Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday 26.2

I needed to get my marathon or further in today, but I also wanted to hit some trails and maybe get a peak in. Since I'm a wuss and backed out of the Wire Peak Rampage, and knowing I would be down here in Lehi today, I decided to try a run from my parents house all the way out to Lake Mountain, summit the peak, and come back. I was hoping it would be near 26.2 miles. It was almost dead perfect.

I woke up late after dealing with the kiddos all night, but that turned out to be a good thing. I left at about 9:30am, just warm enough to be outside. There was no wind and with the sun on me I was able to stay warm enough to maintain a good pace and positive attitude. I ran the trails through Lehi and Saratoga Springs, passing (I can only assume) near Crockett's house. I know I was near his house because I could smell the fear of me beating him next year at Pony Express 100 coming from somewhere nearby. I then continued along the paved trails until I got to the access road to Israel Canyon. That climb through the neighborhood was very pleasant and when I hit the dirt road I still felt pretty good (8.2 miles in).

I have struggled on my runs lately that are longer than 10 miles, but today was different. Once in the canyon it turned to more of a power hike. I was worried I was going to have to break snow most of the way up the canyon, but to my surprise I had a couple of day-old four wheeler tracks to follow, almost all the way to the top. I probably only had to break snow (that wasn't more than a few inches deep) for about a half mile. I then ran into the tracks again right at the top. I hit the summit in 2:31:06, 2.81 miles. I stopped to call my parents and check on my kids, eat a few things, take a couple of pics (to be posted later), and I was off again.

Running down I chose to follow the four wheeler tracks. It added a little distance, which I needed, but it was all runnable and I was having a great time blazing down the snow for the next several miles. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to run fast through the snow, but I maintained a 6:30 pace for more than 3 miles down the canyon. Near the bottom I still held a pace in the 7s and even maintained a pace in the 8s nearly the rest of the way back. I was pretty tired my last two miles. I had to walk a few times. I was energizing well, but I also did the mental math and found that I had burned almost 2600 calories and only taken in 700. I wasn't bonking, I was just tired. I finished strong though and am super happy with my effort today. It was a near perfect outing. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Time: 4:19:03
Avg Pace: 9:53
Vert: 3370

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Leg 5k

This is not a race I ran.

There are certain moments in your children's lives that really stand out. Whether it is the first time they rolled over, walked, or shoved a pea up their nose, they are moments beyond 'milestones', moments that you know you will never forget. When it comes to my children, there are more of these moments than I can count. I am proud of each of them for so many little things they do almost daily.

Today's day was Tyler's. I've been asking him if he wanted to run a 5k for a few months now. Running one on Thanksgiving Day seemed like a logical and fun choice. A friend of mine was the race director of a cool 5k up in Farmington, called the Turkey Leg 5k. Yes, there are many other options much closer to home, but I thought it would be fun to support him. Besides, I also had several friends running in the race and I knew that the tech t-shirt they gave out with the entrance fee would be awesome. Unfortunately, my wife had to work so I had my two smallest with me. Knowing the temps would be in the teens, at best, not only would it be a challenge for Tyler, but it would be tough for my two smallest to hang out in the cold.

I got Tyler there about 20 minutes before the start. His mom had shown up to cheer him on, as well. I bundled up the rug-rats and we all headed out to get him settled. Just before the race started he stripped of his down coat and sweats and headed to the starting line. Minutes later they were off. I had coached him to not go out too fast and just find a group of people he felt comfortable running with. He listened to my every word.

The layout of the course was cool in that just after the 2 mile mark the runners pass the park, so you get to see them run by. It was here that I snapped a few good shots. I then urged him to start pressing a little harder. The race then runs through a neighborhood and then loops back around the opposite side of the park and around and back, so you get to see them finish the last third of a mile. As Tyler came back into view I could see he was still running strong. He was passing several people who were out of energy. With 100m to go he passed two people. The announcer then called out the competition between the three and the two he passed started to sprint. Not to be beaten though, Tyler turned on the heat and passed them both again at the line, finishing in an unofficial 25:08. That is super fast for a 12 year old in his first 5k. I couldn't believe how well he did and I am so proud. He was hammered. I asked if he thought he might puke to which he concurred, but he kept it down. That's the sign of a great effort. We snapped a few more pics and then I got my freezing kids home while Tyler left with his mom.

