Thursday, December 13, 2012

Random post time

Haven't posted anything in awhile so I thought I would for those that have a burning desire to know what's going on in my running (and other stuff) world.
November was a total bust running-wise.  I think I ran a whopping 112 miles for the month.  With Karen out from back surgery, I've been doing all of the chores around the house.  Feeding all the critters we have, plus things like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. has put a damper on the running as of late.  But that wasnt totally unplanned or unwanted.  It gave me a chance to take a little breather from the running.
Since Karen was off of work until the first part of Jan. I kicked her out of the house for a month and shipped her to SoCal to see her family.  Doing this accomplished a couple of things, first, she wouldn't be tempted to do things around the house that she shouldn't be doing, and second, it gave her some extended time with her family.  Something that a lot of us don't get a chance at with work and such.  So she's been having a good time spending all of our money.
Other news, we have another grandchild.  Savannah Grace Weber was born on Dec. 2 weighing in at 6lb 12 oz and 18 inches long.  Mom and baby are doing wonderful and we get to see them at Christmas!!
So what's up with the running?  Well, I've been starting to put together my 2013 race and other event calendar.  So far, I'm planning on running several 100's plus some other races, so it looks to be a somewhat intense running year.  Right now the only two 100's I'm signed up for are Zion and Salt Flats.  I've put in for the Wasatch lottery as well.  Other 100's under consideration are Bryce, the Bear, and Badger Mountain.  We'll see how the training goes through December.  Some of the adventure runs I'd like to knock off the list are a run through Bryce Canyon National Park, a circumnavigation of the Tetons, and another run in the Grand Canyon.  The GC is already on the calendar for the fall.
One little local adventure "run" happened a couple of weeks ago.  A few of us climbed the front side of Lewis Peak.  We gained something like 3500' in about 2.7 miles.  Portions were at a grade of 2000'/mile, so it was a pretty good scramble. 
Bj, Jon, and Ryan scrambling up a steeper section

Ben Lomond Peak from the top of Lewis Peak

The last pitch before the summit
So, here's the week of  December 2nd progress.

Sunday - Didn't do squat except stuff around the house that needed to get done.

Monday - Got up early and headed for the aquatic center to get a run in on the track.  Tough to do when I have farm chores to do at 5am.  Managed to get a run in a lunch time as well, although it was on the treadmill.  Miles - 8.0

Tuesday - Got up early again and headed for the aquatic center.  This time I swam about 800 yards.  Went back at lunch to get a run in on the dreadmill again.  This evening I went to Pilates, so triple workout day.  If that doesn't get me into shape, nothing will.  Miles - 8.0

Wednesday - Found out that my quads were a bit tired and sore from yesterday's Pilates session.  My teacher will be pleased to hear that.  Got up and hit the aquatic center for a run.  Even though the legs were a bit tired and sore, I managed to get in about four miles at a pretty good pace.  Since I don't time it I can only guess at my pace, but it seemed to be down around 8:00-8:30.

Thursday - Swam another 1000 yards in the morning, then ran 4 miles at lunch.  Miles - 4.0

Friday - Took the day off.  Didn't do squat.

Saturday - ran from 22nd street.  Had big plans to go about 7 miles.  Didn't where warm enough clothes and turned around at inspiration point.  Managed to get in about 3.6.  Miles - 3.6

Breaking news, I'm now signed up for the Bryce 100.  Still crossing my fingers on Wasatch.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Week of October 28

I haven't posted in a couple weeks mainly due to the fact that my lovely wife underwent major back surgery shortly after our Zion trip.  It was a planned surgery as she has had back pain for years.  She ended up with a L4-L5 fusion. 
Since I was getting kind of burnt out with running, I figured that taking a bit of time off to take care of her post surgery would be a good thing to do, and it has been.  I dropped out of the Ogden Valley 50 mile, and did no running at all the week of her surgery. 
I'm happy to say that now less than two weeks post surgery, she is doing great.  She's out walking around the neighborhood, and generally feeling better.  It'll be a full year of recovery, but as time goes on, she'll be able to pick up more and more activites.  No snowboarding or horsey riding for the winter, but by next spring she should be back in action for the most part.
Meanwhile, I've started running again this week, but only during lunch.  Having her family here is a big help, but they go home this weekend.

Sunday - Didn't do any running at all.

 Monday - Ran at lunch.  Did my usual five mile route down the bike path.  Felt good to get back out running, but I did feel a bit sluggish.  Miles - 5.0

Tuesday - Went out again at lunch.  Gorgeous day, near 70.  Tried pushing a little bit.  Wanted to keep the average pace at least under nine minutes.  Manage to do that, but not by much.  Went to Pilates tonight.  I could tell I hadn't been there in a week, it was kind of tough.  Miles - 5.0

Wednesday - Went out again at lunch.  Record high temps.  Went the other direction down the bike path today.  Miles - 4.9

Thursday - Went on an older route that I used to do all the time.  Managed to keep the pace below 8:30 today.  I actually felt pretty good, not stiff, not tired.  Miles - 5.2

Friday - Was going to go after work from Rainbow north, but when I got to the trailhead, I thought "nope, just not into it today" and went home.  I usually enjoy running by myself, but today I kind of wanted someone to run with.  Oh well.  Miles - 0.0

Saturday - Didn't run at all.  The first training run for the Buffalo Run was today, but I didn't make it.  Instead, I spent the day cleaning house, doing laundry, and generally getting stuff done around the house now that guests are gone.  Felt good to get a bunch of stuff done, but I did feel a bit guilty for not running.  I got over it pretty quick though.  I'm still not ready to get back into the training thing yet.  I'm still doing Pilates, and running at lunch during the week, but weekend running isn't happening.  This has me a bit worried, but I'm sure once things settle down a bit, Karen gets more mobile and able to do things, that the bug will come back.  Meanwhile, I feel like I'm getting a bit fat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week of October 7 - Zion Traverse report

