We’re climbing a hill on our toes. Our magical trail shoes grip the smooth red rock, turning us into human mountain goats. Perhaps we are breathing a little harder than a mountain goat would in this situation. Perhaps the mountain goat wouldn’t stop to take a picture or gaze open-mouthed at the view. Then again, confronted with the panorama of red domes and cliffs, frosted with snow like giant red and orange cakes, with hazy purple and white mountains in the far distance, even a mountain goat might stop and stare.
My second Moab Red Hot 33k left me even more enamored than my first. Have you ever run on the red rock that lives in Utah? Have you stared down from a high point at the savage beauty of the rocky desert? I recommend it, dear reader, if you ever get the chance.
But I’ve already told you about the event, and my deep love for everything about it (Moab’s Red Hot 33k… a Love Story). So I’ll just tell you about this year. Last year was quite dry. This year brought a lot of snow, and the Red Hot course was changed slightly to get us out of the snow and ice-filled ravines. That meant even more running on the slick rock, and less down in the sandy washes.
Last year I ran alone. This year I’m running with J, one of my two pregnant daughters.
Yes, two pregnant daughters. My running daughter J and my non-running daughter N are expecting their own daughters this summer. Within six weeks of each other. I’m not making this up. My running goals and wishes and aspirations now require a jogging stroller for two.
My children are old enough that the whole pregnancy thing is a blurry memory, but one thing I remember clearly is that you fall madly, hopelessly in love the second you see that baby. So I’m doing a lot of cardio to make extra room in my heart.
Anyway. The plan for today is that I will go at J’s pregnant pace, keep her in check a little, not let her get all competitive. So the three of us (one is about the size of a blueberry and isn’t even wearing shoes) are running together. Also in the field is my husband, Js father, and the blueberry’s grandfather, B. This is just one person. B.
Also, running in the 55k, is my big brother! He’s also a J so I’ll call him JC. I probably wouldn’t even be a runner if it wasn’t for him. He’s to blame for all of this! His inspiration and influence have caused me no end of foot pain and running related expenditures. He is a 3-time Ironman and has completed LOTOJA eleven times (if you don’t know what that is, look it up, you’ll be impressed). He was running marathons when that was still an impossible distance for me.
JC has only dabbled in trail running, but he has now decided that a 100 miler is his next big thing. So he’s out there, running the most beautiful course in the world for his big trail debut.
The day is perfect, with clouds painted across brilliant blue skies. We keep a steady pace, taking pictures when there is no choice, taking it pretty easy. The only way J seems any different is that she’s running with me. Normally she would be waaaay up there somewhere. One of us fell, but not J. This happened just after that someone made a mocking comment about the baby. Don’t disrespect the blueberry. That’s what I learned. We finish within seconds of my time last year, so either I’m a fantastic pacer, or she is.
B finishes far enough ahead of us that his free beer is already gone and he is prepared to drink Js free beer. I think it’s unfair to take advantage of a beer lover’s pregnant state, but B apparently does not agree.
We wait at the finish line, hoping to see JC finish the 55k, but that post-run chill starts to kick in and we get on a shuttle back to our car. As we walk to our car, I see Anna Frost. ANNA FROST!! I think it can’t be her, I mean this is a pretty small event in Utah, and of course I don’t say anything to her, but it’s ANNA FROST!! I tell everyone at work! They give me a blank stare… ah well, we all have our heroes, and four of mine ran this year’s Red Hot.
When I talk to my brother later, it’s obvious that he’s hooked. He has a 50 mile race scheduled about 5 weeks after the Red Hot, and I’ve no doubt it will go as planned. By the time he runs his 100 miles I will have two granddaughters. One year ago, I could not have imagined this, for either of us.
So keep running, friends. You never know what’s around that next corner.