Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekly Highlights


For the fourth week of January, friends and fellow runners again got up and out early to get above the pollution. Scott and Craig had a nice Sunday run up Mt. Grandeur and completed the ten mile loop:

Scott W. on summit of Grandeur

Craig levitates one of the creek crossings

Craig did some laps up to View Benchmark, above Draper City. He brought back photographic proof that the sky is still blue above the inversion cloud and further evidence that we live in one of the greatest cities on earth.
View Benchmark summit

Mt. Timpanogos looking mi-T-fine

Scott made a solo run up to the Avenues Twin Peaks, in the foothills above Salt Lake City. It is a ten mile out and back with a great view of the Salt Lake valley when the air is clear. When he got to the peak there was a helicopter loitering on the West summit. Black ops? Underachieving heli skiers? We may never know.

Avenues Twin Peaks above Salt Lake City

Matt W. also made a trip up to the Ave Twins, with Craig and Scott on another day. Farmington Canyon was still a good place for MGW to get ten miles and over 2,000 feet of vert before work. Nice work, Dorsimus!

Craig, Scott and Matt W. spent some time at the Outdoor Retailer show in SLC this week. Hopefully they got some nice new toys and gear to try out for 2013.

I got up early for a run up Farmington Canyon with Matt W., and later in the week got in a run up Mt. Grandeur for the loop. The highlight of my week was a snowshoe hike and climb up to 11,000 foot Lone Peak. Someone captured this on video. Be sure to watch in 720P HD:

I speak for all of us when I say of the cold temperatures and air pollution: Enough already. Bring on Spring!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Getting Out of the Muck

by Craig

Salt Lake City and the Wasatch front is buried in a sea of pollution caused 'inversion'. High pressure pushes cold air down and the heavier polluted air sinks and sits in the confines of the valleys encased on all sides by mountains. Bottom line is that it is deeeeeeescusting. Run for 2 hours in the valley, whether on the roads or trails and you'll feel like you just smoked a pack of cheap Lucky brand cigarettes (do they still make those?).  After a particular bad run last week in it I vowed to not run outdoors in the valley until this stuff blows out. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen until we get another storm, something not in the forecast for another week or more. YUCK!

All that said, it certainly doesn't stop the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers from getting out on the trails, above the sickening inversion. Over the last several days many of us have actually had some pretty cool runs. I hope the boys don't mind me pulling photos and some of their experiences from the last week to spray about the continually cool stuff we get to do.

Last week MVH made it a habit of hitting up Farmington Canyon. He would run anywhere from 10 to 20 miles, taking him higher and higher above the toxic air. Matt W went along for the ride once or twice and even did a group run of his own up there. From what I can see in the photos it seems like a really cool place to run.

Matt running down

MVH caught the morning inversion from well above it

Matt and brother Aaron making strong work through the fog

Last week I ran the Avenue Twins from the Capitol building twice, once with Jennilyn and once with Matt and Scott. Both were awesome, but for different reasons. My run with Jennilyn was a slogfest, having to posthole up to the Twins and along the BST. The run with Matt and Scott was long and on much better packed trails, but oh so cold!!!

On top at dawn. Cold, but happy.

This past Sunday Scott and I chose to get above the inversion by doing a lap on the Grandeur Loop. It starts on the west ridge and climbs 3200 vertical feet in 2.3 miles to the summit of Grandeur Peak. The trail wasn't quite packed out like we'd hoped, but it wasn't that bad either. Going down Church Fork on the hand was an absolute blast. It was like a sidewalk it was so good. Take out the fact that Scott slipped and feel in a nearly, but not quite dry creek and it was perfect. Unfortunately, once back on pavement we were also back in the fog and had to run the final 2.5 miles back in the car breathing edible air. Great day though.

Scott running down Church Fork

The inversion awaits

Today I was limited on time and availability, but I was still able to get outside. I drove up to Suncrest and did  laps on the View Benchmark road which was totally packed in snow. I even hit the summit twice. It was actually a really great day of running and the weather was just perfect.

Majestic Mt Timpanogos floating above the inversion

Needless to say, it has been a fun week for all of us and I think we all feel like pre-season training is going well. Here's to hoping or cleaner air and longer runs.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The BST Marathon Day

by Craig

The Refuse 2 Quit crew headed out last week for a long run on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail downtown. We started at the zoo and hit a few peaks along the way; Wire, Red Butte, Van Cott, and the Avenue Twins. It was a tough day of running - 26 miles and 7000 vert - in varying temps. We all ran out of water with a couple miles to go, but made it back safe and happy. It was basically an Altra day on the trails, with three of the four of us wearing Lone Peaks. Perfect shoe for the perfect day. Both MVH and myself made videos. Here they are. MVH's is first because it's way better than mine. If you stop after his I won't be offended.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Learning by Mistake

I was excited for my season to get under way. I felt going into my fourth year of running (2012) that things were finally dialed in.  Not the case...  I ended up making a few mistakes that essentially cost me the successful season I was hoping for.  I’m here to share a few of those experiences along with some plans to get me back on track.  Apparently I learn through trial and error; not by heeding advice or reading about it.

I finished the 2011 Bear 100 and came away with 19 blisters on my feet.  Yes, you read that right; 19!  I knew that I had to focus on transitioning into a better shoe during the off-season.  Craig has always loved his Altras (known for their wide forefoot, among other things), so I decided to give them a shot.  Since I was moving from a shoe with a 12mm heel-toe ratio to a zero drop shoe, I knew a transitional phase was necessary.  Six weeks into my transition however, I decided to go for a 31 mile adventure run with the crew.  Since I was only up to about 10 miles in my Altra Zero Drop shoes at the time, I decided to run in my old shoe.  This single decision led to a string of mistakes that would eventually see me sidelined for half the year.

The day Mistake #1 happened... w/ Craig, MVH, and Scott

Mistake #1: Switching to my old shoe for an adventure run while transitioning into Altras.
Result: Posterior Tibial Tendonitis

Mistake #2: Ramping up training too quickly upon my return to running.
Result: Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

To add insult to injury (literally), I ended up getting divorced in the summer.  The emotional effects certainly affected my training, but my living circumstances had much more impact.  I moved out of my place and into my sister’s basement.  I really couldn’t ask to live in a better place as she and her husband are amazing roommates!  However, I don’t feel comfortable invading their privacy, so I rarely venture into the kitchen to cook.  Fast food became my friend again after years of only eating out on occasion.

Mistake #3: Eating less healthy.
Result: Poor energy and less healthy overall.

The good news is I’m on the right track now.  I finished the 2012 Wasatch 100 in my Altra Lone Peaks.  Shoe transition: Check!  I’m working on SLOWLY ramping up my training again.  Injury prevention: Check!  And I’m making healthier food choices by getting creative.  Better energy and health: Check!

Finishing the 2012 Wasatch 100 in my Altra Lone Peaks

In addition, I’ve gone back to my tried & true method of writing out a schedule and recording my results… With a pen & paper.  I didn’t do it at all last year and I caught myself slacking sometimes.  Old school pen & paper is certainly not for everyone though, I get that.  Just something about seeing that number for the day written out really gives me motivation, even if I don’t always follow it exactly.

I don’t mean for any of this to sound like I’m making excuses or pulling out the “poor me” card.  I own up to EVERY ONE of these mistakes.  However, I’ve learned valuable lessons from them, which is why I'm sharing.  Each has helped me gain more experience and aided in pointing me in the right direction for a healthy and successful 2013.

What are some major mistakes that you’ve made in training?  Have you experienced a life altering change that affected your training?  What are you doing to correct your mistakes and move forward in a positive direction?  Leave a comment.  We’d love to hear your stories.

Friday, January 4, 2013

116 in 2012

By Scott Wesemann

I have been keeping track on my total mountain ascents for a few years now and 2012 was by far the best year that I have ever had with a total of 116 peaks climbed during the year. Most of these ascents were done early in the morning before work and I never regretted getting up a single time. I had some incredible experiences with great friends, saw some sweet sunrises, had a lot of laughs and I enjoyed every second. Here are some of the highlights from the year.

The best peak- This would have to be Gilbert Peak, the third highest peak in Utah. It would be my third time on the summit of this giant, but the best and most satisfying was tagging it the same day as I hit King’s and South King’s, the highest two peaks in the state with Josh, which gave us the coveted Triple Crown (Highest 3 peaks in Utah) in one day.
Josh and I finishing the Triple Crown on Gilbert

The worst peak- I will go ahead and tag Gilbert Peak with this honor as well for taunting me relentlessly while I slogged up her massive boulder ridden west face trying to get the Triple Crown. I guess karma came back to bite me pretty good after I had spent the previous month and a half telling anyone that would listen how horrible Gilbert was. I said some nasty things about ol’ Gil, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me that I was smacked in the face repeatedly by a horrendous wind as I completed the tedious task of navigating the loose boulder pile to the top with Josh. It was without question the worst ascent of the year.

Biggest pucker factor peak- Mount Superior via the South Ridge is a classic Wasatch mountaineering route and I completed the route for the second time with MVH and Craig back in June. This long exposed knife edge is some of the best scrambling in the entire Wasatch and we had a blast on the route. Check out this cool video that Matt made of our climb. South Ridge

Peak with the best running route- I’ll give the nod to Mt. Timpanogos from the Timpanookee trailhead. I was lucky enough to run this route 3 times in 2012 and each time I finished with a gigantic smile on my face. The views are unmatched, the route is 100% runnable and when you run it you get treated like a rock star by the hordes of hikers that can’t believe someone could actually ‘run’ to the top. I had a personal best round trip time of 3:15 and just over 2:00 to the top this year.

Craig and I on the summit of Timp
The best new peak climbed- I’m going to go with South King’s Peak because it has been on my list for about 15 years. South King’s is a 30-45 minute scramble from the top of Utah’s highest point, King’s Peak, so I’m ashamed to admit that it was my first time to the summit since the Triple Crown did mark my 10th time to the summit of King’s. In my defense nearly every time I’ve been on top of King’s I’ve either been barfing or seriously considering it due to my inability to deal with the high altitude.

My treadmill peak in 2012- There isn’t even a question that this title is going to go to View Benchmark. I didn’t discover this little gem until I found it on Summitpost a few years ago. VB is the highest point above Suncrest and actually has one of the best views of any summit in the Wasatch. Nearly all of my trips to the top were made from the local Draper trails and had between 1600-2000 vert with 8-10 miles andVB was part of my weekly routine for most of the year in 2012.

Worst weather peak- On Boxing Day we had a group run to the summit of Lake Mountain in a blizzard. It was snowing the entire run/hike/slog and we had to break trail in deep snow while getting hammered by a strong wind. Even though the weather pounded us mercilessly we were laughing and smiling nearly the whole way. I did a solo up View Benckmark during another storm in December that was a close second.

Most peaks in a day- I only counted it as 4 peaks, but the crew (Craig, Josh, Mark K.) did an early morning run tagging Sugarloaf, Baldy, Hidden, American fork Twins and Red Stack. Not only was it the most peaks I did in a day in 2012, but it was one of the best runs with a ton of laughs and killer views. The best part was the ridge scramble from Hidden Peak to the East Twin. Awesome.
Craig negotiating the knife edge on the East American Fork Twin.

Best wildlife encounter peak- Seeing a cougar during the Wasatch 100 was far and away the best wildlife encounter of the year, but I wasn’t running up a peak, so I’ll go with nearly stepping on a rattle snake while running down from the top of Saddleback Mountain in Logan back in June. I was rocking out to some early eighties tunes on my iPod when I saw the snake rise up in a striking position. I quickly put on the brakes just in time. Talk about an adrenaline rush

I’m really looking forward to 2013 and I’m psyched for the adventure runs and summits that are in the works with the crew. Stay tuned.