"26 miles 385 yards is where racing ends and ludicrous extremes begin."
- from "Runner's World"
I sincerely wish spinach tasted like churros. That would make it so much easier to eat healthy! I'm trying to eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables to counteract all the peanut butter bars and cookies I've been eating this week which have caused my diminishing fitness.
This week I went on my first real run since the Javelina Jundred three weeks ago. The ol' knees are still a bit tender so I'm easing back slowly. A good chunk of my first run on Wednesday was more of a power hike. I'd guess I went 9-10 miles but don't know for sure since I didn't wear my Garmin. (I went about a month without wearing a Garmin watch. Glorious!)
I took a new path near the Jem trail that I can't believe I've never explored before. I've run past it a churroillian times put never ran it before. So many trails around here are spectacular but I believe this was the most spectacular-est trail I've ever been on (which happens to be part of the Zion 100 course).
I came up over this little hill and suddenly a view of Zion National Park opened up right before me:
I stopped for about 10 minutes just soaking in the view. Trust me when I tell you that pictures don't do it justice. I thought about how fortunate I am to be surrounded by a network of amazing desert trails. With scenery like this, its hard not to be drawn to the dirt.
Wednesday night Jackson competed in the Basketball Hoop Shoot contest for the school. All the students who entered had two rounds to see who could make the most free throws. And Jackson won! He won this basketball and now moves on to regionals. So proud of him.
Saturday morning I met Matt Gunn for the first time, race director of the Zion 100. He was showing a group of runners some of the course for the race in May. Usually I prefer to run by myself but it helped to have him there to describe some of the course directions to us:
Windchill as we started was 26 degrees. I realized that I have certainly lost some of my fitness over the last three weeks since the 100 miler. After a mile I was sweating like a dog in a sauna. I far exceeded the FDA's guidelines on How Much A Person Should Be Sweating In 26 Degree Temps. It felt like I was coming back to running after sitting on the couch for three weeks eating peanut butter bars. (Oh.....wait.....)
We did the trail leading to the top of Gooseberry Mesa. I was anxious to see what the hardest part of the course was like. The website describes the climb as "brutal" ascending more than 1,500 feet in less than one mile. This little hill was just the appetizer:
The views going up were actually amazing enough to take my mind off the fact that my lungs were filling with molten lava inside my chest.
I decided (okay, my knees decided) that I'd head back a little before reaching the peak. The rest of the group did about 18 miles but my total was 7. A hard-earned 7. This run/hike was a good boost psychologically because I like to know the worst of what I'm in for. And actually, the worst wasn't horrible. The trail was pretty good and if you take it slow it's definitely manageable. I was actually slower going down than up just to make sure my footing was okay. (Notice the frost forming on my hat. Temperature certainly felt cooler 1000 feet up.)
I'd like to tell you that chocolate will find its way to my stomach less frequently this week. But my sweet wife just made another pan of peanut butter bars. And I lack self-control when they are sitting there in front of me. And I lack the self-control to tell her not to make them. I think I'm set for another good week.
Do you love or loathe your Garmin watch?
I want to wear mine less so I can get better at listening to my body instead of worrying about pace.
Do you like running in the cold?
As long as my head and hands are warm I love the cooler weather.
Is junk food your friend during the holidays?
My blood is starting to clog with oatmeal from all the no-bake cookies I've eaten.