Well, if I weren't completely exhausted from the whole Mt. Whitney ordeal upon my return home, let's add a 200 mile, 2-day relay to the equation and learn what REAL exhaustion is (or, perhaps it was yet another hike up Mt. Whitney with dear Kate? Read here for a great laugh).
I DID get my ass over that damn pass though.
I always think that elevation profiles and maps mean nothing to readers; unless you've just lived the whole 2-day ordeal, it's really hard to wrap your head around what the profile crap really means....but I know what it meant because I got the "pleasure" to live. I'm including it for my own reference - so when I'm 99 and look back and read this post (if I can read by then) I'll think, "Holy Sh!t, did I just do that?? I was BA!!" :)
|16,257' elevation gain. I'm pretty sure I ran all of that!|
|That long, solid, white line at the top of the map is the Colorado/Wyoming border.|
Lame-o me just thinks that's pretty cool the race crossed into another state.
- I am dog tired; I slept 1 hour in the 41 hours I was gone (this included drive time to and from). I can't seem to get caught up on sleep no matter how intimate my pillow and I have been upon my return.
- It took our team much longer to finish than we predicted - we can thank my sorry, out-of-shape butt for some of that.
- It was ungodly hot.
- It was ungodly steep.
- It was ungodly windy.
- It was ungodly dusty.
- I got to run in Wyoming (I think that's a first, despite having spent 6-weeks there for geology field camp a hundred years ago) on my 2nd leg at 2am; coincidentally, this was also my fastest of my sorry-ass slow legs.
- My heel and ankle did surprisingly well (a noticeable limp after the run and whenever I would sit too long in the van, but running my short legs felt good!).
- This was the first real "speed work" I've done in well over a year; my pathetic quads are reaping the consequences of that.
- I got to lay my sleeping bag out on the grass by the river in the crazy big town on Jelm, Wyoming (go ahead, Google it) for about two hours and watched an incredible meteor shower.
- My 1st leg was about 4 miles and gained about 10,500' in elevation - or so it seemed; ridiculous how really only a 600' climb can seem like a mountain when your cardiovascular system is hovering around the bottom of the fitness scale. At least I "look" speedy? And bonus points that I'm not heel striking!
- My 2nd leg was exactly 12-hours after my first leg and I ran by the light of a full moon - incredible!
- My 3rd leg was the absolute worst of all 3. Lucky me wasn't feeling so swell with some stomach irritations - let's also add some ridiculous wind, lack of sleep, and my leg starting at 9426' and climbing even higher. My disposition really started to tank here, what was left of it. Kinda cool to start on the Continental Divide though.
- "Slept" about a hour at the equivalent of the Roach Hotel in the hopping town of Walden, Colorado (yeah, Google that one, too...); thank god I had a sleeping bag to lay on the "love spotted" bedspread. Ewww.
- Ran though some very remote, yet incredible scenery
- I knew one person on this team before the start but finished having 9 new, incredible friends.
|Site of meteor shower viewing, before the sun went down (obviously)|
|Aside from a little cafe to the right of this "post office and general store",|
this is Jelm, Wyoming
|I have no idea what this "Woods Lakes Dance Hall" sign says,|
It said, "Wyoming" and that's all that mattered
|The Chicks - and my lopsided body|
|The Team. Done. 30:28, 58th place out of 116 teams.|
Despite my sleep deprived, sorry state of conditioned running body, I had an incredible time; there is nothing like a little sleep deprivation to make you constantly laugh at the stupidest things, and that whole camaraderie thing is a pretty amazing experience. If you've never run a multiple day endurance relay, you really should consider it just once. It's grueling, yes, but immensely rewarding.This relay was hard for me, humbling hard. (I really hate blogger right now and not going to bother trying to fix the indention problem!!). But you know ... I think maybe it was just what I needed. I realized how much I missed the massive quantities of sweat that comes with hard workouts. I miss the mileage my body used to love. I hate to admit this outloud, but I even miss the strength training workouts, which have always given my muscles a clean, toned look. I recently came across this quote and I couldn't help but insert myself....
- "God does not give us overcoming life, he gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength."
- Reading this at the right moment after the relay gave me one of those moments...you know, the ones that stop time and take you to a place where you know it's time to make some changes. I've been afraid to push the parameters with my running, fearful of a major heel setback ... fearful I'll get to the middle of some training program only to be slammed back to the start and what that would do to my already fragile psyche. Had I read this before the relay, before I knew how sucky my current fitness level is, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't hold the same meaning. The relay showed me exactly what I need to do...I think it's time to push the envelope a little with my running and enjoy a little strain to find the strength I dearly miss.
- New Balance MT876OR Trail Shoes review at Grays and Torreys
- The weekend prior to the relay, I got the opportunity to summit the 14,000' peaks of Grays and Torreys with the cross country team. Grays and Torreys are essentially two of the "easier" of the 52 14,000'+ peaks in Colorado to climb - that being the trail is not a scrambled mess of loose rock, and the 4 mile one-day distance and 3100' elevation gain is minor compared to most. But the benefits of this make it also run-able in most parts, which at that elevation is a strenuous workout none-the-less. The abundance of rain the state received in July left the valley in a blanket of wildflowers...
- Onlineshoes.com provided my son a pair of their rugged New Balance MT876OR trail shoes to test out for our awesome adventure and see how they'd hold out and perform for him. He had a blast running far ahead of me....and smiling the entire way...
Though the trail is not highly technical, it can be a challenge on your feet as your climb and hit loose patches of rock and reach steep inclines. I'm a firm believer that the shoes you were on these trails can make the difference between a great or a lousy experience. Trail shoes are designed to protect the feet from the rugged, rocky surface and to maximize forward motion by gripping the trail to promote traction. The thicker sole is nubbier and the added density provides more stability on uneven terrain.
Because Ryan is a fairly minimalist road shoe wearer (thanks to his mom's persistence), the shoe was a bit stiffer than he is used to and bothered him a little at first where the terrain is soft and dirt-packed. But as he gained elevation, he had absolutely no problems with them on the trails and his feet were comfy and free of blisters, black toenails, or any ankle twists. Success! We both reached the summit with feet feeling fantastic!
In finding the proper trail shoe, make sure it fits your foot and don't make your foot fit the shoe. The New Balance MT876OR is a great shoe for hitting the trails and making your trail running experience into a happy adventure-seeking run. For this guy of mine, he can't wait to get out there and give them another trail run. Thanks, Onlineshoes.com - you made our adventure up Grays and Torreys a great one.
|Ryan in his coolio New Balance MT876OR trail shoes, posing after|
he reached the summit, and back down, of Grays and Torreys
Run strong, my friends!