Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Skyline Drive Attempt

On Monday August 1, 2011, along with friend Davy Crockett, we attempted to run the entire 110 mile long Skyline Drive in central Utah. The route runs from Hwy 70 near Richfield all the way to Hwy 6 up Spanish Fork Canyon. Much of the road is above 10,000 ft elevation.

Due to a very heavy snow year and recent storms we encountered over 30 miles of intermittent mud - thick, sticky, clay mud that hung to your shoes like lead weights - we were unable to complete the entire course. I made it 50 miles before quitting and Davy went a total of 67. While difficult it was still beautiful and amazing. Below are some highlights and then a video. Enjoy.

- We hit serious mud at mile 9. Our crew vehicle had to turn around and drive many miles to a future meeting place. The mud continued to last for 7more miles and took us over 3 hours to get through.

- At mile 37 I rounded a knoll to find Matt and Josh (our crew) asleep (or so it appeared) in fold-out recliners both facing the most stunning sunrise I've seen in years. I actually got choked up.

- More mud. And the kind of mud that sticks to your shoes making them weigh about 5 lbs more than they should.

- Glaciated snow fields covered the road at 2 places, forcing Matt and Josh to drive hours in the opposite direction and miles around to a distant meeting spot.

- There were 5 miles of running where I actually felt really good. Physically I felt pretty great the whole run, but mentally I was a wreck from the time we started. Having been gone all last week I think I just really wanted to be at home with my wife and kids. But I had made a commitment to Crockett and wanted to do the run, so I was conflicted.

- At mile 47 my stomach turned south. It wasn't bad enough that I was stopped in my tracks, but it was the excuse I was looking for to quit at mile 50. That was the darkest running moment of my career. I've never quit anything I've tried before, except when I was in physical danger. I just quit because mentally I couldn't handle it. I was mad at myself for giving up and was thoroughly disappointed in myself for letting Crockett down. I quit wallowing  in my own self-pity about 3 hours later and went on to try my best to support Crockett whom we never saw till he also called it quits.

- Crockett ran an additional 17 miles after I stopped, which took him 7 hours, all thanks to MUD!!!!! It was then he knew that he couldn't finish because it would have taken us about 12 hours longer than planned and we all have to work. He ran a total of 67 miles.

It was an awesome experience though. And I still got to run 50 miles in some of the most beautiful country in Utah. Enjoy the video.

1 comment:

TooeleTwins said...

I grew up in Mt. Pleasant. It is truly stunning. Now that I'm a runner, I love to run the trails and roads all along the area while the rest of the family is fishing. It's awewome. Next year, sans snow/mud, you'll be able to finish. It's usually not this bad at this time of year.