Cramming in Zion National Park
whilst the wasatch got 7′ of snow in 4 days last week i retreated to warmer climes for a cram session. it seems as though salt lake city residents rely on zion national park and the st george area as their warm weather reprive. i am now one of them. i’m growing increasingly nervous about the pocatello 50 miler (pre-run vid) on may 30th. no, not about whether i’ll be beat sean, but about my well being during the race.
i didn’t write a blog on my experience at peterson ridge rumble 60km because i was doing all i could to forget the experience. it was a true dichotomy of feelings. getting to spend time with linda, sean, dan, ellen and the crew was awesome. but the race couldn’t have been worse. my hip, THE looming issue in my running career came out in full force to remind me i’m not ok. that i’ve got an issue, and at some point in each race it’s got to be dealt with. for peterson i took things a bit too easy. i just showed up with two bottles and some nuun. what i needed was my own gels, some sort of plan and most importantly some ibuprofen or anti-inflamatory.
needless to say peterson 60km was a hit to my confidence. once back in slc i now had two good weeks of training before a two week taper. that’s it. two weeks to get some good work done and find some confidence.. time to cram. so i headed to zion national park.
for the first few days i was there i hooked up with a few friends down in st george for the first ever st george ironman (swim start, bike). i wanted to run the entire trans zion traverse route that jared and karl had told me about back in 2008.
i made a trip down there this winter with jared and mindy that blew my mind. this time around, although i brought a mtn bike, and there are numerous other amazing trails around… i obsessed on the zion traverse. clark dropped me off to run up and out one day, 20 miles from the grotto to the wildcat trailhead (video). on my own i ran the other direction from the grotto to the east entrance and back, 23 miles (video). and left the big day for my last day in zion, running la verkin creek, hop valley and connector to wildcat (17 miles) and back again for 34miles on the day. here is a video of hop valley blowing my mind. each of these runs provided “wholly sh*t” moments where i just couldn’t believe where i was running, that these types of places actually exist. the hop valley in particular for me just felt like the land of the lost. all alone in the middle of nowhere surrounded by massive sandstone cliffs. stunning. i somehow managed my biggest week in two years crammed into five days in zion, 92 miles. more importantly i’m not hurt. with care and kindness the hip seems to be playing along.