Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Red Planet Pt. 2

I left Steamboat Springs for Moab at 2 a.m. on March 26th, partly because I wanted to beat a snow storm that was moving in, but mostly because I was just dying for a change of scenery. The drive up was uneventful except for nearly running out of gas. As I pulled onto Highway 313, the skies started getting light and I pulled over to take this picture.

I pulled into the campspot that Christian and Jonny had found the day before just after 7 a.m. The guys were happy to see me get there so early and I was happy to be there. It was cool with some light flurries but not uncomfortable.

Later in the morning, the guys went out to do a little 4 wheeling and I laced up to take a run with Benihana. I was going to run the trail the guys were on but found my own trail after running a couple miles. It felt great to run on dirt again as I cruised by giant sandstone features under slightly overcast skies.

About a mile down this trail, we climbed up into a natural amphitheatre and followed a sign and some cairns (small rock piles that mark the trail) to find some petroglyphs on the rock wall. Very cool. I wish I had brought my camera on this run. Continued past here after running on the slickrock for a couple minutes and got back on the trail.
I ran easily on the sand and rock for a little longer before I started to feel tired from the drive and decided to turn around and head back to camp. Nice mellow run in the desert for 52 minutes.

After the guys came back we took a drive down to Dead Horse State Park where we kicked it for a little while, taking in the views and hiking a couple miles.
On the drive back to camp, I nearly fell asleep at the wheel. Fortunately, Jonny B. was there to catch it before I ran us off the road. Oops. Better take a nap. Just chilled at camp the rest of the day.

It was cold the next morning and we watched as squall lines of light snow came rolling in off the desert. It wasn't as bad as it sounds. We dealt with the weather and went wheeling a little later. In the afternoon, John Asta showed up and all of us wheeled 7 Mile Jeep Road.

It got much warmer in the daytime and we went out to do the Moab Rim Trail. On the way up, I could tell that I would be able to run at least as fast as we were crawling. I got out before the turn around (after Emitt the Dog barfed in Asta's crawler!) and ran with the dogs. We started out in a cool creek bed that was still damp from the previous night before climbing up some slickrock. I had no problem staying way out in front of the guys as they creeped and crawled over obstacles. I saw a few day hikers but not many people and had the best time jumping up and down the rocks as the dogs ran alongside. We went to Potato Salad, a popular local's obstacle, after that, so that Asta could meet up with some buddies from Wisconsin. That evening, we went on a covert, night wheeling mission.

I'd tell you about it, but I'd have to kill you afterwards.

The next morning, we were planning on wheeling Poison Spider Mesa but got shut down by a group that had reserved the trail for a Jeep Safari Week event. We were meeting up with Asta's friends so we all decided to go do the Metal Masher Trail. The drive there was beautiful, up through an amazing canyon. When we got to the trailhead, I got out to run the trail as the guys wheeled it. Asta's friends from Wisconsin thought I was crazy. We stayed out on the trail about 3 hours and I managed to run about an hour and half, going back and forth from the group, then back on the trail. There were some, uh, complications, so Jonny and Christian had to make a run for some parts.
I had some, uh, complications of my own on the run out. Without getting too graphic, let's just say I was lucky enough to find some paper as I ran down the trail. Shortly thereafter, I found a nice bush to hide behind.

I didn't run the next day, in preparation for leaving. I packed early but we stayed in camp until midday. I got a little greedy and stuck around to go on one more wheeling mission. It got a little hairy on some of the obstacles and Buschmann ended up snapping a tie rod end. By now, it was 3 p.m. and I hitched a ride back to the campsite. Tired but happy, I wearily made the drive back home.

The trip was just what I needed to recharge my batteries. I would have liked to run a little longer but it wasn't quite in the cards. Great trip, though. I've started posting pictures on my Facebook page.

Today, I went for a nice, hard 1:13 run down to Howelsen Hill and back along the bike path. I haven't figured the mileage yet. Good run that got me a little sore. Well, it's not time to let up. "No one can run those miles for you." I keep telling myself. Trial of Miles. Collegiate Peaks Trail Run is one month from tomorrow and although I am using the race as a training run, I still want to run strong with a race mentality. My plan is train hard in the next 3 weeks (including a long run at sea level in Florida!) before tapering the last week of April.

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