Day 1: Mexico to Patagonia, AZ. I knew based on last year’s attempt that day 1 is hard due to elevation (9000ft mtn climb + lots of climbing- 10,000ft), necessity of carrying a lot of water, and having gotten up at 2am to get to the start (started at 6:57am from border) with a long drive and 3.5 mile hike to the border start, day 1 is certainly one of the toughest sections of the whole AZT. I kept my pace easy and focused knowing that a heavy pack and long day would be very strenuous. I knocked out 50 miles and this morning got a little unexpected resupply in Patagonia as a convenience store was open, yay 😃 also got to hose off my shirt and wet my clothes for another very hot day ahead...
If Day 1 takes courage and bravado to even start Day 2 is pure faith. You have to trust yourself. Trust your body. Everything hurts and it only gets worse as the hot day progresses. Big climbs, lots of time refilling water, heavy pack, passing many thru hikers and painfully slow progress like my body is made of glass and if I move too fast I might shatter. I didn’t train with a pack. This seems excruciatingly stupid on day 2. Plus it’s quite hot and the climbs are exposed dirt 4x4 roads up Mt Wrightson. Finally I summit and for a moment a cool breeze invigorates me. I realized to finish something this big you have to create and embrace fleeting joyful moments and create joy: wetting my shirt in some water, taking a break to wash my socks, feet, legs the dry in the sun. It all takes time. Faith used here is believing in your self enough to take these moments even though they take time. Faith that if you care for your feet ...go to sleep an hour earlier...that it will help you over the next 2 weeks. It’s ok to take time. Morning of day 3 and my body feels significantly, miraculously better. Much better. How is it possible? Because I took the time, didn’t push too hard, focused. You have to have faith to take the time your body needs so you don’t have to quit later. So you can feel joy each day. Suffering is fine, but so so much better with joy intermingled. I’m not glass today, I’m made of what the universe itself is made of 💫
Day 3 felt like I was letting go of some of my attachments to comfort and accepting the aches and pains which were less intense than day 2, quite miraculously. Don’t get me wrong, running with a thru hiker backpack full of Camping gear, food and water is gonna hurt but it felt like my body was making progress, rather than just breaking down. Can I actually adapt on such a tough and long route? We shall see! I suspect the human body does and that mine will. Although my body felt better, it didn’t feel ‘great’ 😂 and day 3 was by far the hottest, I’m confident it was 100F through some of the most exposed terrain as I approached Tucson and for the first time I severely miscalculated water so I had to run without it for a couple hours in the heat of the day. Just as I was mildly panicking and not feeling well something caught my eye on the trail. It was a sunbrella. That’s an umbrella for the sun. I thought wow that looks nice. Then realized I might as well take it being that someone had left it behind, probably dropping off a pack or set down and forgotten. I figured I’d see its owner and hand it back, in the meantime it was just what I needed. I know I already used the word miraculous but dear friends this was impossible to describe any other way. It was a god send and I wish I could thank the owner, who I never did find. 👼
My air mattress has officially died after popping three times, no more repair. Blisters all over my feet including under my big toenail, weird red bumpy rash all over my legs. Day 4 done 😂 😂
Ultrarunning is not glamorous”
An illustration of the concept in photos, scroll 👉
⚠️ Warning: gross runner legs & feet
I abandoned my attempt to complete the 800mile Arizona Trail self-supported in record time today due to a dental abscess.
There’s a part of me that is heartbroken, the part of me that worked so hard for many years to be able to do this. But the decision to stop was easy. Sometimes quitting is a hard decision because you know you could do more, because you lose the desire to keep going. Not the case here: I truly gave it my all and I had an incredible cathartic adventure. I accessed joy regardless of the challenges. My body and mind were strong & carried me farther than many think is possible.
I would’ve continued to walk and run on my blistered feet as the miles melted away the skin and every step hurt. Downhills were the worst. There was no way to avoid rubbing all those blistered spots with a big pack thumping up and down on your back with each step. Wrapping my feet began to take up a good deal of time several times a day. Usually 2-3 times a day I need to tape toes, heels, pads of feet.
Being self supported means that you can’t just have someone bring you want you need, you have to self-propel yourself to get it, which takes time. Or sometimes requires many miles to be put in to get to somewhere for resupply. My utmost respect goes out to athletes who do this self supported. Thru hikers are another level of crazy-skilled.
Nearly 20 blisters formed on day 3, just as my legs were feeling better, more adapted to the 45-50 mile days. But it wasn’t the blisters or crazy red rashes on my legs that stopped me. Or the blisters all over my mouth & throat. It was worse.
I’m in urgent care because my jaw aches like crazy & half my face is swollen. I can barely eat and when I try to eat chewing is incredibly painful. Swallowing hurts. I knew I needed to get medical attention. “Dental abscess and cellulitis and canker sores caused by autoimmune response to the abcsess,” doctor stated.
Pushing oneself to achieve great things is inspiring, but destroying yourself for it is just stupid, you only have one body. Love it ♥️