The beauty and majesty of Red Rock.
Two weeks ago today I ran 21.5 miles while in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Blogalicious 12 conference. It was a feat that I never thought I would accomplish. But on September 28th, I woke up at 3:45am and prepared for the longest run of my life. I hit the road by 4:15 and channeled my inner Ernestine Shepard, 75 year old bodybuilder who runs 10 miles at this time of the morning. I thought – if she can do it, so can I!
I am not disillusioned to thinking that I will ever look like Ernestine but I do have the determination to complete what I set out to do. And in that way I am just like her. As I ran the dark streets of Las Vegas, I thought of her running in Maryland with her headlamp and I kept going. It wasn’t easy. Well, the first 10 miles or so were without incident. I initially was running in a very affluent neighborhood and despite the darkness, I did not have any fear. Believe it or not, I made a friend along the way. A guy was walking his dog and I asked him for directions to the park I planned to run. I saw him again during my travels, we waved at each other and went on our way. I got lost – well, I went a half mile out of my way and utilized my GPS to get back on track.
My waterpack was helpful. Although, I was clueless about how to use the bite valve and at around mile 5.5 I was frustrated because I could not get my water so I took the whole thing off and drank directly from the pack. It wasn’t until the sun rose that I realized to release the water I needed to open the valve! And then I was golden. Speaking of the sunrise, it was awesome. I was just coming upon the mountains and at the point I prayed to God. I thanked him for the beauty surrounding me and my ability to run. I soon was out of the residential area and on my own on the open road. Just me, mountains, cars and the occasional bike riders passing me by.
And this is where things became CHALLENGING. As I started the 5 mile trek to Red Rock Canyon, it soon became apparent that it was all uphill! 5 miles, uphill, 10 or so miles in. I took it SLOW…no one told me about the elevation in Nevada. And this is the point where I started singing out loud “Order my steps Lord.” I walked/jogged/waddled my way up. A lone woman runner said “good morning” and quickly passed me on her way to Red Rock. My only thought – I KNOW she hasn’t already run 11 miles like I have…..
But I didn’t go in because those miles would have made my trek a marathon. And I’m saving that for the big day! As I started the descent back down to my hotel, I decided to make a video to share my journey with you.
And with 6 miles to go I was a bit fatigued but kept going. And at this point, I met bikers who despite riding uphill, blessed me with wide smiles and a “good morning.” I never thought seeing a smiling and hearing those two words could ever make me feel so good! But after close to 4 hours of doing this on my own this was the boost I needed to keep going.
For most of my run I’d been listening to a streaming Neo-Soul music station but at some points there was no signal and I was alone with my thoughts. When the signal returned I smiled because KRS-ONE was rapping over an upbeat tune and my feet started moving swiftly to the beat. I went from praying to God and moved on to “twerking it” with Southern rappers. And although I didn’t clock how fast I was going, my feet were flying. Soon, Sean Paul came on with “Get Busy” and I was running the homestretch!
I arrived at the hotel all smiles. I’d accomplished more than I set out to – my goal was 20 miles and I wasn’t even mad about the additional 1.5 miles that I added to the route. I seen all of God’s glory at Red Rock and I proved to myself that I can indeed complete a marathon. So, bring on the Marine Corps Marathon! The views will be different but no less moving. And I am committed to finish!