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.