Thirty-four miles on the striking red earth and slickrock of the Red Hot 55k seemed like a great reason to end the too-long hiatus from posting to Run Junkie. I don't have any great excuse for the sustained void, except for some ping-ponging moderate injuries (left knee, right knee, Achilles, hamstrings, and back again) that sent me for yet another season largely into the arms of racing mountain bikes - an at-times fun but not passionate pursuit.
But this fall, things started to come around for my running, so much so that I signed up for a Valentine's Day trip to Moab to test my mettle on the deceptively tough Red Hot parcours. Training wasn't perfect, but I felt I had enough miles to toe the line for a solid training run.
I ran Red Hot once before back in 2009, memorable because I both broke my camera (dropped in the Martian Moab dust) and wound up on the masters podium. This year, I didn't expect it to be quite as eventful. I had too many cycling miles and less than half of the weekly running miles I did the first time.
And things played out pretty much as I thought - a challenging but largely enjoyable 34 mile run. The toughest part was trying not to race against my 2009 self, a goal I did not meet and a race I definitely did not win. It caused me to go out too fast and finish too slow. But it sure felt great to be back in the game, to toe the line at a great season opener, and to start to think about the possibilities of 2014.