Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oh My, I'm Talking About Politics!

I have seen this photos and ones like it roaming around the interweb and especially on Facebook lately. Normally, I just roll my eyes and move on to the next completely uninteresting topic. However, this particular photo just kept showing up way too often for me to ignore. So, instead of doing what apparently every other person on facebook has done and 'share' it, I decided to do a bit of research before I reacted. My findings weren't shocking, in fact, they were exactly what I expected.

I did some research on gas price trends over the last 6 - 30 years and found several charts that all showed the same thing - while the price of gas was, in fact, $1.78ish when President Obama took office it was in actuality above $4 not even six months before. As a matter of fact, in late June, early July of 2008 the price of gas was $4.12 per gallon, the highest in the history of the US. Gas prices didn't begin to drop until October of that year and only saw a drastic drop AFTER Obama was elected, but prior to him taking office. So, in fact, it could be said that the price of gas was so low because he was elected, and not the other way around. Is that reality? Probably, not, but the case could be made.

The point is this, according to about a dozen websites, all of which represented non-partisan research, they all came up with the same reasons for the increase in gas prices - increased consumption worldwide. In fact, if you want to point any fingers maybe they should be pointed at China, whose crude oil consumption has sky-rocketed in the last 10 years and who are now #3 in the world (behind the US and India). With the world becoming smaller and the industrialization of former 3rd world countries the simple truth is that supply simply can't meet demand. Sorry. You can tell this by doing research on other countries' trends also. Guess what? They trend just like the US. 
US vs Canadian prices provide a poor example, but it was the only visual chart with multiple countries. The rest were text representations or just one country at a time. You get the point though.

Here's what gets my blood boiling. I'm so tired of people jumping on band-wagons without doing any actual research on issues. They see photos like the one above, with tag-lines attached that say things like "numbers don't lie" and they immediately take it is as fact and repost for the world to see. It drives me crazy. It takes like 3 minutes to actually find the truth. We live in a world of nearly immediate information, yet so many people choose to ignore it.

For all of those who know me personally let me share with you a little bit of information: I'm NOT a Republican. Oh wait. I'm also NOT a Democrat. I'm nothing. I'm someone who likes to become educated on the most important issues (I don't bother with issues that I believe are irrelevant - you can ask me what those are personally - I won't go into them here) and then make a decision based on what I believe works in the best interest of myself and my family. I believe in people who represent improving our nations education system (which sucks, btw), are willing to invest in alternative methods of energy (no, I don't consider natural gas a good alternative), protect the family unit (my definition of 'family unit' probably does not fit in line with what most people would think), and who want to protect our country and provide for the support and well-being of our troops. There are more, but I don't care to mention them here. By those reasons alone I know I cross over party lines. I DON'T CARE. 

I don't mind when people share their political or religious views publicly. The great thing about our country is that they have the freedom to do so. It's a wonderful thing. But please, please, please, if you are going to do it, first do the research for yourself. And if it is something that is going to be "re-posted' or forwarded in email make sure you take the time to know what you are sending is actually the truth. Otherwise you just look foolish. Or worse, you are actually supporting a lie. 

And unlike nearly everyone who gets on their soapbox I'm going to provide my sources:
Some random website
Index Mundi
About . Com
Investor Place

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The AltraManiacs

Not sure if you've heard, but the AltraManiacs are now loose!!! These videos, while extremely comical, will target all aspects of running and should be very educational. What am I saying? Who cares, these two are AWESOME!!!

Here is their teaser trailer followed by their initial pilot episode.

Take some time to "Like" the videos on Then find the AltraManiacs on facebook and "Like" them there, along with their videos. Feel free to become fans of -Zero- and Drop and share all of this with your friends. These guys are kind of a big deal!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here's a video that Matt made of Monday's run. I think it's pretty amazing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Wedge 50k

Yesterday I took the opportunity to head out to the San Rafael Swell with a few friends and run the Good Water Rim trail around the Wedge which borders The Little Grand Canyon. This trail is a well-defined mountain bike trail that keeps you within nearly 10 feet of the canyon rim at all times. Starting at the Wedge Overlook it runs 15.5 miles out to to the opposite side of the canyon and back, making for a nearly perfect 50k. You can see the route we took in the picture below. Our route is in RED.

We arrived at the Wedge Overlook just after 8am and after taking a few pics and video were off on the trail by 8:30am. We stopped just a half mile later to take some more photos and video at the Little Grand Canyon Overlook, a must-stop and look point for all travelers to the area. It is absolutely gorgeous out there. 

