Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Salt Lake Valley Temple Run

Today was not the day I expected. I have been planning for several weeks to travel down to Bryce Canyon to do a link-up run of the three main backcountry trails. However, with significant snow on the south end and the threat of more the last couple of days I decided I better postpone. I settled on heading back out to Lake Mountain to tackle the course record for the 50k that I did with Davy Crockett last summer. However, rain and colder temps thwarted that idea also. So I went after another little adventure.
I have had an idea of doing a Salt Lake valley LDS temple run ever since the Oquirrh Mountain temple was dedicated last year. There are now 4 temples in the valley, stretching from Draper to South Jordan to West Jordan to Salt Lake. I've had the run mapped out for about 8 months now and today was the day to tackle the challenge. It would be a tough 34.7 miles on pavement. That is hard enough alone, but add in the nasty weather planned for today and I had a real challenge on my hands.
I drove to Draper and parked in the Draper Temple parking lot at 7am. After getting my things in order I stepped out of the car and set up my camera for my first photo. This was my starting point. I started the clock just after taking the photo and heading out.

Draper Temple 7am

I headed down the road and was quickly setting a good pace. I ran down 132nd South until I got to 3rd East. I turned right and headed north until I got to 123rd So. Just as I got to the corner the light rain that had accompanied me from the start now turned into a downpour with sleet mixed in. I sped up and dashed towards the freeway underpass where I could hopefully hide-out until it settled down. Even running at a 7 min/mile pace I was totally soaked by the time I found shelter. I had to wait out the storm for about 5 minutes until I felt like I could continue on. There was not one inch of me that was dry and I was pretty disheartened, considering I was only 5 miles into the run.

I was really not happy and very wet.

Once I was off again my attitude quickly improved. The rain was almost gone and I was starting to dry out. The westerly wind was like a blow-dryer on my clothes. I had good tunes in my ears and was actually enjoying running through the suburbs of Salt Lake. I ran 123rd So until I got to 13th W. At that point I turned north and ran that road until I came to 114th So. I was still running about 8:30 min/mile, which is pretty quick considering how long the run was going to be. What I didn't know was that there was construction on 114th So all the way out to Bangerter Hwy. Luckily, there were sidewalks available from time to time so that I wasn't in any danger of getting hit by a car. I made it to Quirrh Mountain Temple, mile 12.3 in under two hours. It was turning out to be a beautiful day and my spirits were high.

Still raining, but I don't care.

I knew I was done with all of the uphill. That is always a nice thought when you still have 22 miles in front of you. It was a short 4 miles to the Jordan River Temple and I knew it would go quick. What I didn't realize was the pounding the downhill pavement would have on my ITB. By the time I made my way down 104th So and turning north onto 13th W I was hurting pretty bad. My actual ITB didn't hurt in either knee, but the pounding had taken its toll. I was getting tired. But, with the run half over and three temples out of the way I couldn't be too down. I was determined to finish no matter how difficult the task.

I continued along 13th W and only stopped once at a gas station to refill my water bottles. It was a quick stop and I was off to 70th So where I would turn east and head down to the Jordan River Parkway trail. It was the last of my downhills and I was looking forward to the flatness of the JRP. However, just as I got on the trail the rain started to pick up again and I was finding myself in need of cover. I was able to pick up the pace and race towards the park at 64th So where I could find shelter under the pavilion. I ended up having to stay there about 10 minutes. It turned out to be a good stop. I was tired and my legs were really hurting. I stretched, took some photos, and even made a short video. When the rain had died down enough I hit the trail again. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how hilly that trail is. The hills are tiny, but just enough to hurt after 22+ miles.
I reached the marathon mark of 26.2 miles just as I got to 39th So. I was very tired at this point and the pounding of the pavement had all but destroyed my knees. I got to the marathon mark at 3:48:00, only 17 minutes slower than my marathon PR, which I got at the Top Of Utah Marathon last September, a very downhill course. After a quick stop to stretch I started off again. I was finding that I could only run for about a mile and a half and then I would have to stop and stretch my legs and hips. The cool part was that while I was running I was still able to maintain a 8:30 - 9 min/mile pace. It was just comfortable for me.
At 21st So the trail abruptly ends. I found myself in a construction zone where they were working on some new westbound Trax station. No one seemed to care as I ran through their site and I quickly found myself on 9th W heading north. I reached the 50k (31 miles) point at 4:38:00 or something like that. It was the fastest I had ever run that distance by almost an hour. I wasn't surprised though, it was a flat course on pavement. After that mark I decided to walk a while and get my legs back under me. I made a few phone calls and chatted while I walked for a half a mile. Only just over 3 miles to go. I could see the LDS church office building towing in the skyline and I knew where I needed to go.
From then on I could only muster a run of about half a mile and then I would have to walk for a minute or so. This continued on as I made my way down 9th E, turned east on 4th S, and worked towards 3rd W. I was also having to stop at stoplights frequently. Along my entire run I left my watch running at traffic lights and while I stopped to stretch so that my timing of the run could be as accurate as possible. Once on South Temple I picked up into a painful run again, my energy heightened with the finish in site. As I turned into Temple Square and went through the fence, stopped, bent over, put my hands to my face, and just laughed out loud for almost a minute. What had I just done? I ran 34.7 miles in 5 hours, 26 minutes, and 50 seconds. I averaged a 9:25 min/mile pace for the entire run. I visited 4 temples and experienced beautiful surroundings. After taking a few pictures I called my wife for a ride and then went into the north visitors center to clean up in the bathroom and wait for my wife by the Christus statue. It was a great way to end my run and reflect on what I had done. Today was a good day. Now I can barely walk.


symlew said...

You had me in tears! So awesome and inspiring! THANKS for sharing! Hope you're resting and recovering well.

Mark E. said...

Hey, I wish I'd known. I would've come down from my cubicle on the 8th floor of the COB and met you at the finish with hot cocoa and a towel or something. Way to have an adventure.

john.goodie said...

Yes, that was an awesome adventure man! I love it! and the blog. Ran across you on the ultra list and saw the link to the blog and decided to check it out. Quite awesome!

jun said...

Thanks gang. I appreciate the comments. Now that the nasty weather is over it's all about hitting the trails again. I can't wait to get my feet dirty.

Camdog said...

Hi Jun -

Came across your blog somehow via Crockett or something. SL Valley temple run sounds like a great idea. In fact, I would like to do the run myself this year in March when I plan on running 36 miles on my 36th birthday. This seems like the perfect run. Any advice, course description you could send would be great!

Thanks and have a great year in 2011.