Monday, May 14, 2012

Week of May 6th and an Irish Pub

Sunday - Went for a nice little run with my lovely wife.  We started at Wheeler trailhead and ran the Green Pond route.  Gorgeous day and we even saw a couple of young moose just past Art Nord trailhead.  Karen was thrilled.  She has a thing about moose.  Followed the run up with breakfast at The Oaks.  She actually enjoyed the run.  Awesome!  Miles - 9.0

Monday - Did a short run at lunch just to get out.  Pushed it fairly hard since this is speed day.  I was going to do speed work with Breein and Shawn, but they had things come up.  Karen and I ended up meeting at Rainbow and heading north.  After about 1.5 miles, Karen wasn't feeling the running love so we turned around and headed back.  Just one of those days where things aren't quite right.  Oh well.  Miles - 6.26

Tuesday - Went out north of Rainbow by myself.  No one wanted to run with me.  I did take a shower but seems like that didn't matter.  Anyway, wanted to get some miles in before Pilates class.  Went a little beyond the three mile point heading north.  Pilates was a killer this week.  Did a fair amount of upper body work and I was sore after that.  Miles - 6.26

Wednesday - Did a double today.  Went out for a tempo run at lunch.  I ahve a standard 5.2 mile route that I run at lunchtime and I really pushed it.  Well below 8:30 pace for most of the miles.  Felt pretty good to do that.  My pm run was more of a hike.  I made my second trip up Malan's Peak this year.  There was still some ice on the trail near the top.  It's covered with pine needles and such so it's insulated.  Anyway, the legs were tired from the lunch run but I tried to push the hiking pace anyway.  Whenever I go up that trail, there's always other hikers out trying to make it up.  It's a steep trail.  Made it up from 22nd street in less than an hour, then ran back down in around 30 minutes.  I would love to get that up time down to around 45 minutes by the end of summer.  We'll see.  The plan is to go upthis once a week just for the vert.  Miles - 10.8

Thursday - Went on another double run today.  At lunch I ran up to the bank to deposit a check, then added another mile or so just because going to the bank wasn't long enough.  After work Karen and I met the Ogden group up at Wheeler for a short little run.  We went up Wheeler, Ice Box canyon an towards Sardine for around four miles, then turn around.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well Karen did going uphill.  She's really come along in just a few months, especially since she only runs 2-3 times a week.  She did great.  Of course, going downhill I have a hard time keeping up with her.  Had a great run followed by some pizza at Ogden Pizza.  Miles - 10.8

Friday - So I had big plans to drive down to Virgin and pace Aric at the Zion 100.  I made it to my designated aid station at about 8pm and waited......and waited.......and waited.  Finally I checked and he had dropped at aid #6 at about 2:30am.  Big time bummer for him.  I guess he and his pacer and a bunch of others got way off track running around on Gooseberry Mesa.  The course markings were sporadic, non-existant, and confusing.  They spent hours trying to get to aid 7 and should have been there but in reality were nowhere near.  It was cold, and they were out of food and water.  Aric and Shawn ended up going back to aid 6 and spending the night.  I ended up driving back to the race hq and throwing my sleeping bag out on the grass.  Met up with Aric and Shwan the next morning and got the full story.  He's disappointed, but I think he made the right call.  No need to put yourself in danger when you don't need to.  You can always go back and run it next year.  Miles - 0.0

Saturday - Drove home from Zion.  Miles 0.0

Total for the week - 43.1 miles

Restaurant review - So Saturday Karen and I went to one of our favorite restaurants, MacCool's Irish Pub.  Their food is always good and they know the proper way to pour a Guiness.  I usually get their meatloaf (awesome) but thought I'd try something different.  So I got their lamb sandwich.  Thin sliced lamb with spices and cheese and au jus, mashers and gravy on the side.  Never have had the lamb before and I have to say it was different.  Not bad, just different.  I would order it again, but I think it's an acquired taste.  Karen took a bite and said it reminded her of what our buck goats smell like.  That's not a good thing and I didn't get that impression at all.  Service was good and so was the beer.  Even though Karen didn't like the lamb and I thought it was just ok, we still highly recommend this place. They have other menu items that are far better.  We took our son once and he said it was more Irish than some of the pubs he visited while he was in Ireland.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Week of April 29th, Post Race Lack of Activity

Sunday - Didn't do squat running wise.  I did do a lot of stuff around the house and yard.  That did help as far as keeping things loosened up.

