We have spent the last week in Utah. The primary purpose was to attend a 4wd driving school with Bill Burke. I cannot say enough about the quality of this clinic .Bill’s background and expertise is extensive and impressive. Let me just say it was well worth the money and I was so glad we did this despite it being so out of my comfort zone. I had no idea really just what we were getting ourselves into and it was great! Our purpose in learning some driving skills is so that we can explore areas that are inaccessible really any other way than to drive there.
This first picture was from the most difficult ledge we drove down on the first day. The tires are 31 inches tall so you can get an idea how big a drop off it is. All told this ledge drops off about 4 ft? in a very short amount of time. At one point a back tire did lift off the ground. All normal I guess.
This ledge was the second most biggest ledge we drove up on Sunday. Sorry for the picture quality. I had to quick jump out and at first the camera settings were off. I didn’t get a picture of the biggest ledge as I stayed in the truck but it was bigger and steeper. Here is Bill spotting Brad.
The sand dunes, a definite highlight.
Took most of the vehicles several runs at it to get to the top. We also learned different recovery techniques and got 2 rigs unstuck here at the dunes.
At one point we drove along this-Sevenmile Rim.
A look back at the others coming down this steep road. Well, I thought it was steep.
We did not drive up this slick rock but we did drive up a rock that started off almost as steep as the top of this and then got less steep at the top and was a bit longer than this one. Everyone is looking at recent evidence that someone crashed in their attempt to drive up this. Again, the picture doesn’t really show how steep this got at the top.Again, I never thought I would ever be doing something like this but it really was a fantastic weekend. Have you ever done something you never thought you would do?
Running has sort of grinded to a halt. As many of you know, the air quality in my area is hazardously compromised due to forest fires. So, while I love my running, I do know better not to run while the air is so unhealthy. I have been to the gym a couple times this week to punish myself on the dreadmill. I don’t have much to say about that. We will be heading south to the desert tomorrow and so I will soon be running under clear blue skies and in red rock country!
I meant to have written about the race a bit sooner but I got a little distracted by a forest fire forcing our evacuation and other sorts of chaos. So anyways, back to the race! Conditions for the race were pretty good. The smoke in the valley was acceptable and the temps while a little chilly at the first warmed up perfectly. Like I have said before, it takes me awhile to feel like I am settling into a run. The first few miles always feel a little rough. I surprised myself by locking into the pace I needed to run right at the start. The first half of the race was on gravel roads which was fine with me except at one point the washboards were not much fun to run on. I also rediscovered that I prefer running alone and during the race was no different. It wasn’t until about the 6 mile mark that I got my solitude. The course meandered thru rural properties complete with cows, dogs, and even a goat at one of the aid stations. I knew if I was to make my goal, I would have to really push my pace at every downhill moment. Running downhill may seem easy but after awhile the constant contraction of the quads does tire them. You don’t feel it though until the surface flattens out again. The miles passed quickly enough but I was ready to be done by the time I got to the 12 mile mark. The course then took the runners thru town before ending at the park where it started. Katie and David were so sweet to come see me finish and take this picture of me. My time was 1:57:40. My goal was to finish under 2 hours. I really wasn’t sure if I could do it. I was 6th in my age group 40-49 and was 17th overall of all the women. I am already looking ahead to the next race. I like the distance.
Well, it is 2 days before the race. No runs either today or tomorrow. This week has been spent tapering off on the mileage so that I can have fresh legs on Saturday. I really cannot wait! I know I can finish, know what I can do on my slowest, most off day and not sure what I am actually capable of. In the end, I am happy to just be doing it.