Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trail Running in Zion's and A Couple of Lessons Learned

After the St. George Half Marathon was over we headed back to the motel for a little R&R but mostly for me that meant taking a sponge bath, and getting a little refreshed so I wouldn't stink too bad for another run. Cory Reese who is the master trail runner dude, spearheaded a group run in Zion's.  Part of the Zion 100 course he will be running this Spring is called Eagle Crag and he wanted to take some friends out there and show us around his territory.
If you look really carefully at the mountains in the distance, the sharp, jagged rocks on the left of this trail-head sign is the base of the area we ran to.  It ended up being about 6 miles round trip.  Sometimes we were running in nice red soft sand, and the weather felt so clean and cool. It was  absolutely perfect temps in the 50's.
And sometimes we were powerclimbing up big hills in snow and trying not to fall down. 
When we reached somewhat of a turnaround spot we were rewarded with amazing views.  Actually the views and scenery were stunning everywhere we looked along the way.
All of these fine friends of Cory's were amazing runners and I felt a little like a dead piece of wood lying by the side of the trail.  Yup........I was a little challenged on this run.  The people's names in this photo are:   Angel, Melanie, Susette, Nate, and Cory
I got a new camera for Christmas and Cory showed me the cool feature of setting the timer. Fun stuff!
A lot of times when I run I like to spread my hands out and let them run through the brush and foliage.  I love the feel of nature running through my fingers.  Yes, that may be weird but it is what it is.  However,  today was not such a good idea to be doing that.  You see, Zion's is more of a deserty type of place to run and as I was enjoying the shrubbery through my fingertips along came a nice prickly bush that felt like the shot you get in your finger when you give blood.  Yikes!  No more playing with nature for me.
Coming back down the trail I was a little bit slower than the group and wanted to make sure of my footing in the snowy areas so I took my time.  Plus how can you not slow down and enjoy the beauty?  This run was a totally different experience than the half marathon this morning where my brain was just so engaged in running fast and hard and I wanted to just slow down and soak this all in. 
At one point the gang got way far ahead of me and all of a sudden a cactus bush jumped right out onto the trail and I kicked it with my left foot.  YOWSA!!  A big long spiky thing was sticking out of the top of my shoe so I bent over and pulled it out and felt a sharp twang in my toe.  I continued running for another couple of minutes thinking that sharp pain would ease but it never did.  In fact it felt like it was getting worse.  So I pulled over and took off my shoe and sock.  Sure enough, there was still of piece of cactus stuck in my toe and I slooooowwwwly pulled the rest of it out while the blood dripped a little bit. 
I put my shoe and sock back on and headed on my merry way feeling better now.  I tried to catch up to everyone else but realized that wasn't happening soon.  I knew I had less than a mile to go so I just once again enjoyed my surroundings and kept my hands and feet out of mother nature.
When I got back to the trailhead I realized on my garmin watch that the numbers weren't rounded up to the nearest quarter mile.  So, me and my silly self said I was heading off down the road to do a little more running and to pick me up in just a few minutes.  I knew the gang needed to get loaded and the road was very rutted and Cory would be driving slowly. (At least he did getting up the mountain) So I headed down the dirt road, once again loving downhill running that I enjoy so much.  I was able to get in another .75 miles before they pulled up and picked me up, for a total of 6.75 on this run.  Add that in to the half marathon this morning with an additional one mile warm up and my grand total for the day came to 20.75.  It was a great day of running!
~~~Lessons Learned~~~
*Don't run your hands through the foilage on a desert run. 
*Don't kick a cactus!
*Make any run a fabulous adventure and it will always leave lasting, happy memories!


Cory Reese said...

You are amazing. I'm so impressed that you made it out to the trail after running a half marathon!

It was great to run with you again. Glad you got to escape the inversion for a weekend.

Amy @ Run Mom Run said...

You are a crazy woman! Holy cow! After a race I sit on my duff and shove food down my gullet as fast as I can.