 The Little Grand Canyon from the Wedge Overlook

 From left to right: Matt VH, Matt W, Scott W, and me

I couldn't resist the jump out to the big rock at the Little Grand Canyon Overlook

Off again we hit the single track within another mile and were now cruising right next to the rim of the canyon. The trail is very flat, but technical with many little turns around trees and shrubs. Add in a very rocky trail and your focus has to be what's ahead of you and not looking out over the canyon. Because of this we made several stops to take photos and video in the first 8 miles, just enjoying the opportunity to be out there in such beautiful country.

 Just before hitting the single track

Scott and Matt overlooking one of the many deep finger canyons we'd run around.

The trail is so cool because as you run in and out of these finger canyons there are literally times when your running mates can be all the way across the canyon, up to a mile back, and still not more than a couple of feet away. It's crazy. After 8.5 miles we came to campground #5 where we had stashed drop bags with a cache of water and snacks, something we wouldn't need until our way back. We waited here for a few minutes for one of our party to catch up after a pit-stop and it was then that I decided we were taking too long and it was time to focus on running and training. Back on the trail I got settled into a nice pace with the two Matt's behind me and Scott a little ways behind them (he was having stomach issues). Matt VH and I hit the turn-around at miles 15.5 at the same time. I took one minute to use the bathroom and stretch then was off again while Matt stayed to hang out a few more minutes. Only a quarter mile later I came across Matt W running towards me looking strong and then Scott another half mile after that. I was now alone and comfortably running at my own pace. I was focused on trying to finish this run in under 5 hours, which would be an achievement considering how much stopping and mucking about we did the first 9 miles. My aid stop at mile 22.5 was less than three minutes and I was back on the trail carrying a banana as I went. Until this point I had been getting my energy from fruit snacks, a couple pieces of beef jerky, and a salted nut roll. After a few swallows of Pepsi and a banana I had hoped that it would give me the surge I needed to finish strong (that combination is usually rocket fuel for me). However, that day it would be my downfall. For some reason my stomach turned a little south and I didn't want to eat and drink. I didn't feel grumbly, just nauseated and like I had no energy. I was now doing the mental math to see what kind of pace I could run . . . or walk and still finish in under five hours. Luckily, thanks to such strong middle miles I had built a decent cushion and new I could take it easy, which I did. I crossed the 50k mark at 4:57:00 and then finished car to car in 4:58:42, which made me really happy. Overall I was super happy with my effort on the run, although a little disappointed with the last 7 miles. I tried to shortcut my nutrition and it just turned out to be an unwise decision. 

Once back I knew I would have a bit of a wait while the others finished. I had guessed I would be waiting at least a half hour, if not up to an hour. While it was sunny and I was able to run in shorts and a jacket, it was still barely above freezing and I started getting cold waiting for the boys. My half hour wait turned into 40 min and I was now getting very cold as the slight wind was biting into my exposed legs and neck. I was hunkered down below a small ledge that offered some reprieve from the wind, but it wasn't enough to keep me completely free from it. As long as the wind wasn't blowing I was fine, but my hands were numb and I was ready to be back in the car. Luckily, Matt came running in strong about 45 min after I finished and he had the keys. We warmed up in the car and waiting another half hour or so for Scott and Matt VH to finish. We were then on our way home.

I can't say enough about this run and this area. While it is quite the drive from Salt Lake (3+ hours one way) it is so beautiful I would gladly make this drive just to hang out and view the sights for an hour or two. It is truly breathtaking.

