Monday, December 5, 2011

I Blame The Peanut Butter Bars

"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.


  1. Well, at least the oatmeal part if good for you...maybe ask your wife to remove the sugar part next time? :) I think you deserved those pans of pb bars after the 100 but I can relate to how you're feeling as you re-enter the running world.

    Nice job to your son (who looks just like you :)), congratulations!

    Love those views! I was in Zion about 10 years ago...must get back there one day soon!

  2. I am a serious Garmin addict!!! I love the thing and canNOT imagine running without it. I absolutely have to have it tell me how fast I am going. If I only listened to the way my body felt....I would run about 14 minute miles ;) I'm a pretty big wimp when it comes to cold :) And junk food is enemy #1 during the Holidays.....since I have the worlds WORST metabolism. But I admit...I do like indulge in your wife's amazingly delicious peanut butter bars!!

  3. It's funny you say that about the Garmin because I've been thinking about starting heart rate based training instead of pace based training because I'm so tired of beating myself if a pace feels easy one day and hard the next.

    Where you run is beautiful!

  4. WOW, what amazing views! That hill is unbelievable. I may have to check out that race in a few years.

    I love my Garmin, and I love running in the cold. Snow running is even better. What an adventure!

  5. You have such incredible scenery in these photos! I have read some interesting blogs lately about people running by HR instead of with their Garmin. I think that's especially true for trail running!

  6. are you saying that peanut butter bars aren't good for fueling a workout? say it ain't so! :-(

  7. Great pictures as usual. That Zion 100 looks like it could be brutal, but I'm sure it was nice to run with Matt. Congrats to Jackson! That's awesome! He's the man!

  8. Those are some incredible views! The scenery is what I miss most about Utah.

    I am addicted to my garmin. I love being fast (even though I'm not all that fast).

    I much prefer running in the cold to running in the heat! Although as long as it's dry I count it as great weather (I live in Washington state)

    I am a sucker for goodies year round. I wish it was confined to the holidays!

  9. "churoillion". Best word ever.

    I love cold! I much prefer it to heat. I know I've said that a billion times. The hardest part is just getting out the door.

    I tried to eat a Good2Go bar. Gag. I'm just going to have peanut butter bars. I think they might be the new thing in fuel.

  10. I don't have a Garmin, so I have to covet yours. :)

    I love to run in the snow and was shocked last year to realize just how not bad running in the cold is if you dress right.

    I've been eating more than my share of junk. Trying to do better now.

  11. So, do you have a recipe for the PB bars or are do you go with the store bought? : )

    I just returned from a road trip to Zion. Loved running and hiking there!

  12. 1. My Garmin is my teammate. 2. Cold is good as long as there's no rain. (I live in wet climate.) I've discovered arm warmers are much easier than a jacket. 3. Junk food is inevitable during the Silly Season - my name for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season because of all the FOOD.

  13. Amazing views! I'm pretty sure there's nothing inside me that would want to get up off your couch and stop eating PB bars to run up THAT hill! So all the power to you. Just an still did 7 miles with all those PB bars at the bottom of your stomach...sounds like good training to me!

  14. gorgeous and incredible photos as always Cory! Congrats to Jackson on the big win! that is awesome. definitely am thinking about going without a garmin every now and then in the next month or so...i am excited for a break :)

  15. Man, your pictures are GORGEOUS! I don't own a garmin, I prefer the cold over the heat, and junk food is my friend YEAR ROUND. Good luck getting the knees back and churning!

  16. I bought my very first garmin this week for my Christmas present to myself. I have been running for three years, ran 5 half marathons and one marathon all without the aid of a garmin. I trimmed 35:04 of my half marathon time in a year and have trimmed over 16 minutes off my 5k time in a year and a half all without a garmin.

    I think every runner should learn to run without a garmin so they learn to listen to their body before getting one.

    I am most excited to actually use the GPS function more than a pacing functionality. It means I can run anywhere I want and still know how far I have gone without having to map it out.

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