Monday - I actually didn't feel too bad.  I was barely sore, the legs didn't feel too tired.  I thought "what the heck" and went for a run with Karen.  Yeah, big mistake.  We walked over to the trail north of Rainbow Gardens.  I ran about 50 yards up the trail and decided that running wasn't going to happen.  The legs weren't too bad, it was my chest.  It felt like the muscles were really tired.  Anyway, we actually hiked up to the canal road, then back down.  That wasn't too bad.  Miles - 1.6

Tuesday - Yep, took the day off.  Figured I needed a little more rest.

Wednesday - Actually went out for about five miles.  The legs weren't sore at all but were still a little tired.  It felt good to get out for a few even if I was still tired.  Miles - 5.0

Thursday - Yep, took another day off.

Friday - Went on one of my favorite runs, 22nd street south for about 3.5 miles then turn around and come back.  The legs were still a little tired, but other than that, I felt really good.  I was able to actually push the pace some.  Miles - 7.0

Total miles for the week - 13.6

Restaurant review time -

So we went to a Thai restaurant Friday.  We've been to Aroy-d before and the food was very good.  For some reason, Thai sounded good again.  We were really surprised at how busy it was.  Seems as though word is getting out. 
Anyway, I had a salmon dish with a red curry sauce that was excellent.  Just the right amount of spice to warm things up.  It was mixed with green beans, bell peppers, and brocolli.  Good stuff.  I don't remember what Karen had, but she really enjoyed it as well.  I've had their Pad thai before and that was very good as well.  If you want some decent Thai in the Ogden area, this is the place to go.  Reasonably priced and they serve beer and wine. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Week of April 22nd plus Salt Flats 100 Race Report (with pictures and graphics!!)

Sunday - Had big plans to go out for a last kind-of-long run.  Ended up not doing that at all.  Instead we got a bunch more stuff cleaned and done around the house, then Karen and I went for our first horsey ride of the year.  We took the horses up the North Ogden Divide trail for about two miles.  Talk about out of shape horses.  Dustin (my horse) is such an out of shape fat pig that after half a mile he was breathing hard.  Both of them were sweating good by the time we turned around and came back down the canyon.  Of course the day was warm too.  After we got back down we turned them loose in the North Ogden horse arena and they started running around.  Sandbaggers!  Next time we go to the top of the pass.

Monday - Did a run by myself from Rainbow to the canal road and back.  Just kind of a nice run to stretch the legs for a few miles.  Miles - 7.84

Tuesday - Went out for a few miles with the always lovely Mrs. Skaggs.  We started at 22nd street and headed south.  Once we got to Waterfall Canyon, we took the low trail back.  Not a big fan of that trail.  Miles - 4.66

Wednesday and Thursday - Didn't do squat.  Thursday I drove out to Wendover.  Now there's a garden spot if I ever saw one.  The entire way it was windy and once I got out to the salt flats area it really got windy.  There was enough salt and dirt blowing across the road that visibility was pretty bad, probably less than 1/4 mile.  I was glad that it wasn't supposed to be like that on race day.  It would have been a mess.    Did the check in thing for the Salt Flats 100, then headed for the Rainbow Casino and Hotel for the night.  I slept reasonably well too.  Usually I don't before a 100.