Sunday - Went for a short run with Juli Aistars, a friend from Illinos.  She was in town for a nursing conference and came out and ran the 50K.  She stayed at our home Saturday night and I took her on one of our favorite local runs, Rainbow north.  Gorgeous morning and she enjoyed it.  Miles - 6.1

Monday - Did a road run from home.  I've been trying to get a few more road miles in before the Ogden Valley 50 mile.  Not a big fan, but I can run faster on the roads.  Miles - 5.55

Tuesday - Same thing, ran on the road from home to Pilates class.  When ever I do that, the class seems to be just a bit harder.  Probably because I'm tired from the run.  Who knows?  Still, managed a consistent 9 minute pace the entire run.  That's what I'm looking for when I run ogden Valley.  If I can maintain a 9 minute pace for the first half and a 10 minute pace for the sceond half, I'll bee really happy.  Miles - 5.1

Wednesday - Ran at lunch today.  Ended up running to the bank.  Boring, but oh well.  Miles - 4.9

Thursday - Ran again at lunch.  Sigh!  Miles - 4.65

Friday - Drove to Zion National Park with Karen and her sister.  Happy Birthday to me!  Big time run tomorrow.  Miles - 0

Saturday - Zion traverse.  Love this run.  We did it last year and it was incredible.  This year was no different.  Several of us that went last year were up for the adventure again, plus several that hadn't run it before came along.  I think there were ten of us that made the complete trek. 
Friday it rained on us all the way down.  We knew that it would clear out so it wasn't really a worry as far as the run.
Saturday morning dawned at Lee Pass with the skies still somewhat cloudy and the cliffs and peaks wreathed in clouds.  Made for a spectacular sight.

Dawn at the Lee Pass trailhead
We managed to get started by about 7:30.  The trail was quite muddy in spots from the previous night's rain but it wasn't too bad.  The trail descends for about the first 1-2 miles along a small creek.  After that it begins to follow La Verkin creek upstream for the next 4-5 miles.  Once we started up La Verkin Creek, the mud pretty much went away and was replaced by wet sand and even wetter foliage.  The wet plants meant that my legs and shoes were soon soaked from the drips.  The temperature was in the 50's with no breeze, so it made for very pleasant running.
We were having a great time along this section, goofing around, taking pictures, shooting video, and just enjoying the scenery.  Definitely awe inspiring.
After about six miles, we had to cross the creek.  That made for some interesting jumps trying to keep our wet feet dry. 
After the creek crossing we made the climb to the Hop Valley riverbed.  This is a cool part of the run.  With the flat riverbed plus cliffs on either side, it's a total Jurrasic Park moment, especially when the range cattle moo and it echoes off of the canyon walls.  As we went up the riverbed, Aric tried to befriend one of the steers, named it "Dinner" and tried to pet it.  The steer wasn't having any part of that.
Most everyone was trying to avoid getting their feet wet by hoping back and forth across the meandering stream.  I figured that my feet were already wet, so why not take the direct route.  I went straight up the riverbed, in the water.  Since it was only a few inches deep, that wasn't a problem.
Eventually we made it to the Hop Valley Trailhead where Kathleen and Shane were waiting for us with supplies and water.  After about a half hour stop, we took off.  The lead group of Harrison, Jon, and Jared left the rest of us behind.  Meanwhile, Aric, Shawn, Breein,a nd I stuck together for the rest of the journey, while Ryan, Lindsay, and Alicia brought up the rear.
Clouds were still hanging around as we went through the pine forest towards Wildcat Canyon, but we did notice the temperature seemed to be warmer than last year.  We thought we'd be getting into the clouds in Wildcat Canyon, but by the time we got there, they had cleared out and we could see the scenery.
Wildcat Canyon

After Wildcat Canyon, we continued up the trail and reached Horse Pasture Plateau.  This plateau sits at about 7500' and is pretty flat.  By now we were more than halfway done and were making pretty reasonable time.  We took a break at the same place we did last year. 
Enjoying the view

At this point, the rest of the journey is either flat or downhill.  There is a couple of short uphills, but they aren't any big deal.  The first downhill took us into Potato Hollow, while the next uphill took us on to the West Rim Trail.  This trail at times follows right along the edge of the plateau with a cliff just a few feet away.  Makes for an interesting part of the run.  Just before we began the main descent to the valley floor, we were treated to a couple more spectacular views.
The descent itself is pretty interesting.  The trail is cut right into the side of the cliff and has concrete left over from the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the 1930's. 
As you head down, you see towering cliffs, water seeps coming right out of the cliffs, and all sorts of interesting things.
Aric trying for a glamour shot at the bridge
Eventually, we made our way to the trail junciton for Angel's Landing.  Here we got our first look at the valley floor well over a thousand feet below.
Yeah, its' a long ways down
As we made our way down, we get to go through"Walter's Wiggles".  This is a set of small switchbacks, that are cut into the cliffside.  Here's where we started to encounter all of the day tourists that were coming back down from Angel's Landing.  We get some odd looks when we go running by.
Walter's Wiggles
The finish at the bottom of this trail.
We managed to finish the run at around 7pm.  A little bit quicker than last year.  No one was waiting for us, so we hopped on the tram and headed for the park entrance.  As we were waiting, we were questioned by a few people.  They found it amazing that we had run across the park in one day.
It was a great day for an epic run
When we got to the visitor center, Jared was waiting for us.  The first group had finished about an hour earlier.
Now it was time for the festivities.  We all met at Zion Pizza and Noodle for dinner.  Karen had brought birthday cupcakes and I drank too much beer.  We managed to close the place down, having a great time in the process.  Thankfully there are no pictures from this part of the day.
The next day, we all met for breakfast, then most everyone headed for home.  Karen, Kate (her sister), and I stayed for most of the day did a couple of the short hikes.  Since we didn't get to do this last year, it was nice to see some other parts of the park.

