I had the honor of pacing a friend of mine for the last 14 miles of his 2nd 50 miler, the Buffalo Run 50. He was strong the whole way and crushed his last personal best by well over an hour. It was really amazing to watch him sprint to the finish as he broke 9 hours. Here are a few photos and a video I made up today.
I had set a goal to run upwards of 50 miles on March 18th, 2010. Things started off well enough. I met Dave Crockett and Scott Wesemann at 3am in Lehi and we all drove out to in separate cars to Cedar Valley, about a mile or so west of Eagle Mountain. It was a beautiful clear morning and about 30 degrees. The stars were out and there was no wind, a perfect way to start a long day of running. We were off by 3:20am.
The run we had planned would take us around all of Cedar Valley, reaching out to all of the small towns surrounding it; Eagle Mountain, Camp Floyd, Cedar Fort, and The Ranches. Our cars would be centrally located in the middle and act as aide stations as we came back from each loop. There were 5 loops in total, equaling 40 miles.
Loop 1: This first loop was an easy jaunt around and into Eagle Mountain. It was pretty straight forward (remember that for later) and circles easily back around to the cars after only 4.5 miles. Our first aide stop back at the cars to refill water bottles was very short, only 2 minutes. While Scott and I stopped Crockett continued on. We could only hope to catch up to Captain Speedy.
Loop 2: Scott and I chatted away about a number of subjects as we head southwest along a very well maintained dirt road leading to Fairfield/Camp Floyd. This nearly 10 mile out and back would lead out about 3.5 miles down the road, turn towards Cedar Valley Rd and then through Fairfield itself, circling back past Camp Floyd to make something of lollipop. About a mile before we got back to the stick of our lollipop (about mile 6.5 of this loop and 10ish overall) I decided I needed to stretch my legs a little, so I sped up to an 8 min/mile pace for just under a mile. I opened up a little bit of a lead on Crockett (only an 8th of a mile or so) who had also opened up a bit of a lead on Scott (maybe a quarter of a mile). However, I could easily see both lights behind me, and other than one turn, it was a straight shot back to the car. I got back to the car (mile 14.4) at 2:21:00. Crockett ran by and said he was only doing a 6 mile (totaling 20 miles) out and back and calling it quits because he didn't want to be tired for Saturday's race. I figured Scott was pretty close behind. After almost 10 minutes I started to get a little worried when he hadn't returned. I stood on top of my car and looked south and I could definitely see his light bobbing along, he must have just slowed down a bit. So I got my things together so that we could leave as soon as he got back. I had stayed considerably longer than planned already. But a couple minutes later there was still no Scott. I got back on top of my car and now there was no sign of his headlamp. Had he cruised by me without seeing me, heading onto loop 3? Was he in a ditch? Did he take a wrong turn (was that even possible)? I don't know, but after 19 total minutes I figured he must have cruised by and I didn't see, so I took off.
