JTree 30 for 30
For my 30th birthday, I decided to run 30 miles. I trained for a few months and on Nov 4th was feeling a mix of panic and eagerness. The panic came from the fact that I was running 30 miles the next day in an unorganized race alone and was trying to organize camping and whatnot for an unknown number of people--lesson 1: do not try to figure out a 30-mile run for the first time while organizing a camping trip. The route was a simple out-and-back on the main road (it has a good amount of random, runnable trail next to it) that started from Boy Scout Trail and continued for 15 miles. The route was fairly straightforward: Miles 1-12 were primarily light uphill to level. miles 12-15 was reasonably downhill, and then you reversed. I knew while driving and laying out the water bottles that I would need to hit mile 15 at sunrise to keep 15-18 from being the kind of exposed sunny hell that gives me sun sickness.
That night, I spent a few hours talking to an old climbing guru while we chowed on strawberries. I was warned that the rangers check cars if you plan to sleep in them, so scrapped my idea of the sleeping bag in car for a motel.
So Nov 5th came and I was running at ~5:15am. I was stalked by coyotes at some point and had to hide in a shelter until daybreak at ~mile 5. I continued running. The Joshua Trees were bathed first in the kind of calm and hazy purple light that the mountains rising over mountains bring and then the pinks and golds of the new day covered the landscape. If you have not gotten to run through an empty desert during sunrise (and enjoy running to some degree), I highly recommend it. At mile 15, the sun was beyond the horizon. I mentally cursed myself for not running with the coyotes and hitting the turning point earlier. I also cursed myself for barely eating the night before. Regardless, what I love about running is that once you are committed all you can do is keep running, so I turned around and ran back ending (somehow) in 85F heat because that weekend had a heat wave and learning that uphills in exposed heat in JTree somehow feel more majestically brutal than anywhere else.
After the run (yes, I finished), I rejoined the group who had secured two campsites. Most of them had been climbing and/or taking beautiful photos. For this reason, you have photos. I scrambled around for an hour and found Jono and Paul on a rock. Upon reuniting, everyone enjoyed night of swapping epic stories around a campfire with cheesecake thanks to Jono's generosity and homemade mini pizzas thanks for Anders contribution of 30.
Here is Li being badass as she attempted 30 climbs:
And Here is Bradley the day after making his birthday goal of 24 climbs--it is great to spend awesome co-birthday weekends with likeminded friends!
- JTree is pretty great for runs, but requires more than one person given the chance for heat issues and apparently coyotes. I was there a good bit last year and had never run into so many.
- Do not plan an unsupported solo 30-mile run while trying to plan a birthday trip with friends
- Do not get so anxious that you cannot eat for two days before a run. Calorie-crashing...it's a thing.
- Friends + parks on birthdays are the best kind of birthdays
- I can run 30 miles but strength training is super necessary. And now want to do 50...