Monthly Archives: March 2014

Anti-Adventure

When I first began running in minimalist shoes, I sprained my foot severely; so much so that both the doctor and I thought it was broken. Thankfully it wasn’t broken, but I had to wear a boot for six weeks and could not run during that time. After that experience, I was careful to build up my minimalist running abilities very slowly, not wanting to ever not be able to run again. I bring this up now for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, my husband reminded me of it and how I would just start randomly crying during that time. Secondly, the theme of not running goes along with this blog post that is rolling around in my head and must come out.

Normally… well… normally may not be the correct word. I have what? All of seven blog posts? Okay, up until this point, I have written about my running adventures. I was starting to get bored with that, as I often do with many things in life (I get bored easily). Then I was hit with a beast of a stomach virus and had to miss a group run I was extremely excited about (see Black Canyon, that’s where we were going). The experience made me start thinking about my blog and writing about the experience of not running. This post would be my anti-adventure.

Sickness

My son was Typhoid Mary, bringing the sickness home and spreading it to my daughter who showed symptoms a couple of days later. The night before my run, I prepared as usual thinking everything was fine with me. By 2:30am, everything was so incredibly not fine. So I made it downstairs to call Matt at 4:30 in the morning and let him know that I couldn’t go on the adventure. Then, somehow, I made it back up the stairs and collapsed into bed. Or by the toilet. I don’t really remember which now, it’s a horrible blur.

I was devastated. I normally catch colds during the fall and winter months, but nothing like this winter. Back in February I caught a respiratory flu and spiked a fever of well over 102° for two days. That caused me to miss the Pemberton 50K race I’d been looking forward to that was one week later. Approximately two weeks later, I was finally starting to feel mostly normal again and back to my regular energy while running. Then I got food poisoning that hit me during a run after eating out. I didn’t know it was food poisoning at the time, I just thought my stomach was extremely pissed off at me. But then two weeks later, I ate at the same place, had the same meal, and got even more violently ill, this one also hitting me in the middle of a run. (I am never eating at that place again, in case you were wondering if I am just a glutton for punishment.) Then I catch the stomach flu and I don’t get to have my adventure with my friends. I need to stop acquiring every passing virus or bacterium! From now on, I am absolutely getting the flu shot. That should help me with at least that half of the microscopic world. Although, as I think about it, I don’t think I caught a single cold this season! Hurray for small victories? Or knock on wood because the season isn’t over yet?

Awesome Husband

So I spent the day prostrate in bed, unable to even sit up. I wanted to sleep, but my back was killing me so I only did so intermittently and not very well. During this time, my husband was an absolute rock star. We were both in the house, but I didn’t have the energy to yell for him, much less to get out of bed, so he brought me my phone. I simply had to call him and he brought me ginger ale and saltines as my stomach desired. He was up and down the stairs a lot that day, always with a smile on his face! Amazing. I probably would have been grouchy if the roles had been reversed. I’m afraid I’m not as generous as he is.

The Missed Adventure

Matt texted me when their run was done and that they’d all finished safely. He also filled me in on their adventures that day, the biggest of which (at least that which stands out to me) is that they saw a Gila monster. I have never seen one in the wild and I always want to see any new wildlife. I almost started crying when he told me that. And there is the catalyst for this post. I missed adventures and I wanted to cry. I was already all emotional from not getting to join in the day, but ready to cry? Wow. Time to evaluate this.

Evaluation (That’s code for thinking out loud, sort of, since this is a blog post and not a conversation.)

I’ve been thinking about the things we love, our passions. Running is my passion, but it’s more than that. I am frequently asked if I am going to run this road race or that road race, and the answer is a resounding “No.” I have run a couple of road races, all when I first began running. Then I discovered that there are trails near me: gorgeous, technical, interesting trails, that are constantly challenging, even when I’ve run them a million times, and I have never run a road race since. I hate roads. And no, hate is not too strong of a word here. I grew up in the woods- the trees, rocks, and streams were my playthings. I remember having a friend over to play once and while we were deep in the woods, she asked me if I knew how to get home and if I was scared. What?!?! What a silly question! Of course I knew where home was and of course I wasn’t scared. And besides, I was at home. Too many people overwhelm me; the wilds soothe me. Too much noise causes me to start crying; the wilds have the perfect sounds. Road races have hundreds, sometimes thousands of people. They are loud. There are few trees or wildlife. The road is hard underfoot, with no dirt to dust my ankles and show the beauty of the land I have just traversed. Being dusty and grimy at the end of run is part of the fun. Just like when I was little, the dirtier I am when I finish the day, the more fun I have had. See? Running alone is not the sole source of my joy. I can run on roads, and occasionally I do when that is all that is available to me, but that is not where I find my true joy.

