On Tuesday nights I teach a Beginner's Yoga class in my darling friend's living room. It is small. Sometimes there are only 3 of us. Usually I can get 3 or 4 students. This week I had 5. It was a happy, sweaty, shaky and calming practice. I had run Monday and Tuesday mornings and yoga felt amazing. I felt like maybe I could look forward to a rest day the next morning. Mother Nature had delivered her monthly gut punch. I was tired. Rest would be nice. I bid my students (my friends) farewell after class as they trickled out of friendly conversation and out the door. My new running friend Katie paused at the doorway to inquire how my 50k training was going. "Are you running tomorrow?" She asked with a hopeful look on her face. She was in a running funk. Boy do I know how that goes! So I agreed to text her in the morning and we'd run out of our funks together.
I slept in the next morning. We hadn't set a time and the sleep felt good. I was indecisive on where we would run and I knew Katie didn't much care. After some texting back and forth (We could do Ed's Peak? Ack. Too much vert for today.) we decided on location. I had been wanting to get high. I'd been wanting to explore the route to Gold's Ridge and didn't dare do it alone. Perfect. I fed the kids and left them with instructions to finish their chores and met her at the pond parking at 10:30. The drive up Farmington Canyon Road is slightly terrifying. Katie handled it like a pro. We fell into easy conversation as we made our way up, up, up past campers and ATVs, slowing for a pretty deer fawn whose natural bounding skills we envied aloud as she frolicked up the mountainside. We parked and the gate and went right. I hadn't paid enough attention to realize we were going the long way to Gold's, but the scenery was so lovely, I have no regrets. Within the first few yards I warned Katie that this would be a slow day. She waved off my warning with, "It's just good to be in the mountains." And it was.
Our conversation wandered with us. From jokes, to stories, to history and cooking instructions. We laughed and wondered our way through fields of yellow flowers, the towering trees silently watching us on our way. Katie has great stories. The miles just slipped on by until we reached a steep rocky incline and headed up to where we knew the views were. Aaron had warned me of a false summit. This was it. In the distance I could see the winding trail to Gold's Ridge Peak. False or not, good heavens it was gorgeous!
(photo by Katie Weller)
We took abundant trailfies (trail selfies) and mountaintop trail yoga pictures. Just then I got a call. My littles were Facetiming me. This is supposed to be an emergency measure, but they were just getting restless to play with friends. I guess we had been out longer than I'd planned. We were at mile 4.25. I hadn't really planned on an 8-9 mile run today and my kids' calls were taking a nip out of my wondrous communion with nature. So I drank in the view for a minute more, took a moment to gaze longingly at the rocky peak in the distance, turned my back to it, and continued back the way we had come.
As we picked our way, quick-footed down the rocky trail, our storytelling turned in the direction of "this one time I turfed it..." We told of how we got our scars and big feet that always seemed to be our down fall. This spiraled into other scar stories (Did I mention Katie tells GREAT stories?) as we let gravity have it's way down the easier surface of the ATV trail. And then wouldn't you know, I caught a toe and took flight. A moment of slow motion, quiet hang time and then spiraling impact. Right knee, left thigh, left shoulder blade and elbow? What? When I skidded to a halt, somehow now on my right side, I wanted to say something clever. To assure Katie I was alright. I was tough. I'd pop right back up. Or not. My body had other plans. I'd turfed before, but this one hurt more... more deeply. I could hardly breathe. Start there. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. I laid there for a few seconds as Katie calmly came to my side asking if anything was broken. Making my way to a seated position and cradling an arm I couldn't get to respond I answered, "I don't know yet."
"Okay." She responded, plopping down in the dirt beside me. Gosh, I love this girl.
"Well, crap." I exclaimed, "That sucked."
Katie just laughed, brushed some dirt off my shoulder, snagged my water bottle out of my Hydraquiver and handed it to me.
"That was a pretty good one! I'd give it a solid 9."
I smiled, "I'll have to work on my form and technique for next time."
As the initial shock subsided, I began a slow inventory. Mentally cataloging what was bleeding, what still worked. I wasn't sure if my arm was broken or if I'd just had the worst "funny bone" tap of my life. Eventually nerve signals began to get through again and I could at least move my hand, although shakily.
"I don't think I've critically injured any body parts that I need to get me off of this mountain."
Katie chuckled a little, "Well that's good. We'll just walk it off."
We made our way along slowly. Running when I felt like it, Katie letting me set the pace. Stopping at a creek crossing the clear away blood and dirt. The bloodthirsty deer flies had caught scent of my injuries and they accompanied us across the terrain, hunting me like the wounded animal I was. Darn flies.
Katie continued to distract me beautifully with more of her tales, and the next thing I knew, there was the car.
That's one thing I love about this sport; It doesn't take years to become friends. Just shared passion for the terrain, shared experience, the rawness and vulnerability that comes with placing yourself in such a present and real situation, and the willingness to open up and give someone the shirt off your back- or in this case, the emergency toilet paper from your pack.
When I got home to assess my injuries, I wondered how on earth I could have rolled in such a way as to procure such varied wounds. I think I'd have paid money to see slow motion video of that. Maybe in the next life.
I have no regrets about Wednesday's run. It was just what I needed. But as I type this, Aaron is descending Timpanogos with dozens of our Wasatch Mountain Wrangler friends, and I'm not with them. My deeply bruised quad and knee made sure of that. I'm a little sad to have missed out on the fun, but I think it will be rested and healed enough to go back up and take the missed Gold Ridge summit with Aaron on Saturday. Here's hoping anyway. I may still have to get my elbow checked out. It's kind of misshapen and still pretty tender.
It's all part of the game!
1181 feet of vert
14:23 Average pace
Cut and bruised right palm, 2 bruised knees, bruised and scraped left upper quad, scraped and bruised left shoulder blade, scraped and very bruised partially misshapen left elbow, sore left ribs, hip and side, slightly bruised ego.