Monday, December 7, 2015

A Memo To My Past Self: Stop Being Such A Baby

A memo to my past self who, as of last week, hadn't run to the top of the Toquerville mountain at night:

Hey self, stop being such a baby. Put on your big boy pants, suck it up, and be brave. 

Here's how it works, self. You know that big mountain you can see from your house? The one in Toquerville that has a cell tower at the top of it?

At night there is a light on that cell tower. Probably so airplanes don't fly into it. You can see that light from dozens and dozens of miles away. It's like a star in the sky shining every night high on the mountain. You've run there many times during the day, but always been too scared to run there at night.

You know what you should do? You should run up there at night just to have the experience of standing next to that light in the darkness. It would be kind of cool to see that light at night and know "I've been there! I've stood next to that light alone in the night!"

So on Tuesday night, drive to Toquerville, park the car, and begin the long, steep ascent up the back side of the mountain. You'll have a bit of a hard time seeing because with every labored breath, a cloud of steam will fog your vision. When you come a cross a lone shoe, be sure to take a picture of it just in case someone finds your camera in a pile of mountain lion poo after you've been eaten alive.

It will be scary at first as you leave the comforting glow of the city lights on the horizon and journey into the darkness alone. Just a fair warning, you will feel apprehensive when you hear a pack of coyotes howling with laughter in the distance. It will be really cold, really dark, and a really good excuse to reward yourself with Ben and Jerry's afterward.

When the coyotes howl, just turn your music up louder. Fortunately Bruce Springsteen's singing will hypnotize you long enough to forget that your hand is holding a rock to throw at the first coyote who tries to take a chunk out of your calf. Those Walmart gloves you're wearing will rub your nose raw since it will be dripping like a leaky faucet.

The howling coyotes will never get close to you, but just to make sure, you'll sing loudly and often make noises. You will yell "Yeee haw!" and then immediately smile because you'll be reminded of your friend Clair who always yells "Yeee haw!" during ultramarathons when things start to get ugly and you have to work really hard to convince yourself that you are having fun.

Finally your long trek will bring you to your goal. You'll be standing next to that light high on the mountain that you've seen from a distance every night. It will be awesome!

You will see your whole city on the horizon and the lights of St. George 30 miles away. You will call your family from the top of the mountain and tell them to go outside to look for your headlamp. When they're outside you'll flash your headlamp and the kids will be on the other end of the phone yelling "We see you Dad!! We see you!!"

You will feel proud of yourself for being brave and climbing the mountain alone in the dark. You will spend a few extra moments on top watching your breath freeze in front of you and feeling thankful for fun running adventures like this. (And thankful that a mountain lion hasn't eaten you. So far.) And every night afterward when you look up at that light high on the mountain you'll smile.


  1. Love this! And big congrats for facing your fears. There's nothing like running alone at night, is there? You hear and smell so much that's invisible in the daylight. Cheers and keep running.

  2. Way to go! You are brave and crazy! Running at night freaks me out a little, maybe I should do it more...

  3. solo night runs. does it get any better? great job!