So yeah, a good time was had by all and we're talking about a double traverse next year.  I figure that would take about 24 hours.  That would be interesting to say the least.
Here's the GPS track of our route.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Week of September 30

Sunday - Didn't run at all.  When I got home Saturday evening, my lovely wife told me "you're mine tomorrow, we're going out for breakfast then going for a horsey ride.  Well, that' exactly what we did, and had a good time.  It was a great day for a ride.  we ended up going out to the island and moseying around the White Rock loop.  I think we were the only ones with horses out there that day.  About half a mile from the trailhead, we had a mountain bike come up on us from behind.  Spooked the horses since he didn't give any warning.  Idiot!  Needless to say I had some choice words with him regarding trail manners.  At least our horses are used to mountain bikes, so they weren't too spooked.  Come on bikers, yield to horses and people on foot.  Miles - 0.0

Monday - I did manage to get out for a few miles.  Ran from Rainbow north a couple of times, once by myself, once with Breein.  Perfect day for a run, warm, but not hot.  Miles - 10.1

Tuesday - Went out for a lunch run.  Went to the bank as well.  Figure I might as well run an errand.  didn't go out after work.  With the 50K/100K this weekend, I still have a bunch of stuff to do.  Miles - 4.8

Wednesday - Didn't do any running.  Had plenty to do with getting ready for the race this Saturday so I decided to take the day off.  Mile - 0.0

Thursday - Did a lunchtime run.  Weather was perfect, high 60's sunny.  Really nice.  Ended up just kind of taking it easy.  Miles - 5.0

Friday - Spent the day out on Antelope Island marking the course and setting up for the 50K/100K.  The weather was perfect, winds light to non-existant, temps in the 60's.  Way better than last year's howling winds and riving snow.  Had Britta and Nick help set up and we were pretty much done, organized and sitting around enjoying the quiet and drinking beer by 4:30.  I love it when  plan comes together.  We all spent the night out there and while I didn't get much sleep, it was a quiet night.  The couple of times I got up and went out of the tent, the stars were amazing.  It certainly didn't get as cold as it was supposed to, probably into the low 40's.  Miles - 0.0

Saturday - Crazy busy.  Got up at 3:30am to get coffee going and await the first of the runners showing up to run teh 100K.  I only had 17 this year vs. the 50 I had two years ago.  With those kind of numbers, I may drop the 100K option next year.  I can't quite justify having two dozen volunteers stay on the island until well after dark when I only have a dozen runners.  I do think that I lost a fair number of runners this year due to three things.  First, Saturday was the St. George marathon.  I know I lost a bunch to that race.  Second, it was one week after the Bear 100, I know I lost a few because of that race.  Third, I lost the Idaho crowd because of the IMTUF 100 the same day.  So next year I'm going to put the race off one more week into October and see what happens.
Still, everyone seemed to have a good time.  I was certainly cleaned out of beer by the end of the day.  Several HUMR's ran the 50K and did well.
The last 100K runner crossed the finish line at 10:25pm, well after the 10pm cutoff, but no big deal.  We had everything broken down and off the island by 11pm.
Next up, our Zion traverse next Saturday.  Looking forward to it.

Miles for the week - 20.9

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week of September 23 - Another race report

Kristy is the one standing next to me.  
Sunday - Well, I ran another race.  Nope, not an ultra but a short little 10k trail race.  Yeah, yeah, I know, I always say these short ones hurt too much, but here's the deal.  Several months ago, Kristy, my Pilates instructor said that if I could do two minutes of pushups on the power plate, she'd run five miles with me.  Well, I can't pass up that kind of challenge, so I proceeded to do two minutes of pushups, much to her surprise and dismay.  Since then I haven't let her forget about it.  Well, a couple of weeks ago, she mentioned that she had signed up for the Xterra 10K trail race at Snowbasin.  I told her that I would come run it with her and that would satisfy the bet.
As you can see from the picture, she managed to talk several of her other Pilates clients into running the race as well.  She even made up tanks for them to wear.  I don't think I would look nearly as good in one as they do.
So, my original plan was to just run the race with her and have a good time.  While we were at the starting line, I noticed that there weren't too many runners in the race and my competive nature took over.  I told Kristy that I was going to race it rather than just run it with her.
We had to run thru the smoke from the starting cannon
When the cannon went off I took off.  I started to regret the fast start when my left hamstring started to complain from the over stretching it had done the day before while on the trail.  Yeah, kind of sore and tweeky.  Once we went around the parking lot and hit the trail though, it warmed up and never gave me any issues after that.
The reason I don't like shorter races is that if you race them, you essentially are redlined the entire time.  Yep, that was this race.  First, it was at 6500' going up to about 7500', and second, it was about four miles of uphill and two miles of downhill.  I'm used to taking it a little easy aerobically since I usually do ultras, and those don't generally require getting your heart rate up to above 85% max for long periods of time.  The race itself was pretty uneventful.  Three aid stations (three for a 10K? really?) that I blew through.  I don't need any water for six miles.  My main thoughts for most of the race was "I can suffer for an hour" and "beer at the finish line".  So I passed quite a few as they ran out of gas on the uphill, and several managed to repass me on the downhill.  I think this is where my trail running really comes in handy since most of the others probably spend most of their time on the roads.  Like I mentioned earlier, I had pulled a hamstring the day before while recovering from tripping over a rock, well, about 3/4 mile from the finish I was going downhill as fast as I could when I felt the quad in the other leg twinge pretty good.  My immediate thought, "great, now I'm out for weeks".  After an initial couple of seconds assessment, I decided to just push as hard as I could to the finish anyway.  I ended up crossing the finish line in 57:56.  Not my fastest 10K time, but this wasn't a nice flat road course either.  Still, the time was good enough for 23rd out of 83 and 1st in my age group (50-54).  Not too bad for an old man and Brody's grandpa.  After I finished, I went back up the hill to the course and met Kristy and ran her in for the last half mile.  She was booking pretty good down the trail.  I did yell at her like she yells at us in her men's Pilates class.  She just laughed.  She came in about 10 minutes behind me and her time was good enough for 3rd in her age group.  Not too bad for her first race of any kind.  Karen came with me and cheered us all on.  It was a good time and I'm glad I did it.  Kristy has now officially paid her bet off.  Miles - 6.2

