Any pains from weary legs and tenderized feet melted away thanks to temps in the 40s, half the elevation of Bryce, and anticipation of views along the Mesa’s of Zion.
Today’s course would start with a 3+ mile descent, a 7ish mile loop around the rim of the Mesa — a mountain that is wider than it is tall and flattened on top — followed by a 3+ mile ascent to the finish. Trail runners are not known for precise measurements and nobody seemed to mind.
We watched the elite trail runners disappear at the start and seconds later all that remained were puffs of dust. They would complete today’s run in unimaginable times and before we had time to ponder their awesomeness, it was time for the rest of us to roll out.
A delicious 3ish mile descent put us on at a nice speed and gave our legs some time to work out their pain points. At the base, we turned off to a single track trail – a dusty terrain filled with protruding rocks waiting to catch weary feet by surprise. Lots of feet focus consumed our thoughts and we pretended to land light and agile — Occasionally we dared to look up and staring us down were stunning views from the top of the Mesa. Looking over he rim into lower canyons and more Mesa’s — made you feel Ike you were inside of nature’s watercolors.
We ran along slick rock — which is not slick at all – it’s grippy. At first, it seemed like a good thing — who wants to slide off of a rim at the top of a Mesa? By mile 8ish we were less fond of grippy rock – for it held onto our feet making it harder to lift heavy legs. But, none of that really mattered because there were always more priceless views waiting for us to stop with a photo op.
At mile 10ish we said goodbye to spectacular Zion for a 3ish mile ascent that sucked dry the last bit of juice in our legs – and when we crossed the finish line along with our friends from Team Maryland – any pain gave way to smiles and high-fives – we made it!
One more day remains — tomorrow we tackle Horseshoe Bend at the Grand Canyon with a special treat — running along the Navajo reservation.
Peace, Love, Out
Jane & Jill