I used to have a list of goals that was pretty much a bucket list: things to tick off, a reminder of little things I wanted to do.
Over the past couple of years I’ve stopped seeing the point in doing that to-do list style of life. I’ve learned that there is this inspiring energy around real goals, which are different than bucket list items. While a bucket list item is something we could add feasibly add to the calendar with a bit of work, a goal is something that is possible but slightly unreasonable, something that would require you to be your best self to pull it off, having a good day, and there’s a big chance of failure. And in that sense, the goal should be slightly terrifying– it’s a bold thought about that crazy thing we could do, just maybe, but we’re really putting ourselves out there. For a long while, I had “goals”– that were really just bucket list items.
Enter the double zion traverse.
What is that, 96 miles?
Two weeks ago I was feeling inspired… Perhaps it was the movies on at Vancouver Mountain Film Fest, or perhaps it was my friend Kerry, who is running the fall Tahoe 200 mile run, nbd. For a long time I was inspired by people like Kerry, and the incredible double Wonderland trail adventurer Ultra Pedestrian Ras, and people like PCT thru-hiker champ Heather Anderson… I was inspired by my mentally rock solid friend Craig, who can run 100 miles at any time you say go!, and Angel, an irreverent Capitol Hill chick who can make a 100 miler look like a visit to Bakery Nouveau. (Oh hell, Angel’s husband Tim is pretty cool too, he writes about Angel and Ras and wears mullets.) These are people who defy our notions of what is possible, and then bring us all along with them mentally if we allow them, to new possibilities. Inspired by all these people, I had dreamed about doing a big huge trail running traverse on my own, something farther, bigger, wider than I had ever done before. I wanted to find my limits, feel scared, feel more risk of failure. So I fielded ideas on Facebook, glanced at the comments and booked flights to Zion National Park, via Vegas, within an hour of the first suggestion I liked. (I blame this all on rainshadow running, this was their idea.)
As someone who has only run about 60 miles before, this goal is a moderate dose of terrifying. Add to that 000’s of feet of elevation, (no point keeping track anymore) and the super exciting prospect of navigating alone at night, and I’ve set myself up for a pretty crazy goal. It excites me because I’ll have to use everything I’ve got, mentally and physically, to achieve this goal. I’m so curious what I’ll find… All I can know, is that I’ll come out the other end of this process knowing so much more about myself!
So before I go in three days…
One awesome guy, Craig Lloyd has done it before, and he’s been giving me some great advice. I’ve also got friends helping me out with GPS nerd stuff so I’m all set on trail-finding, and my friend Meghan has become equally stoked about a winter Zion adventure, so she booked flights to join me, and she’ll run the second traverse with me. I can’t even imagine how inspired I will feel when I get to her! Other than that, my plan involves changing outfits halfway, to make it feel like I’m starting a new day, a new pair of Hoka’s, and chocolate covered espresso beans. Oh and the best plan of all, booking the shittiest motel I could find, which is motivation to stay out there longer. (No rush to go home, more incentive to stay out running!) Thanks in advance for the music, Mike.
You can follow me and my shenanigans on my inReach map here, starting at about 5pm on Friday. I’ll be sending tracks every thirty minutes, and apparently you can even see my speed, elevation, and direction! It will look like this:
I blame this all on rainshadow running, this was their idea.