If running in and of itself is not my joy, what is? My joy, my heart, is in running a wild trail. I believe God put us on earth to enjoy it, to enjoy his creation. I think it brings God joy when we take pleasure in what he has surrounded us with. My running in his creation is, to me, the ultimate expression of my pleasure in his creation. My body is his creation, and I marvel at the intricacies that cause my brain to know what my feet are feeling, what my eyes are seeing, what my nose is smelling, what my ears are hearing. As each muscle tenses and releases, it works together with my eyes and feet, ensuring accurate landings among a myriad of rocks, and no rolled ankles. With all of the information flowing into and out of my brain, it is amazing that all of these things happen and yet I don’t need to focus on any of them. I can simply enjoy each sensation as it comes. Straining my muscles, breath, and heart as I climb hills? Incredible. Inhaling the scent of growing things and dirt? Unbelievable. Seeing wildflowers and wildlife? Priceless. Give me dirt and rocks under my feet and life growing around me any day.

Favorite Color

These thoughts of my running joy make me think of a question my husband once asked me. “What is your favorite color?” Not a particularly profound question, right? Well, my favorite color is red, scarlet red preferably. Then he asked me why that was. I’d never really thought about it, but the answer was immediately on my lips anyway, “Because it’s vibrantly, profoundly ALIVE.” I asked him why he wanted to know why. He said, “Because you can tell a lot about a person by why their favorite color is their favorite color.” And there you have it. Profound. Red is my favorite color because I love to be alive. I don’t want to spend my days in mediocrity. I want to be wildly alive for every single second I have on this earth. For me, I cannot do that in a city or on a road. I cannot do that surrounded by hundreds of people who don’t know or care about me. Sanitized surfaces and prepared experiences are empty to me. I need an adventure under my feet.

So What?

Just like that, I know why I wanted to cry when I heard about the Gila monster. As I lay in bed, too weak to sit up or help myself in any way (for the fourth time in the span of about a month and a half), I missed out on a sliver of dynamic life. I realize that my recent illnesses are nothing compared to those who have cancer or other debilitating diseases, and I’m not whining. I have simply discovered something about myself, about why I am the way I am. This discovery causes me to realize that other people have other passions, and even though their passions might be different from, or even the exact opposite of my own, that does not mean that they feel any differently about them than I do of mine. So, what is your passion? What makes you come alive? If you don’t know yet, I would encourage you to seek it. We have a finite amount of time on this earth and then we’re gone. Live the time you have.

Skull Mesa Trail Fun Run

“…I realized and admitted to myself that I was not a being of comfort and complacency, that only by the wind on my face, the trails beneath my feet, and the adventure along the road could I truly be happy.” – Drizzt Do’Urden

Sun kissed mountain tops greet the day as Matt and I pulled into the parking lot at Spur Cross Ranch to meet the Aravaipa Running Tribe for the Skull Mesa Trail Fun Run. What is that you say? A 16.5 mile fun run? On something called the Skull Mesa Trail? Sounds epic. Count me in!

Sun kissed mountains

Sun kissed mountains

Just before setting out, Jamil pointed to a mountain off in the distance and said, “We’re going up there.” It was much higher than we were. We briefly looked over a map of our route. After my usual checking out the bathrooms (nice, clean porta-johns), the twenty-ish of us got our run on. We cruised down the early hills, soaking up the cool morning air.  We hadn’t been going long when we hit our first creek crossing. We crossed this creek a few different times, either on rocks, a board bridge, or just by splashing through. This was my first time splashing through a creek on a run, and I must say, I loved it and will probably do it from now on. I’d heard horror stories of hot spots and blisters from running with wet feet and so had always been reluctant to try it. I did not have any problems at all. Glorious!

That's where we're going

That’s where we’re going

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The desert at Spur Cross is exceedingly lush (think cottonwoods along the creek and dense vegetation everywhere else) and because of this, we ran on tight single track. Sometimes it was so tight that we got a little scraped up, but somehow, oddly, a little bit of blood on a run just seems to add to the fun of the experience. Sharing our cuts with each other afterwards is like a badge of honor. Once we left the lows of the creek we began our meandering ascent. We climbed and descended many rolling hills, always getting a little higher before dropping, to climb once again. Our destination mountain was always in sight. Slowly the vegetation began to change as we got higher.

