No one can dispute that we need the moisture though, after the scary low-water season last year. The Colorado River is as shallow as I’ve ever seen it, with its rocky backbone and sandbars showing through in so many places. I’m not worried though; the snow pack is looking good here and in the Rockies, with a forecast of spotty spring storms that should only add confidence to our water year outlook.
But back to the Canyonlands Half Marathon. I consider myself a jogger, and am a bit obsessive about exercising every day. I laced up my first pair of running shoes when I began middle school in the mid-’70s, when the masses were really starting to catch on to what has become a lasting fad. I was probably about 12 years old and starting to become aware that I could modify my health with something besides diet. As I got started and the distances I ran increased from blocks to miles, I was amazed that my legs alone could take me clear across town in a matter of minutes. I also discovered shin splints and grew calf muscles I didn’t know existed. I was hooked, and I still am. But I am not a racer. I marvel at those who run fast.
When the high school track coach noticed that I was a jogger she recruited me for the team. I joined up for a while, but soon realized that I didn’t like being forced to follow someone else’s exercise regimen. The requisite after-school workouts made voluntary jaunts seem like boot camp, which really made running unappetizing for me. Same with the 5k and 10k races that friends would encourage me to join. The extra push of being in competition with the other runners caused nausea in the pit of my stomach. It soon became clear that racing was not for me.
So I am amazed and delighted that so many people want to come to Moab each spring – and now in the fall for The Other Half – to run until their guts hurt. I’m especially interested to read about all the local folks who participate and I find it interesting when the race is finished to see how they placed.
I supposed I have a kind of love/hate relationship with running. I often dislike the sheer act of running but I love it when I’m finished. When I run, my mind goes into an observatory gear that puts pressing matters on hold. It’s a sort of meditative mode. In the past decade or so I’ve ticked off the miles listening to books on tape, and if it weren’t for running I probably wouldn’t make any time to “read.” “Anna Karenina,” Ken Follett’s tomes, “The Tipping Point,” “The Bible,” “Roots” and hundreds of other titles have helped me pass the miles. Thanks to the Grand County Public Library, there is no small selection.
Congratulations to Ranna Bieshke and everyone else who has made the half marathon such a success. To all you runners who will be dashing down Highway 128 Saturday morning, good luck. When the racers get set and the gunshot goes off I won’t be there. But I’ll sure be thinking about you all.