Monday - Dang, I was sore from the race yesterday. I went with Aric from 22nd street for about six miles and I was slow, slow, slow.  I felt my age today.  The hamstring and the quad were still sore from the weekend's exertions.  Miles - 6.0

Tuesday - Went for another lunchtime run.  This one wasn't too bad.  I did feel a bit better than yesterday but my piriformis is bugging me big time.  Went for another run after work with the HUMR crowd.  Bj and I turned around at 2.5 since I had to get to Pilates class and Bj is tapering for the Bear this Friday.  All in all, a decent day.  Miles - 10.0

Wednesday - Only had time for a run after work.  Decided to make it a road run around home.  I figure if I'm going to run 50 miles on the road in October, I'd better do a few before then.  Miles - 5.4

Thursday - Didn't do squat except for Pilates.  Even that wasn't that difficult.  Lots of stretching and core work.  Actually felt good to do some stretching.  Miles - 0.0

Friday - Crewed and paced at the Bear 100.  I went up Friday after work and just went from aid station to aid station crewing and helping out friends running the race.  I ended up at the Beaver Mountain Ski Lodge waiting for Joel to show up.  he had planned on showing up at around 3am, but ended up getting there around 4:45am.  He was looking kind of rough too.  His wife and I got him fed, and let him take a short 10 minute nap, then we headed out.  Dang it was cold, frost on the ground. 
We took off out of Beaver Mountain at a blistering shuffle.  Just before dwan we both noticed this white stuff falling.  What the heck, it was a little bit of snow.  That ain't right.  We also saw this nifty little sign along the trail.  I thought it was funny to see something like this in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night far away from any sort of civilization.

Eventually daylight arrived, but it was cloudy.  This kept things a little on the cool side, but not to bad.  We got into the Gibson Basin aid and fueled up, spent a couple minutes there and headed out again.

Looking back at the Gibson Basin aid


Ranger Campground aid

We spent the next hour and a half trekking to the Ranger Campground aid station. This place rocked. Grilled Italian sausage and pancakes. Good stuff and lots of calories for Joel.
Now we had about three miles of solid climbing followed by about 4 miles of flat and downhill to the Ranger Dip aid station.  This is the last aid station before the finish and has probably the most difficult climb of the race at 92 miles.  Steep, straight up the mountainside topping out at 9000'.  Ugh!  Still, Joel climbed this one pretty strong, I think he was starting to smell the barn and wanted this thing over with.

Game face on, last two miles
Once we hit the top of that climb, I took a pit stop and told Joel I would catch up.  Next thing I knew, he was long gone.  It took me two miles to catch him.  He was rocking the downhill, passing everybody in sight.  All of the people that had passed him in the previous 10 miles were now in his rear view nirror and he wasn't letting up on the pace.  I had mentioned at Ranger Dip that we had 7.4 miles and we needed to get to the finish in two hours.  He wasn't sure he could do it, but we ended up doing it in 1.5 hours.  Now that's impressive. 

So in the end, Joel competed his first 100 mile run.  I had a great time running the last 25 with him.  Hopefully I was a little help in keeping him on task and getting him to the finish.  Below are some other scenery shots I took.  It really is a pretty course.  I may need to do this one next year.
Joel and Kathryn checking out his nifty plaque and belt buckle



Monday, September 24, 2012

Week of September 16

Sunday - Went for a run up Middle Fork.  Karen and I rode up there on Saturday and I've been wanting to run up there and find a trail that, on a map, goes in a loop.  Well, I found it and it was pretty cool.  I thought that maybe the trail would take me up to the plateau above Pineview but it didn't go that high.  Instead, it topped out at about 7500' and had me go over several saddles.  I had awesome views of the Ogden Valley.  While I was up there, I saw some other trails that I think need some exploring.  Maybe I'll go back up this weekend.  The cool thing about the run was that I saw one other person and that was within about a half mile of the trailhead.  No horses, no bikes, no hikers, just me.  I love that sense of adventure when I get out someplace new by myself.  Makes me feel more alive.  Miles - 12.4

Monday - Well, I started up with the lunchtime runs again.  Went out for awhile, made a visit to the bank while I was out. After work I headed for Rainbow and ran north to the canal road.  I was by myself so I decided to push it some.  Felt pretty good.  Not sure if today was my fastest time for this route but it was up there.  The legs are getting that feeling of being tired.  You know, when you're constantly training and constantly tired.  Love it.  Means I'm working.  Hey, milestone time.  AS of today, I hit 2000+ miles of running for the year.  The earliest I have ever hit 2000 miles in a year was in 2009 when I hit that mark Nov. 14th.  I'm on track for 2600 this year!  Miles - 12.5

