Elden Mountain was the Most Memorable Run of 2022 for my Body and Mind. Want to Tell me About Yours?
And so the 2022 season comes to an end. While some of us are enjoying deep rest and recovery, the more adventurous might already be starting their new training plans. A moment of reflection can’t hurt in either case. In fact, it’s when we reflect that we’re able to continue our growth. With that in mind, what was your most memorable run this year?
Written & edited by Pavlína Marek
My most memorable run of the 2022 season wasn’t a race. It wasn’t a particularly long run, or a particularly fast one, either. In fact, it was below average considering these two criteria.
My most memorable run wasn’t the famous Way Too Cool 50k Ultramarathon. It wasn’t the hot and dry Vacation Races Zion Half Marathon. It wasn’t the Triglav Trail Run, my first race on European soil, and it wasn’t the Forgotten Mountains 50 miler, wet and cold and challenging as it was.
No. My most memorable run of 2022 was, and it was a hard choice, a slow slog up and down Elden Mountain in Flagstaff, Arizona.
I almost didn’t do it. I had other places to visit during that road trip on which I was giving goodbye to my home in the United States. But that morning, I woke up below the mountain, having slept in a rental compact whose back seats couldn’t be lowered, and knew I basically had no choice in that matter. As the dawn broke around me and the shape of Elden Mountain rose against the sky, I knew I had to head up the last climb of the Cocodona 250 race.
It was a slow going not only because my low-lander lungs weren’t too happy about the elevation. The view that started to open up as soon as I left the thin pine cover took my breath away as well.
The Coconino plateau spread wide and far while cinder cones and other evidence of volcanic activity dotted the otherwise perfectly flat landscape. The branches of the occasional pine swayed in a gentle breeze. The sun, barely breaking through the morning chill, shone high in a perfectly blue sky. The act of moving through that environment was so natural that it almost didn’t feel challenging.
Only almost. How on earth are people able to get up this thing at the end of a 250 miles long race? That was the only thing I could think of as I dragged my body up the mountainside. I didn’t look at Strava stats afterward. I was sure to be the slowest person going up that trail. It didn’t matter, anyway.
The top of Elden Mountain was covered in snow and sharp wind tore at my jacket as I looked around. A fast retreat was favorable so I headed back down pretty quickly, right after saying hi to another runner. Thanks to the slippery snow, I gave one hard, involuntary hug to Mother Earth, losing my breath along the way. When I convinced my lungs to start working again, I could begin the journey back down.
It was glorious. Gorgeous views, fun, slightly technical trail, the air in my lungs, and sun in my eyes. I wasn’t running, no. During that descent, it felt as if I was flying together with the birds. It wasn’t a run, it was a dance, and it was as breathtaking as it was freeing. It was my most memorable run of 2022.
What About You?
Now, it’s your turn. Think of your most memorable run of the season. Think of it with gratitude, see it with open eyes. What did I learn from it? That beauty and success can be found in the smallest things. As I wrote above, it wasn’t a fast run or a long one. Still, it was soul-soothing and the most memorable one I’ve done this year.
If you feel like it, you can share your experience with us via this form. We’d be happy to hear about your most memorable run of 2022—and if you give us the consent, we’d love to feature it either here on our blog or on social media!
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