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Tree Climbing

I just recently finished reading “The Summit Seeker” by Vanessa Runs (I loved the book, by the way. Frequently I felt like she was describing me.) In her book she talks about stopping to climb trees while out running. When I was little I loved climbing trees. I remember climbing to the top of an alder tree once on a windy day and sitting there as the tree and I were blown precariously in the breeze. Living in the desert, I don’t have much of an opportunity for tree climbing, so when I saw one that lacked thorns, was clear at the bottom so I could watch out for snakes, and had a branch I could get to, I went for it.

Epic Arizona tree climbing

Epic Arizona tree climbing

The Final Ascent

Crossing a fence line and standing at the “base” (I say that in quotes because we had already climbed quite a bit just to make it to this base) of Skull Mesa and staring up, I could see I had a beast ahead of me. It was at this point that we came across Tom, another member of our group, and together we managed to stay on the trail and climb. Tom pointed out a petroglyph on a rock that I would have completely missed because of the direction it was facing!

Petroglyph

Petroglyph

The final climb to the top was a study in switchbacks. Matt is much stronger on the uphill’s than I am, so he powered on ahead. Tom kept me company and kept me encouraged as I dug into the burning in my glutes, hamstrings, and calves, pausing now and then to pant for breath. We were quickly up above everything else around us, the valley floor far below.

Yup! That's where we went!

Yup! That’s where we went!

Coming out of the switchbacks at the top, I was greeted by the rest of the group. We went to the side to get pictures on the edge of the cliff (of course!) and were surprised that we could see Weaver’s Needle way off in the distance!

Standing on the edge of the summit

Standing on the edge of the summit

After our brief rest we continued on, the whole group together, across the top of the mesa. We were up so high that around us was all grasses and juniper, with some cactus thrown in for fun! The trail was very faint, and sometimes we may not have been on it, but it was wonderful to be running so high.

Traversing the top

Traversing the top

The Descent

The difficulty of any climb is always fully rewarded in the descent. As we dropped off the top of the mountain, it was time to fly, and fly I did. Arms out and smile on, bring it on mountain!

Dropping off the mountain

Dropping off the mountain

Damn Snake

The dense vegetation and especially the grasses made it difficult to see trail at times, and occasionally we lost it. However, I don’t mind trail finding like this- it adds to the adventure. We were always quickly back on the trail. At one point, as we were going through fairly thick shrubs, there was the dreaded (for me) call of “Snake!” Thankfully it was just a gopher snake. After my close call last fall at Usery Mountain Regional park where a Western Diamondback actually struck at me and I was probably within an inch of being bitten, I have not gotten over my fear of venomous snakes.

Some More Ascent Followed by More Descent

Did I say “The Descent” up above somewhere? Silly me. For some reason, I thought we would climb up to the top of the mesa, and then it would be all downhill back to the parking lot. It was not.

We did go down to a dry wash which we ran through for awhile, but then we went up again. And down again. And up again. And down again. (According to Matt’s Garmin, we had 3,241 feet of total elevation gain over the course of the entire run.) We went along a little creek with a dry tank and cottonwoods. And up again. By this time I was starting to really feel the food poisoning from two days earlier. Oh wait! Did I forget to mention that? Yes, I had a fairly severe bout of food poisoning that knocked me down for a couple of days. Up until I actually got out of bed on Sunday morning, I was still not sure I would be able to participate in the run. My stomach felt raw, angry, and tired on Saturday. On Sunday morning it just ached uncomfortably, but as soon as I started running, the pain went away. However, the weakness left behind after being drained by such an illness, the inability to eat much for a few days, coupled with some dry desert heat (only in the 80’s, so comparatively not bad), left me wiped. As in any run, though, the only way out is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, so I did.

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The wash

The wash

I brought 70 ounces of water on this trip and I ran out. I was thankful for the member of our group who shared some of his water with me; I never got his name though. If you happen to read this, thank you!

When I started to see lots of hikers, I knew we were getting close, so I picked it up a bit and finished strong. It was hard and I was exhausted, but I finished at a solid steady pace and felt great about the accomplishment and experience of the day.

There was a hangout at the house of one of the group members’ after our run, but it was getting late and there was a long drive ahead of us, so Matt and I headed home. I was feeling completely crappy and Matt was hungry, so we stopped at Chipotle for lunch. All I wanted was tortilla chips, and let me tell you, the metamorphosis from zombie to human by just the ingestion of some carbs and salt is fascinating. After that, I was solid and drove home feeling great!