Friday - Well, here goes, my Salt Flats 100 race report.
One of the little perks of being a race director is that occasionally I trade race entries with other race directors, so when Vince asked about a trade I jumped at the chance to give his Salt Flats 100 race a try.  Since this would be the earliest I have ever tried a 100, I decided that I would make sure the training was as good as possible thru the winter.  I went into this race with way more miles than I have ever had at this point in the year.  My hope was that maybe I had it in me to get one more PR at 100 miles.
The race was definitely a low key affair, Vince was limiting entries to around 50-60.  The cool thing was almost 10% of the starters were Speedgoats.  Scott, Cory, Tom, and myself were all running.  Not a bad showing for a early season race.
One of the things that attracted me to this race was that I knew it would an extremely remote event.  Other than having the start within sight of I-80, there wasn't going to be much civilization around.  A lot of people were telling me how boring this race would be.   I didn't find it boring, but at times it was rather monotonous.
If you're not familiar with the Utah Salt Flats, it's where the Bonneville Speedway is.  Every year they have Speed Week, where people from all over the world come to see how fast their vehicles will go.  Vince bills this race as the slowest event held on the speedway.
Anyway, race morning I got up, checked out, hit the McDonald's for breakfast and drove out to the speedway.  It was a bit chilly, low 40's and breezy.  I knew that we would warm up once the race started.
Gathering of the runners  credit Michael Lebowitz/Long Run Pictures
Right at 7am, Vince sent us off.  For the first 10 miles, we ran on salt, flat, white salt, salt as far as you could see (kind of), salt six feet thick.  The only way we knew where to go was the tire tracks and the occasional stake. 
Running on salt  photo credit Michael Lebowitz/Long Run Pictures

So at 10 miles we get to the first aid station.  It looked like this.
Aid station #1  photo credit Michael Lebowitz/Long Run Pictures

After the first aid station we ran six more miles on salt, then mud flats.  It did get a little sticky in the mud from the rain the night before, but it wasn't too bad.
More running on the salt  photo credit Jim Skaggs

After the second aid station (16.0 miles), we ran across a gravel "causeway" to the first of three "islands" that we would be running on. 
Aid Station #2  photo creidt Jim Skaggs

Aid station #3  22.6 miles  photo credit Jim Skaggs

Aid Station #4 photo credit Jim Skaggs
Once on the island, we ran for a few miles to the third aid station.  This marked the beginning of our first major climb of the day.  That climb gained about 1000' over 3-4 miles, so nothing really hard.  Parts of it were runnable.  At the top of the climb was aid station 4.  Once again just a car and a card table.  The next section was some really nice downhill running, followed by a few miles of flat. 

Photo credit Jim Skaggs
It was at this section where you began to realize just how remote you were. Other than the dirt road, there was no sign of civilization as far as you could see.
Aid station #5 and #7  photo credit Jim Skaggs
Aid station 5 was the one aid station that we would see twice.  Davy Crockett was in charge here and was his usual self, putting a skeleton just outside the aid station complete with running apparel and a Garmin on.  After this aid station we began a 19 mile loop  By now, the field was pretty scattered.  There were long stretches where I couldn't see anyone ahead or behind me.  For the next 10 miles, I was by myself, I could see a couple of runners about 1/2 mile ahead, but there was no one behind.  We had another shorter climb during this section that ended with another aid station at the top.  Leaving this aid station brought runners to what I thought was the most challenging part of the course.  Six mile of featureless mud flat. 
Mud Flat Running  photo credit Jim Skaggs
Photo credit Jim Skaggs
Keep the island on your left, and the mud flat on your right and go from flag to flag.  It seemed to go on forever.  All you could do was put your head down, the mind in neutral, and run.  There was a pretty good breeze blowing across the flat at this point, which didn't help matters any.  Needless to say, I was glad to finally get back on some sort of dirt trail/road with a little vegetation around it.
Aid station #8  photo credit Jim Skaggs
After getting back to Davy's aid station, we had about five miles of dirt road running.  I found it interesting that a lot of the roads out here were well maintained gravel roads and were marked as scenic backroads.  Who knew?  Aid station #8 appeared out of no where and after a stop, disappeared into no where.
I finally met up with Aric, my first pacer, at aid station #9 (61.7 miles).  Up to this point I was doing reasonably well time wise.  I had managed to run about 12:42 for a 100K distance.  A little slower than I wanted, but I was doing ok.

