This morning I dared to do something I haven’t done in over eight years—I ran up Cedar Canyon, AKA the dreaded “canyon run”–and actually liked it! Before I go on, here is a little background…
In August of 2000, I was a brand new freshmen recruit for the Southern Utah University Track and Cross Country team. We were to meet at 3 o’ clock in the afternoon, along with all of the other new recruits and upper class-men for our first ever college work-out. I had NO idea what I would be in for—one thing I did know, though was that there was a really cute guy in red shorts and California bleach blond locks (of love)…
….Ahem…as I was saying…It was 3 o’ clock in the August afternoon, which translates to about 85’+; furthermore translating to pure torture! Running one mile in this kind of heat, when you are used to running at 6 am and 60′ is bad enough. Try running six miles, two of which we were supposed to go as hard as we could straight up a steep canyon road. Oh, man! If my coach was trying to weed out the weaklings, he about had me out.
To give you a better idea of this canyon; they now do a half marathon that runs straight down it, and it is rumored to be the fastest in the state of Utah, and I would have to say, could be numbered among the fastest (steepest) around, with a 2,4oo ft elevation drop from start to finish. I ran this race in 2010, and even with as good a shape as I was in, I had a really hard time walking for a good 2 weeks. It killed me for the St. George Marathon that was two weeks after.
Now, that you have a mental and visual picture of this canyon, you can understand how dreadful it was to run on that hot summer day. About halfway up the canyon, I did get one breath of fresh air, as I got a smile from that aforementioned lovely young man, who will remain nameless (one hint…we just so happen share 5 really cute kids 🙂 ). My smile back to him was short-lived, as I nearly lost my lunch right at that moment.
Many times after this first experience, usually on a Monday, we were to do that same run up the canyon. To tell you the truth, it never got any better for me, during those four years. It was the one work-out, that even the mere thought of doing it, would cause me a good amount of grief.
When I was done running for SUU, I vowed never to run the canyon again….and I didn’t, until this morning. This past week, my family took a trip down to Cedar City for my brother, Joel’s mission homecoming, and we decided to stay a while. Early in the week, I took the kids to the Canyon Park, that is just at the base of the canyon. It was a great time, as the kids were able to wade in the stream and play with their cousins. I, on the other hand, was eying that canyon road, knowing that I needed to face it, and conquer it.
So, todayI did it! I even did a 2.5 mile warm-up rather than the usual mile. I charged up that canyon, and beat my college time by 40 seconds! Most importantly, I loved it!
I did it! I faced my fear, conquered it, and it felt tremendous! As a bonus, that same cute guy was at home waiting for me.