Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I've run five 100 mile endurance events (4 races, 1 adventure run), two 100k events, a bunch of 50 milers (2 races, at least), and more 50k length runs than I can count. Yet, with all of that I still feel like a rookie. Every time I go into a long run I feel like I'm lacking the appropriate knowledge and experience. I know that through all of my training and racing what works for me, how and when to eat, to be meticulous about my electrolyte intake, and how to pace early on. My race and adventure run results would indicate that I have a wealth of experience, but I still find myself in a constant state of learning.

Five 100 milers just doesn't seem like enough to be ready and confident going into my next race. When I talk with people, especially runners who haven't done an ultra, they think I'm amazing and an encyclopedia of information. Yet, when in discussions with other experienced ultra runners who have double the years of time invested in the sport I feel like a student, even if I have produced better race results. I definitely don't think that race results are a direct indication of how good a runner a person really is. Success can be found in smaller races, harder courses, or even just luck (like me).

Mile 56 of the Wasatch 100, 2012

The longer I'm involved with this sport the more I'm coming to realize that I'll never stop learning, that every race and each long run provides just a little more experience as I prepare for whatever comes next. I'm guessing that the day I go into a race thinking I have it in the bag will be the day I probably experience my first DNF (Did Not Finish). As long as I respect the distance and the course I believe I can go in with confidence and the knowledge that I can achieve my goals, but I have to stay humble. There is always something new to be learned.

As a side note, I had a great week of Thanksgiving. Perfect weather all week allowed for several amazing runs, two of which I took video of. Enjoy them when you have time. I would suggest changing the settings to watch both in HD.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

November Running

The miles just aren't there this month. It's ok, really, I'm having a lot of fun every time I get out and that's my focus until January.
I've been messing with my Sony Action Cam a little more. Recently I purchased a monopod and I wanted to see how well it worked on the run. Below is a short compilation video I made of my last two runs, one of which features the camera and monopod. I'm psyched on the setup.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Hurt Locker

No, not the movie. I would never try and liken myself to the amazing men and women of our armed forces who put themselves in harms way to protect my freedom. I only honor them by plagiarizing the name of the movie that represents a pain and danger of my own I went through.

I recently posted that while I'm in a season of downtime I would only go out and run and push myself if it seemed fun. Well, the weather here in Salt Lake has been amazing for this late in the year and I've wanted to really take advantage of it. Monday I did my normal run with Scott up View Benchmark. While nothing special it was still amazing because it was the first week in November and we were wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

Tuesday morning rolled around and I wanted to take advantage of it being election day and things being slower at work. It hit me that I should try for a personal best on Mount Olympus, the standard route. I've hiked it many times, my fastest being with my son a year or more ago. We summited in around 2 hours and went round trip in right around 3 hours. After that day I wanted to go back and try for a fast attempt, somewhere around 2:30 round trip. My plan as I pulled up to the trailhead was to try and hit the summit in 1:45, giving myself 45 minutes to get back down. The trail is only 6.5 miles round trip, but with 4100 feet of elevation gain in the 3.75 miles to the summit you can imagine just how steep it gets.

I was able to maintain a running pace all the way to the switchbacks, at which point I settled into a power hike. I wasn't feeling like I had a lot of energy and pep in my legs, so I just pushed at what I felt was a manageably uncomfortable pace. When I got to the scramble up the gully I was able to move quicker because it's more technical and that is my real comfort zone. Shockingly, I hit the summit in 1:23. I wasn't going for a fastest known time, so I stopped my watch, took a few pictures, and enjoyed the views and solitude as I looked out over the Salt Lake valley.

Now I had a decision to make. Could I get down in 37 min and was it worth the effort and potential danger of running that fast down such a technical and steep trail. Yep, it was. I don't think I ever got into my fully 'out of control' speed, but I was moving. With 2 miles left my quads were really starting to feel it and I knew I'd pay for it the following day, but I pressed on. To my own shock I hit the bottom in 1:59:20, a full 30 minutes faster than my goal time. I think with more energy on the way up I could drop that time by another 10 minutes. But that will have to wait for Spring.

Wednesday I just did a short recovery run in the gully by work to loosen my quads. It didn't work.

Thursday I met up with friend and co-founder of Altra Zero Drop shoes to attempt South Thunder Mountain. We wanted to summit, then traverse over to North Thunder and back. We knew there would be wind, but were under the impression it wasn't supposed to hit for a few hours. The run up is incredible. I can't really put it into words. As we hit the summit saddle the wind really picked up and dropped the temp by about 20 degrees. When we hit the top the wind had to have been gusting upwards of 60 mph, way to strong for us to try the sketchy ridge traverse. It will have to likely wait for next summer now. Bummer. The run down was just as awesome as the trip up. We even saw mountain goats along the way. We were pushing really good and my quads were again feeling it. Thanks to both hard days I was somewhere in my 'hurt locker', but loving every minute of it. I don't know if I'd call it training, but it was a great way to spend what was probably the last day of really nice weather this year. As I write this a day later it is snowing like crazy and has already dropped over an inch in the valley. My mountains will have to be climbed in something other than shorts for the next several months.

 Golden with Bighorn peak behind

 Me running to the summit with Lone Peak behind

Golden on the summit

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Good Week

It's been a long race and adventure season. I'm currently in rest and relaxation mode. I am running when it sounds fun (which is nearly every day), but I'm not training and therefore not pushing very hard. I spend most days out either summiting peaks right out of the valley or doing casual runs with friends on local trails. It's been physically and mentally refreshing and I'm really starting to sense a return of my speed and endurance in association with healthy joints and muscles. I've gained a little weight, but I' noticed that's typical for this time of the year and I plan to carry that weight into next Spring, at which time I'll slim down slightly to my race weight.

In the last couple of weeks I've hit up a few peaks, taken a bunch of pictures and made two videos. All are below. Enjoy.

In the last two weeks I've run View Benchmark peak three times, two of those with Scott. Yesterday was the best day in regards to weather and beauty on the trail. It was just incredible.

Last week Scott and I ran Wire Peak, something I haven't done in a long time. It was a crazy day with recent snow and low-lying clouds. I took along the POV cam and it was well worth it. Check out this short video about our run.

Just two days later Scott and I made an attempt on Grandeur Peak. Trail conditions were less than ideal, but the day couldn't have been more fun.

Great couple of weeks overall. I'm hoping the weather holds for another week or two and I can get onto some of the upper peaks before the deeper snow comes. Wish me luck.