Here's a little rant.  One of the HUMR's posted a note about a stage race called the Mountain Ultra (  5 days, 220km (136 miles), $3400 entry, in Colorado.  $3400?  Seriously?  What do they provide?  Let's see, water, boiling water so you can prepare your own food.  Shared tents, medical support, a meal post race each day, an experienced race director, a limited edition training shirt, transfers to and from Gunnison airport, oh, and they'll handle your luggage. Oh, and only one day do you actually run an ultra and it's only 48 miles.  All of the other days are 40km or less.  Holy crap!  If they are actually suckering people into signing up for this I'm in the wrong line of work.  For that much money ($680/day) I'd better get 5 star accomodations without sharing with other sweaty smelly runners, somebody had better be cooking my meals for me, I'd better get a shirt every day and some other really cool schwag.  If people are actually signing up for this then they have more money than common sense and obviously need to separated from said money as quickly as possible.  Maybe I should organize something like that around here and have the base camp at a hotel in downtown Ogden.  It would be a whole lot cheaper for the runners.  Good grief, I put on a 100 mile event that is one of the cheapest in the country and I'll give you a nifty shirt, a belt buckle if you finish, some buffalo stew, home brew if there's any left.  Wow, just wow!

So let me know, would you pay this much to do something like this?

Tuesday - Started out from Rainbow with hopes of going around six miles.  Decided instead to have a little fun and bushwack up the mountainside.  Had enough time to gain about 1000'.  Kind of fun.  Need to do that more often.  Went to Pilates in the evening.  Kristie for some reason thought I was about 42 years old (I think she was being nice).  Miles - 2.8

Wednesday - The lunchtime run was a speed session of sorts.  Went out on the bike path and did four repeats of around 0.6 miles.  I was a little tired, didn't sleep well last night.  Was going to go out after work, but didn't feel like it.  I think I'm coming down with a cold.  I hate colds.  Miles - 5.1

Thursday - Went for my lunchtime run.  Nothing special.  I did try to keep the pace up a bit.  After work I ran to my Pilates class.  Hadn't done that before.  I was going to run home, but Aric gave me a ride since it was getting dark.  Guess I need to take a headlamp if I'm going to do that.  Miles - 10.1

Friday - Had big plans to go out after work.  Well, I did go out after work, it was just to dinner with Karen.  Miles - 0

Saturday - Went with some HUMR's to Middle Fork and ran the trail I ran last week.  The fall colors were even more spectacular than the week before.  It was a bit on the chilly side, 38 degrees when we started, but it warmed up nicely into the 70's by the time we were done.  Too bad it was so smokey and hazy, the views would have been even better than they were.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  I did manage to pull a hamstring a bit though.  I tripped over a rock and was doing the recovery dance down the trail trying to avoid falling and pulled it.  Kind of bothered me for the rest of the day, but not enough to not run.  Miles - 12.4

Total for the week - 55.3  Not as much as I would like, but better than nothing I guess.  Hopefully next week I can get a few more in.

Restaurant review - I think I've reviewed the restaurant we went to Friday night before.  We went to our favorite Indian reastaurant, Sitara.  We go there quite a bit.  The food is very good and the prices aren't too bad.  The service can be hit or miss at times, but most of the time it's adequate.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Week of September 9 Post Wasatch ramblings and another restaurant review

Sunday - Actually went on a hike with Karen.  We went from 22nd street up Indian Trail to the shelter and back down.  It was a super nice morning for a hike.  My legs weren't too sore and my stomach had settled down by now.  Miles - 5.0

One of the good things about the hike was it gave us the chance to evaluate what went wrong at Wasatch.  In our discussions, Karen came up with the thought that I had too much caffeine in my system and that's what upset my stomach.  If you've ever had too much coffee on an empty stomach, you know the feeling.  When I thought about my caffeine consumption on race day, I have to agree with my wife.  Here's what I had in the way of food and caffeine on race day. 
Breakfast - A couple of bowls of Corn Pops and a large mug of coffee on the way to the start.  Typical.
During the race - 1st Endurance Liquid Shot gel about every half hour from the start until Big Mountain.  This stuff has caffeine in it.  Three Prerace capsules every 3-4 hours during the day.  This stuff has caffeine in it.  Coke and/or Mtn Dew at every aid station, yep, has caffeine in it.  Couple all of that caffeine with a fairly empty stomach most of the day (not much solid food) and you have a recipe for an upset stomach.  Other food I ate were some cantaloupe at Francis Peak (not much calories, mostly water), nothing solid at Bountiful B, nothing solid at Sessions, half a ham and cheese sandwich at Swallow Rock, nothing solid at Big Mountain, nothing solid at Alexander Ridge, some pumpkin pie and a Starbucks Frappucino (more caffeine) at Lamb's.  Yeah, I was OD'ing on caffeine.
So, what do I do from here?  Well, I have a 38 mile run across Zion NP next month and a 50 mile race next month.  Both of these runs will give me the opportunity to try some different food.  One of the issues I had during the race, and at most races longer than 50 miles, is that I get extremely tired of sweet stuff.  I crave savory, spicy food, spagehtti, eggs with Tabasco sauce, bacon, summer sausage, cheese, etc.  So I'm going to look for something along those lines that I can take along or have in a drop bag.  Stuff that will give me a feeling of fullness and have a pretty high caloric density.
So what's the take away?  For all of my races I'm going to back way off on the caffeine.  I still want my morning coffee (I like it), but I'm going to cut way back on gels with caffeine and not drink as much Coke at aid stations (I like it though).
Jsut goes to show that even though I've run around 50 ultras now, I still am learning what and what not to do.

Monday - Didn't do squat.