And so, another adventure ended. Another run spent basking in the beauty of creation, wind and sun on my face, while surrounded by good people. The trail called her siren song to me and I followed her. And I was truly happy.

Crown cactus

Crown cactus

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Red mountainside

Ocotillo flowers

Ocotillo flowers

 

Mud, Toads, and a Grub: A Canyon Lake Run

Quiet.

Stillness.

Peace.

These things permeate the landscape in the calm before a storm, yet when I awoke at 5:40 on Saturday morning I thought of none of them. I always wake up grouchy, (assuming I’m not waking up late, as you may already know), and this was no exception. I don’t think any actual thoughts crossed my mind; I simply rolled out of bed in order to efficiently extricate myself from the seductive siren call of its warm sheets. I pulled on the clothes I’d set out the night before (don’t want to show up for a run sans pants, it could happen), and stumbled down the stairs to await my incredible sister in law. Incredible might just be an understatement. Seriously, how many people do you know are willing to get out of their bed at such a crazy hour (or crazier!) in order to come over to your house to care for your children, giving you a chance to go run? I only know the one!

Later, driving down the road, I was still grouchy with the early hour. I was headed to Starbucks to meet up with my pals and in the dark of those lonely, exceedingly irascible moments, I saw my first adventure sight of the day: lightning striking in the dark over the mountains where I would soon be running.

Good Friends

The adventure crew for the days’ run would consist of Matt, Becky, Laurie, and me. Pulling into Starbucks, I was about ten minutes early, yet somehow my friends had all beat me there. I zombied  into the store and ordered my usual pre-run breakfast: venti non-fat vanilla latte with half the pumps of syrup, and a bacon & gouda breakfast sandwich (mmm… so healthy, right???). I joined the table where my friends were sitting and attempted to look sociable. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), my friends know me too well and didn’t buy my happy act. Instead, I was heartily made fun of. There we go, that’s what good friends are for! After downing my sandwich and starting in on my foo-foo drink, I actually was sociable and began talking, and then it was time to go hit the trails.

Afghani Dog

When we pulled into the parking lot of First Water Trailhead, Matt recognized the dog of guy he knows, and he leapt out of the car before it even stopped moving. The fact that Matt saw the dog of a guy he knows sounds like a fairly bland statement, so let me back up a bit. When I wrote Operation Red Tanks I mentioned we saw some hikers at a critical point in the trail where we didn’t know for sure if we were ever going to finish. Well, our first sign of those hikers was actually a beautiful, tall, pure white dog (of indeterminate breed) missing his ears; as in the ears are cut off. The dog is extremely distinctive because of the missing ears. The owner of this dog is a man who served in Afghanistan. He found the dog and brought him home to the States. He now spends lots of time out in the wilds, and his dog greets people out in front of him on the trail. Matt has spoken to this man many times and this is how I know the previous information. I have only ever talked to the dog, who is an amazing conversationalist.

Laurie’s Rain Coat

By this time, the rain had begun to come down in truck-fulls. We all knew that it was supposed to rain, which for me at least, was a huge part of the draw of this particular run. However, I freeze easily and didn’t want to end up with hypothermia (a real possibility for me), so the night before, I’d actually purchased a rain jacket. Becky and Matt both had rain-resistant jackets. Laurie had the ultimate, badass, true-blooded Arizonan rain jacket: a plastic bag she found in Becky’s car. Honestly, how often does it rain here? And of those times, how often do we get to run in it? You rock Laurie!

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Goofing around pre-run

Goofing around pre-run

Pre-run

Pre-run

First Water Trail

Our run for the day would be brand new to Becky and Laurie. The second half of it was new to me, and the middle section was new to Matt. We began our run down the trail and set off into the gray. The rain made pitting sounds against my rain hood, and caused a general hush all around us. The desert looks completely different in the rain. All of the lichen and moss fill with water and turn amazing colors. The greens of the usually dry, desert trees and shrubs become more brilliant. The contrasts between rock and cactus, mud and tree are intense and distinct. And the smells! I have run in the rain quite a few times- both on vacation in Washington State, in California, and during monsoons just around my neighborhood. Runs like those will not prepare you for the smells that leap into your nose in the middle of a wild desert rainstorm. I’m not even sure I can accurately describe the smells. I know how the dry desert trails smell- I’ve run them a million times and generally I don’t think too much about them. But these smells seem to catapult out of the ground, off of the cactus, and spring up into the air. They frisk about just waiting for your nose to draw them in, shooting signals of LIFE into your brain. The smells may be good or bad, but they are all vibrant and alive. Each has its own pocket on the trail, and as I run I am in each for a couple of seconds and then it’s gone.

