Sunday, April 25, 2010

Joe's Valley Birthday Trip 2010

I went down to Joe's Valley for the annual birthday climbing trip and like usual, I got there a day before everyone else. I love this extra day just to spend alone with my thoughts, a good book, and time to enjoy nature by myself. I've been planning for some time to use this first day for my weekly long run, a route I've been wanting to do for over six month. It starts at our camp at the bottom of Straight Canyon, 4.5 miles below Joe's Valley Reservoir. It runs up the road to the reservoir, across the dam, around the cliffy east side and then around the whole lake and back down the way I came. While an adventure run, it technically only has about 3 miles on dirt, the rest is on pavement, something I wasn't excited about, but worth it considering what I wanted to accomplish.
The run up to the dam is easy enough, gaining about 800 ft in 4.5 miles. I averaged a 9 min mile up to the dam, which is great considering the grade. At the top I had two concerns, the first one being getting across the dam as it is fenced off and has No Trespassing signs posted. I knew the signs were only there to protect a weather tower on top of the dam, so I skirted around the fence along a cliff line and quickly ran across the dam and back onto public land. The next big concern was making my way along the cliffline on the southeast part of the reservoir. All of my research on Google Earth and the internet showed that it cliffs out for about 200 ft. What I really found out was that there was a perfect ledge to run along and a steep scree slope down to the water; very passable. From there I would run along sandy beaches to the south end and around up to a dirt road.  The dirt road lasted about 2 miles, then I hit pavement. I took a wrong turn, instead of heading up to the main road I ended up going down to the boat launch and picnic site. I didn't care though because I got to run some single-track along the lake, then took a trail back up to what I would hope be the road. It took me to the main campgrouned instead which took me to the road. It added about a mile to my run, which I loved. The distance between my wrong turn and where I came back to the road was about 1 tenth of a mile. Ha.
From there it was pavement for the rest of the run. Fortunately, there was a four wheeler track along the side of the road for about two miles, which was nice. Then it was just a blazing  4.5 back down to camp. I felt great the whole time. I've learned a lot about how many calories I need to take in per hour during a run and when and how much salt to take. Because I'm becoming more aware of these things I'm able to run better, stronger, faster, and farther with lower impact. I really hope it pays off come my Sapper Joe race.
Here are some climbing photos from the weekend and a video I made during the run. Sorry, the video is horrible.

Friday, April 9, 2010

View Benchmark and South Mountain

I woke up at 3:30am after a very short and restless night of sleep. I drove down to Draper and met Scott W at the Chevron on South Mountain and we went to find a good place to park his car at a good finishing sport for him, as he wasn't planning to run the full distance with me. We then drove back to the trailhead of the BST in Draper off of 117th South. We were running by 4:45am.

We took it nice and easy and made good time on the 3.3 mile stretch to Corner Canyon Rd. We then headed up the road all the way to the top. There were significant snow spots that made it very difficult to run because of the crust, so we opted to walk through those. This helped Scott too because he was already having discomfort in his ITB. At the top of Corner Canyon we took a right on an obvious road and ran that until we got to Suncrest Rd, which turns into Deer Ridge Rd, heading west. This would be only one of two times in our whole run where we were on pavement and it didn't last too long, maybe a mile.

t the top of this road is a cul-de-sac. From there it is an easy run on a dirt road to the summit of View Benchmark Peak, elevation 6700. Total elevation gain for this first part of the run was about 1500 vertical feet in 8.5 miles. Not bad at all. In fact, you could run every step of this part of the run. Awesome. It was insanely windy on top and we were freezing so we headed down the way we came, but instead of going back to the cul-de-sac we went straight/north along the ridge to South Mountain Draper (you know, the one where all of the paragliders take off). I was pretty far ahead of Scott at this point, so after getting to the main summit I kept going and ran the whole ridgeline that maintained that higher elevation. There were some very steep ups and down along the ridge that I had to walk, but otherwise I maintained a good pace. I was nearly back to the main peak when Scott got there. Together we made our way down the east ridge back to Suncrest Dr. I got ahead of Scott again because that technical downhill was really bothering his knee. But I waited at the bottom and it was a short 1 mile back to his car. He got an awesome 13 miles in today.

At his car I hopped back on the BST on South Mountain/Draper. I had never run this section of the trail and it was AWESOME. The mud was still firm from the night's freeze and I only came across a couple of people walking their dogs. I was having an amazing time and felt great. Once the loop part was done I knew I only had that last 3.3 miles to go along the BST, a run that I have not only done 10 times before, but that Scott and I had done only hours before. I knew every hill in my way . . . and I was getting tired. There is one big big hill with 2 miles to go, that is the only thing I walked. YAY! I had no intentions of running that thing, something I can normally do when I do the shorter 10 mile loop. Anyway, I got back to the car feeling ok, having finished 19.7 miles. Knowing that I was heading out later to run 4 miles with an employee who is training for his first Tri I figured I mind as well stick around and get a few more in, so I took off my new waist pack (Ultimate Direction Katoa - amazing) and did two loops on a combination of paved and dirt trail, totaling 2.7 miles. I tracked them under Fast miles to keep them separate, not because they were fast. I'm tired, but I feel good. Total elevation gain and loss was well over 5000. It is one of the best trail loops I've run and certainly the best one that can be accessed directly within the valley. Totally amazing. Below is a map of the run. The mileage is off because I didn't add the jaunts to the peaks and across the ridgeline until after I made the map. Note our average pace. Pretty quick considering how often we had to walk.

(11:30am) 4.0 miles, 37:58 - Yeah, I went out again. I was really worried too because I was pretty tired after my run this morning. But my employee really wanted to run 4 miles today. He's never run more than 3 and this would be a good test for him. I told him not to expect much of me, but once we were out I actually felt pretty good. I definitely could have done another 2 - 4 miles. And my employee (let's call him Steve because that is his name) was great. We kept a good pace, he was strong on the one hill, and we finished the last .2 at a 7 min/mile. The kid is going to kill it in his Tri.
April marathon+ is done, although I may have something else planned for this month too. Sweet!