Aid Station #9 with Aric  photo credit Jim Skaggs

Aric and I headed out across the island to the next aid station, about six miles away.  We got there about dark and I was pleasantly surprised to see Carolyn Luckett.  She paced me last year at Leadville and was a welcome face here.  We had a nice chat for a few minutes, then Aric and I took off.  I found I had cell service, so I gave Karen a call to let her know how I was doing.  Now we had another climb back to the other side of the island and down a road to the next aid station.  Once again, this one was a tent, fire, a card table and that was about it.  I guess with only 50 runners, things don't need to be too elaborate.
After aid station #11, we headed south towards Wendover.  Way off in the distance you could see I-80 and the vehicles on it.  It must have been a good 20 miles away.  As we got a little closer to civilization, we realized that we now had cell service, so Aric texted Breein, my next pacer, to have her car warmed up because I was getting cold.  We also found out that Lori Burlison had driven all the way out from Ogden just to hang out and be a part of the race taking pictures.
I finally got there, sat in Breein's car for awhile, changed into dry, warmer clothes, ate a couple of hot dogs, and Breein and I took off. 
From here, I knew that we had a long climb ahead of us, and it was long, and we got cold.  It was just steep enough to not allow for running to generate some heat, and we had a slight breeze in our faces.  I think the temp must have gotten down into the low 30's by the time we hit the aid station at 90 miles.  Yay! Single digit miles left.  This aid station was at the top of our climb, and once we started downt the other side, we were able to run (kind of).  Within 5-10 minutes I had warmed up and was feeling not too bad, just tired. 
The only time I dropped my pacer.  Photo credit Michael Lebowitz
As we descended, we could see the sun start to come up and by the time we got to the last aid station, it had risen, but it was still cold.  Lori met us here, took some pics and let me sit in her car to warm up again.  By now, I was down to the familiar death march and I still had five miles of flat paved road to trudge down.
Coming into the finish   photo credit Michael Lebowitz
Getting my buckle from Vince  photo credit Michael Lebowitz
Glad to be done  photo credit Michael Lebowitz
Aftermath - So my finish time was 25:38, I had hoped for something well under 24 hours, but it was not to be.  How did I fuel?  The usual, 1st Endurance Liquid Shot (the new Kona Mocha is pretty good) for about the first 70 miles, then some sort of real food after that (the two hotdogs at aid #12 were pretty good).  I was surprised at how much water I drank given how cool it was, probably on the order of two gallons.  No blisters, but I'll lose 2-3 toenails.  I actually kind of kept track of my splits, so here they are.  Missing data is from forgetting to hit the lap button on my watch.  Time for the geeky Engineer in me to stand out.
Many thanks to my two pacers, Aric Manning and Breein Clark.  You guys rock.  I'll pay you back next week Aric.

Aid stationMilesElapsed TimeElapsed PaceLap TimeLap PaceNotes
425.54:34:0010:450:4615:52Long climb
531.65:41:0010:471:0710:59Downhill and lfat
640.97:40:0011:151:5912:48Rolling with climb
750.49:57:0011:512:1714:25Steep down, mud flats
857.411:41:0012:131:4414:51Flat, slightly rolling
106714:25:0012:551:4319:26Climb followed by descent
1280.618:30:0013:464:0518:01Climb, descent, gradual climb
1389.621:48:0014:363:1822:00Long climb
Finish10025:38:0015:233:5022:07Downhill followed by flat