San Diego not SD County) – so yay me! It was absolutely gorgeous at the top – views of downtwon – point loma – mexico and all the surrounding cities – it was just incredible.

We headed back down, careful not to slip and fall, and I was really surprised that Christy enjoyed it as much as she did. She wants to go back and make this a more regular event, she probably just wants an excuse to wear her cute new shoes. As we got to the final stretch and could see the bottom I said to her “I would have felt like such a lam *sshole if I could not have made it to the top” – I mean seriously there was old people and kids doing this – Her reply to me just proved what I already knew, she was my Ride or Die Bestie “I wasn’t going to let you quit until we made it to the top. Axel is with my Mom, Anastasia is safe at the gym and B is fine. We were in no rush and had all the time we needed” . So glad she did this with me. No one else I would have rather shared that with.

So another milestone - I could not have done that 8 weeks ago! When I told Coach George on Friday I was going Cowles he was confident I could do – saying that the workouts I do with him are harder and that I just need to go slow and take breaks when I needed them but I would get to the top. He was right. He always is.

I feel great today – I thought my hips and knee’s may hurt but they don’t….maybe tomorrow.