To see those mountains. THOSE mountains. The red streak cutting through the middle of the range like a fiery lighting bolt. To give wonder and awe, while I ran, walked, and crawled my way to the finish line, 30 miles away.
That is the adventure I seek. I’m tired of these green Georgia hills. I want to climb those naked rocky beasts once more.
My last race was one long trot through the appalachian stereotype of trees, rocks, and underbrush. I have been there now, got the hat, yet forgot to buy the Tshirt.
At this moment in my life, I am not seeking a closet full of race medallions and participation trophies. I want adventure, I want to run where I’ve never been. To walk in scenery I’ve never seen. To puke on rocks for which my feet aren’t familiar.
This is only partially true for the Red Rock Canyon. I consider it the race to pull me back into ultra. I have been introduced to the desert floor surrounding those majestic peaks. I have seen the rust-filled rocks wriggling through the sandstone ridges. I have almost puked on the sand and cacti below me. So only partially not in agreement. No puke. Not yet.
30 miles through the desert will challenge this ole boy. I’ve only run through the forest. In the woods, you can’t see out any farther than the leaves will let you. You certainly can’t get a look at the finish line while halfway through the race. But in the desert, I might be able to watch the winner of the race cross into the food tent before I’ve crossed the halfway mark. I might have to stare at the end of my journey well before the sun fully rises over the canyon walls.
These are the anxious thoughts of a man whose greatest fear is being worse than everyone else. I don’t want the folks at the finish line to see me shitting in the scrub brush. The lack of privacy in the desert concerns this mountain man.
I also don’t look forward to the viewable distance in general. In the desert, you can walk for hours and it still looks like you haven’t traveled very far. Walking parallel to the mountains may help, but when we tried to approach a mountain in 2017, it seemed like we would never reach its base (the sun went down before we reached our destination, then the wildlife persuaded us to give up).
So in November, I will face this new challenge with my head held high and my hands a little higher than normal too (damn cacti). I am in terrible shape right now. Hell, I don’t feel like my body is going to be remotely ready for this, only time can tell. We’ll see, I guess.