Friday, February 18, 2011

I Just Can't Get Enough

I really can't get enough of running on Antelope Island. I went back out with Matt, Scott, and Adam. We chose to run the long out and back section on the east side of the island. This section of the trail is part of the Buffalo Run 50 miler and falls at around the 20 mile range, so it's pretty much most of the 2nd half of the race.

For the 3rd week in a row this would be Matt's longest run ever. There is very little elevation gain/loss on this stretch of trail, but the views are still pretty and the buffalo abound (not so much on this outing, but still). The goal (for me) was to push the pace a little and really use it as a training run. We all stayed together and chatted for the first few miles and then I upped the pace a little and Adam and Scott fell back. Matt stayed with me until about mile 10 and then I sped up even more (it was a race to the toilet at the ranch!!!), but he stayed within a couple minutes of me. I hit the turn around at the ranch in 1:29:49, mile 10.68. Matt was right behind me and Scott and Adam were only a few additional minutes behind that. We were all doing really well.

When we started back I intended just to put it in cruise, but Matt set a solid pace and I realized I felt super good, so I kind of took off. And then I just put it on auto-pilot and made sure I fueled every 30 minutes and my pace just stuck. At first I hoped to run a negative split, but that wasn't going to happen so I shot for keeping it under 3 hours. With a mile left I knew I would be cutting it close. When I hit the fence and turned to go up the hill I had 2 minutes and was certain I wouldn't make it. I didn't think there was any chance I could still run the hill after maintaining that pace for so long. But up I went at a trot. Half way up I know I could better 3 hours and just kept the pace on. As I crested the top I nearly puked, but I was under three hours. EDIT: It just hit me that I had my split times wrong. I didn't realize while running and just figured it out now. I actually ran an even split on the way back, not 5 min over like I thought. That makes me super happy. I gave myself about 1.5 seconds of celebration and then dove in the bushes to relieve my upset stomach (for the second time). Matt came in about 10 minutes or so after me, then Adam after that, and  finally Scott. I think overall everyone had a great run. It was a perfect day out there. Thanks to my homies for tagging along and doing so well. Once again, I'm completely amazed by what Matt does, even as he pushes his longest distance. 

I'm feeling confident about my 50 miler next month and that I can PR out there. I did the math and if everything goes well I should better my current 50 mile PR by more than 30 minutes. Below are a few photos of the boys along the trail.

 Matt finishing.

Wasatch Front from Antelope Island
 Scott doesn't do well with gels once into a run. Hahaha.

 So sly at the turn around at the ranch.

 Scott finishing.

Adam finishing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm Tired of Snow Running

Matt and I ran the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Draper to Corner Canyon, then up to View Benchmark Peak, and down the mountain bike trail back to the Corner Canyon BST and back. The trail was never in good shape. From about the Ghost Falls trailhead to the road it was a solid two miles of 6 inch deep untracked snow. We then got to run pavement to the View Benchmark trailhead. It was well tracked from there to the summit, but there was still a lot of punching through.

On the way down we were going to take a different way back and run the downhill mountain bike trail to Mike Weir Blvd and catch the BST again. There was only one set of snowshoe tracks going down and it was a complete mess, doing everything you could not to fall on your face. Once back on the road we decided to stay on pavement instead of catching the BST  that paralleled it and pick it back up at Coyote Hollow, near the Draper temple. Once back on we were kind of cruising the uphill back to Corner Canyon Rd. Then those last three miles. Oh, the shame. The trail was soft and crappy, our legs were shot from dragging them through the snow, and we both just wanted it to be over. Even with our fatigue Matt still ran the entire steep uphill after the first bridge (jerk). Of course, putting me to shame I knew I had to run the rest of the little hills. I thought on the last one I might puke. In all, it was a crazy, brutal, fun outing. I sure like it better when there isn't any snow. And Matt officially ran 2.67 miles further than ever before in his life. I told him based on effort alone this was a much harder day than a trail marathon and considerably harder than last Saturday on Antelope Island. Awesome.

It was a great time, actually. Even with the misery we had a lot of fun. And it was solid training, for sure. Below are some pics to entertain you. 
Time: 3:48:52, 3400 vert

Lone Peak looms behind Matt

You can see the snow depth. And this was a shallow part.

Matt atop View Benchmark. Lone Peak in the background.

 Trying to navigate the steep and dodgy lack of trail.

Matt enjoys one of the rare dry spots on the trail.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Antelope Island, Part 2

1:21:00 - Finally! I've been waiting three months for any kind of run longer than 10 miles to feel that good. I headed out to Antelope Island with Scott and Matt for a trip around the 25k course. Both of the boys plan on running the 50k next month, so this would be the perfect training run to scout the course. Matt and I had gone out last November, but we didn't get to do the back loop with the switchbacks and were curious to see how we'd fair. I made it a point to try and manage my energy the same way I would if I were racing, in other words fuel every 30 minutes. This was the key to my success today.

I love the trails out there because all of the uphill is runnable (except for one section of about 100 yards). We took it easy for the first couple of miles and then I opened things up a little. Matt fell only slightly behind and only for a minute while Scott was just a min or so behind the two of us. We stopped where the Elephant Rock turnoff is to wait and regroup. We looked down into the bottom of the next valley (about 1.5 miles away) and could see three people. I put out the challenge to catch them before they looped back around. I was in high spirits and when we hit the big downhill into the small valley before the switchbacks I really let it go, running a 5 min/mile for at least a half mile, then pulled back to a 6:30 to let Matt catch up. Scott yelled something unrepeatable from behind us because he was so psyched about how fast he was running, but we were still pulling away. Ha.

The switchbacks were new territory for me and the only knowledge I had of them were from the maps I've seen. They looked steep. In reality they were incredibly runnable and I LOVED every step. I actually caught the three guys ahead of us by the time I got to the top of the switchbacks. Like Matt and Scott they will be running the 50k next month. Once back on flat ground I felt good running fast again and loved the pace back to the end of that loop at the Elephant Rock turn-off. Once there I took some time to wait for the boys, fuel, and take some electrolytes. Once again regrouped we sped off down the trail and cruised the rest of the way back. I continued to feel awesome on the two remaining climbs and cruised the downhill in the low 7s. Taking everything into account I have to say that it was nearly the perfect run.
Avg Pace - 8:48, 2051 vert

 Buffalo. A lot of them.

Uh, yeah.

 Scott approaching the Elephant Rock turn-off

 Coming up the switchbacks. Matt is on the right and Scott is way down and to the left.

The trails out there are so amazing.