Scott at the finish

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chaos Sees Few Results

The past couple of weeks have been kind of a shambles. At best I've been able to run a couple of days here and there, racking up no more than 20-ish miles each week for the last two weeks. I had hopes of getting some real miles in this week, but life was against me. Things are just too busy and crazy right now. That being said, I not only got in a couple of good runs today, but also a great ski day today with my son, Tyler. Tuesday I went out with Scott and attempted to hike/run Grandeur Peak twice. We started at 4:30am and were quickly heading up the trail. We lasted about a quarter miles before we needed our spikes and luckily I brought my trekking poles. To give you an idea about how steep this trail is, it rises 3200 vertical feet in just 2.3 miles. Within the first half mile your calves are burning and you constantly wonder if you can continue at the pace you are trying to push. To make matters worse, there was about 4 inches of crusty snow to move through. And then within .3 of the summit the trail disappeared under wind drift snow. Since I was in the lead I was now breaking trail, post-holing through drifts up to two feet deep. By the time we hit the top my feet and ankles were frozen and I was just ready to be off of there. As Scott reached the summit less than a minute behind me we both knew we weren't going to be trying for another lap. We'd have to come up with something else. Running down the steep slope was fun, but pounds on the quads. We had a great time though, laughing and chatting the whole way.
As we hit the bottom of the trail Scott offered up that we drive over and hit Wire Peak, a much easier, if not any less steep peak near the zoo; something we have both climbed more times than I can count. So we drove over, parked at the zoo, and expected to feel the fatigue of that 3200 ft of vert in just over two miles. However, as I pressed up the steep starting trail I found my legs were strong and willing to run. Wire Peak gains 2200+ feet in 2.2 miles. The first mile is still runnable, which means that the last 1.2 miles is extremely steep and technical. I pressed pretty hard and summitted in a somewhat respectable time considering the condition. However, instead of waiting for Scott who was obviously feeling the fatigue and was several minutes back I chose to cruise down as it was now snowing and windy. I made the round trip in 1:09:something, which is pretty fast on any day. And that time took into account the fact that I slipped and fell on the way down. Ha. On the whole we did 8.9 miles and 5500 feet of vert in 4.4 of those miles. My legs were tired after that, I can assure you.
I did run the next day, nothing special, just 8 miles in the Dimple Dell gully, but then didn't get to run again for the rest of the week. I did, however, get to spend an entire day skiing at Alta with my oldest son Tyler. He's starting to get really good and we had an awesome time all day long. I telemark ski, so while I didn't get to run I probably did do about the equivalent of 3000 or so lunges. Yeah, my legs are a little, but the memories will help them heal quick.
Next up, 30+ miles in the San Rafael Swell on Monday. Bring it!

Monday, February 13, 2012

First Week in February

I've been sick. Not very cool. I had a great start to the week with back-to-back ascents of View Benchmark, my standard trail run for early in the week. In fact, Monday I did a solo evening ascent under a full moon with no headlamp. I get a little freaked out running in the dark in the mountains by myself, and it's compounded when I don't have a lamp turned on (I did have one with me), but I was able to still have a great time and really enjoy having the peak and the trails to myself. On Tuesday I did a follow-up run to the summit with Matt and Scott during work. This time we started at Red Rock trailhead and went up Potato Hill to Ann's. Running up that side was really muddy, much worse than coming up west Ann's. I think that trail will have to be off the list unless it's snow covered or dry. Anything in between would be an absolute mess. The good part about that run was that I was in shorts and a thin long sleeve shirt. It has now snowed twice since those days so I doubt I'll get another run in like that for a while. I spent the rest of the week down with a severe cold. I actually had no desire to do anything other than just lay around like a sack of potatoes. I'm feeling much better tonight and looking forward to getting out again this evening.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wasatch 100, Here I Come

Did I  mention I got selected in the lottery to run the Wasatch 100 in September? Yeah, I did and I'm super psyched. Time to start really training so that I can crush that course.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

What a Week!

Wow, now that is how a week of running should go. Peaks, long runs, the Wasatch AND St George, and more fun running around the desert acting like idiots than anyone should be able to have.

Early in the week I got to hit two peaks; my weekly trip up View Benchmark and then a trip around the Grandeur Loop. Both days went really well and I climbed strong, even if I didn't feel all that hot when I went up VB. The conditions were pretty good on VB though, at least until we came down near the car where it had warmed up and gotten muddy. That being said, it was brilliant to watch Matt go down and get caked in mud. Then running an early morning loop on Grandeur is a great way to start the day. The trail was snow covered the whole way and required spikes, but it just made for a better adventure.

Scott and I on top of Grandeur Peak

Yeah, we were within a quarter mile of the trailhead. Awesome.

Scott wearing Altra Lone Peaks in front of Lone Peak, their namesake.

At the end of the week Matt and I headed to St George to work on a collaborative project with Altra Zero Drop. We're hoping this will be a long term project. I can't' give anything away about it just yet, but you'll find out soon enough. All I can say right now is that we had so much fun that I hardly even know how to explain it. What I will say is that in the midst of all of that me, Matt, and Seth were able to get out for an early morning run in the St George desert. It took longer than expected, but can you blame us with all of the beautiful cliffs and canyons surrounding us? Here are a few pics of us on top of a cliff above Ivans, at the mouth of Snow Canyon.