I am far behind in posting because of the holidays and the half marathon last week. I felt proud to award this medal to finishers. Here is a comparison of the St. George Half Marathon medal to the medal from my "race":
On December 21st I set out again to find the Flying Monkey Trail going up Smith Mesa for the fourth time. Good news - I finally found it! I spent two hours running/hiking. I planned to take some pictures to show directions to the trail but when I got to the bottom I could not see the trail I had just hiked up. All you see is this:
There actually is a trail here which was actually very easy to follow. I climbed more than 700 feet in .6 of a mile. Of course the views were sweet.
I am petrified of heights (not to mention narrow trails that hug the edge of cliffs). I was pleasantly surprised that even though I was up high, there weren't any really scary parts that made me want to start crying.
A few days later on December 23rd I ran 6 miles on the lower Jem Trail. This was the first time since the Javelina Jundred that my knees have felt decent. Holy Sweet Mother Mary, it was so cold that morning. I was very thankful when the sun started to come up. The little ponds around the area were frozen.
I felt like a frozen slab of meat with mittens but it was such a beautiful day. I don't like being that cold, but I had to remind myself that at least the cold temps kept me from having to dodge rattlesnakes. Here is a different view of Smith Mesa where I found the Monkey a few days earlier:
I realized I forgot to show you a few pictures from an earlier attempt on December 14th to find Flying Monkey. These were an amazing two hours out on the trails. Seeing the moon set over the mesa was incredible. Every time I'm out here I get so excited for the Zion 100 since all these trails are part of the course.
There hadn't been hardly any precipitation in the area, but even the slightest bit turns the dirt into clay that packs onto your shoes. It felt like a dumbbell was strapped to each of my shoes. No bueno.
Early morning on Christmas Eve my brother-in-law Matt took me on the Chinle Trail in Zion that I'm embarrassed to say I'd never done before. I'd guess we hiked/ran around 8 miles of the trail.
It was a well-kept trail surrounded by petrified wood and amazing scenery. I will definitely be back on this trail again soon.
Over the last two weeks I have fallen off the wagon with junk food (that is, if I was ever on the wagon in the first place). With all the cookies, cake, chocolates, candy, and fudge on the break room table at work, I treat myself to a stomach ache multiple times a day.
And what glorious stomach aches they were. One brave man dared to bring in fruit to share with the staff. I laughed hard when I co-worker jokingly said "Who does he think he is? The Grinch?" I'm not willing to give up my Diet Mt. Dew, but I am going to work harder on decreasing my cookie intake a bit this coming week.
"The only way to define your limits is by going beyond them." ~ Arthur Clarke