Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bouncing Back

Sorry, I've been really lazy about updating this lately. As a matter of fact, I've been really lazy altogether. While I've been trying to recover from my IT Band issues (which isn't going well, by the way) I have been doing some more climbing and hiking. I've gotten in a few decent runs, but nothing to rave about.
At the beginning of December I was asked to go hiking with Devin, Jami's brother. He had already been up Olympus and wanted to do another good hike that wouldn't take a lot of time. Considering the amount of snow that had fallen in the mountains I thought something near the city would be better, so I chose to do Grandeur Peak. It is a short hike, 6 miles round trip, with an exposed south facing slope, which means little snow as it sees the sun all day long.
We were off and hiking by 6am; me and Devin, with Tyler in tow. It was cold, but as usual, after we got going things heated up nicely and we were unzipping our coats and taking our gloves off. The trail was in pretty good shape. For about a quarter of a mile after the Church Fork / Pipeline Trail crossing it was really icy, but beyond that it was dry trail to the top. We hit the top in under two hours. The views were very good and there was little wind. It was much colder up there, so we didn't stay long, but I was able to shoot some photos of us on top, including a few peak jumping shots. You can see them below.

In the couple of weeks after that I got in some running, putting in about 20 - 30 miles a week. I've continued to battle my knee problems and I know I just need to take a bunch of time off, but I just hate the thought of losing all the fitness I built up this last year. So, as usual, I'll continue to work through it and retain some level of fitness.
On Friday, Dec. 18th, I met up with Devin again, but this time Scott W. and his friend Jackson came along for an attempt on Olympus. There was even more snow now than when we did Grandeur, so the top beyond the saddle would be even more challenging. We were moving against a short clock on this trip as Devin needed to be to work by 11am. We met at 6am, which means we only had about 4 hours to complete the hike so that Devin could get home in time to shower and eat some breakfast before heading into work. We moved out at a quick pace and after a half mile Devin and I had opened quite a big lead over Scott and Jackson. Devin mentioned that he felt bad leaving them, but if he was going to summit we would have to leave them behind. I didn't argue and we took off at an even faster pace.
The trail was well traveled, with packed snow all the way up past the switchbacks. Beyond that the trail was still in decent shape, but it was certainly far less traveled. As we got almost to the saddle we knew we were running low on time and were coming up to our turn-back time. I mentioned that even if he had to turn around that I would keep going, being so close. He agreed, but then said that he would tag along no matter what and just risk being late. When we got to the saddle he mentioned that the last time he had been up on Olympus this was the highest he had gotten because it was getting dark, so today would be his first time on the actual summit. Beyond the saddle we had to break our own tracks, sometimes in snow as deep as our thighs. Once we were in the gully up to the summit the snow was a little shallower and more solid, which made traveling a little easier, but the rock was icy and slick. Instead of turning right and moving up the last easy gully we decided to head up some 4th class right and then traverse over to the true summit. It was funny, not very scary, and made for dry travel. We only stayed on top for a couple of minutes, snapped a few photos and were off back down to the saddle. About half way down the gully we met up with Scott who was alone. Jackson was just cresting the saddle. They were a good 30 minutes behind us. We shot down the trail as quickly as possible and were down to the cars by 10:15, leaving plenty of time for Devin to get home and showered. It was a great morning. I only wish T could have been there. He still has yet to summit Olympus. Next time for sure.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I've still been working to recover from an inflamed Ilio-Tibial Band. Wanting to run I have been focused on running shorter distances and whenever possible, barefoot. I'll save the barefoot discussion for a future post, but for now will discuss my immediate training. It is common knowledge that downhill running causes significant stress on the ITB and therefore should be avoided during a recovery period. I have been focused on running uphill as much as possible. Not only is it low impact, but I just love it. The problem is that 'what goes up, must come down'. I've tried to take it really easy on the downhill and, for the most part, have not put any undo stress on my ITB. Yesterday was a longer day, about 10 miles, and I could feel tightness with about a mile left, so I decided to walk off and on just to make sure.
I'll continue to focus on running hills through the winter months. I want to be a climbing machine come spring. I've reflected on races this year and going uphill could be a way for me to shave precious minutes off of race times in the future. I also have a bunch of adventure runs planned for 2010 and all of them have a huge amount of elevation gain and loss. But I need to be healthy, first and foremost. So I'll keep taking it easy and finding ways to strengthen my ITB.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

End of Season Thoughts

Well, my racing season has finally come to an end. It was a long running season with my first race (a 10k) taking place in March. When I started running this year all I wanted to do was get good enough to run a half marathon in the fall. I had no idea at the time what I was actually capable of and what I would accomplish. My whole outlook on running, racing, fitness, and fun has changed forever. While I am still passionate about climbing, running has definitely taken a front seat in my list of activities. It is something I plan to stay with for the rest of my life and I have some amazing goals I plan to achieve. Below you will see a list of my 2009 accomplishments followed by a list of 2010 goals and then a few goals further out. I'd like to know people's feedback and what you think of what I'm doing now and planning to do in the future.

2009 Accomplishments
First 10k - Time: 46:16, 5th place overall
First Half Marathon - 1:36:28, 187th place overall (out of more than 3000)
First Marathon - 3:31:19, 198th place overall (out of more than 2500)
First Ultra-Marathon (50k) - 5:39:00, this was a fun-run.
First Ultra Marathon (50 miler) - 10:42:49, 3rd place overall (out of 14)

Other notable accomplishments include:
Ran Mt Baldy (8 miles) in just over 2 hours
Ran Mt Timpanogos (15 miles) in 3:18:31
Ran King's Peak (26 miles) in 5:48:34
Paced Davy Crockett for 14 miles in the Wasatch 100. I also crewed him later that night until 2am.
Completed multiple trail runs in the Wasatch Mountains up to 16 miles long.

2010 Goals
1 marathon length run or race in each of the 12 months of 2010.
Sapper Joe 50k in May
Squaw Peak 50 miler or Pocatello 50 miler in June
Zion Traverse (48 miles) from the east entrance to Lee Pass trailhead in Kolob.
Mt Timpanogos in under 3 hours
Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim (42 miles)
Set a new course record at the Lake Mountain 50k (under 5:18:00)
Run King's Peak again and break 5:30:00 (Quest for King's Marathon, my race)
Pony Express 100 miler in October

Future Goals (maybe not in 2010)
Run a marathon race barefoot (or in Vibram 5 Fingers)
Run multiple 100 mile races in a single year
Run the Wasatch 100
Qualify for the Boston Marathon (hopefully barefoot)

How's that sound? Ambitious? Would I do it any other way? You know the answer to those questions.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pony Express Video - Finally

I finally got off my butt and made a short video about the Pony Express 50 miler. It is probably the worst video I've made so far, but then again, I didn't have as much video or photos and just wasn't willing to put the time into it considering everything else that is going on. I hope you enjoy it though.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pins and Needles

I haven't posted recently because I have been fighting a bit of a leg injury as a result of the Pony Express race. My IT Band flared up and has been severely irritated. I am working on getting the issue resolved, but I fear it might take a while. I've been taking the opportunity to climb while the weather is so good. I apologize that I haven't been taking any photos. I may be going out today. I'll try and get some and post them later.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The last few days have been a lot of fun. It is the perfect time of year and great weather to be climbing in Utah. Tuesday was my birthday and I was able to go with several friends and my brother down to Joe's Valley for a day trip. We had a great time cruising around different problems, just enjoying the sun and each others company. This trip was just about having fun, nothing more. I didn't care about projects how many problems I did. In fact, I probably laughed myself off the rock more times than I topped out. Here are a few photos.

Steve on Wills of Fire V5

Me on some arete eliminate problem

Me on Runt V7

The day before going down to Joe's I took a kid from my neighborhood up to LCC. He has only been climbing for a few months and even though he has a guide book, he doesn't know his way around very well, and certainly doesn't know all of the classic lines to try. I put him on some good problems at the Secret Garden and he spent the whole time thanking me for showing him the problems. For only 3 months of experience he certainly is strong and shows a lot of promise.

Larson on Twisted V4

Me on Bear Hug V8

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Birthday Challenge 2009

The challenge I selected for my Birthday Challenge this year was to run 37 miles. I had selected a trail in Zion National Park, but considering the cost of going down there I decided maybe I should do something else. A friend of mine and fellow ultra-runner puts on a race called the Pony Express 50/100 Miler. This is a free race that follows the old Pony Express Trail out in the West Desert of Utah. It is a self-crewed race, requiring only a runner and someone to follow along in a car to provide support. This year there were 114 people running the 100 mile race and 8 people running the 50. While my primary goal was just to run 37 miles of the 50 mile race, I figured if I felt good enough I would try and keep going. As additional support I was able to get my friend Matt Ricks to join along, too. It would be his frist attempt at running 50 miles also. Matt and I met at 5:50am in Lehi and were to my mom’s (who would crew us) by 6am. 10 minutes later we were packed up and heading west to Lookout Pass along the Pony Express historic trail. There were already a number of cars there, including Davy Crockett and several we didn’t recognized. Within minutes we were out and talking with others; saying hello to those we knew and introducing ourselves to those we didn’t. I will say now that I met some truly wonderful people at this race. The sun was not yet up and we all walked around trying to stay warm. But once it rose, just before race time, it warmed up a lot and many people started to remove layers. Crockett had a few inspiring words and even more subtle insults and we were off by 8:06am. All of the cars at the starting line.
The starting line with all the crew cars.

The first couple of miles are a good downhill. I chose to hang back and run with Smooth (a friend from my running blog) for a while. I couldn’t see any reason to head out fast. While I chatted with Smooth about her birthday and her friends race, Matt was off making new friends with Olaf and Pablo. This lasted for only a mile, when Smooth realized she was running a sub-nine pace and decided to slow things down. I caught up with the other boys and joined in on the discussion. Our first aid stop was at mile 4. We didn’t feel a need to stop so we just handed over our gloves and kept going. The plan was for my mom to crew us every four miles and make stops at every major landmark to take split times. Therefore, her next planned stop was at mile 8. It was during this 4 mile section between miles 4 and 8 that a couple of interesting things happened. 1) I put some distance between Twinkies and myself while he chatted. I listened to some music, but was quickly bored of it. 2) I also realized at mile 6 that I could feel my IT Band. It didn’t hurt, but it was letting me know it was there and sensitive. I think it got into my head because I became very aware of it over the next few miles. Our first major milestone was at Government Creek, mile 9.1. By 'milestone', I mean it was a turn in the road with a dry riverbed next to it. I believe our split time at this point was around 1:26:00. Matt had caught back up and my iPod was turned off. It would be all conversation from here on out. We were leap-frogging with several runners, most of who were running the full 100 miles. We found out later that many of the 50 milers had started early, around 6am. While we weren’t crewed at this point, we did yell out our split time and continued on. At mile 12 we stopped for a bit longer to get a bite to eat and make sure that we were staying on top of our salts and electrolytes. Running past mile 12, out into the desert.
Mile 10, past Government Creek

During the next four miles until we got to our next crew stop and major milestone (Simpson Springs) we would encounter a long, gradual hill, and my ITB would start acting up a bit more. It was at Simpson Springs that I started to get a little worried and started into one of my two low points of the race. I was working hard to keep my spirits up, but I was worried all the same. A long downhill took it’s toll on my knee and by the time we hit mile 20 I was in severe pain in my right knee. We decided to take a longer break at this point, sit down, and enjoy some food and drink. It was hard to get back up. Standing on the road at mile 20, Riverbed Station.
Riverbed Station - Mile 20

Over the next 10 miles I would wage this small war in my head about how far I thought I could actually run. I thought maybe I would just finish a marathon distance of 26.2 miles, but then my own desire to finish my Birthday Challenge won out and I settled on just getting to mile 37. Between miles 20 and 30 I focused very much on my stride, my cadence, and trying not to flex my right knee. This put a ton of pressure on my left leg as it was doing the majority of the work. We hit the marathon mark in 4:40:00. By mile 33.5 (Topaz Well) I had developed a working rhythm, but one that would only allow me to run for .75 miles and then we would have to walk the next .25. Step after step we continued this way. By mile 35 we started to pass some of the early starters and at mile 36 we finally caught up to a new friend and fastrunningblogger, Leslie. She threw out a big high five and we stopped to chat for a short minute. We passed a few others in the next mile and as we came to mile 37, there was my mom with arms out-stretched, waiting to give me a hug for completing my Birthday Challenge. Not to be daunted, we told her to drive ahead to the top of Dugway Pass, our steepest and tallest climb of the race, only a mile further. At the top of the pass we sat down again, ate, and spent almost 10 minutes recovering. This stop caused my ITB to freeze up. Unlike other crew stops, I didn’t have flat road to walk and stretch it out. The drop down from Dugway Pass to the Dugway Geode Beds is steep and consistent. Even walking caused searing pain. This would be a very low point for me in the race. We juggled walking and running for the next several miles. My mom attempted to crew us again at mile 41, only 3 miles further because she could see me limping and knew how much pain I was in. But we were down to single digits now and I wasn’t going to quit. I think my ITB got the hint because after we had a proper, yet very short stop, at mile 42 I got back into my run/walk rhythm and when we hit the 10k mark to go Matt and I were as jovial as could be. We were joking with other crews and having very positive conversations. We met Crockett as he was heading back towards the start/finish at mile 47. He had positive words for us and looked good himself. Matt's wife made us Triple Chocolate Cheesecake for mile 43. It's an inside joke.
Dugway Pass - Mile 38

Mile 45 - Matt's wife made us cheese cake

We passed our last major milestone at mile 48.8, Blackrock Station. The relay team had already finished and had returned set up a tarp and food station. They were in full-on party mode. Just one more mile to go and Matt and I started to speed up a little. With 100 meters to go we increased the pace down to a 9 min/mile and finished with arms raised. A short stop for hugs with my mom and Ann Watts (she was crewing her husband Matt and someone we saw throughout the whole race) and a few photos and it was back to pick up Phil Lowry and we were headed back to the starting line. Sprinting to the finish.
Crossing the finish line

It was an amazing race. To think that my previous long run was only 31 miles and Matt's was only 28 is amazing. I have to thank Matt for literally carrying me emotionally for about 10 of the 50 miles. Without him I would not have finished. It was great to see Smooth again and to meet Leslie and others. Davy puts on a great race and it was a TON OF FUN. I can’t wait to do it again next year. Now it’s time to heal and start to rebuild. A celebratory handshake at the finish line, which was just a Children at Play sign placed along the road at mile 50.
50 Miles - Complete

Friday, October 9, 2009

Joe's Valley Trip 10/3/09

Last Saturday I went down to Joe's Valley for the day to help with a group of the Momentum kids climbing a-team. It was a ton of fun. They are all very strong climbers. I took a bunch of photos and some video. Last night I put together something the kids can view on youtube. I hope they like it. Here are some of the photos and the video will be uploaded in the next 24 hours as I need to get the file from home.

Kyle on Big Joe V7

Nathaniel on Techno Beat V4

Jeff on The Fit V6

Sam on a cool V1

Ben on LCC V4

Palmer on Pee Wee V4

Tavray on Pee Wee

Sam warming up on One Move V1

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TOU Marathon - Complete

I ran the Top of Utah Marathon this morning. I am both elated at my finish of my first sanctioned marathon and disappointed because I bonked at mile 22. My original goal time for this race was 3:30, but then I thought I could Boston Qualify and focused more on 3:15. I had set a strategy to hit that goal and for the first 20 miles was well on pace to get there. My splits for the first 19 miles of the race were:
Miles 1 - 19: 7:33, 7:23, 7:28, 7:24, 7:31, 7:30, 7:36, 7:22, 7:29, 7:30, 7:40, 7:29, 7:33, 7:19 (end of the big downhill through the canyon), 7:23, 7:26, 7:30, 7:38, 7:52.

Mile 20 – 8:18: things still were ok even though I was feeling tightness in my legs. I had some uphill and it was hot, but I was still moving and had BQ in sight.

Mile 21 – 8:09: thanks to some short downhills and flats I even picked up a little.

Mile 22 – 8:52: here’s where things started to break down. I was losing all of my energy and it was all I could do to keep any semblance of a pace.

Mile 23 – 10:04: this was a full on BONK. I’ll go into the reasons for all of this later, but at this point my ITB in my right knee hurt and I walked through the aide station and even walked for a short distance on stupid hill.

Mile 24 – 10:18: almost in tears and fearing I might walk the rest of the way in all I could do was grit my teeth and make some mental decisions. It was after this mile that I “refused to quit” and to finish this thing properly.

Mile 25 – 9:32: I started running again. I found that running was better for my IT Band than walking because I could control my form better, thus reducing the pain. My general belief for running has been, “if I can get to a point to where I have 2 miles left, I can finish the race”. And that’s what I was determined to do, no matter the time.

Mile 26 – 9:48: regardless of some downhill on this mile I was still barely moving. I had no energy left. All I wanted was to see my wife and give her a hug.

Mile 26.2 – 9:24: the home stretch where you can see the finish. I wasn’t sprinting like others or throwing my hands up. I was just looking for my wife, who I never saw. Sad.

As I crossed the finish line and they removed my timing chip and gave me my enormous medal I made my way to the drinks and turned to my left and saw Emily. I hobbled over and wrapped her up and broke down. Tears came (I’m not afraid to admit it) because I was happy it was over, because I was sad I came up short of my overall goal, elated that I completed such a huge goal of finishing an actual marathon race, but more than anything, because she was there to see me finish and to hear how proud of me she was. That will be what I am most grateful form.

As to the bonk. There are a number of possible reasons I’ll site and then I’ll give the real one (in my opinion). First, I spent the last two days ill and only had two meals in 48+ hours. Second, my wife was supposed to grab me a banana off the counter when we left my cousins this morning. She misunderstood me and thought I was telling her I was grabbing one and we didn’t realize it until we were almost to the drop-off. Not to worry, I was going to meet two of my friends at the bus loading area, except they never showed. I guess they forgot where we were going to meet and caught one of the busses on the corner. I had no breakfast before the start of the race and had only a gel 15 minutes before the guns went off. I had three gels during the race, but with that and Gatorade and water I just don’t think it was enough. But the real reason to me is this: I simply didn’t take enough time to train at distances over 18 miles at marathon pace. I’m willing to take the responsibility for myself and simply say I came up short. I’m ok with that. Over the summer I was focused on other things that while were difficult, didn’t require a fast pace for an extended period of time. And I’m ok with that. I can live with the fact that I just ran a 3:31:19 marathon without having run more than 13 miles at marathon pace.

Here are a few photos taken at the finish line.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My First Sanctioned Marathon

In two days I will run in my first sanctioned marathon, the Top of Utah Marathon, in Logan. I've run in a couple of other races that weren't as longer, but harder because of the climbing involved. I've also run marathon lengths on a couple of other occasions, but in none of these have I run the full 26.2 miles at marathon pace. My biggest worry is whether I will be able to maintain the pace I want to run for the full distance. I'm not worried about finishing, I just want to do it in my goal time of 3 hrs 15 min. Keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wasatch 100

On Friday, September 11 I had the opportunity to help a friend who was running the Wasatch 100 ultra-marathon. For those unfamiliar with this race or this type of racing the Wasatch is a 100 mile trail race run through the Wasatch Mountains on the east side of the wasatch front, starting in Kaysville and ending in Midway, UT. This particular ultra-marathon is almost 30 years old and is run by up to 265 competitors every year. It is one of the more difficult 100s in the nation and is considered one of the four 'grand slam' ultras to do. Because of its difficulty the race organizers put a 36 hour cap on finishing it. Upwards of 40% of all entrants don't finish. Those who do; well, you can imagine how they feel when they are done.
Heading down Bald Mountain
Many racers will have crews to help that at certain points of the race by providing a change of clothes, food, or other types of care to help get them moving better. They will also utilize pacers. In road marathons pacers are common to help runners maintain a certain speed for such a long distance, but in an ultra-marathon pacers are generally just there to give the racer someone to talk to, help keep their spirits up, and mostly just to keep their mind off of what they are doing. Running for 24+ hours straight is hard enough, doing it alone would make it much harder. I had the opportunity of helping my friend Davy Crockett run in his 2nd Wasatch 100. He did it the first time in 2006 in just over 34 hours. This year he wanted to finish it in 28 hrs 30 min. I got to pace him for 14 miles, from Big Mountain aid station to Lamb's Canyon aid station (comprising miles 39 - 53 of the overall race). This is a challenging section because it is during the hottest part of the day on an exposed ridgeline and through a sweltering valley. Davy was tired and dehydrated when I met up with him, but he was still in good spirits. We had a good time trying to catch and pass other runners. We were successful in catching quite a few and only got passed by 2 over the 14 mile stretch. Half way through our leg together we came to Alexander Ridge aid station. Davy took a short break to rehydrate and eat some snacks. While we joked everyone else there looked like living death. We got out of there fast.
The 2 mile long hill from Alexander Ridge. This was a tough section.
I left Davy at Lamb's Canyon aid station, but would help crew him at two other stops along the way, once at the top of Millcreek Canyon at 8:30pm and the other at Brighton Ski Resort at 1am. Davy would go on to finish the race in 28 hrs 33 minutes, right around his goal time. It was an awesome experience for me as I learned a ton about running ultras and also how to help others do so. My congratulations go out to Davy and the work he put in. It was a great time.
Davy at Lamb's.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tampa, FL

I'm in Tampa, FL this week for business. I'm only here 3 days, but it is enough time to see some of the sites and eat at some good restaurants. I've already eaten at two fantastic restaurants (one on the beach) and had a nice time walking around on the beach and the boardwalk. The weather has been great, work intense, and the company fairly decent.

This morning I tried to go running outside. I had plans to run from my office, around the block, and then down the main street a block over towards Tampa Bay Buccaneer stadium, at which point I would do a couple of laps around it and come back, totally about 5.5 miles. Well, when I got to the main street I realized I was not in the best of neighborhoods. I passed four pawn shops and three strip clubs on a single block. When I got to the stadium none of the lights were on, not even in the parking lot. I decided it was best to turn around and come back to the hotel. I finished out my morning on the treadmill. I don't know if I have sweat that much in my entire life. I was completely soaked. Now, Monday Night Football. Boring.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

King's Peak Run

On Friday, August 21st, 2009 I attempted a run of King's Peak, Utah's tallest mountain at a height of 13,528 ft. A 25+ mile endeavor with over 8200 fett of elevation gain and loss.

I woke up at 2:30am and had Eric Peterson and Davy Crockett in my car by 3:10am. We were off to King's Peak. We got to the trailhead and were ready to go by 6am, but we decided to wait another 15 minutes before leaving so that it would be light enough for us to leave our lights in the car. We set a good pace right off the bat as I led out towards Elkhorn Crossing. We made it to Elkhorn Crossing (mile 5.3) in 58 minutes. Eric was still getting used to his trail legs. He is a fantastic road marathoner, but needed to find his legs on the rocky terrain.

Davey reaching Elkhorn Crossing at exactly 1 hour. Eric arriving about 5 minutes later.

After Elkhorn Davy led out and really pushed the pace past Dollar Lake, all the way to the Henry's Lake trail turn-off. We were to this point in 1:35ish, almost 30 minutes faster than Davy's previous best time.

Eric and Davy with King's behind them.

I hopped out in front again and led to Gunsight Pass. We were well ahead of expected times at this point. The trail hadn't been difficult for this first 10 miles of the trip, but now we had to make our way through the cut-off from Gunsight Pass to Anderson Plateau, a tricky 3rd class scramble up about 500 vertical feet. Once on the plateau we spread out a bit and I began to pull farther ahead.

Me at Gunsight Pass

At Anderson Pass, mile 11.5 and 12,700 ft elevation I decided to push to the summit and let the old-timers catch up. I reached the summit in 3:11:19, 20+ minutes ahead of Crockett and almost 30 minutes (or more, I can't remember) of Eric who was really feeling the elevation. That last mile is a technical scramble over very large, loose scree; some the size of cars. Once on top we took photos, ate some food, and relaxed for a few minutes before heading down. We had the clocks turned off during this time. I stopped my clock each time I stopped to wait or refill water. Actual travel time for the whole trip, including stops, for me, was just over 7 hours.

We headed back down. Super technical downhill, such as down-climbing and scrambling are my specialty. I think it comes from years of rock climbing because my eye - foot coordination is quite good, allowing me to make precise foot placements quickly and move on. By the time we were back down to Anderson Pass I had opened up a considerable lead, which grew as we went down the final technical section back to Gunsight Pass. I wouldn't see either of them again until 40 minutes after finishing.
With 10 miles to go I felt 'ok'. With 8 miles to go I was tired. And when I crossed Elkhorn Crossing with 5.3 miles to go I was fairly wasted and planned to walk anything that resembled an uphill and run the flats and downhill. My running pace was around a 9 min mile, but with the added walking in between it turned out to average around 11, still not bad. With 4 miles left I kept telling myself it would be ok that Davy and Eric would pass me. They are far seasoned veterans and much stronger at this distance. But I never heard footsteps and I never saw them 'on my six'. Even with a quarter mile left I was certain they would catch me. With the end in sight I turned on the speed and finished around an 8 min/mile pace for the last 100m. I had done it. I had acheived a goal I set for myself since last year. I was exhausted, wasted, elated, dehydrated, nausious, and glad it was over. I slowly drank water till I felt better, then ate an apple and waited. After 20 minutes I got worried someone was hurt, but as it turned out, Davy just got dehydrated and had to refill in a stream and Eric was just tired from the altitude and elevation gain and loss. Eric and I finished the day with a nice sit in the river and then we drove home. I then spent the next three hours at our company BBQ, serving food and managing a bean bag toss. I'm worked.
Me on top

This is the elevation chart from Garmin Connect. You can see the overall gain and loss and how much there was. It was a big day. I hope to do it every year.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Turning Over a New Leaf

I've decided to make a whole new start to my blog and not just delete it. It occurred to me that the previous blog was pretty much focused on climbing; it was even in the URL. I've decided to change the URL to something more broad and representative of myself and my goals.

'Refuse To Quit' has been a motto of mine for a long time and is my stable mantra when I am really pushing myself to accomplish something. But it is more than that, it is also a reflection of my dedication to my family and life in general. At some of the most difficult times in my life this motto has been the only thing to get me through. It has also been the threshold for when I actually do know I need to quit. In any case, it is a big part of me and something that I feel represents the new feel of this blog.

I hope people actually start reading it.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Anyone There?

Is anyone even reading this site or can I just let it die? Between facebook and my running tracking blog I don't know if I need this if no one is reading it.

You have one week. If a sufficient amount of people haven't responded to this post by then I think I'll just let this die off.

It's a shame really, there is some cool stuff on this site.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wakeboarding is actually Fun!

A couple of months ago I won a free one hour wakeboarding lesson at Deer Creek Reservoir. I finally made good on it this morning. Last night I was skeptical about going as I would have to miss a few hours of work, plus I didn't know if they expected a generous tip since it was a free lesson, but I decided to go anyway. I got there early and ended up sitting in my car for a half hour before I felt comfortable walking over to meet them. They quickly got me set up with a life jacket and asked what size of board I used. I told them I had never done it before, so I was clueless. They got me set up and we were on the boat and heading out onto the lake.

They didn't give me a lot of information before getting in the water other than keep my arms straight and bend my knees, but as I have been water skiing a ton of times and tried wakeboarding unsuccessfully once (8 years ago) I figured I'd be ok. I quickly popped up and felt quite comfortable once I was on top of the water. I made several turns outside the wake on the left side and even did some nice turns on the wake. Then I crossed over to the right and came back in for my first attempt at jumping. I took it easy and made it about half way across the wake. I went back and forth like that, jumping a little further each time on my heel side until I was landing on top of the far wake. I finally crashed and as they swung around the guy says "seriously, how many times have you done this before?" I told him this was my first real time and he didn't believe me, but I wasn't lying.

I went a few more times, always trying to clear the second wake, but unsuccessfully. He gave me a few pointers which I tried, but still couldn't do it. Needing a break I came aboard and he went out to wake surf for a couple of times while I rested. It looked fun so I gave that a try. It was a bit harder, but there were two times where I was able to let go of the rope and even surf for a couple of minutes before fading off and falling. It was a lot of fun.

With just enough times to try wake boarding again I got strapped back in and was back in the water. I was too ambitious at first, so he told me to just do single wake jumps until I got bored and then push the distance. He also told me to push the rope down to my waste instead of pulling it into my chest when I was in the air. That made all the difference. Just as we were coming close to the dock I finally cut in with more speed, hit the wake hard, and pushed down on the rope. Before I knew it I was across the other side and pumping my fist in the air. They took a quick turn to the right to give me a few more tries and I did it two times more before finally falling due to fatigue. It was awesome.

They were wonderful to work with, very relaxed, and incredibly supportive. If you get the chance I would recommend taking a lesson. It is run through Deer Creek Island Resort. I don't know how the rates compare, but even if I had to pay it would have been worth the money.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

King's Peak 7/31/09

I went to the Uinta's with my son, Tyler, my mom and step-dad, Mary Kay and Curt. We got there on Thursday morning and quickly found out how many people were going to be on the mountain. There were cars in every parking space, every camp spot, and cars lining both sides of the road in for a quarter of a mile. I have been in the Uintas on four other occasions and have never seen it like that before. We quickly got our gear together, got ready to go and hit the trail. It was 11am.
Starting off at the trailhead.

I wasn't sure how quickly my mom and Tyler would hike, but I soon found out, FAST. I was very impressed with how quickly they moved and it wasn't long before we were two miles in and taking a couple minute rest. We stopped for lunch at 4.3 and found a nice spot off the trail under a tree. After eating I walked over to a small stream to wash my hands and as I looked down noticed a pair of very normal, very in tact pair of sunglasses just sitting on the bottom. I picked them up, cleaned them off, dried them, and gave them to Tyler. He wore them the rest of the weekend. I would bet they had been there for the entire winter. Amazing.
As we made our way into the Henry's Basin we started to see just how many scout groups there were going to be around Dollar Lake. It took no discussion to decide that we would keep hiking past the lake and look for another spot elsewhere. We hiked about a quarter mile past the lake and started looking off to the left to find a good spot. It wasn't long before we found the perfect spot, a small slope about 150 feet off the trail, surrounded by trees with a view of King's and the entire Henry's Basin. It was absolutely beautiful.
camp at Henry's Basin

Tyler didn't waste any time gathering firewood and getting it ready, regardless of the fact that it was only 4pm. I had a bit of a headache so I went and laid down in the tent for a half hour or so. When I came out the fire was raging and he and Curt had gathered enough wood for what looked like a week. As it turned out, the wood was so dry and rotted that it lasted about 3 hours. We had to gather even more for the night. We played some frisby golf, a bit of Uno, and then cooked a fantastic dinner. We were in bed by 9:30 knowing that we would be up at 5am.
Morning came quickly and with tired eyes we got our things together and boiled some water for a bit of oatmeal and hot chocolate before setting off on the trail. We were hiking before 6am and we thought we were one of only a few groups going that early. It was cold and windy, but the skies were clear and everyone felt really good. As we approached the switchbacks up to Gunsight Pass we noticed a very large group of almost 20 scouts up in front of us. Knowing we would see them on the summit we didn't push very hard to catch them so we wouldn't have to deal with the big group through the summit push past Anderson Pass. At Gunsight Pass we took a short break and then headed to the right to take the shortcut through the steep talus. The trail is well-defined and the route through the small cliffband was easy. We were soon on top of the Anderson Plateau and making our way to Anderson Pass.
King's in the background.

Everyone was still hiking at a good pace, but with about 100m to the pass my mom slowed down a little as the altitude of 12,700 feet started to take its toll on her. We decided to stash the trekking poles, eat a few snacks and then head for the summit. We must have been quicker than we thought because we caught that huge scout group anyway and leap-frogged with them the rest of the way up. Tyler and I kept stopping to take photos and hang off of cliffs while my parents just make their way up slow and steady. We all got to the top under four hours from the time we left camp, pretty impressive considering the group we had. We at lunch, took photos, and just enjoyed being on the top of Utah. It was a very great, emotional experience for all of us. I felt so proud to be up there with my family and know that they had worked so hard to get there.
Awesome picture of the peak with Tyler jumping.

T peak jumping.

The family near the top.

On the way down my mom decided that maybe we should take the longer way around into Painter Basin, hoping that the trail would be smoother and easier than the technical descent down the scree slope onto Gunsight. This turned out to be the wrong decision. The trail was considerably longer, with lots of stones in the trail and uneven ground. We cursed ourselves for making the decision, but pressed through and felt good once we got back to Gunsight Pass. With just 2.5 miles left back to camp we got to the bottom of the pass, stopped to refill our water bottles out of a fresh spring and made a quick pace back to camp. Exhausted, everyone fell into their tents and took a good nap. That night we had a great time burning the rest of the wood and just talking and visiting with neighboring campers. As it turned out, our neighbors knew family members of ours and the elder gentleman was even an assistant distance coach at UVU for Scott Houle. We had a great time conversing and just relaxing by the fire.
The next morning I was up by 6:30am and got the fire going again. We had breakfast and got camp all packed up and were hiking by 8:30. We made our way down the trail with the rest of the hordes of scout groups. As usual, we passed all of them, surprised at how fast everyone hiked. My mom felt the distance of the full 28.5 miles once she had about 2 left, but she still pushed through strong and finished only 10 minutes after Tyler and me. She is such a champ. In all, it was an amazing experience and one I hope to do again next year, but this time Emily gets to go. We capped the trip off with a great lunch at some greasy burger place in Mountain View. It was so much fun.
Hiking out.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sugarloaf 7/24/09

On Pioneer Day I met up with my parents at 6am and we all, along with Tyler went up to Alta Ski Resort and parked at the Cecret Lake trailhead parking lot in Albion Basin.
We were on the trail by 6:30 and only saw a few other people on our way up to Cecret Lake. About half a mile in we came across a fairly large moose who wasn't very far away from us. He was a juvenile bull, but still had a pretty good rack on him. He didn't care at all that we were there and we were able to get some good pictures.

Even though my parents haven't hiked a lot in the Wasatch and certainly haven't been up at that elevation much, they did very well considering. We got to Cecret Lake in good time and were able to take a few photos and spend some time up there before the crowds started to roll in. After about 5 minutes or so at the lake we hit the trail for the saddle between Devil's Castle and Sugarloaf.
From the saddle to the summit is pretty easy, but by that time you are at 10,500 feet and my parents were starting to feel it a little. Neither was sick, they just felt a little winded. I don't think they'll have a problem with altitude on King's Peak, we'll just have to take it slow. I got to the summit first, followed closely behind by Tyler, with my parents showing up about 3 minutes later.
On top we snapped a few photos and my parents got initiated into the Peak Jumpers club (not a real club, just a few of us idiots who peak jump on summits).

We went down the west side of Sugarloaf to the top of the ski lift. I had no idea how much easier it is to go up or down that side; something I'll remember in the future. When we got back to Cecret Lake there were about 100 people there and an additional 30 along the mile long trail back to the car. As we drove down the canyon we noticed that there were no parking spots along the dirt road that were open. When we got up there I think there were about 5 cars total. Apparently, we beat everyone there by about 2 hours. Just fine with me. In all it was a great day and we had a ton of fun. Now to King's!