Monday, March 25, 2013

Shopping local, a break and goodbye

This will be my final post in Arizona and I just want to say a couple things about shopping locally here in Tucson, the much needed break from structured training I'm about to take, and a farewell to all the great people I've met down here.

First off, Shop local! I worked the Summit Hut spring sale about a week ago and it really got me thinking about the difference in service and product knowledge you get by shopping locally and the importance of keeping your money in your community. Yes, you might save $15-$20 by buying a pair of shoes online, but what you don't get is the personal interaction, knowledge and attention. Each person who works at Summit Hut is an outdoors person, knows the product, is trained on fit and function and can help you get outfitted to achieve all of your goals. And to all of you local trail runners out here in Tucson having trouble with black toe nails and blisters: Go to Summit Hut. Have an open mind. Let them measure your feet the way they are trained to and feel the difference for yourself.
Now, if you follow me/ my blog then you probably know that I dropped out of Mesquite Canyon this past weekend. I've been having bad issues with stomach sloshing that I'm working on addressing, but furthermore I think I've reached a burn out point. I never really felt the same joy running here as I did back home in the first place and that has been even more apparent the past few months.
Don't get me wrong, I have met some awesome people here. I've met a couple that I'm sure will be lifelong friends. Steve Bagg is talking about coming up to pace me for Pine to Palm 100 in September and Mike Walker is talking about crewing me there. Both Steve and Mike have become two of my best friends and training partners. Frozen toes and bonks galore. Sion has been awesome too, I wish I could have spent more time with him.
Dallas took me out on phoneline for my first time right after I had finished smoking my morning cigarette my first month here. He showed me the trails that I ended up running on every day, I thought I might pass out that first time and he said at the end "Well, that's the slow guys version". He also met me for a double BCL on a Saturday night when I didn't have any friends, even though he wasn't really feeling up for it, and I'm pretty sure we got stalked by a Mountain Lion at the Basin. 
Renee pointed me in the right direction when I wanted to stop drinking again and was looking for resources, even though that only lasted 3 months. That's fine too, because I love beer.
The infamous Mike Duer has been awesome with training advice, gear debates and night runs. Ken Greco with all of his ultra stories, good vibe, and phenomenal aid stations. Chris Avery;  once I ran into him at Mt. Wrightson, double headed ax in hand, he was barreling down old baldy trail, came around the corner and scared the shit out of some unsuspecting little child. Priceless.
When I first got here I posted repetitive questions about GPS on the TTR forum and Tom responded with  “Anybody else tired of this thread?”
“Man!” I said to my wife “That Gormley guy is a dick!”
But, he ended up being one of the coolest dudes I've ever met. The most memorable time I have of Tom was when Me and Mike Duer were heading up Esperero (Tom hadn't shown up for the run) only to hear a “yoddle lay hoo hoooo!!!!” from the top of Cardiac gap. We looked up the switchbacks and lo and behold there was Tom in all his glory; yoddle echoing through the canyons scaring off the cougars.
Everybody has been awesome. I got to spend more time with some than others, but I enjoyed everyone's company and while I've been vocal about how I feel, I never took a step for granted here.
Some of the routes in Tucson are both challenging and breathtaking: Mt. Wrightson, Romero Pass, Palisades, Box Camp, Esperero. I'm surprised more elite guys don't train here because of the vertical gain and technical terrain. The problem for me is that I never really felt connected to the mountains here. I've always been afraid to explore because of cougars, rattle snakes, lack of shade, lack of water, and a general disconnect between myself and the desert environment. Not that I haven't had some amazing runs, I have. But it doesn't bring me the same kind of peace and joy that running through the mud and rain gives me. I miss running under thick evergreen canopies, past lakes and rivers, I miss feeling like I'm home.
I spent a lot of time training hard down here. Trying to get faster. Trying to place in races. And I think I lost sight of a few things in the process. It wasn't a waste, it's just a small part of something greater. The whole experience of moving to Tucson has been a growing experience that both my wife and I agree we wouldn't change (even though we're a year behind on baby making now;).

Right before I decided to drop out of Mesquite Canyon, I spent a half hour walking, looking around at the views, taking deep breaths, touching the rocks and plants around me. And for that half hour I felt at peace. It was what I had missed in myself. I didn't want to run. I didn't want to race anybody. I didn't want to be hot. I didn't want to be in pain. I didn't want to be uncomfortable. I didn't want to be stressed. I didn't want to win. I just wanted to stop and enjoy my life. So I did and I was just fine with that.
I hope that taking a break from structured training and racing will bring back whatever I lost in me. I think that the move to Ashland is going to help tremendously. I'm ready for the change of pace and I'm ready to be somewhere that feels like home.

So this is goodbye, Arizona.
Thank you all for your support, advice and company.
See ya out there!
Wherever “there” is.


  1. Korey, this is so nice. It made me laugh, cry, and reflect on how thankful I am for those same people and what they’ve meant to Mike and me. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you guys in Ashland.
    Kristi (the Infamous Mike Duer’s wife)

  2. Thank you:)
    And thanks for reading.
    It's always nice to hear when someone enjoys my blog. Glad you enjoyed it

  3. While we never met (I see your name frequently through the TTR group) I enjoy reading your race reports. Have fun with your travels!

  4. Well thank you, Jamie!
    Maybe I'll meet you on some random trail, some random day.
    Take care

  5. It's been good runnin' with you buddy. While it won't be as often I know we haven't hit the trail for the last time. Get ready for 100's this fall!