Utah: Zion 100.

The last portion of our vacation was the big motivator for taking the trip. Our friend Greg was participating in the Zion 100, an ultra-marathon spanning 100 miles of the Zion wilderness. I was so excited about his race that I begged Peter to plan a vacation to Utah around the same time. He agreed and there we were, meeting everyone at Greg’s hotel to learn about our responsibilities as support crew and pacers. The race began in the dark, early in the morning on a Friday. (I was already so jealous of him)

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Good morning Greg! Ready to run 100 miles?!

We met up with Greg at mile 20 something where he looked happy and full of energy. We wouldn’t see him again until later that day at mile 49.

We took advantage of our break and decided to ride down the Zion canyon road on our bikes. On our way we passed Moonlight Buttress which, in the last five years, has received extra attention (outside of the rock climbing world)  after Alex Honnold climbed up its’ 1,200 vertical feet without a rope.

Check out the video and articles below to learn more about this famous climb. http://www.theadrenalist.com/adventure/alex-honnold-free-solo-climbs-half-dome-and-moonlight-buttress/

We took the shuttle to the last bus stop in the canyon and biked back to our campsite making a quick stop at Weeping Rock to hike up the steep trail. Sage loved pushing her little legs up that climb and even better, loved running down.

We packed up our campsite and checked into our hotel, The La Quinta Inn and Suites, which I was surprised to see was brand new. I had no idea the La Quinta could be so fabulous. Trust me. The hotel has a great pool, comfortable rooms and a beautiful view.

After Sage’s nap we drove up a steep and winding dirt road into the Zion Wilderness to mile 49 of the race. The aid station was in full production handing out food, water, congratulations, and support. Although somehow too many of them had no clue which way the trails were headed or where the runners were supposed to go. Typical I guess for these types of things. The aid stations are a very false sense of security. You are ON YOUR OWN OUT THERE.

Sage had fun journeying through a drainage tunnel (mother of the year right here!) with some other kiddos and looking like a real dirt bag. Getting filthy and loving every second of it. It may be the second miracle of the trip that she didn’t end up with an intestinal parasite.IMG_1736

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This was another Sage we met at the race!

IMG_1742IMG_1738IMG_0957Greg bounced in to the aid station looking more like he had finished 5 miles instead of 49. He refilled his bottles, reloaded his backpack, and took off with me for a five-mile loop out onto a plateau and back.

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The support team!

IMG_0969IMG_0960Running with Greg, even for only 5 miles was such a cool experience. Just hanging with these people for an hour of epic trail running made me feel super special. The setting was ideal, weather was great, and it was fun hearing about the first half of his run. Greg is so positive, strong, and motivated. I kept reminding myself that this guy had been running ALL DAY and was going to continue through the night. How happy and talkative he was just goes to show what a mentally disciplined and solid athlete he truly is. Did I mention I am jealous? I handed Greg off to Peter who would run the next 15 miles with him.IMG_0974Sage and I loaded our stuff back in the car, brought Cathleen, Greg’s wife, with us and headed into town for some dinner. We ate at Oscar’s Café which was delicious! I ate my stress away with a bacon cheese burger or some nonsense like that but man it was soooooo good. It wasn’t my race, nor my husband’s race, but I was knotted up like crazy! To me the whole thing was very exciting. We said goodnight to Cathleen and headed back to our hotel. I fell asleep wondering what part of the Zion wilderness Peter and Greg were running through and how fortunate (yet still a little envious) I felt to be going to sleep instead of gearing up for 8 hours more of running. While I will most likely never run 100 miles, the idea of doing it is just so insanely rad. I felt honored and humbled to have even hung out with people who are capable of doing this!IMG_1749Greg finished in an smashing time. Out of 117 finishers, he finished 18th with a time of 23 hours and 50 minutes. I couldn’t have been more excited for his huge accomplishment.IMG_0994Saying goodbye to Zion wasn’t easy.IMG_3312IMG_3307I fell in love. But it did help to know we had one more St. George stop on our way home.

This entry was posted in Running/hiking, US travel, Utah and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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