 Tyler at the 2 mile-ish mark

Not to be beaten

I am so proud of him. He has really caught the running bug and is going to be amazing. Congrats Tyler!!!

Here are a few additional pictures:

 T and his Deacon's Quorum advisor, Jason

T and his mom

T and me

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Antelope Island

Matt and I went out to Antelope Island to try and do the 25k course. We knew of the impending storm coming in and were a bit worried, but it appears the craziness isn't coming in until tonight now. We only had to deal with wind and cold. I like the cold, but hate the wind.

The first several miles run south heading straight into the wind. We passed several buffalo along the way, which was cool. The views are awesome. The weird thing though is that everything looks closer than it really is. I knew within a mile that we wouldn't have time to do the whole course so I thought we could go out and bag Elephant Head knoll, but it turned out to be quite a bit further than it looked. Even still, we got out there pretty far and turned around at the 6 mile mark. We then reversed the course and followed the finishing way back, which added the half mile. It was a really cool run and I can't wait to go back out there and run the whole thing. Oh, and there was zero snow on the ground.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Timpanogos Has a Front?

Several weeks ago I went running with my friend Eric in the hills east of Provo, following the Squaw Peak course. With Timp as our background we talked of running the trails on and around that mountain. I mentioned that I don't think I'd be interested in running any trails on Timp that didn't involve me hitting the summit. But then last week Eric ran a loop route on the front that he absolutely fell in love with. He mentioned it in his report and challenged me to come out and try it. He was confident it wouldn't disappoint. He couldn't have been more right.

We met this morning at 7:30am at the Grove Creek trail head and headed out north on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Even that section of trail was nice; 4 miles of perfect single track to about a mile of dirt road where we stopped at the mouth of Dry Creek for a quick bathroom break and then up the canyon. I was having trouble with my breathing, but even after my tough run up Malan's yesterday I was surprised how well my legs felt. Eric told me that the next three miles would be a steady climb up Dry Canyon, but that it was all runnable and beautiful. I had no idea just how incredible it would be. Unfortunately, one of the set-backs of Pony Express has been that my recovery after even a normal run has been slow and the climb quickly took it's toll on me. Within a mile I found myself walking periodically. My legs were heavy and my quads really suffered yesterday. Six miles into our run and I was tired. At mile 7 you come to a bench on the edge of a cliff that looks over an amazing waterfall. The views out over Utah Valley were incredible and even with my tired legs I couldn't have been more content to be running in such a beautiful setting.

Our run began with a beautiful sunrise

About a half mile up Dry Creek, after the first switchback

Eric running along a cool cliff line

At the bench looking back at our route up Dry Creek

Above the big waterfall with a small one behind

Does it honestly get any better?

Another mile past the waterfall we were up at Dry Creek campground. I really struggled that last mile, hiking more than running. I was really mad at myself because the trail was all runnable and on any normal week I would have cruised right up it. And I was holding Eric back, which also bothered me (I doubt he cared, but that's not how my psyche works). Once you hit the campground the trail rolls up and over a small pass and then you get to cruise through amazing meadows on your way to Big Baldy Pass. I can't even put into words how beautiful it is up there. So I won't.

Yeah, it was that cool.

Possibly the best running pic I've ever taken

After you run through the meadows you then have a very easy, steady climb of about 1000 feet up to Big Baldy Pass. It is a series of switchbacks that slowly climbs up to the pass. I made the mistake of looking at the actual time on my watch and realized that I was going to be really late getting home and that got to me even more. I was struggling just putting one foot in front of the other. It wasn't about fueling or energy, I had been fueling fine the whole run. I just didn't have anything in my legs. I don't think I've ever felt like that before in a run. Ever. But again, the views were pretty dang good.

