Friday, April 26, 2013

Riding Waves

When I came across an old abandoned wave runner in the bushes next to the trail on my last significant run before the Zion 100km I just thought it was funny. Little did I know it was foreshadowing my experience in my first 100km run. I thought about that pile of junk often during the 62 miles as I rode wave after wave.
some on trail training

When I swim in the ocean I know that some waves I will be able to get through easily, some will give me a push to shore and some will toss me around, hold me under and batter me about. I was soon to discover that running 100km's is much the same way. Some waves would push me towards the finish and others would test my mental and physical strength as I tried to stay afloat. It wasn't the perfect waves that I was seeking on this day though, no I wanted the washing machine style ones that would put my limits under pressure. It is when I am under water being tossed around that I learn the most about my abilities and I grow. While I did appreciate the sets of smooth waves, it was the chop where I gained the most insight.

not so pretty when they are in your foot

The first time I got tossed around a bit was when I was running on the amazing slick rock trail at the top of gooseberry mesa. Now, as a mountain biker I love slick rock, it is so fun to ride. As a runner I learned it is not so fun to run. Imagine running on undulating cement surfaces and you have a slight idea of what it is like. Therefore, anytime I could see a patch of dirt to hit in order to avoid the rock I would take it. That is until I went a little too left on that patch of dirt and took cacti to the outside of my left foot. I wanted challenges and pulling the cacti out of my foot delivered. After I did some trail side first aid I continued running with a throbbing left side of my foot. It was manageable and since you can only feel pain in one place at one time, a bit of a blessing:)


such a fun trail to ride, run not so much;)

Everyone knows that waves come in sets and before you know it a good set rolls through again. I tried to remind myself to appreciate the good when it was present because just like the bad it won't last forever. I continued to have highs and lows throughout the course of the day but even when being tossed around in a wave if you take the time to open your eyes and look around the scenery is amazing. Zion 100 had incredible views, even if it meant climbing up the side of a mesa to get to them. I spent the day learning and am happy to say for the most part I felt strong. My legs held up amazingly well, my feet were a different story. I hit my hydration perfectly but my caloric intake needs some tweaking. I am sure if I can dial that in that I will be able to surf past the 50 mile mark without being thrown about. 

 how low can you feel when you look up and see these views!
When I first was ocean swimming I learned that the most important thing to do when you are being tossed by the massive ocean is to stay calm and relax. The less you panic, the less energy you are using. Being tossed around is when we learn the most about ourselves but I am glad that during this race I also got to ride lots of good waves:)


  1. Good job, finishing! If you were the lady in the cowboy hat, I remember stopping and helping you with extracting that damn cactus needle! I ended up fracturing my foot at mile seventy, and still hobbled it in for my first 100 mile finish in 28:51. What a rad course that was.

    Sean O'Callaghan

    1. Yes, that was me. Thanks again for your help! Congrats to you on your 100 miler! Awesome job especially on that tough course with you foot!

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  3. Congratulations on your finish at Zion, what an amazing feat! I was there crewing for a guy doing the 100 miler...what a gorgeous - yet brutal - course.