I’ve been trying to do a little more trail running recently in preparation for my 100-miler (that’s only 6 weeks away). I looked for “local” (within 2 hours) trail races over a month ago, based on guidance from my running coach, Ian. I didn’t find any. About 3 weeks ago, Ian recommended I look again. I told him I doubt any had just “popped up” but that I’d check. A day or two later, I get a random email about an “underground” race that would coincide with the end of the world and it was a trail run. Perfect! Plus, it was inexpensive, about $20, for 12.21 miles—appropriate for a race called Mayan End of Days Run.
Yesterday I woke up at 4am to drive the 2 hours and 15 minutes to the race location near St George, UT. I was excited about the race, largely because of this excerpt from the email sent two days beforehand:
“If this is your first "Underground Runner" event a few things will help you out: these are truly underground events, meaning that it's just you, the road, and few soon to be friends. No gels, or aid stations- you bring your own nutrition. We will have water available at the turn around (6.1 miles) . ****** note. Please bring you own bottles or way to carry water, we will NOT have cups available. This also means no porta potties, be legal and creative! “
After getting there, I checked in and got a smiley face on my hand, which signified I was registered. We were given a brief description of the course route, took a group photo, and we were off. This was my coldest run to date. If you live somewhere that it REALLY gets cold, don’t laugh. Realize that I became a runner when I lived in San Antonio and I now live in Las Vegas. The temperature at the start of this race was 26* and 29* at the end.
There were lots of people wearing weird costumes, which I guess is typical of underground events. Since it was a few days before Christmas, I decided to dress Christmas-y, and I fit in quite well. Instead of explaining what I was wearing, it’s easier to just look at the pics.
The purpose of this race for me had been to gain some confidence on trails. Considering my marathon 7days prior and the 25 miles since then, I wasn’t in a position to try to race anything. The first mile was paved and the “trail” started. I say “trail” because it wasn’t a trail. It was a dirt road that had uneven areas (including where vehicles had driven through mud and then the mud had frozen) and a bunch of rocks at places, but it wasn’t what I would consider a trail. It was a difficult course, though, as it was quite hilly.
After the first couple miles being sub-10-minute pace, my legs felt quite sluggish, like they just didn’t have energy. This coincided with the start of the hills, too, so I figured I’d just enjoy myself. I ran, I walked, I chatted with other runners, and I LOVED the views. Southern Utah is gorgeous and course and the mountains in the distance were so pretty.
I ended up feeling warm after about 3 miles, so I took off my gloves and jacket. It wasn’t until about an hour later, when my hands started to hurt and the cold went up my arms that I decided to put the jacket and gloves back on.
I felt like I was going quite slow, especially since I took quite a few walk breaks on the uphill sections in the second half, but no one ever passed me, so relatively, I didn’t feel like I was doing too bad. There were only 50 runners (the race was capped at that), so there were a handful of times where I kind of felt like I was out on my own in nature, which was very peaceful.
My finish time was about 2:09, but it didn’t really matter because there were no bibs, chips, timing mats, or even a finish clock. But I had a blast. The one thing we did get were finisher medals which were really neat. Then, afterward, a bunch of people stayed around and just chatted. It was a really neat event.
I talked to the RD afterward and mentioned that while I had no idea how my name had gotten added to the email distro list, I was thankful. Surprisingly, he had no idea how my name had been added to it either, haha. We talked for a while and discussed that there will likely always be an appeal for events like his, even in a time where there is so much focus on bigger more commercialized races with lots of perks. There is something special about paying a small fee, running a marked course, and getting to share the experience with like-minded people who truly just enjoy getting out and running.
I laughed driving home as I thought about this race compared to my 50-miler 3 weeks prior. The 50-miler had cost 5 times more, yet this race had more aid (water at the start, turnaround, and finish) and was way more fun. The only additional things I got for an extra $80 at the 50-miler were a tech shirt, a reusable grocery bag, and some spaghetti, lol. And the extra distance didn’t really justify more money, in and of itself, considering it wasn’t a closed course or anything.
Anyway, I LOVED this event, and I look forward to doing a few more of these in the future. The RD mentioned expanding it to Las Vegas sometime too, if there was interest. The irony in these events is that participation is necessary for them to happen, but at the same time, too much publicity turns them into the same kind of huge races that is exactly what ones like this pride themselves on not being.
