Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good Water Rim run report

The company I work for (Rocky Mountain Power) gave us MLK day off last Monday.  I thought only banks, schools and government institutions got that day off.  Needless to say, I took advantage and scored a nice long run.
I had a couple of criteria for this run.  First, I wanted out of the foul air we've been breathing for most of the winter, second, I didn't want to spend most of my time on snow, third, I wanted to go someplace I hadn't been to.
I saw a post from some SLC runners about the Good Water Rim Trail and I remembered thinking that they did this run in the winter and the ground was dry.  The scenery was pretty cool as well.  Now I just had to figure out where it was.  After a bit of searching, I found that it was down south near Castle Dale, Utah.
Knowing this was about 3.5 hours away, I resolved to get an early start, do the run and get home all in one day.  Well, I didn't get as early a start as I wanted due to medical issues with one of our horses (he's fine, just a bad laceration), but I did get started at about 7am and made it down there by about 11:00am.  This drive does include 20 miles on a gravel road.  By the time I got there, I realized I was way out in the middle of nowhere.  I think I saw two vehicles on the gravel road and three vehicles while I was out there.

Elevation Profile

I started my run at a road junction, ran about 2-3 miles to the edge of the Little Grand Canyon, ran along the rim on the road, then hit the trail.  About 2 miles in on the trail I came across the only people I would see on that trail the entire time.  The rest of the run I had the place to myself.
Most of the trail was pretty easy to follow.  I did get off trail just a bit a couple of times primarily because snow was obscuring the trail.  The trail itself looks like it doesn't see much use.  If there had been no snow on the ground it would have been easy to follow, but generally it's pretty lightly traveled.  Fine with me.  I knew that as long as I kept the canyon on my right, I'd be fine.  In many places the trail goes right next to the rim.  Sometimes with a several hundred foot drop.
The weather was crystal clear, about 35 when I started warming up to about 50 degrees.  Bright sunshine, perfect day for this.  I guessed that the trail was about 25% snow covered with 4"-6", about 25% was pretty muddy, and the rest was dry.
As far as the trail goes, I ended up with just a bit over 1000' of gain, so a pretty flat trail, but it has to be one of the most convoluted trails I have ever been on.  In and out of every little canyon finger, small drainage, etc.  After the last of the trail, I ended up running about 2 miles back to my car along the dirt road. 
I ended up running abut 20.5 miles total, of which about 14-15 miles were actually trail, nice sweet single track trail.  After stopping for dinner in Price, I headed for home and managed to get back well before my bedtime.  All in all a great day for a run in a great place.  I definitely want to revisit here and do this run again.

Dirt road leading to the trail

Overlooking the Little Grand Canyon

Looking south down the Good Water Canyon

Ooops, fingers in the way

My start point

Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's Ham(st)er Time

Haven't written here in awhile, so I thought I'd post a short report about my run at the Revolution Run.
So, the Revolution Run is a 5 hour run that's usually done on January 1.  For some reason (scheduling conflicts I think), the organizers moved it to January 11.  Fine by me.
The format is pretty simple.  How many laps can you run around the 442 meter indoor track at the Olympic Ice Oval in five hours?
I kind of like timed races.  I think they're much more mental than trail races in that you have the same scenery lap after lap.  It takes effort to try and maintain a constant pace on a flat surface.  Do you go out harder?  Easier so that you have something at the end?  Do you keep running when you see your opponent walking? When do you walk if need be?  When do you get aid?  The strategies are different than the usual trail race.  Most of my running friends abhor the thought of running in circles for that long.  "It's boring", "how can you turn circles for that long?"

It really isn't that boring.  There's some great people watching that you can partake in, hopefully you have a few friends to pass the time with.  There's always music, and it's great mental training on focusing.  Focusing  is something that I really.....Look, Squirrel!!.....need to work on.
Since I my miserable failure at the Bear 100, my running during November and December was less than stellar.  In fact, in November I ran 135 miles, and in December I ran a whopping 75 miles.  Yeah, I wasn't real interested in running.  Couple that with the new job and all that entails, and you can see I had a few other things on my mind.


