The descent leading to the third climb was really fun technical running and the fog was really heavy making for an intense sensation of isolation and solitude. I turned on some music to put the mountain lion fears on the back burner and alternated between power hiking and shuffling up the steep third climb. Near the top I saw a coyote disappear into the mist beside the trail.
At one of the aid stations the volunteers remarked, "You're slamming those shots like a Russian sailor!". By this point in the day the 50K runners were sharing the course and I was happy to have people to chase and exchange "good-jobs" with for motivation. I came in at the end of the third lap with an 11 minute lead, nearly identical splits to lap 2, switched over to my "drop the hammer" playlist and rushed out of the aid station so quickly I forgot to drink any Coke. About a quarter of a mile down the trail I came to a screeching halt...ponies in the trail!
The 4k beast began innocently with a nice steady grade along an abandoned road now choked out with grass and lupine, and littered with logged-out deadfalls. Three thousand feet of climbing later I reached a gate and let myself think I was getting close. Turning the next switchback corner the whole world felt like it was falling away as the grade cranked up and I was forced to push on my quad with one hand and use my lone trekking pole for leverage on the other...
Racing along the rim of the big ditch, Type II fun in the the wilderness and a return to the 100 mile distance. Lots of enduring, enjoying and exploring great places/mental spaces. Cover Photo by Derrick Lytle.
PC: Derrick Lytle "I always want to do my best. You know, all you have is this year so you might as well make it the best you've got." - Zach Miller Sometimes everything goes perfectly, which is not to say that it is easy. Good days and bad days can distill life down to the barest and rawest moments where you realize what you are capable of and what truly motivates you to get through the low points. Sometimes that just means finishing, sometimes thats beating your best and sometimes you land on the podium.
Spring break running report: Monument Valley Half Marathon! Scouting the Zion 100K course! Setting a new Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Buckskin-Paria route!
“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” - Anakin Skywalker whining about the Antelope Canyon course Everything felt smooth and easy until mile 22 at the Horseshoe Bend vista when the sand gave way to the stunning but challenging course along the rim. It slowed me down and I found myself power-hiking up some of the steep sections of crumbly, off-angle rock. The markings were hard to spot (due partially to the epic winds the night before the race after this section had been marked), but the route follows the canyon rim very obviously and even when no other runners were around to help locate the path the markers were never more than one corner or dune away...