Monday, June 23, 2014

The Race That Scares Me

I have this dirty little secret, I've been thinking about signing up for the Bear 100 in September. The Bear is the major league of ultramarathons. None of this run-100-miles-down-State-Street preschool nonsense. It climbs 22,000 feet through thin air on difficult trails. It's harder than any race I've ever done.

It. Scares. Me.

But it also has me intrigued. Everyone who has run it says it is one of the most beautiful races ever. I'm just working up the courage to click that "Register" button.

I've learned that the most important key to training for a race is to have your training simulate the race course. So this summer I'll be doing lots of climbing. My favorite place to get tons of climbing on technical trails is to head to Toquerville Falls in Toquerville, Utah. This gem is only eleven minutes from home.

The route is very rocky, and technical, and is either steep up or steep down the entire 11 miles. Perfect Bear training!

I didn't really feel that great for the whole run. My energy felt zapped and I had some soreness at the top of my feet that I haven't felt before.

The payoff at the end of those relentless climbs is a beautiful waterfall flowing through the bone dry desert. No matter how many times I've run here, I never, ever get sick of this.

There is a rock that I always sit on for a few minutes to try and coax air back into my lungs soak in the view.

As I was running back I tried to figure out why I had no juice. Then I realized that it had been less than two weeks since the Hostess 100 miler. I felt dumb when I realized that it had only been a short amount of time. I think the recovery had been so smooth that I forgot it hadn't been very long.

And then a jump the other way....

I took it easy on the way back to give my feet a break and watched the sun rising in one part of the sky while the moon set in another part of the sky.

That night Kylee was playing with her friend Kaylee. They came downstairs and said "Do you want to go on a run with us?" No way would I pass on that opportunity. They wanted to get a jumping picture while we were out. Check out their form!

I plan to visit Toquerville Falls very, very often this summer. 1) Beautiful. 2) Challenging. 3) Great Bear training. So I went back again Saturday. With my feet being sore a few days before, I was willing to turn back early if my body wasn't cooperating. There was an awesome sunrise coming!

But inexplicably everything felt great! My feet were good. More energy. No problems. Happy.

A motorcycle cruised across the dirt road up sending up a dusting of powder and led to one of my favorite pictures of the day.

I don't know why but my body has been healing amazingly quickly over the last six months. If I have some tweaks or niggles (that is a funny word), when I go for a run it makes things better instead of worse. It is recovering quickly from races. I think it has taken me a few years of doing ultras to really understand my body and know when it's okay to push and when I need to back off. I try to always listen to my body, rest when I need to rest, and avoid injury like the plague. I feel so fortunate that everything has been clicking.

It ended up being a great run......except for the swarm of man-eating deer flies that showed up and removed a few pounds of flesh from my legs. Talk about an unexpected speed workout!

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle - when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."


  1. Hit the send button for The Bear ! I am already signed up & I need someone to keep me company . You will do amazing. Do it !

  2. Love the quote at the bottom! And you definitely need to hit register!

  3. Photos - amazing as usual! I want to visit those falls someday! Sometimes you make me yell mormon curses at the sky for living so far away from Utah!

  4. You're not like most people, Cory. Most people would think 'it scares me therefore I will ignore it's existence.' You think 'it scares me so I must be meant to do it.' Pretty sure you'll be there on the start line!

  5. I came over from the UK to do The Bear 100 last year, you'll be fine :-) The highest point in the UK is only 4,500' (Ben Nevis) and The Bear starts above that altitude!
    Judging by the trails and climbs you have in your back garden, (I also did Zion 100 this year - but DNF'd at 74) - if you're used to that sort of stuff then The Bear should be just the right side of challenging for you! Good luck...

  6. Click the register button. Compared to running from SLC to Provo on hot city streets, breathing exhaust fumes the bear will be a dreamy. Dooooo it!!!

  7. Do it, do it, do itttttt!
    A guy I work with is also on the teeter totter of registering; he just paced his friend at Bighorn so I'm thinking he's going to have the extra motivation juice to do it. He asked me once if I'd crew for him...gee, maybe I'd get to see you AGAIN while I'm crewing and your running (the way I like to keep things, btw :)). I'll keep you updated. In the meantime, enjoy those climbs - you are AWESOME!!!

    1. *you're* I'm tired and I didn't even climb that much today ;).

  8. You should go through it. Being scared is a good thing. It just make us human. Just look at it this way. Life is only short. Do the things that you're passionate about and it will all follow. I'm pretty sure you'll train real hard for the Bear. Good luck! Cheers!