Loop 3: This 11.6 mile out and back would take me right into the midst of The Ranches, a community just west of Lehi/Saratoga Springs. After running and freezing for 20 minutes I could see Crockett's trademark green light up ahead, but no Scott. Oh no. Within the next mile and a half I met Crockett come back to head home and I asked about Scott. He hadn't seen him. Really, OH NO! I told him to keep an eye out while I continued on. This out and back has a really nice hill which rises about 400 ft in a mile or so and descends about 450 ft in almost 2, ending at a Chevron gas station and the most wonderful toilet I had seen in hours!!! Pit-stop. Running back up the hill after my sub-5 minute duece I was nearly to the top when low and behold, there is Crockett in his car, pulled over with the window down. Scott is not inside. He explains that he drove all over the valley, retraced our steps and drove down some other roads and couldn't find him. He seemed pretty worried. He asked about his running history and his navigational skills. I reassured him that Scott is pretty sharp and even if he was tired would know how to take care of himself. No need to worry. I instructed him to go home and enjoy watching the first day of March Madness, but he still seemed concerned and wanted to drive back out a little more. So he did. And I kept running. This hill I was nearly to the top of was tiring me out and for some really weird reason my left knee was getting tight. Dropping back down into Cedar Valley I continued to cruise at a relative 9:30ish pace, even with the tightening knee. Come on, this knee hasn't hurt (ITB) since last July when I ran my first 50k with Crockett. The sun was now up enough (not quite yet over Lake Mountain) that it was nice and bright outside and with 2 miles left Crockett came driving up in his car. Scott was back at his car and warming up to the heater. He had taken a wrong turn and then gotten lost in Eagle Mountain. I'll let him tell his side of the story. I won't lie, Crockett and I got a really good laugh at the whole thing and then I sent him on his way to enjoy a couch and a television. I still had work to do. A mile before getting back to my car I passed another runner who I seemed to recognize, but couldn't place. He was running with a vest/reservoir on and seemed to be out for some long miles. As I got closer to the start/finish I noticed that Scott's car was still there, shocking. He actually waited for me. What a good man. Oh, and my left ITB was actually starting to hurt. Poo!
Loop 4: Scott and I conversed about his mishap for too long, then I ate a beef and cheese sandwich (heaven) and decided that even though both of our legs were having pain that we needed to try and get some more miles in. I wasn't going to push my ITB in either leg, but I would continue on if it didn't get paste the aching stage. Our aide stop was 25 minutes. YIKES! I got Scott going and we hobbled out onto the road. Loop 4 was supposed to be a short 6 mile out and back straight south of the car, but instead I thought we should do Loop 5 instead, taking us out to Cedar Fort and back. This would be just over 8 miles, giving me 34 and Scott his marathon for the day. I had resigned to the fact that this would probably be my last loop. It was slow going for the first mile and I tried to stay with Scott, but my legs just wouldn't go that slow and I ended up a quarter mile ahead after just 2 miles. At 2.5 miles I got a nasty sting in my left ITB and I knew it was time to stop. I turned around. I would at least get a 50k in, even if I had to walk back to the car. Scott looked like he was in some pain and was happy to turn around. We hobbled for a little while and then just resolved to walk the last 1.75 miles back to the car. No point in hurting ourselves worse. We joked about the day, the unbelievable amount beer cans on the side of the road, and got it all on film. I'll post a video later. Ha. Once back at the car we took a couple more photos and I headed home.
Overall, it was a fantastic day on a great course.
2:03:00 (running time) - I met Scott and Matt at 6am this morning at the BST trailhead next to the zoo. Our target was to run Wire Peak, Red Butte Peak, and VanCott if we were still feeling up to it. We started off at good trot all the way until we were into the steep west ridge of Wire. We chose to go up the ridge instead of the valley between Red Butte and Wire, which is the most common way, since that was going to be our descent. Matt showed absolutely no ill effects from his ultra last Saturday and blazed up the trail. I actually thought I was feeling good today and I couldn't keep up with him. He made it to the top in 45 min and made it in 47 min. I would have been a little quicker, but I couldn't pass up some photos of the sunrise to the east and a couple of videos of the trail as I ascended. Scott was another 5 or so minutes behind.
Once on top Scott and I introduced Matt to Peak Jumping. He's still a rookie, but as it is a sport for idiots, we excelled. You can see our classic photos below. Yes, note my wicked-good jumping skills. I haven't decided whether or not I'll actually tell you how I got so high.
We were on top for almost 15 minutes before heading down to Red Butte Peak. It was an extremely fast descent through hardpack snow. At one point Matt thought he could take the path less travelled. The result was a faceplant and a roll down the hill. I wish I had gotten video. Classic. Once we got onto Red Butte ridge we spied a Bald Eagle on the summit. I wanted to get a picture, but the zoom on my camera just wasn't good enough and he took off before I could get close enough for a good pic. We were on the summit of Red Butte in 58 min (running time - minus our stopage on the summit of Wire). Last time I did Wire with Scott it took us 1:07 just to get to the summit of Wire, so we were moving much faster.
