Search This Blog

Monument Valley

Approaching Monument Valley from the north.

One of the most spectacular places I have ever run is Monument Valley in the Navajo National Monument in Arizona.  The landscape is stereotypical "western" and a number of famous movies have been filmed there including The Searchers, How The West Was Won, Easy Rider, The Eiger Sanction and Forrest Gump.  When a runner visits, as I did in the winter of 1986, the temptation to go for a run is irresistible.

The Valley is on Najavo Indian land and there is limited access to tourists.  When we visited, you were not permitted to drive from the Visitors Centre down into the valley, though I think guided tours were available.  I didn't, however, see any signs prohibiting foot travel and didn't bother asking at the Visitors Centre in case I got an answer I didn't like (a tried and tested method).

Monument Valley.

We were out of season and I remember it being cold, but not freezing, so ideal for running.  I looked at a map and decided on a 12 mile route that would take me down into the valley and past the most spectacular outcrops.  It was a gravel road but easy running and I enjoyed the desert terrain and being dwarfed by the massive red rock spires.  Being Indian land there were a few houses down in the valley, just off the route I was running, but nobody bothered me, not even the dogs I could hear barking as I passed nearby.  The climb back out of the valley was strenuous, but I was running on a "high" and enjoyed every yard of the memorable run.

Monument Valley.

For my run today, I had arranged to meet the son of an old English friend and some of his friends for a few laps of Melbourne's 4km Tan Track.  As it turned out, the boys had had a "heavy" night and didn't make it for the run, but that was probably a good thing.  I would inevitably have become "competitive" with the youngsters and have promised myself to remain "recreational" for a while until I get more confidence in my heart's well-being.  I ended up running four laps for just under 16km and did it comfortably from a cardio-vascular perspective, but both knees ached and I never felt smooth.  I'm wondering whether the sore knees result from running too slowly, meaning the forces on my knees are different.  As I build confidence in my cardio-vascular health I will run a little faster, and hopefully, have less knee pain.  On the positive side, my adductor muscle strain was only mildly painful, so is getting better.