The rocks are almost gone because of all the lichen

The rocks are almost gone because of all the lichen

Lichen

Lichen

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First Water Trail is fast, easy, and fun. I’ve run it a few times before. It has a few nice little climbs, some wash crossings, and beautiful sights (as do all Superstition trails!). In fact, it was on this trail that I cut open my very first prickly pear last summer!

Second Water Trail

First Water Trail quickly comes to a junction with Second Water and Dutchman. Keeping left at this junction, we continued onto Second Water. The first part of this trail brings about a change in scenery. You run through what looks like a mesquite grove. With the downpour, the dirt through here was squishy and slippery underfoot, sticking to our shoes and making our feet heavy. Heading down our first major hill we found our first toad and decided his name should be Jebadiah (we found two other toads during the days adventures). Second Water T’s at a major wash with Boulder Canyon Trail. This was as far as I had gone on a previous trip. On that other trip, Matt and I went down into the wash where there were pools of water and scared frogs (not toads) into leaping to their safety.

Frog from an earlier run

Frog from an earlier run

Cattails from an earlier run

Cattails from an earlier run

Jebadiah trying to hide

Jebadiah trying to hide

JEB JEB the toad

We took the trail junction as an opportunity to make some re-adjustments to clothing and packs. I also had to get a shot of the mud splashed up onto Becky and Laurie! Once our gear was fine-tuned, we continued on into what was new territory for me.

Laurie and Becky

Laurie and Becky

Boulder Canyon Trail

Running along, chatting about whatever it is we chat about on long runs, we rounded a corner and saw some red rocks stacked in what appeared to be an orderly fashion. Upon closer inspection we discovered it was the Indian Paint Mine (I did not know this then, it was discovered later with much Googling). This link has a brief description of the mine (super brief) and some good, more technical/practical descriptions of our trail overall. Of course we had to stop to climb around on the rocks!

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Indian Paint Mine foundation

Indian Paint Mine foundation

At the Paint Mine

At the Paint Mine

Matt broke the chair

Matt broke the chair

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I don't think I was ready

I don’t think I was ready

After leaving the mine, we ran through some heavily lichen covered rock, crossed another wash, and then began ascending. This was a steady, intense climb. For me, the thing with climbing hills in the wilderness is that I need to see what’s at the top. I like to get up as high as I possibly can.  As I was making my way up this mountain, I looked way up and saw the cliffs above me and thought, “I’d really like to get up there. I bet there’s a great view from there.” Little did I know that I would indeed be going up there!

Laurie and Becky

Laurie and Becky

I was breathing hard when I reached the top, but the views were astounding. The clouds were hanging on the cliffs all around us. Of course, I needed to get to the edge of the cliff to look out and down. I’m not sure what it is about these heights that calls to me, and yet I must always find the highest mountain and stand on the edge of it, looking out over the creation below (much to my running partners’ chagrin). My heart soars in elation and I feel that I am exactly where I am supposed to be; alive and free.

Edge of the cliff

Edge of the cliff

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I pulled myself away from the glory of the heights and continued on towards Canyon Lake. While the trail was not all downhill from here, it was a little easier. Eventually we did get to our last peak and descended into the valley. When we reached the marina at the lake, I discovered I had, once again, severely underestimated my run time. I told my sister in law I would be home by noon and it was then… I don’t remember what time. The point is, there was no way I would make the time I’d said. Thankfully, Becky had her phone on her, it had reception, and I have a weird knack for remembering phone numbers. I was able to call and let her know I was going to be late. From now on, I need to always pad my adventure run times by at least two hours beyond what the longest is I would expect. That way, if I manage to “ooh and ahh” a little more quickly it’s all the better that I’m home early.

First glimpse of the lake!

First glimpse of the lake!

Matt

After we’d called or otherwise notified any potentially worried loved ones, we ate the lemon Honey Stinger waffles I’d managed to shove in my pack. Lemon is my absolute FAVORITE of these. If you haven’t tried them, do so. Yum!