Tuesday - Didn't run but did go to Pilates class.  The legs were still a touch sore, but overall they were in good shape.  Pilates kicked my butt though.  Lots of core work along with some shoulder work.  I need that.  I'm trying to get rid of the table muscle that covers my six pack ;-)

Wednesday - Went for a short run with Karen and Alicia from 22nd street.  Lots of walking involved.  The legs felt pretty good.  Maybe a bit of residual soreness, but not much.  This run gave me a chance to chat with Alicia and find out how her race went.  She ended up timing out at Brighton.  Her stomach seememd to do ok as that was her big concern.  Just didn't move fast enough.  She'll be back to try again.  Miles - 4.8

Thursday - 22nd street again with a pretty good crew.  We went from 22nd street at a pretty easy pace.  No walking involved here.  Felt good.  Got a chance to stretch the legs out a bit and see how they did.  I think I'me ready to step it up again and get some serious training in before OV 50.  I feel a 50 mile PR coming on....maybe.  Miles - 5.9

Friday I had big plans to go out to the island and run a few miles on the Mountain View Trail.  Well, I got to the fence at about mile 1 and there were about six bulls scattered along the trail, including one right at the opening thru the fence.  They weren't inclined to move either.  So I watched them for a bit just because they're cool animals, then turned around and headed back to the car.  I couldn't go around with the fence in the way and I had a time constraint that wouldn't allow me to drive to another trail.  Oh well.  Miles - 1.8

Saturday - Went for a horsey ride with Karen.  We went up Middle Fork again, this time a bit further.  It was a perfect day for the outing.  The trees are really starting to turn color now that the days are getting a bit cooler.  All in all a good time.  We ended up riding a bit over nine miles.  I decide that I needed to go back out on Sunday on foot and find a trail I've been wanting to do.  Miles - 0.0

So I had a nice recovery week from Wasatch.  I did want to do a bit more running than I did, but that's ok, the rest is needed.  I'll hit it next week.

Total miles for the week - 17.5

Restaurant review - Dickey's BBQ
Karen and I have been wanting to try this new BBQ place near Winco.  You can smell the food from 12th street as you drive by.  So we went on Friday and I guess we beat the rush.  Once we sat down, the line got longer and longer.  Dickey's is a BBQ chain.  Their menu is fairly simple, some different meat plates, sandwiches, soft drinks, and sides.  I had the two meat platter with shredded brisket and the smoked turkey.  For sides I had the mac-n-cheese and cole slaw.  The brisket was good, nice flavor though a little fatty for my liking.  The turkey also had nice flavor.  A nice smokey flavor and very tender.  The mac-n-cheese was good.  Not as good as waht I make from scratch, but certainly edible.  The cole slaw was good as well.  Nothing special about it.  Karen also had the two meat platter.  She liked it as well as the sides she ordered.  One of the kind of neat things about this place is that they have a soft serve machine by the drink area.  You can get your own soft serve cone, no additional charge.  Kinda cool since I have a weakness for ice cream of any sort.  So, the big question is, would we go back?  We decided that yeah, we would.  I did think it was a bit pricey given that it's basically one step above a fast food place.  Portion size was adequate, but for the price, I would have liked more.  Still, the food was good and we did leave withe our stomachs full.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Wasatch Race Report