I had resolved to hit the running in earnest on January 1, and that's what I've done so far.  It helps to sign up for a bunch of races so that you have some goals that you have to train for.
I did have a goal for this race.  I've only managed to run a 50K in under five hours while on my treadmill. I thought that maybe I could accomplish that here given the course (an oval) and the vertical (0 feet).  On the other hand, my training (or lack of)  might put a damper on that effort.  Regardless, I was going to go out and run as far as I could and see what happened.  I figured it would be good mental training if nothing else.
I met up with some of the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers.  With them around, I knew it would be a good time if nothing else.  I was right.  Some of us played tag as we ran laps.  Nothing like grown adults playing kids games.

Ham(st)er Time

The race started and about 335 of us started circling the ice oval.  Needless to say, it was a bit crowded for awhile.  Actually, it was crowded for quite awhile, like the first couple of hours.  I didn't have any problem running, but I was either weaving around people or having people weave around me.  Still, the crowd didn't slow me down any except once in awhile.
I managed to run pretty much non-stop for the first almost three hours.  I would get something to drink or eat, but immediately after downing it, I was back running.  I didn't walk my first full lap until about lap 71 (about 19 miles).  By then, my lack of training was showing up, me feet were tired, my quads were getting sore, my calves didn't like me very much.  It probably didn't help any that I had gone to the gym Friday and hit it pretty hard with the weights and went into the race already somewhat sore.  What I found during my walking was that it was actually easier to just run.  When I would start running about a short walking break it would hurt worse than if I had just kept running.
My race was pretty uneventful.  I put my music on, played tag occasionally, drank half a PBR at about lap 85, and ran.  I hit the half marathon mark (48 laps) right at two hours.  Not bad given my fitness level.  I knew that a full marathon was definitely in reach,  the question would be how far could I get past that.  I figured that the 50K was out of reach.
I hit the full marathon (96 laps) at about 4:24.  Definitely not my fastest marathon time.  By then I was getting really tired.  I was walking more, and my lap times were creeping up.  The mental training came into play here.  I knew I was woefully undertrained but I knew that I could keep running if I could just talk my body into it.  The race became one of mental focus, could I force my legs to keep running when they're screaming at me to stop.  Both of my calves were trying to cramp up on me.  Almost to the point of me falling, still I tried to keep a run going.  I really had to turn inward and try and block outside distractions in order to keep going.
For several hours I had no idea of how many laps I had run.  I wasn't wearing a watch.  I just had my phone with tunes playing.
After I hit the marathon mark, I did kind of relax.  I still had 30+ minutes to run, but I kind of figured that anything beyond 26.2 were bonus miles.

So, I ended up running 107 laps, or 29.38 miles.  My placing was 20th out of 335 starters.  Not too bad for grandpa.
My awesome grandkids

My fueling was ok.  With an aid station every 442 meters the concern became one of overfueling and hydrating.  I think I ate 2-3 gels, a bunch of pretzels, drank some water, Gatorade, and Achiva (some sort of muddy looking stuff that didn't taste too bad).  I figured that with the race being less than 50K, I didn't need to overdo things.
I was incredibly sore after the race.  Every part of me legs just ached.  I've felt less sore after running 50 miles, and 100K's. So I chalk that up to either being out of shape, pushing too hard, or making too many left turns.
BTW, while we were running, some of the Olympic speed skaters were practicing on the oval.  They are holy crap fast.  It was amazing to watch them go flying by in a train of 5-6 skaters tucked in behind each other drafting.  Just, wow.

I took a few during and after the race.

Jeremy showing some sexy leg

Jeremy and his wife.  Her first race ever.

Craig chatting up some lady.  I have no idea who she was.

This lady had some awesome signs

Running on the hamster habitrail

My favorite sign of the day

Craig and Zac having a special moment....in public.  Steve photobombing his ass.