It crept up on me. I thought I could get it out of my head and move on but it was still there hiding in the recesses of my mind. It somehow found its’ way to the front and dominated my thoughts…that pesky Hole to Hump.
After trying to complete Hole to Hump in 2009 and admitting defeat about 20 miles from the finish and not finishing it the year prior either (stopping at the same point) I had basically given up on trying to finish Hole to Hump for what I thought would be many years. I figured that if I were to ever do it again it would be some day, years from now when and if I was a much better runner and it wouldn’t be such a question of if I would finish but more of a question of how fast. I just didn’t want to go through a DNF (did not finish) again on this run.
Besides, I don’t really like this run. Originally, I did it because I had never run this far and wondered if I could complete the 90+ mile monster. Also, it is a neat idea to run from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Mt. Humphrey’s. So…why don’t I like this run? Well, as I learned prepping for it, the whole thing is either on pavement or dirt roads (really long, boring dirt roads) except for the 7.5 mile S. Kaibab Trail at the start and the 7ish miles of AZ Trail and 4.5 miles of the Mt. Humphrey’s Trail at the end. That leaves at least 60 miles of dirt road and 9 miles of pavement running.
I know that I may sound like a whiner to someone that runs roads all the time but I am most definitely NOT inspired by this kind of running. I LOVE single track trails and the wild places they take me and I really have a hard time being motivated by running on a surface that is made for cars. It makes me feel like I should be in a car instead of on my feet. Roads make me feel tired and slow while trails make me feel fast, energized and excited to see what is around every corner or over the next rise. Again, I LOVE single track trails.
So, why did I do this run in the first place? I did this run because of the idea of it not because of the terrain. To run from the bottom of the Grand Canyon to the top of Mt. Humphrey’s (90+ miles and 11,000 ft of elevation gain). That is why I did it. I wanted to know if I could.
So, there I was a couple weeks ago, with the idea of running Hole to Hump again planted firmly at the front of my thoughts. It didn’t take long before I knew that I would have to take advantage of the fixation and take a shot before I lost the motivation it was giving me.
I asked myself many times during this fixation if I really wanted to do this to myself again. I knew that I was not excited about running all those dirt roads but I could not escape the nagging feeling that I hadn’t finished what I started with that thing. I knew that I needed to push through the wall that I had built for this run. It was just something I felt I needed to do. Unfinished business.
It was settled. I found the only weekend that I could squeeze it in (October 23, 24) and was committed.
Leading up to the start of the run I kept the whole thing under wraps. Before the other Hole to Hump efforts I blabbered all over the place what I was doing but this year I didn’t want to deal with the pressure. I just wanted to do it with just Susan and a friend Matt supporting me and no one else. Simple and quiet.
It was nice. I had no one to explain myself to before hand, no hype and no pressure. No one knew. This year I could do it for myself with a clear focus.
No one needed to know. I wasn’t doing it this year to impress anyone or feel cool. I simply wanted to prove to myself it was possible. To break through that wall and see what was on the other side.
What is on the other side?
Next post: Running Hole to Hump