We picked our way down from the summit through a technical trail along the ridgeline until we got to the Living Room. From there we caught the main trail that leads down to the BST. For most of the way down Matt and I were running 6:30 pace. That is silly fast considering how technical the trail was.
We decided that because of time we should just do the Red Butte loop up through the canyon. There was still a lot of climbing which didn't make Scott very happy. We could have certainly climbed VanCott with the total amount we did during that loop. It was awesome though because all of the trail is runnable and it was nice to go looking for mountain lions. All I wanted to do was snap a photo, but they were nowhere to be seen. Shame. We continued on at a good pace, even though our legs were tired after 3000+ feet of climbing in just over 9 miles. We got back to the cars just before 9am, when most people were just showing up to get on their mountain bikes or go for a quick run. It was an amazing day.
Things are finally starting to warm up. The weather, for the most part has been pretty good and continues to improve. I had some good opportunities this past week to get out climbing and I am finally recovering from my cold so I was also able to get out and run some trails, also.
Tuesday and Thursday I got out with Steve and did some bouldering in LCC. We went to the Secret Garden and warmed up really quick and then headed up to the Tiger Stripe boulder. There were several more people who were all very strong up there and it was cool to watch them project some of the very hard problems. Steve and I both decided to try Lance's Scary problem. It is a V7 that starts well off the ground and traverses up and right, finishing on Shingles. It took me a few tries, but I found a hidden good hold and grovelled my way through the rest of it. Steve did it second try and made it look easy. Kyle followed us and also made it look easy.
On Thursday Steve and I went back up during lunch and climbed at the parking lot boulders. The weather was starting to turn nasty, but we stuck around until we were getting fully dumped on. We found a new, very tough V5 on the parking lot boulder that we'll have to go back for. It is really cool. Below is a picture of me on it.
I shot several good photos of Steve on a boulder higher up. This problem is ultra classic, even at the V2 rating. It never gets climbed, yet it has perfect holds, is kind of tall, and can be a bit scary if you aren't a confident climber. You can see the obvious enjoyment on Steve's face.
On Saturday I met up with Scott and Matt to run the Bonneville shoreline trail for Matt's Birthday Challenge. I met Scott at the parking lot east of the capital building at 6am. We only had to wait 5 minutes or so before Matt came running up. He had started from his house across the mountain much earlier and had already run 8.8 miles just to meet us. He turned 33 a couple of days ago and was shooting to run 33 miles total. Scott and I were going to run at least 15 of it with him.
We ran up the road a little over a mile until we got to the trail for the Bonneville Shorline Trail in City Creek Canyon. It was immediatly a mix of broken snow and slush that had frozen over during the night. The trail would remain in that state for the entirety of our run. It made going very difficult, but still managable. We ran the BST all the way out the Dry Creek Trailhead, 7.5 miles. It in an incredibly hilly course with few rests and almost no flat sections, it's either up or down the whole way, just how I like it.
When we hit the half way point Matt and I had opened a considerable lead on Scott. Not surprising considering he hiked Olympus yesterday. I'm sure he was feeling it this morning. We ate some snacks and waited for about 5 minutes before heading back up the trail hoping to meet up with him as he was coming down. What actually happened was that he had turned back a mile earlier, knowing he was short on time and headed back the way we had came. I got ahead of Matt, which made sense becuase I was only 10 miles in and he was almost 20. With about three miles left I caught up to Scott. I caught him on a 2 mile mostly downhill section that I was just flying down. I felt good today. I then pulled ahead of him and beat both he and Matt back to the cars by about 5 minutes. I was hoping to continue on and run the last 8.8 with Matt back to his house, but I called my wife and she asked if I could come home. I chose the better path. It was an amazing morning with perfect weather, a beautiful course, and good friends. Sorry, no photos, but hopefully I painted a mental picture good enough that you don't need one. Can't wait to get out this coming week.