Monday, May 20, 2013

Grandeur Fun Run


I awoke and saw rain and wet streets. I was out. What else to do that day? Probably nothing more than go back to sleep, then grumble about missing the Grandeur run. Later I would look at the photos of friends who did get up and run up a mountain in the rain. I would regret not going. Pulled on my favorite shorts, grabbed a couple long-sleeve shirts and drove myself to SLC. Don't know why, but legs don't get cold, so that is all I would need to wear as I would be hiking/running over 3,000 feet up the West side of Mount Grandeur. Parked at the school 3/4 mile from the trailhead and when I saw all the other folks there I knew I made the right decision. This was going to be fun.

Said hello to familiar faces at the traihead. Everyone in a good mood. Could not see the upper half of the mountain covered in cloud. We would be going up there. I had been up there dozens of times. This time was going to be my fastest time up by several minutes. I was sure of it. Eric said "One minute" and runners gathered near the sign. I was fiddling with shirts when he said go. Just ran up the trail like I had done many times before, but never with so many people. Breathing heavily already. That is normal for me. Then I warm up and breathing gets managed. The trail is steep, no exaggeration. I just wanted to keep a steady, aggressive pace. I think I did that. I wanted to run the enitre 9.6 miles in under 2 hours. If I could get to the summit in 50 minutes or less I could bank some time for the remaining miles. I passed a few runners on the climb, then was passed by one. For all of the upper half of the mountain I played leap-frog with another guy, a very strong hiker. Wish I would have got his name when I chatted with him at the finish. I wasn't racing against him, I was racing the clock. I wanted that 50 minutes or less. Near the top I broke into a run, seeing that a sub-50 was within reach. Not to be this time, I crossed the summit, according to my watch, at 50 minutes 25 seconds.

There was no sight-seeing because there was nothing to see up there. It was white-out and atmospheric. I looked down a half-dozen times and could see nobody below me. I brought no water and no gels. This was planned. I can do the entire run without those things. At the summit I wish I had brought exactly those things. I was a little wobbly from the aggresive climb. On the back side of the mountain, I stabilized and just ran and  the fun began. The rain party was on the East side of the mountain. Down I ran and the rain fell and I loved every moment. This was just like childhood in Bellingham. I knew this feeling. The only thing missing were banana slugs, wet ferns, and mossy trees. Church Fork was an excellent stand-in for Washington state. I ran entirely alone from the summit down to Church Fork/Pipeline junction. Thank goodness there was a table set up with cold drinks, and a couple volunteers there. I stopped for a minute and downed a Coke, then some water. Meanwhile, two runners rolled through and disappeared down trail. I got back onto it feeling terrific. I really love running the pipeline trail now. It is flat and fast. Much better than running road. Twice I had to stop and tie shoelaces, but I made good time to the Bambi Hill turnoff. Seriously slippery up the hill. Without trees and small bushes to pull on, the hill would be near impossible to mount. Nick S. appeared behind me. We chatted most of the way up, then ran down the single track. Again I had to stop and re-tie a lace, and had to let him go. Another runner showed up behind me, and I stepped aside. He was incredibly quick on that tecnical downhill and disapeared in seconds. The trail was slippery but I managed to stay upright the entire run. I did see the low-hanging branch and ducked under. Other runners had slammed into it, drawing blood. The route followed a slightly different trail than what I had expected, but I enjoyed this variation. A look at the watch and I knew I had sub-2 hours. Back onto the shoreline trail that runs the foot of the mountain I kept a steady quick pace to the finish. I really could smell food down there.

I came in at 1 hour 57 minutes and 30 seconds. That was fun. Craig came in a few minutes later, getting his sub-2 hours. Scott came in about 2 hours 22 minutes; then Matt at 2:29. Everyone did very well. I don't think the rain and mud slowed anyone. Maybe up Bambi Hill but the course record was demolished by 6 or 7 minutes.


jun said...

Holy cow, that was a fun day. Nice job on that climb, it was amazing to watch. Fast all around time. What an awesome time.

Nicholas Sourlos said...

That was Jason Berry absolutely flying on the downhills it was incredible. He and I came pounding into the finish laughing our butts off at how hard we were pushing each other. SO MUCH FUN!