Charlie Harrington

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Zion Traverse


We ran ~38 miles of the Zion Traverse this past Saturday, including the I-can't-believe-this-is-actually-allowed Angels Landing climb.

Here's video proof:

Very little prep work or research or even training was done on my part. I'm lucky to have found a crew of like-minded adventure runners always ready to plan the next excursion. But, next time, I need to be taking at least a little bit more time to prepare.

For example, I knew almost nothing about Zion National Park. This was a mistake that I've since ameliorated with some healthy Wikipedia-ing. One fun factoid - Angels Landing used to be known as the Temple of Aeolus (aka the Greek demi-god/god of winds and also a lovable sidekick on TV's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys). I wish I had known that when I was there - I could have tried to summon him or something. Next time, I guess.

Similarly, I felt pretty drained by the time we hit the last ten miles. Nothing compared to the Rim2Rim2Rim or the North Face 50M, but still - I definitely overestimated my fitness for the task at hand. If I'm going to keep doing these runs, I'll need to start logging more longer distance runs on the reg.

Water - or the lack thereof - was our crew's only major snafu. Turns out that springs do not mean treated water pumps - they mean semi-dirty trickles or puddles of water. Thankfully, we were helped by a few fellow-hikers (angels descended from the landing, IMHO) who lent us their water filter. Lesson learned - always bring iodine tablets or a filter on any adventure run. You just never know.

This was my first ultra where I didn't track anything on Strava, and it felt great. I've been off Strava for a while now, and I'm not really looking back. The quantified-self stuff has been less appealing to me lately. When I'm on a run, and I find something cool or gross or beautiful that I want to stop and inspect, I don't want to have to think about how that impacts my splits or run time. I know there's auto-pause features, etc. but I can't auto-pause the stress in my brain about my stats. Instead, I just ran with a plain ol' Timex watch (and my phone in airplane mode to take pictures). The watch can tell the time, set an alarm, set a timer, and, of course, turn on its amazing Indiglo night-light. Basic, essential watch stuff. Nothing smart, just reliable. Yes, I sort of missed having a map with my exact GPS route after the race, but I think instead I'm going to just find a map of Zion and try to figure it out myself. That feels more rewarding anyway.

Here's a log of what I ate on the trail, just so I remember for next time:

And here are the creatures I saw on the trail: