Out of all the miles I've ran on dirt, many of them were on the Warner Valley dirt road. I've come to know every twist and turn and it is one of my favorite spots in the world to run. I hadn't been there in a few months since the Javelina Jundred and was anxious to go back.
So yesterday I made the trip ("trip" = 10 minutes away). During the drive I stopped to take a picture of an incredible sunrise above Molly's Nipple. I caught myself saying out loud "Wow, that is amazing!"
I arrived at the dirt road and started running. I wasn't dressed warm enough and the cold was stinging. My fingers were so cold that I think if I had tapped them on the ground they would have cracked off. I was pleading with the sun to come up.
After a few miles I reached a cattle guard. It was surrounded by an Insane Cow Posse, including one with horns that looked mean. He acted like he was daring me to cross the cattle guard so him and his bovine friends could trample me. I apologized for all his friends I had eaten between the buns of Big Macs.
I was relieved when the cows ran away after I crossed the cattle guard. I was feeling ambitious and decided I'd try a jumping picture. This is as close as I can get to doing the splits without causing permanent damage:
The total ascent during my run was 1062 feet but it is gradual and not technical at all. At one point the sun popped out from behind the clouds and completely lit up the red rock mountains surrounding me. Pictures don't do justice to how beautiful it was.
I ended up running 10 miles averaging a 12:13 minute mile. It's no Usain Bolt, but considering that I haven't done much running since the 100 miler, the 12:13 minute miles felt like a speed workout. For much of the run I did a 2/1 run/walk schedule. It's what my knees would allow, and I was so happy with how I felt afterward. I feel like I'm finally finishing up my recovery from the ultra and I'm so excited to start building my fitness and endurance again. It was an amazing run.
When I got home, I got a warm welcome from Ace. Just in case I needed another excuse to shower, here it is: