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!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Battle at Big Springs

Race: Battle at Big Springs (4.82 Miles) 00:41:29, Place overall: 26, Place in age division: 5
Slow miles Fast miles Total Distance
3.50 1.82 5.32

Enoch and I got there so early that I think we even beat the race organizers. We parked up at the top and walked down to the packet pick-up after sitting in the car for 10 minutes. Then we did a total of about 1/2 mile warm-up just running up and down the park road and then up the dirt road to the starting line.

The race started about 10 minutes late, which is still 20 minutes better then their last race. Oddly enough, they had the start of the race running down the dirt road for .2 mile and then abruptly back up the steep road. So of course everyone just took off to try and stay ahead of the forming dust cloud. My knee felt good during the warm-up and on the first downhill start, so I decided I would run a normal race and see how it turned out, knowing that if I even felt a twinge, I would back off. While I had a number of problems during this race, my knee would not be one of them.

I'm actually in this picture, near the front of the big pack, in gray.

After the quick downhill you were uphill for a solid mile +. On that first uphill I felt good and pushed the pace, staying in the top 15 runners. It was all runnable, which I did, and was able to pass several people on the hill. As we topped that section we moved into a slight uphill section through long meadow of long grass. While beautiful, I was starting to have trouble with my breathing. At first I thought it was because of my lack of training, but then as the nasty stitch in my side started to set in on mile 2 I realized that it was more directly related to my HORRIBLE diet the last week or so. I thought for sure that stitch would be my downfall. In the middle of 3 I was torn between having to stop to let it die down or just vomit. Neither one appealed to me, so I just kept pushing.

After cresting the summit at Big Springs you had to choose one of two options, left over a bridge or right through the stream. I don't think anyone even saw the trail to the bridge. The girl and guy in front of me must not be experienced trail runners because they were both tip-toeing through the stream at its shallowest point. I ran straight through the middle, passing the girl immediately and the guy shortly after.

Then we settled into the downhill. I know I am strong on the downhill, especially if it requires any technical running, which it did for the first mile. During this mile I even put a little distance between myself and four runners behind me. But within the last mile to the finish the trail smoothed out and the four of them flew by me. I thought I must be running around a 7:30 mile, but I looked down at my watch and saw 6:40. I was shocked. They must have all passed me at about 5:30 pace. Unreal.

We ended on the grass in the park, something I really don't like running on. Luckily, it was only for 100 yards or so. 5th in my age division and 26th overall. Not too shabby for the number of competitors and the fact that I haven't been training for sprint races. As usual, I didn't win anything in the raffle, but enjoyed the snacks and drinks. I made a few new friends and just really had a great time overall. I think these guys put on a fantastic race series and I plan to run all three next year.

Splits: 9:26, 9:56, 10:01 (all uphill), 6:47, 6:25 (.82)

Ave Pace - 8:36 min/mile

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bordering on Injured

Well, I think I've pushed things a little too hard the last couple of weeks. During my 50k a couple of weeks ago I was fighting through some serious IT Band pain the last couple of miles in my left knee. After the run I took 3 days off and then the following Monday only ran 3 miles to stretch my legs. At that point everything felt pretty good. However, the following day I ran 9.25 miles on the Wasatch Crest Trail, ending at Mill D trailhead in BCC. The last 5 miles were a pounding downhill that I just flew down. Unfortunately, this pretty much put me over the top. My ITB issues came back, along with some pain in my right knee too, most likely 'runners knee'. And I've been plagued by pain ever since.

I've decided to only run one more weekday this week and then participate in my 5 mile trail race on Saturday. I don't think I'll run it hard, but instead just use it as a nice training run. Then after that I feel like I need to take a couple of weeks off. I'll cross-train with some swimming and stationary bike, but other than that, no running. The good side is that it will give me some time to climb with friends and maybe even get in a round of golf. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day to Day

Ever since I ran my 50k I've been pretty worked. I thought I was recovering well and had put in some good miles as of Friday. But when I planned my run for Saturday I kept having this nagging feeling that I was pushing myself a little too much and that it would be a risky run. So after giving it some serious thought all day on Friday I finally decided to cancel my 16 mile run on Saturday and just rest my body. Now that it is Sunday and I've had a full two days of rest I know for sure that it was the right decision. I really needed the rest.

Even with the good mileage this week I was still able to fit in some other activities. Along with climbing Grandeur on Monday, I went bouldering on Wednesday and Friday. It has been a while since I last climbed, so it was really nice to get out with friends. Surprisingly, I was still pretty strong. I didn't try anything difficult, but I did send several V4s and V5s. More than anything it was just nice to spend time with friends that I haven't seen in a while. I think we'll get out a couple more times this week.

Training will be pretty easy this week as I have a 8k trail race on Saturday that has some pretty serious climbing in it. I'm hoping to do even better than the last race I did in this series. And even more importantly, I am hoping to win something good in the raffle. No matter what, it will be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Grandeur Peak

I hiked Grandeur Peak on Monday with T and my mom. This would be the 2nd Wasatch peak for T and the first for my mom. We left our house at 3 pm and were at the trailhead and hiking by 3:20. It is great being so close to so many wonderful trails. It was hot out, but luckily you stay under the canopy of lush pines and aspens for the entire first half of the hike. The trail is only 3 miles long, with 2200 vertical feet of elevation gain. It isn't too steep, but just enough to get the legs tired.
Heading up the trail - about 1.5 miles in
Coming out of the canopy
It was slow moving as my mom was not used to the steepness of the trail or the altitude, but she hung in there. She has been on a low-carb diet which doesn't give her very many calories, so finding any kind of energy was tough. She was also low on salt for the kind of heat we were hiking in. At the upper saddle, just before the last push to the top, she decided to stop there as we were dangerously close to our time limit (we needed to be home by 6pm), so T and I ran/hiked to the summit, snapped a few pics and raced back down the trail.

Peak Jumping 11 year old style

Father and son. Good times.

T was wearing the worst shoes ever, but he still managed to move quickly down the trail. He and my mom were pretty worked by the time we got to the bottom. I too was tired as I had ran over 3 miles that morning and was still dragging from my 50k the week before. We got home a little late, about 6:20, but overall did really well. It was great to be out with T and have my mom there for her first peak attempt. Next week we'll try something a little higher up the canyon to cut down on the heat and make it a bit more scenic.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lake Mountain 50k

Race: Lake Mountain 50k (30.8 Miles) 05:39:00, Place overall: 2, Place in age division: 1
Slow miles Fast milesTotal Distance
26.80 4.0030.80

5:39:00 - Why do I love running? I love it because it is about me. I love running because I can push myself harder physically and mentally then I ever have before. I love running because I can run in a place I have never been before and farther than I have ever gone (by a lot). I love running because even though it wasn't a race and there was no crowd, no finisher medals or t-shirts, and even though I had to walk at times during the last 5 miles, I still finsihed running. I love running because even though I finished alone on a dusty road in the middle of nowhere I still threw my arms up in victory and pumped my fist with success. Today I won. I won. I didn't beat thousands of people on the roads of a major city, today I won against myself. I won against fatique and negative mental strain. I won becuase I refused to quit when every part of my body was telling me to stop. Today I beat pain, heat, dust, and exhaustion. I love running becuase I don't have to be #1 out of thousands to know that I can win. I love running because we all can win just by getting out there every day and putting one foot in front of the other.

Today I ran my first 50k and my first marathon. Prior to today the farthest I had run was 20 miles (and only twice).

I met Crockett at 4am in Saratoga Springs. We drove up through The Ranches and parked on the back side of Lake Mountain. We started by heading into a canyon in the dark that winds up through the foothills and over onto the west side of the mountain, just in time to watch the sun begin to lighten the sky. The lake and lights of the city were beautiful and the run was pleasant.

We weren't pushing the pace and enjoyed socializing for about the first 6 miles. After that we headed south and ran through casual rolling hills at the base of the mountain. I got a bit ahead of Davy and remained there until we got to the top of Enoch Pass, our highest point of the run.

After a quick potty break we blazed down the dirt road for another 4 miles or so until we met up with Redwood Rd on the south end of Lake Mountain. Here Davy had cached water and food for us to replenish. This was mile 16, the half way point.

After a rather long break (maybe just under 10 minutes) we ran down Redwood for almost a mile and then turned West to head around the south side of the mountain. This resulted in a long, steady climb up Soldier Pass. Near the top of the pass Davy made us detour down a less traveled road which turned into really cool single-track that ended with us on the east side of the mountain, at about mile 22. I was pleased with how much of the uphill to Soldier Pass I was able to run and was able to keep up with Davy on the way down. Man, he is fast and steady.

When we hit the dirt road we had 8 miles left. All flat, all straight. Holy cow! I was able to keep a steady 10:30 to 11:00 min/mile pace until about mile 25 and then things got really hard for me. The heat and hills had taken their toll and I was getting tired. I walked for about 3 minutes and then started into a process of running for 8 minutes at an 11 min/mile pace and then walking 3 to 5 minutes before starting up again. As we passed Eagle Mountain we got onto a paved road for about a quarter of a mile. It was here that my ITB really started to get inflamed and while I still could maintain my regiment, I was struggling a bit more. I even stopped at someone's house, knocked on the door, and asked if they could fill my water bottle, as I was dangerously low (even though I only had a mile left). I walked a little more and then when I got back on dirt started into my last run again. Davy had already finished and was walking back to make sure I was ok. I passed him as he was sending emails on his phone and was able to finish the last 200m by myself. I finished 10 minutes after him. It was a very special moment for me as I knew I had done something that has been a goal for a while now.

Thank you very much Mr. Crockett for hanging in there with me and for showing me such a cool route. I can't think of a better partner to have done my first Ultra with. Thank you. And thank you to everyone who showed a vote of confidence. This was an amazing experience. A few days rest for the ITB and then back to training. I've got other (maybe not bigger) fish to fry!

Here is the elevation chart for the run. I think we gained a total of about 2800 vertical feet.