Monday, May 7, 2012

Last Week of Training

I completed my final week of training before heading to Zion this weekend. No, I'm not running the new Zion 100 race this weekend. As much as I'd like to I have my sights set on something I think will be even better - a double traverse of Zion National Park. From what I can tell, it's never been done before. You can follow me on Friday and Saturday via my Twitter account - @ultracraig. I'll post again on here on Thursday with some details.

Last week was a real treat though. Most people take a two week taper, but I've found in the past that tapering that long does not help me. Instead, I like to train up until the week before then just get a couple of shake-out runs in the week of the race. I tend to perform better when I manage my race approach that way.

I had some cool stuff happen last week, for sure. I ran the Dimple Dell gully one day, the Draper Trails two days (summiting View Benchmark one of the days), ran the Avenue Twins another day, and finished with a really cool run up Butterfield Canyon in Herriman on Saturday. The weather all week was pretty amazing, even in the middle of the day. Overall, I had a solid 57 mile week with about 10,000 ft of vert. Details of some of the runs below.

On Wednesday I ran a cool new 13 mile route up to the summit of View Benchmark. It starts at Red Rock and then heads over and up Clark's Trail. From there I ran Eagle Crest to the View Benchmark road, then up to the summit and back from there. I then cruised the often run Ann's Trail down to the BST and back to Red Rock. The day was really pleasant, warm enough to run without a shirt, but cool enough that I didn't ever feel over-heated. I wore my UltrAspire Synapse and was impressed that I could wear a waist pack without a shirt. It was really comfy.

Then on Thursday I ran with Matt up to the Avenue Twins via the Shoreline trail. I don't think there was a morning for views and weather this year. It was really stunning. Near the top we ran into Scott and Van Horn on their way down (they started a little earlier than us). Matt and I ended just cruising the whole way, even after I had had a relatively tough week to that point. And then with 2 miles left Matt turned on the jets and it was all I could do to stay up with him. It was really impressive to see him perform like that.

 Matt nearing the summit of the first Twin

Me summiting the second Twin

On Saturday I did a really cool run up Butterfield Canyon. I've been asked to confirm the trail course for the Herriman Half Marathon on the 18th of May (the road half and marathon are on the 19th). The trail was laid out on mapmyrun, but no one has run the course yet. Because the road up to the top of Butterfield canyon is still closed, that would mean I would need to run the 6.5 miles up + the half marathon course. 

Aaron, the RD, dropped me off at the closed entrance to Butterfield after dropping my car off at the Rose Canyon/Yellow Fork trailhead. My intention was to run the road all the way up; however, if there happened to pass a would-be lift (there were motorcyclists who had gone around the gate) I would try and get one as my focus was on validating the course, not the 6.5 miles of pavement. However, while I did see a few groups of motorheads riding down, there were none going up. The road is an easy run except for a few spots where it gets really steep. I got to the top in 1:11, not bad considering I took several walk breaks.

The road up Butterfield Canyon. My intended end point was the summit in the distance.

Now it was decision time. I had a route to follow, but I also knew of a shorter, more direct way to the summit. Since I was there to validate an existing course I took the planned route and went left. At mile 1 of the course is the first real branch in the trail. My notes said left. I knew it would descend and then wrap around and back up. But after a half mile it was going down farther than I expected. When I came to a hairpin turn (which I didn't remember) the trail seemed to go the wrong direction and way too far down for it to match the course elevation description. Assuming I was wrong I hiked back up the very steep half mile and then took the other turn-off. Unfortunately, after another half mile that trail ended. What really got to me was that I was now less than 1200 vertical feet and couldn't have been more than two miles from the summit, but I had no trail and bush-whacking wasn't an option. I backtracked a ways and called Aaron, giving him the bad news. During the call I had a Red Tailed Hawk fly right in front of me - awesome.

I ran back to the trailhead. I knew I could take the other route, but I was now out of time as it was about 6pm. I wouldn't be able to run the whole course before dark and I didn't have a light (and the awesome full moon wasn't going to rise until 9:45). So I ran the paved road all the way back down where Aaron was waiting for me to take me back to my car. Unfortunately, I won't be able to validate the alternate course as I am actually going to taper over the next 5 day, but we have been communicating an alternate course and I think it will work out just fine.

End result is that I got in 17 miles total with over 3500 ft of vert. At the end I felt fresh and ready to keep running. I think I'm ready for Zion. In fact, I don't think I've ever been more ready to run a 100 miler in my life. I'm so excited I've been dreaming about it.

1 comment:

Jay said...

Good luck in Zion this weekend! Can't wait to hear about your adventure - a double crossing - very cool!