Monday, November 12, 2012

Grafton Mesa and Molly's Nipple

I don't have any races coming up in the near future. I positively LOVE having a bit of an off-season. I adore not having a schedule telling me how far I should run tomorrow. An off-season means:

1) No thought of doing something dumb like waking up at 4am to get in a training run.
2) Cheesecake? Don't mind if I do!
And the best part......
3) Run whenever you want. As long as you want. As far as you want.

I had a few great runs this week.
Wednesday, November 7th 2012: 9 miles - Grafton Mesa Loop. At points during Javelina Jundred a few weeks ago I considered that me and 100 milers were never, ever, ever getting back together. (Go ahead, try to get that Taylor Swift song out of your head now.)

But I think I'm getting over that. I decided I'd go explore the Grafton Mesa loop for the first time - part of the new course for the Zion 100. I fell in love with this trail by the time I'd climbed 500 feet up the mesa:

The first two miles are steep and challenging, ascending around 1,100 feet but the views were more than enough to make it worth the huffing.

Sections of the trail were rocky and technical but not horrible if you take it easy.

During the week one of my patients at work asked about my running. And then - in all seriousness - he asked if I lift weights as part of my training. If you've ever met me you know how humorous that question is. I tried to not laugh and said "No, I probably should do some of that." Does this picture from the top Grafton Mesa look like I spend a lot of time in the weight room?

Once you arrive at the top of the mesa, there is still more climbing to get to Smithsonian Butte dirt road which is part of the loop. Off to the side you can see scenery like this:

Eventually the trail connects to a dirt road allowing you to run next to Smithsonian Butte:

The loop ends back at the Grafton ghost town cemetary. I must say - I am so happy that this section is included in the Zion 100. This loop makes the incredible course even more amazing.

Friday, November 9th 2012: Monthly mile challenge at the elementary school. I ran with my daughter Danica and her friends. It's so cool to see kids having fun running. (You can see Molly's Nipple in the background which was my destination the next day.)

Saturday, November 10th 2012: 15.5 miles to the top of Molly's Nipple. Mercy, it was so bitter cold when I started running. There were storm clouds in the sky and I brought a poncho but left it in the car because it looked like the clouds were clearing out.

After about an hour of running I thought maybe I'd need that poncho. My goal was to reach the top of Molly's Nipple on the horizon:

My climb to the top was fun but I didn't stick around on the top too long because it was so windy and cold.

I was thankful that I avoided rain although on the return to my car I did meet up with the first snow of the year. Bleh.

And so ends a fun week of running. A great week of running. Pass the cheesecake.

"No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success, although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish marathons with no brains than with no shoes." ~ Don Kardong


  1. I know it has to be hard to keep those "guns" holstered beneath your sleeves. That weight room has been doing wonders for your bod! :) That Molly's Nipple run looked amazing although a little frigid. I love a little off season. I'm plumping out before Ironman training starts for me December 16!!! Yay!

  2. I love the rocks and how you can see all the layers in them :)

  3. Who'd want to be in the gym when you've got views waiting outside for you like those?

  4. great pics as always. I LOVE not having any races on the calendar...enjoy your time off but don't get too used to it.

  5. YES! Bring on the cheese cake! You earned it!!
    Your photos are always amazing! I could never get tired of running with that kind of scenery around.

    It really is pretty neat when kids actually LIKE to run. Programs like Danica's are fantastic.

  6. Nice pics and descriptions. It makes me want to run the Zion 100. Thanks for sharing

  7. I don't even know you, but when I heard about Hostess closing, you're the first person I thought of.

    Sorry for your loss.

  8. Hmmm Mollies Nipple on a cold day hmmmmm RT anyone? Im just saying yours and mollies nips could have cut through class im guessing?

  9. I've been thinking of you with all the news of Hostess closing...hope you're doing ok. :)

  10. Heard about Hostess and am worried about your state-of-mind.