On a completely different note, while using the bathroom at the marina at Canyon Lake, I had the following thought: “It’s amazing how wonderful a real toilet is.” Have you ever stopped and thought about this? Normally I just take a toilet at seat value. It’s a place to sit for a bit and take care of business, and that’s about it. After running through the wilderness however, I realize how amazing it is to relax while peeing (or pooping, whatever). A hole in the ground will work and dump toilets are acceptable, but how much nicer is it to sit above (relatively) clean water? To not have air and bugs from the unknown below blowing up your ass? To not have to worry if you might have missed a rattlesnake in that bush that is shielding you from the trail? And then to walk out of that toilet stall and get to wash your hands? With clean running water and real soap? Absolute bliss.

Okay, so yeah, I notice toilets. Anyway…

The Way Back

Since this was an out and back trail, we put the cameras away and got a move on. Matt took us straight up the side of the mountain out of Canyon Lake (as opposed to the switchback way down we’d taken in). At the top the entire back of my legs was burning. Nice. Run on.

The main thing I remember about the run back to the First Water Trailhead was running down the big hill in the middle. I ran fast, and it’s a long descent. I was so happy, I couldn’t stop smiling. I could hear Matt behind me trying to catch up, so of course I ran just a wee bit faster.

Another time Becky and Laurie called out that they’d found a critter. So of course I had to see it. It was a grub! I don’t know what the adult version of this thing is (if you do, please feel free to share!) but it was amazing to me to watch it move its internal juices about its body in order to affect movement. It was a tiny bit of my biology training in action!

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Mmmm... protein

Mmmm… protein

I have this weird thing where I tend to feel lazy and kind of crappy for the first part of a run, and then, pretty far into it, I’ll get this weird second wind and be ready to go. After climbing what I knew was the last major hill, I was tired but overall felt pretty good. The thing I really like about out and back runs, especially on a trail I haven’t already run a million times, is that I am somewhat familiar with it because I just ran it. I know the sights and I know what’s around the corner, so I have an idea of how hard to push. I’m able to gauge how I’m feeling with what I know is up ahead of me.  So at the intersection with First Water, I took a quick break and then ran it in to the trailhead. I knew that there was nothing major in between me and the end, I just wanted to run.

Parking Lot

By the time we all made it back to the parking lot, the rain had pretty well stopped. I went to change because, while I wasn’t wet from the rain, I was wet with sweat and was already starting to get cold (I always bring a change of dry clothes for this reason). I forgot to bring dry pants though, so that was fun.

When I came back to the car, halfway dry, everyone was chowing down and drinking. Matt brought the requisite coke (a-cola), as well as chocolate milk, portables, and applesauce. Now, this may sound kind of weird, but bear with me. I have a weird stomach, as many runners do. Natural, simple foods sit very well in my stomach. Processed things generally don’t, or they tend to gross me out. This is not an across the board thing, I have exceptions (obviously since I love coke after a run!) this is just a general rule. Matt makes delicious applesauce concoctions containing strawberries and a bit of orange juice. These things have powered me through many a run! The rejuvenation I feel after ingesting some simple fruit is wonderful. Also, if you haven’t heard of portables, I suggest giving them a try. Again, simple foods (rice and fruit) that sit well in the stomach and give a huge boost of energy. Unfortunately, Laurie had not brought her delicious turd bars. I’m sorry I don’t know what’s in them, but they are another simple, easy food, that just happens to look like turds (fun!). She promised to bring them on our next run and I plan to hold her to it!

The four of us finished our adventure feeling tired. Sometimes when I run I feel kind of like a failure because the run feels harder than I think it should. I think, “I should be farther along than this, I shouldn’t need to walk right now.” As I do this ultra-thing (not that this particular run was ultra, just training and fun) more though, I’m realizing that a run should never be measured on how it feels. Feelings lie. Runs just are. I can enjoy them or not, but in the end, I got out there and did it. Inevitably along the way I see something cool or perhaps I connect with friends. Even on a boring trail I still feel the surge of joy at the ability of my body to move. There is always something good in every run. On this run, I felt like I’d put in a ton of effort and wasn’t sure it should have felt as hard as it did (though of course I enjoyed myself). Matt informed us later that we had completed about 3000 vertical feet in around 16.5 miles. Aha! No wonder it felt so hard! Badassery accomplished!

Back to ‘Bux

Sometimes after a run we are quiet and reflective on what we have just accomplished or the sights we have seen. Other times there is laughter. Whatever the case, we head back to our meet-up spot enjoying the last little bit of our time together.

Thanks guys! I can’t wait for the next one!

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Another one of the toads

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