Patrick (sirdizzy) ran the race too and finished a little ahead of me. We took an “air” pic after we finished. We look goofy, but I love the pic for some reason. Below is that pic as well as some other ones from the race. Oh, that’s another neat thing about this race too: great photographer who took LOTS of pics that were all put on Facebook for free!
Recommendation: Run an underground or low-key event in your area if you hear about one. They can be a lot of fun. However, as a warning, it may make you question why you spend so much money on much larger races. (Or, conversely, it might remind you why you like megaraces.)
The promised photo of us being goofy:
Other pics from the race:
P.S. Missy and Midnight say Merry Christmas
(Yes, sorry, I'm one of THOSE people)
Lol! Great stuff! I love the medal! Glad you met another RW/RA member. I SO want to meet someone from here in a race sometime, what a great bunch of people!
Your outfit rocked! The colors were so vibrant against the red of the scenery. The socks where my fave.
Socks=Target clearance rack
I've met a few dozen people from this forum in "real life" with no negative experiences. It's kind of funny because the makeup of runners is just a cross-secion of society, so I would expect some awkward meetings (just based on probabilities), but everyone's been really nice. I've even shared hotel rooms and stayed at people's houses and lived to tell about it
I freaking love this RR and those adorable pics of you (and Dizzy)! Could you be any cuter? Seriously! As far as location goes, what a spot to run! OMG! I'm jealous!!!!I am happy that you got in some more trail time and that the race was so awesome, all in all, even if it was stripped down. It sounds like you didn't need any more than that (I'm with you there!). I wish you tons of luck in your upcoming 100 miler, sweetie! Thanks for the RR!
Will run for scenery.
Thanks for the RR. And I'm glad we're all still here to enjoy it.
The pics are awesome. I've never seen that area in winter : the snow makes it even more gorgeous. And you photograph well, too : always relaxed, smiling, and up in the air !
As a still noobish runner, I do enjoy the excitement of a big event. But I can definitely see the appeal of the underground approach. I'll keep my eyes open for one.
Oh, and are your cats on drugs ? Mine are super-sweet but NWIH would they endure that. I couldn't even get them to wear collars!
Love your pictures! Beautiful location, awesome medal and you really are completely cute!
I don't know if my eyes are playing tricks on me, but the pic of you and Dizzy you look waaaay too high, lol.
I wish I could run there! That first pic is great. It looks like you're jumping off the bricks, so it looks lIke you have superhero jumping powers.
Wow the scenery is beautiful! Sounds like you had a nice time. Love the Christmas outfit. The umping picture is cool, you both got serious air! Love the medal. Glad the world didn't end in the middle of your race!
PRs: 5K- 28:16 (5/5/13) 10K- 1:00:13 (10/27/13) 4M- 41:43 (9/7/13) 15K- 1:34:25 (8/17/13) 10M- 1:56:30 (4/6/14) HM- 2:20:16 (4/13/14)
I started a blog about running :) Check it out if you care to
I totally want to find a race Like this! It sounds so awesome. The red clay looks beautiful. I really like the air pic. I'm going to have to try that one day. You are always smiling, love it.
Sounds like you had a blast, and the mountains in the background look amazing, I'd love to run somewhere like that, congrats!
Awesome pics!! love the one of you and Diz.
Awesome race and pics. Love your outfit and the medal looks great. Congrats.
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner, INKnBURN Ambassador
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Meanwhile, Midnight's eyes widened and he sort of froze.
Ah, Feline Denial Syndrome. Years ago my old cat Bernadette somehow (???) managed to have a cooked lasagne noodle draped over her back. At first she froze, then she proceeded to do three laps of the living room in hyper-slow motion. Think middle-of-the-night nitroglycerine thief. It was hysterical. If I had a video, it would go viral.
Anyway, I wanted to say that your race report(s) inspired me to start planning my race schedule. I had been planning to just sorta "maintain" over the dark snowy months and then start training "next year" (i.e. distant future).
I did some googling and came up w/ the Run Through Time (half) marathon in Salida, CO. The (former) RD is a Badwater runner/artist (Jon something) so maybe you know him. Anyway, it's a small race (somewhat) organized by the local running club, capped at 350 runners.
Another great RR. Sounds like you had a blast, and that is what is is all about.