Warning, this one is pretty long and not necessarily that entertaining.  You have been warned.  If you read on and think "damn, that was boring", then it's your own fault.
Well, I figured I have the time, why not get a race report done while the events are still fresh in my mind.
So, Friday morning (this is Utah after all), I toed the line with about 300 other crazy runners to run the Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Run.  Time limit, 36 hours, my hoped for time, 29 hours.
At exactly 5am (I hate early race starts, why can't they start at a decent time, say 8am), we got the signal to take off into the early morning darkness.  I felt good, strong, confident in my ability to get this done and score that nifty sub-30 hour buckle.
The first 3.5 miles are along the shoreline trail above Kaysville and Layton.  You could see the city lights a couple hundred feet below as we traversed along the mountainside. At about the four mile point, the trail goes straight up the mountain, climbing 4500 feet in 4.5 miles.  Yeah, tough climb, maybe the toughest one in the race.  You top out on a climb aptly called chinscraper.  It's a 30-40 foot scramble up a 45 degree slope that has you using your hands as well as your feet.  I got up here in a little over 2-1/2 hours.  About my usual time.  I felt good, things were going well. We3 then start running along the ridgeline at about 9000' for the next several miles.  The sun was coming up, temps were still cool, I was cruising along using little effort, life was good. At about mile 13 we were treated to a water stop on top of the mountain by the race director. Shortly after this I came across Aric, one of my friends and training partners.  He was already walking, and this was flat ground.  He told me he felt a pop in his hamstring and could hardly run at all.  Not good since he was planning on running a faster time than his stellar performance last year.  I wished I could have helped him in some way, but there was nothing I could do.  Shortly after this runners were treated to a four mile downhill on the radar tower road to the first aid station at 18 miles.  I got here just a few minutes behind my planned pace.  It used to be that family, crew, spectators were allowed up here.  With the Farmington Canyon road closed, just the aid station people were there.  Made for a much quieter stop.  After five minutes here I trotted on down the 4 x 4 road for the next few miles.  The next section from the this aid station to the next one at Bountiful B is one that I'm not fond of.  Some dirt road running followed by a series of short steep climbs that are really not fun at all.  Still, I did well through here and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I got to the Bountiful B aid station (23 miles) still feeling well and only 10 minutes behind my planned pace.  After about five minutes here refueling and re-hydrating, I took off for Sessions Liftoff, the next aid station.  This next several miles is all forest service road and not too bad of running.  Nice views of Morgan County and the surrounding mountains.  I still felt good and was in a great mood, moving along well.  I got to Sessions about 10 minutes behind my target pace.  I was happy with that.  My target pace was pretty aggressive, so I figured that if I was a bit behind, not a problem.  The next section is a long, hot, hilly seven miles to Swallow Rock.  We were exposed to the noon sun by now and it warmed up quite a bit.  We did have a nice breeze, but that sun still beat down on you.  The good thing was, I was still on pace, feeling good, and just cruising along.  Swallow Rock always has popsicles and those always hit the spot.  I had a couple, grabbed a couple things to eat and took off for Big Mountain.  In between Swallow Rock and Big Mountain is where things started to go south, I just didn't realize it at the time.  My stomach started to get a bit queasy, nothing big, just a bit unsettled.  Up to this  point I had been eating and drinking plenty, at least I think I was, yeah, I was.  I popped a ginger chew thinking that would help some, and it did....for awhile, but then the feeling came back.  You know how it is, you don't feel like hurling, but you don't want to eat anything for fear that might happen.   You can't do that in a 100 mile race without bad things happening.  You have to eat and drink, otherwise you fail.  So at 39 miles in, I get into Big Mountain.  This is a major aid station and the first place family and crew are allowed to meet their runner.  Also, this si the first place you can have a pacer.  Britta, Bj, Sami, and Lori were all there to greet me.  Britta had brought a slushy.  This was perfect.  Nice warm day, nice cold drink.  Yep, hit the spot.  Trouble is, I didn't get anything else to eat and I should have.  Slushy's don't have very many calories and I'm burning through 125 calories every mile.  I spent about 10-15 minutes at Big Mountain, regrouping, chatting, eating my slushy, then took off.  As I left, I noticed that my hill climbing ability (not that I have much to begin with) was noticeably lower.  I could climb, but not at the same rate I was earlier.  I just chalked it up to being 39 miles into a run and tired.  Meanwhile, I had quit eating my 1st Endurance Liquid Shot.  Usually this gel willl get me to about 60-70 miles before I just can't stand anymore of the stuff.  Planning on this, I had stuffed a bunch of GU's in my drop bag and had some of those with me.  I did manage to choke one of these down, but that was pretty much it.  I had about eight miles to the next aid station through the most exposed part of the course during the hottest part of the day.  Yeah, it was warm.  Believe or not, I was still moving well, even with my stomach still in an unsettled state of affairs.  By the time I got to Alexander Ridge, at 48 miles, I was really starting to not feel well and actually started entertaining thoughts of dropping.  I sat for about 20 minutes at Alexander Ridge just trying to pull myself together.  Every time I would stand up, I would get dizzy.  I knew I had to make it to Lamb's Canyon, since Karen was there helping out.  I gave her a call and let her know what was happening.  She told me to pull it together and get going.  So I did what any good husband does, and listened to my lovely wife and did what she said.  The next six miles were mostly a walk.  By now my stomach was really not happy with me.  I still didn't feel like hurling, but in the state it was in, any sort of food was flat out unappealing.  I finally made it to Lamb's Canyon aid.  This is at 53 miles and is right next to the freeway.  This is also another major aid station where you can meet your family, pick up a pacer, etc.  I got in and immediately had a crew around me, Karen, Britta, Meghan, Bj, all trying to take care of me so I could continue on.  One of the things you have to do at certain points in the race is a weigh in.  You initially weigh in during the race check in the day before.  This is your baseline weight.  Mine was 177.8 lbs.  When I weighed at Big Mountain, I was at 175 lbs.  This is normal.  That means that I'm hydrated and fueled fine.  In the 13 miles between Big Mountain and Lamb's Canyon, I went from 175 to 167.4 lbs.  I was now down 10 lbs.  Some 100 mile races will pull you if your weight loss exceeds 7%.  I was down 6% at this point.  Not good, not good at all.  Not only that, but I had filled my hydration pack to 70 oz. at Alexander Ridge, when I got to Lamb's, it still had 60 oz. in it.  Not only was I not eating, I wasn't drinking either.  I had never been in this situation before.  I've had stomach issues in races, but it was usually fleeting and in shorter races.  I still had 47 miles to go, through the night, and part of the next day.  Now I was seriously entertaining thoughts of dropping.  Because I hadn't fueled adequately, my legs were super tired and I still had the hardest parts of the course to go.  I talked it over with Karen and the crew and decided to at least get to the next aid station eight miles away.  I think I spent about 30 minutes at Lamb's trying to regroup.  I did manage to get about 400 calories down me in the form of a Starbucks Frappucino and some pumpkin pie.  That was a good thing.  I told Karen to not take off for about an hour, because if I hurled, I was coming back in.
At Lamb's I picked up my first pacer, Meghan.  This would be the third Wasatch she has paced me for.  We get along really well, have a good time running together and are comfortable in each other's presence.  All good qualities if some one going to be doing something like this with you.  My stomach issues were something totally new to her and she told me she didn't know how to deal with it except to try and keep me going.  So away we went.  Now even though my legs were shot and I had a hard time eating anything, we still made good time to Upper Big Water.  How that happened, I don't know, but it did.  All along this section, my stomach was in knots.  Several times I had to stop because I thought for sure I was going to hurl.  Never did though.  Through this section several other runners passed me.  At this point, I really didn't care.  I had pretty much made the decision to drop at Upper Big Water.  I couldn't fathom how I was going to continue on for another 38 miles in state I was in.  We got to Upper Big Water at about 10pm.  Not too bad considering the state I was in, but I knew going on was not an option.  I told the aid station captain that I was going to drop here.  Thus began the hunt for an eventual ride home.  Poor Meghan, meanwhile, had her car stashed at Brighton, another 13 miles down the trail.  She did manage to find a runner without a pacer and asked if he wanted one.  He said sure, and they took off.
So I dropped out of Wasatch.  I now have four finishes in six attempts.  Naturally I'm disappointed, but not overly so.  In the state I was in, continuing was not feasible.  Who knows if I could have pulled things together at some point and started feeling well.  Tough to say.  So I failed.  Is that a bad thing?  Not at all but it's still a failure to complete a goal.  There will be other years and other races and this one is now water under the bridge.  One of the good things that came out of this is that I was able to get to the finish line courtesy of Forrest and Breein and watch some of the fast runners come across.  This was pretty cool because a lot of them are my friends and I really enjoyed watching them rock some fast times.
So I'll probably be back next year.  Hopefully I'll get this stomach thing figured out and be as well trained as I was this year and maybe get that elusive sub-30 buckle yet.
Many thanks to my lovely wife Karen for volunteering at the Lamb's Canyon aid and for supporting me in my  somewhat foolish running endeavors.  Thanks also to all of my friends that were out there supporting me, Meghan for putting up with my crap while pacing me.  You guys all are the best.
Meanwhile, tomorrow one of my friends is doing the Ironman Wisconsin and I intend to follow her progress throughout the day.  I hope she does extremely well, go Sally!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week of September 2 - Wasatch this Friday

