Saturday, March 19, 2011

First club run, first canyon sunrise

Today was my first run with Sojourners Running Club. Sojo is a group of runners of about 20-40 people who run anywhere from 5 miles to 26 miles. I joined the club because i was so sick of running on busy streets for safety and inhaling car fumes. I wanted to run in nature, feel the wind, trip over a rock, see a deer.

I got my chance this morning! We met at Canyon View Park at 7 am while it was still dark. My alarm didn't go off and my husband was already out the door at 5am for a snowmobiling trip with the guys. I gasped, then ripped myself out of bed, yanked my hair back and globbed a spoonful of barley soup into a bowl and headed out.

Crap: I forgot my gels
Go back
Double crap: I forgot my water and telephone
Go back
Triple crap: I forgot my drivers license
Don't go back... you won't speed anyway (yeah right)

I headed up the canyon and turned into the parking lot. About 15 people were grouped around an opened van. I suddenly remembered the New Balance rep was going to be there to present their new minimalistic shoe line. The first few seconds out of my car, I was greeted by fellow runners who introduced themselves.
Everyone was very friendly and helpful.

No time for talk. We start running. The group is fast, very fast. I suddenly realize i am a fat cow. Sorry... a fat SLOW cow. The group breaks and i follow the slower one. We start climbing.. and climbing... and i'm dying. The sun is starting to rise and i look around as if i am on another planet. I smell the mountian air, i feel the wind, and yes i trip over a rock. The climb was a killer, but amazing.

About mile 2, i lag behind with two other runners. We talk about upcoming races and goals. We follow the pipline and look out into the canyon as the morning sun hits the rocks. The wind started picking up but i didn't mind. Cheryl, our guide waits for us and names a few trails.. grizzly, pipline. I get this sense of eagerness and i decide i want to run them all before the end of the summer.
As we stop at the end of the rocky trail, i look up and see Bridal Veil Falls. It is breathtaking in the morning light. I've seen it a dozen times by car driving up the canyon, but never like this. Decision time. Go back or keep on going. Cheryl and another experienced runner debate the Bonneville shoreline trail and "the rock". I have no idea what they are talking about, but i do know one thing -i am not ready to go back. I have 12 miles on my schedule and i had to hit it or go home with my head in between my legs. I get excited and say, "let's do it." I had no idea what i was getting myself into.

"The rock" shoul be called "A slow death". I am officially changing the name. Holy crap balls that was hard. It was rocky so you had to focus where your feet were going and it climbed slowly but it didn't stop. It just kept on going. The experienced runner in front of me was very encouraging. "Short and quick steps..just are doing good." Then it got worse. He announces, "here is your speed work -let's pick it up."
I was thinking, "huh, did he just say speed work?" He led me through 4 minutes of grooling speed up the mountain and finally my lungs couldn't get any air. I had to walk.
 I make it up. Half walking, half running, partial gasping. He calmly says, "You did it -good job!". I did do it. That was a good feeling. I think to myself, next time no walking. We ran an easy mile down a dirt hill to the parking lot and said our goodbyes. Great people, beautiful trails and an exceptional feeling of doing something new and different.
My own calcutta today was a mesh of things. Running in nature, meeting new people, pushing myself beyond what i think i can do, and seeing the sunrise for the first time in the canyon.


  1. awesome pictures ... you can zone into being a natural runner just by seeing this!

  2. Hey! You've won something on my blog -- please check it out and send me your contact info (full name, email, mailing address).
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  3. Too funny you won tickets after our conversation last week!

    Wow, what a run!! I would love to join Sojo, but now it really won't be happening with Scott in Cali.