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Moab Red Hot 33K

Posted Feb 25 2013 6:43pm

As I sit here typing up this post, every time I get out of my chair it is epic.  It hurts like heck and it takes me a few good steps before I can even walk!  And I love it!

On February 16th I participated in the Moab Red Hot 33K . I kinda had a slight idea what to expect but in actuality I didn’t have a clue.  I’d looked at the elevation map a few times and of course I’m thinking “yeah it’s an exaggeration!”  Let me tell ya, It’s not!

moab topo

Saturday morning saw the group of us waiting at the start trying to decide which clothes to keep on and which to ditch. We made our way to the start and next thing we were running.  The day had begun.  20 miles of running where lying ahead.  I wasn’t nervous at all. Mostly excited for the day and the beauty of Moab.

Moab start

The first two miles are pretty much a gradual uphill on a snow-covered road.  Some people where slipping and sliding….luckily I was able to keep my feet underneath me.  Once we reached the crest we descended into a wash that was more road than wash.  The road was soft and it was easy to get into a groove. Little did I know that it would be about 14 miles before I’d have that opportunity again!

Mugging it up for the camera before things got serious

Mugging it up for the camera before things got serious

I had heard the night before about this section that started after the first aide station called the “Red Hot”. I’d been told you want to hold back until you get to the second aide station because this thing was going to kick your butt.  So I’m cruising along……pass the first aide station, feeling good….come around a corner and look ahead….AND THERE IT IS!  The “Red Hot”.

So I start climbing.  Mind you at this point my running turned more into hiking than running.  Mostly cause it was faster to hike than to run (at least for me).

So I’m just doing my thing.  Cruising up the slick rock.  Hands on hips.  Reading the rock and hiking up the weakness in the rock.  Just liked I’d done a bazillion times during my 15 years of rock climbing.  I was right at home.  It actually felt strange not to have a 20lb climbing pack on.  Like something was missing.

The not so steep part

The not so steep part

I just keep cruising and cruising, and get to the spot where the rock levels out for a while.  And I think to myself….”dang, I don’t know what my friends where talking about?  That wasn’t so bad.”  I start running, come around the corner again and BAM!!!!!  There it is!  The Real “Red Hot”!  Ohhhhhhh.  Now I get it!  This is what they were talking about.  More steep climbing!

“The next section of the course is the infamous Golden Spike that every Red Hot runner has either cursed, loved, cried, laughed or had a zen experience, either way Golden Spike is unforgettable.” from the course description

The next…I don’t know how many miles….where pretty much up…and up….and up….and then finally…there it was….aide station #2!!!!!!!  I loaded up on water and such and bam!  I was out of there.  A few more yards of climbing and around a corner was one of the most beautiful vistas of the day.  I had to stop (even though I didn’t really want to) and take a picture.

This really doesn't do it justice

This really doesn’t do it justice

After that, it was all about letting loose and flying downhill on the slick rock.  It was awesome. I was in Heaven.  After all my years of descents from the top of crags, I felt right at home.  Mind you, there were plenty of uphill sections thrown in along the next 7 miles.

“If you are familiar with what an EKG pattern looks like this is what runners will be mimicking across Gold Bar Rim. Runners are running on an uplift at about a 45 degree angle. This section will require you to dig deep and push through the pain you will inevitably be experiencing at this point.”

This was so true!  The digging was more due to my quads shouting at me than anything.  I was flying on the downhills!  Just letting myself go.

Then I hit the last aide station.  5 miles left to go from here.  After some more slick rock I was running on some sandy 4 wheeling roads for what seems like an hour or so.  I must say that it took me what felt like a good 30 mins to get back into a rhythm of running.  It’d been so long!  Mostly though I was trying to pick the least sandy parts of the road while getting my run groove on.

A short downhill section

A short downhill section

That is until the last little bit of slick rock that they threw in for us!  My quads where screaming at me by this time on the downhills.  All I could think was “this is going to kill in two days when I try to sit on the toilet”.  For real!  The weird $hit we think about when we’re out there in the mists of it.

Finally I ended up in a wash again.  Ahhhh……a dirt road again.  Some guys where hanging out there and informed me I had about a mile to go.  “Yeah right!” I thought.  I added another mile on just to make sure.  A bit further on the road started to descend.  I was thinking…ok…cool….I wonder how much further??

The begining of the end

The begining of the end

And then I started seeing people.  Spectator people.  Shouting….”you’re almost there!”  Again…”Yeah Right!”.  The road turns into switch backs….I come around a corner and I’m just like “The finish!”.   Seriously, I felt like it came out of nowhere!  I couldn’t believe it!  I few more hundred yards and I was crossing the finish line!

Finish Line Sprint

Finish Line Sprint

Wow!  I’d done it!  I’d pushed myself and had a BLAST!

I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!

This is one of the best runs I have ever done in my life.  It was challenging, fun, amazing, gorgeous….and

I can’t wait to come back next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nothing like BFFs!

Nothing like BFFs!

 

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