An open love letter to Ladera Norte and Rogue

by Cameron Gage

Anyone who has ever run the Run from Hell 18 mile route which includes the steep and long climb up Ladera Norte can attest that it is one Mother Trucker of a run.  I have said many times and believe it is “about as hard as any full Marathon”.  One might wonder why this is one of my favorite runs or simply, why am I not in therapy.

This run exemplifies to me what it means to be Rogue.

A Rogue Runner trains for the finish.

I trained and ran two marathons before discovering the value of a training group.  It took me another marathon before I found Rogue. It took me one more before I discovered Coach Bobby. I am in the midst of my third Coach Bobby Experience as we speak.  What I have found along the journey is a progression of focus and care.  I have often told others that other groups train you to toe the start line, Rogue trains you to finish strong and Coach Bobby trains you to finish strong and with a hug to boot.

A Rogue Runner does not take the easy way out. 

Who in their right mind shows up after work, in the dark, when it is cold (or crazy hot) to run through East Austin doing speed work or the hills and marshes (?) of South Austin?  Rogue Runners do.  Who shows up to run 9 miles of hill after hill only to be faced with the beast that is Ladera Norte only to find out at the top of the “mountain” that there are about 8 more miles to go!  A Rogue Runner does.

A Rogue Runner appreciates the company of others.

Community is the critical glue that holds Rogue together.  The mixing of old, fat guys like me with young gazelle like speedsters and everything in between is a special thing.  If you have ever run in other groups, you will appreciate this.  It is not to be taken for granted.  I will address why I think this happens a bit later.

A Rogue Runner celebrates with ice.

Rogue Runners do special things that require ice afterwards. From those training for their first half marathon or for my friend Russ Secker who does out of body things like running from Italy to Norway with no rest days.  I am so proud to be associated and held accountable by all ends of this spectrum.

A Rogue Runner is vulnerable.

It was said recently as a toast to Coach Bobby but I believe it permeates all that is Rogue, the quote was something to the effect of “Rogue is the way it is because from the top down, the Coaches and Staff create a safe place for those of us who participate to be amazing, strong, special and yes… vulnerable.  This last part, vulnerable, is what makes Rogue special.  If you don’t recognize this characteristic, look around as the group gathers for an early Saturday run or hang around and observe after the run.  What you will see are folks from all backgrounds taking time to care for one another.

Back to Ladera…

As I made my way up and over 18 miles of crazy ass hills this past Saturday, I was once again appreciating, reflecting and enjoying all it is to be a Rogue Runner and crested that Mother Trucker Ladera Norte without stopping for the fifth consecutive time with a stupid smile on my face….I then quickly found my way to an ice bath.

Thank you Rogue.

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2 thoughts on “An open love letter to Ladera Norte and Rogue

  1. Although I didn’t have to do 18, I too agree the Run from Hell is my favorite and even though I couldn’t make it Saturday I went out there Sunday in the cold, wet weather and did it on my own!

  2. I can’t comment on the 18 mile Run From Hell but I can agree whole-heartedly with everything you said about Rogue. Maybe the best decision I’ve made in the past two years. Probably not even close!

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