On the way up to Big Baldy Pass

At the top of Big Baldy Pass we were at mile 11.5 (about), which meant we had about 2.5 miles of wicked-steep downhill, then another mile to the base of the canyon and another 1.5 miles back on the BST to the finish. I could do that. Eric mentioned to me that these first couple of miles were really steep and in a 'trough', but wow, I certainly didn't realize how steep and deep it was. The trail/trough was a good 3 feet deep with grass growing over the top, so you couldn't even see your feet. And the horses had chopped up the trail enough that it made foot placements tricky. I was wearing my new New Balance MT101s and was glad I had put on thicker socks. They were working very well. 

We made good time down the steep stuff and then opened it up on the lower angled downhill to the bottom, laughing and talking the whole way. The last cruiser mile and a half back to the car was pretty good and I felt remarkably better than I thought. Don't get me wrong, my legs were TRASHED, but I was still able to keep a moderate pace. As soon as we got back to the car I called my wife and apologized. I would be more than an hour late getting home. Luckily, she is extremely understanding. I couldn't ask for a better wife.

After talking with Eric I've resigned myself to the fact that even though I've had some good runs in the last couple of weeks that I am just not recovered from my 100 miler. It will definitely be in my best interest to take the next week off, which I plan to do. I need my legs to recover. I still have to run an ultra this month and I'd like it to be the Grand Canyon. Not sure if I can work it out logistically, but I want to try and I need to make sure my legs are up for it. I'm sure they will be. Below is a 3D map of our route and the statistics summary. Note the 4600+ feet of vert we had. Pretty monster for a run that long. Even with the trouble in my legs and the holding Eric back part I can't say enough about how cool that run was. Without a doubt one of my most favorite trails I've ever run. I can't wait to do it again. Hopefully, the weather will hold until I can try. If not, I'll be on it first thing next Spring.

With Timp as a constant background, what could go wrong?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Malan Peak

I had a great morning running with 'the boys' - Matt, Bryce, and Scott. The three of us drove up to So Ogden and met Bryce at the trailhead. I had just gotten my new MT101s in the mail yesterday and was eager to try them out. Last night the 11.5 felt a little large, even though in the store they felt perfect. I guess my running socks weren't as thick as my work socks. So this morning I put on a little thicker pair of trail socks. Still not good enough, but we'll get to that.

From the start it is a gorgeous trail up awesome single track to Malan's Peak. After about a mile it gets really steep and I slowed to a power hike while Bryce continued to climb. This is about what I expected. Bryce hit the summit first, followed by me, then Matt and finally Scott. I hit the peak in 41:30. Bryce said that was pretty fast, but I felt like I was really slow. I was definitely not in good form today. Just not feeling it. The overlook was amazing, however. We hung out on top long enough to chat and take in the sights and wait for it to get light enough to run down without our headlamps. 

Ogden from the summit of Malan Peak

Scott and Matt on top

Me, of course


Of course there was a peak jump

I flew down the trail. It was hard to keep my legs moving fast enough at parts. I was not happy with what my shoes were doing though. I felt like I was swimming in them. However, my heel never came up and my toes weren't crushing against the front. The trail was wicked-steep though, so between not having on good socks and the trail I think both contributed to a bad experience. I'm not going to blame the shoes. The rock plate in these things is amazing. I rarely ever felt a rock, something I can't say about my Inov-8s. I'll have to try my next run in better socks (Darn Tough vs Bolega - what I wore today). Biggest lesson learned is to just buy a size 11 next time. They just felt so small when I had them on in the store. Maybe I'll feel better about things when I get on better socks. I certainly can't send the shoes back after today's run. Ha.

Bryce and Matt near the bottom
Anyway, it was an awesome day and I loved running with the guys. I think we are going to head back up on Monday/Tuesday to try and do Ben Lomond, which should be amazing.