Friday, March 19, 2010

Tour de Cedar Valley 50k

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.

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