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Comin’ In Red Hot

For something like the fourth week in a row, I’ve declared that “THIS week, I start training again.”

But then shit gets in the way and that doesn’t actually happen. Shit like work. And life. And running moderately unplanned, unofficial road marathons that require a lot of recovery. Because pavement hurts as much as I remember.

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One could argue that running 26+ miles means your off season ended around Mile 22 of aforementioned run, but one could also argue that when it takes you 22 days to recover from said running, you were most definitely in the thick of off seasoning when you faked your way through it. (Stay tuned for the full story.) 

The fact that my off season continues to fail to meet its deadline is mostly okay, but also becoming increasingly problematic, because this:


Technically, I’m the joke-teller here, but since my longest run in the last 3 weeks has been 9 miles, joke’s on me.

Back in October, when our Cascade Crest cabin traveled to the coast to not race a 50k, Sarah led the charge in one of her favorite games: GDARFAR.

(Translation: Get Drunk and Register for a Race. Usually without doing any research into course profile, travel logistics and/or race distance.)


I played along and signed up for the 55k version of Moab’s Red Hot 50+. In keeping with standard rules of play for GDARFAR, I did minimal homework before clicking that dangerous little “register” button on ultrasignup. I mostly just knew that it was in Utah and that one of my Eugene friends has run it before and seemed to enjoy it. I also trusted I could muster up some of the running mojo I lost in the wake of Cascade Crest before February.


Since then, I’ve learned a few things about the race (mostly this morning, while writing this post):

  • It’s a compelling enough race destination to sucker other people into playing GDARFAR. My favorite round to date involved receiving a flight confirmation to Utah from two of my friends within 27 minutes of leaving a brewery. Our numbers continue to grow, so at the very least, I’ll be in good company that weekend.



  • 55k=34.1754 miles. You would think I’d be able to figure that one out pretty easily, but this was before I traveled to Canada and spent a weekend increasing my ability to speak in kilometers. While 55k doesn’t sound a lot farther than 50k, I’ve never ended a 50k and immediately thought “boy, I wish I could run another three miles!”
  • The majority of the terrain is on a substance known as “slick rock”, which as a seasoned fall-er, concerns me a little. “Slick” sounds like it might be a little slippery and “rock” implies it could hurt a lot.
  • The course profile includes about 4.4k feet of vertical gain and another 4.7k of descent. And then there’s the bonus 4k feet of above-sea-levelness that should make my lungs work almost as hard as my legs. Considering I recently red-lined chasing my friend up one of Eugene’s little hills, I probably have some work to do before tackling all of this work in February.

Moab Course Profile

  • It looks just lovely.

moab mountains


It’s nestled between, not just one, but TWO national parks: Canyonlands and Arches. From my experience, this generally means you’re guaranteed at least moderately enjoyable views.



  • It’s not quite as close to Oregon as we thought when we excitedly decided to ROAD TRIP! while playing GDARFAR. Whoever was in control of the google mapsing from Bend to Moab must have been really dominating the “GD” part of the game. Luckily, I kind of like my travel mates and can handle a few extra hours in a car with them.


  • It’s now less than 9 weeks away. Which means THIS week is the week my off season ends. For real this time.

13 Responses to Comin’ In Red Hot

  1. that looks like a beautiful course. happy training.

  2. Moab is awesome – we were there for a few days about 10 years ago – we liked it so much we thought about buying a condo there until we realized how hard it is to get there from our home in CT! The parks are great and there was at least one stellar brewpub at the time so you should fit right in – have fun with it!!

  3. Just enjoy the race without expectations…you always surprise yourself…and the rest of us :)
    All the best with training!

  4. I run some trail races in Moab every year and they’re fun– but be prepared for sand!

  5. Just ran the Moab trail half in November. It was so hard but so beautiful! Sounds like you will be running a similar course. I just hope for your sake that you don’t have to run through the murky waist-deep creek for miles! If you and Sarah ever want to come to Idaho, it is much closer than Moab!

  6. There’s always a big CO showing at this race! It’s on my list, but unfortunately won’t make it out this year due to a stress fracture. I’ve heard that the slick rock can give the body quite a pounding. *Some* pavement running could be helpful! Have so much fun!

  7. Hahah I loved the statement about 55k not seeming that much farther than 50k…. At least you know it’s a 55k, that makes such a big difference mentally. I still remember a 50 miler that I ran where it was actually 52 miles – I was so fucking pissed…Having the stomach flu for the entire race didn’t help state of mind much and I was seriously wanting to punch the RD in the face. That race looks amazing – I’m signed up for the Bryce 100 next June…. I’ve never really been to Utah and since I don’t magically fart time and money that allows me to travel there for the purpose of training, it’s going to be quite the adventure.

  8. I ran the Moab Marathon in the middle of my “off season” this year. I think the Red Hot 55K is on similar terrain. I found running my local muddy, rooty and occasionally rocky Southeast Alaska trails worked fine for getting ready for slickrock but race day was pretty dry for us. You’re not afraid of heights are you?

    I LOVE the GDARFAR game!

  9. Looks like it will be a gorgeous race!

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  13. this is awesome really awesome.. thanks…