Sunday - Didn't run at all.  It kind of bugged me since it's been three days now.  I feel fat.  Instead, Karen and I went for a horsey ride on Antelope Island.  We went up the Sentry Trail.  I hadn't been up there in awhile, so it was nice to go somewhere a little different.  It was a gorgeous day, clear air, warm but not hot.  Very nice indeed.

Monday - Finally went for a run.  Went north from Rainbow to the canal road.  I was by myself for the way out, but met up with Forrest, Breein, and Emily for the run back.  I cruised the run out, felt good, strong, fast (fast being a relative term).  Going back it was nice to chat with friends.  On the long clamb back, there was a mountain bike part way up the hill.  I always make it a game to try and catch them before they get to the top, so I took off after the guy.  I caught him right at the top of the climb.  Definitely had to push hard for that one but it felt good to expend that kind of effort.

Tuesday - Nothing at all.  Was going to Pilates, but the class filled and there isn't a spot.  Oh well.  Rest time.

Wednesday - I plan on running a few.  I'll amend this if I do.

Thursday - Nothing planned except go to bed early.

Friday - Race Time!

Wasatch Preview -
So, time for my main race of the season.  This will be my 6th attempt at Wasatch and hopefully my 5th finish.  I say hopefully because in a 100 mile race, anything can happen regardless of how well you're trained.  A stumble and twisted ankle, stomach going south even though it never has in the past, mauled by a bear or a moose (not really, but I suppose it could happen).
Last year I ran the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning and did just fine at Wasatch.  If I had gotten my butt out of aid stations sooner, I might have gone sub-30 hour, or at least close to it.  But I was tired.  Well, this year I'm much better trained than I ever have been for this race.  My year-to-date mileage is over 400 miles higher than last year and higher than it ever has been before Wasatch.  That's like having an extra month and a half of training for me.  I've raced roughly once a month since January and each race has been a PR for me, some by substantial margins.  Even the mental attitude is there this time to try and run my fastest time ever for this race.  Here's the list of races I've done this year.

January -
Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival 25K

February -
Striders Winter Training Series 5K, my fastest 5K in a very long time on a difficult course
Moab Red Hot 55K - course PR by about 10 minutes

April -
Grand Canyon R2R2R - Another fun time in the big ditch with friends.  Added bonus, snow!
Salt Flats 100 - The earliest in the year I've ever run a 100. 

May -
Timp Trail Marathon - course PR by a lot.

June -
Logan Peak - Another course PR and one of my favorite races.

July -
Speedgoat 50K - Not sure I like this race.  Gorgeous but incrediblyl difficult.  Another course PR on a longer course than last year.

August -
Waldo 100K - Another of my favorite races.  Longer course so no course PR, but it was still good.

So, how does it look for me at Wasatch?  Well, I'm going to do my best to go under 30 hours this year.  The key is going to be getting out of the aid stations quickly during the later miles of the race.  In 2008 I ran a 28 hour race but it took me 32 hours to do, mainly because I spent over four hours in aid stations.  Not happening this year if I can help it.
Pacers?  I had two lined up, Meghan and Britta.  Meghan for the section from Lamb's Canyon to Brighton (23 miles), and Britta for Brighton to the finish (25 miles).  Britta had a stress fracture in her foot and it's still giving her issues, so I managed to get Ryan to pace me for the last 25 if he's there waiting for me.  He's pacing a friend to Brighton and if he gets there before I do, then he paces me, if not, then the last 25 is on my own.  That's what has me a bit worried.  I tend to loose focus late in a race because of the tiredness and pain.  If I can keep that focus, then the last 25 won't be an issue.
Weather?  The weather is going to play to my strength.  It's going to be a warm one.  I love running in warm weeather.  High on Friday around 85, low Friday night in the mountains probably in the mid 40's.  I won't have to bundle up too much.  No rain in the forecast either.
So, here's my pace chart - yep, I'm throwing out a 29 hour pace.

Time in
Start 0 mi. 5:00
Francis Peak 18.76 mi. 9:10
Bountiful B 23.95 mi. 10:30
Sessions 28.23 mi. 11:25
Swallow Rocks 34.91 mi. 13:30
Big Mountain 39.4 mi. 14:25
Alexander 47.44 mi. 16:25
Lambs Canyon 53.13 mi. 18:10
Millcreek 61.68 mi. 20:45
Deso 66.93 mi. 23:00
Scotts Pass 70.79 mi. 0:15
Brighton Lodge 75.61 mi. 1:30
Ant Knolls 80.27 mi. 3:30
Poll Line Pass 83.39 mi. 4:30
Rock Springs 87.39 mi. 5:45
Pot Bottom 93.13 mi. 8:00
The Homestead 100 mi. 10:15

If you want to follow along, you can check the race website here.  My bib number is 261.
Alternatively, if you're friends with me on Facebook, I will have my phone with me and I will try to post when I go thru each aid station, signal willing.  If you have my cell number, feel free to give me a call or text.
At any rate, it'll be a good time.  At least I hope it will be.