Monday, November 26, 2012

Last Week's 44 Mile Run

What do you do when you have a whole day from sunrise to sunset free? (No, the answer is not "Sit on the couch in your sweat pants, eat countless bowls of Fruity Pebbles, and watch The Price Is Right and Judge Judy reruns all day.") (Although that does sound kind of fun. Except that I get sick of all the commercials for motorized scooters on The Price Is Right.)

So what do you do when you have the whole day free? Yep. You run. (I planned to go sunrise to sunset or 50 miles, whichever came first. I ended up going 44 miles.)

The day before Thanksgiving I had one of those days. I had the pleasure of running the first 20 miles with Matt Gunn. Matt is the race director for the Zion 100 and the Bryce 100. He is fast and recently finished 9th place at the grueling Bear 100. And he is one of the nicest people you could hope to know.

We ran around Sand Hill in southern Utah to check out an alternate course for the Zion 100 in case there is rain. I'll show you lots of pictures of the Plan B course on another post. But let me summarize by saying that it was awesome.

We reached the edge of this cliff that gave one of the most incredible views I've ever seen. I can't wait to go back here during the afternoon or evening when these red mountains really light up.

Not only is Matt a good runner, but he also has some serious hops.

Our route alternated between sand and slick rock and I kept thinking how fortunate I felt to be surrounded by places like this. People travel from all over the world to see areas like this in southern Utah, and I have it right in my back yard. I am very, very blessed.

After my 20 miles with Matt I explored some other dirt roads and trails. Every once in a while I'd go through some stretches where my legs felt tired and heavy but after a while I'd catch a second wind and feel good again. Some preservatives and food dye sprinkled with coconut may have helped.

I stopped a few times along the way to empty out my shoes which apparently have a built in sand magnet. And there was plenty of sand to attract.

I stopped back at my car every 10-14 miles to refill my hydration pack and get a few snacks. I didn't really eat too much during the day. It was one of those times when my stomach was growling but nothing really sounded too good to eat. I didn't have a sick stomach at all (thank goodness!), I just wasn't interested in eating. Candy corns instead of Gu packets? Don't mind if I do!

Aside from a few rabbits, the only wildlife I saw during the 44 miles was this critter:

I figured I better get in a jumping picture later in the day before the sun went down.

For me, time is a much more manageable concept than distance. Saying to myself "Okay self, let's go run 44 miles.".......sounds hard. To me that distance sounds difficult. But if I say "Okay self, you get to go run as far as you want and spend ten or eleven hours out on the trail."......that sounds fun. My mind deals with time much better than distance. I started the run before sunrise, and was about to finish the run as the sun went down.

Mother Nature had one last gift for me before I finished up. I think it was her way of saying "Hey, thanks for coming to hang out for eleven hours! We should do it again sometime. And thanks for those candy corns you accidentally dropped on the ground." I saw this beautiful sunset as I finished up.

"Heaven is under our feet as well as over our head." ~ Thoreau


  1. What a great day for a run, and with a great partner too. That's not most people's average workout or choice of activity. Good for you, man!

  2. There's nothing crazy about spending all day running. It's like going out hiking for the day but doing it faster.

  3. At a loss for words! What a beautiful experience!

  4. I've always wanted to try that - very cool you got out there for a full day!

  5. you. are. awesome. what an amazing weekend!

  6. Totally gorgeous pics as usual. Pretty cool you got to run with Matt. He's a great jumper :) That large thanks. I think I might have packed up after that one!

    Nice job on the 44 miles!