Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Monument Valley Race Weekend Part 1

It has taken me some time to get off the high of completing my first ultra race.  It had been months of training through the awful Canadian winter. Long runs back to back in snow storms and ridiculously cold temperatures.

I was fortunate enough to have two awesome ladies train with me and guide me through the entire process. They are both experienced ultra runners who kept me going, even on days that I just didn't want to make another step.

We flew into Las Vegas and picked up our rental car and drove 7 hours to Kayenta. Monument Valley sits between the Utah and Arizona border. During the drive, our clocks kept switching back and forth from the time zones, which I found amusing. The drive the breathtaking and the pictures do not do justice to how magnificent the view were.

Driving Hwy 59, Hurricane Utah

My buddies had done some ultras in this region, so they were able to explain to me what I was seeing and also take photos for me while I was driving. We made a quick stop in Glen Canyon to take some photos as the sun was setting and I also had never seen a real dam this big before.

Glen Canyon

Glen Canyon Dam

We made it into Kayenta in pitch darkness and passed out from our LONG day of travelling.  We got to get a real sense of the area once we woke up and looked out our windows. We were in Navajo Nation and in a very small town. There were only a few hotels, 1 grocery store and a number of restaurants. The views were none that I had seen before.  We were in the dessert surrounded by many random monuments. It was as if I was in a movie.

We were able to get a sense of our race setting as we headed to Monument Valley for bib pickup. 

Bib pickup was inside Monument Valley National Park and was quick and simple. After dropping off our bags and picking up our bibs, we took a look around the visitor centre. We bought some race swag and took in the incredible views and snapped some great shots before heading back to the hotel to rest up.

A tradition Navajo Hogan for the Ceremony

We decided to go back to a local restaurant in town to rest and  grab some food.  I had heard a lot about the Navajo Fry bread and was dying to try some.  We went to Amigo Cafe, a spot that we had gone to for breakfast but had a limited menu at the time, so we went back in search for Navajo fry bread. The photo below shows our pre race feast.  Our waiter, Chandler turned out to be a runner and running the 50K race with us the next day.  He was working hard serving all the runners that had come in for supper and giving us tips of the area.  If you're ever in that neck of the woods, I highly recommend the restaurant and calling up Crawley's Monument Valley Tours. You will not be disappointed

Mmmm, Fry Bread Taco

With our bellies full, we headed back to our hotel for some sleep.....

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