Friday, April 12, 2013

Antelope Island Buffalo 100

I had an incredible experience running the Buffalo 100 last month. The race threw a few curve balls at us with severe wind and cold temperatures to deal with, but overall it was an awesome experience and you can read my full trip report here on Refuse2quit Buffalo 100.

I have now had 3 weeks to fully process the race and I have given it a lot of thought. There are so many things that have run through my mind and I'll share a few of them:

What I could have done better:

Looking back I realize that I wasted so much time at the aid stations even though one of my goals going in was to do the opposite. Some of that was due to the weather, but I wasn't very efficient with my clothing and gear and lost several minutes messing around getting in and out if tights, gaiters, shoes and all of those tasks become much more difficult when you're cold and getting stiff. I really should have left my tights on for the whole race and limited my first long stop at the Start/Finish aid at mile 19. I believe I would have come in closer to 9:20-9:30 on the front 50 without all of the gear stops. I spent 40 minutes alone on the front 50 at aid stations messing with my clothes or trying to warm up as a result of that and I'm sure being cold slowed me down on the Mountain View trail
I need to do a better job of pushing myself. On the back 50 I got too comfortable hiking the hills. I told myself I was saving my legs, but looking back I wish I would have pushed it a little bit harder. I also spent way too much time on the back 50 trying to get warm at aid stations. I could blame the weather for that, but the bottom line is I didn't push hard enough and wasn't mentally as strong as I should have been.

What I did well:

One thing I have learned to do very well is compartmentalize the race into sections from a mental perspective. I break the distance down into 5-6 sections that I know I can complete. Before the race starts I think about everything I want to accomplish during those sections, what I need to do and then prepare as well as I can to get it done. 100 miles is just a long distance and there are so many things that are going to come up that you are not expecting or planning on, so getting yourself in a good mental place is imperative in order to keep moving forward. Inevitably you are going to have issues that come up. Something is going to start to hurt and if you start thinking something like "I can't do this for 60 more miles" you are setting yourself up for a DNF. A good example of this for me in this race was my low point at mile 38. I was very cold and my knees were really starting to bother me. I came into the Lower Frary aid station to change my clothes and one of my pacers, Nate was waiting there for me. I talked to him after the race and he said that I looked horrible and he was thinking there was no way I would be able to go another 62 miles. It kind of shocked me when he said that because at the time I wasn't even thinking about going 62 more miles, I was thinking about getting warmed up, getting back into a good rhythm and making it to the 50 mile mark where I could pick up a pacer. To me I was only thinking the next short section and when he saw me 6 miles later at the next aid station he said I was a completely different person and at that point he knew I could do it.

I also think I did an excellent job of fueling and hydrating. I felt like I had energy the entire race and I never felt bonky at all. I would eat 1-2 gels between each aid station and then eat whatever I could get down at the aid stops. I mostly ate salted potatoes, cookies and Mountain Dew. I only used one water bottle the entire 100 miles that would top off at every aid stop.

What really sucked:

The wind and the cold have been talked about ad nauseam and for good reason. They were horrible. I can make excuses about how they cost me my sub 23 hour goal, but in the end every 100 miler is going to have unforeseen challenges and you just have to get over them and get it done.

My knees hurt. I haven't had any knee issues at all in the last two years and I certainly wasn't planning on having any out there, but I did and it really made this race more challenging for me.

What was really awesome:

The race. Jim Skagg's puts on an excellent race. It is very well organized, a sweet course and a really fun event to be a part of.

The volunteers. Wow! I can't say enough about the volunteers out there. Bart and Jason at the Elephant Head were incredible, Sarah McCloskey helped save me at mile 38 and all the other volunteers were outstanding as well.

Having my family there cheering me on and seeing me finish.

My pacers. These guys took a day out of their lives, froze their butts off and helped me in so many ways out there. I can't thank them enough and they helped make the 100 miles awesome.

Here are a few pictures from the race:

Kristel, Craig, me and MattVH

The only time I could 'hang' with Metlzer

Me and my pacer Nate at mile 50

At mile 93ish

Finishing with my pacer, Rob and daughter, Julia

Me with my pacers and the buckle

Monday, March 11, 2013

50K at the San Rafael Swell

The Wedge 50K at the San Rafael Swell with Craig Lloyd, Matt Williams, Aaron Williams, Rob Bladen, Sam Jewkes and Davy Crockett Sat February 16th 2013.

I was up at 4am to meet the boys at the American Fork park 'n ride. We traveled down to the San Rafael Swell to run the Good Water Rim trail around the Little Grand Canyon area. We had a lot of laughs on the way down and hit the Wedge overlook just as the sun was coming up. It was 15 degrees and there was a lot of snow on the ground which we weren't expecting, but that wasn't going to stop us from having a great day.
Davy, Craig, Aaron, Matt, Rob and Sam at the Wedge overlook

We took our time on this run stopping at several overlook locations to take pictures and enjoy the views, but we did run at a fairly good pace between stops. The first 4-5 miles we tried to stay on the trail around the rim, but the snow was pretty deep and it was very challenging. There was no way we would have been able to complete the full 31 miles under our time limit on the rim trail, so we decided to make our way over to the road where we were able to pick up the pace significantly. We stayed on the road all the way to our original turnaround point overlook where we took a quick break. It seemed like it was uphill most of the way, but it was all very runnable and never too steep.
Me flying on the rim.

The run back down was a lot of fun. At mile 17 we had placed a cache of food and we ran a solid pace all the way there where we stopped to have some lunch. I had some pizza, Reeses sticks and a Mountain Dew and it was awesome, like rocket fuel. It was 4 miles back to car at the Wedge overlook and my muscles were a bit stiff after the break, so it took about a half mile to get going again. The last mile is straight up hill and I ended up running most of it with Crockett as we had dropped the other 3 guys (Craig and Matt were ahead of us). It was fun running that hill and we ran mile 21 at a 9:00 pace on a pretty big long hill climb. We took another break here and then ran a few more miles on the rim in the opposite direction of where we started the day. Running the rim was a lot more challenging with loose rocks, shrubs and the constant cliff and cracks that had to be avoided, but it was a lot more fun and the views were outstanding.

When we got back to the Wedge overlook at about mile 23ish we all had different goals for the remainder of the day. Rob, Sam and I wanted to hit 31 miles for an ultra distance, Craig and Aaron wanted to set up a highline and Crocket wanted to keep running near the rim. All of us minus Crockett started running back down the road and within about 10 minutes we started to spread out. We had been running an 8:00 flat pace and Craig passed us like we were standing still. He wanted to get in some solid miles before he set up the highline. Aaron started to fall back a bit and Matt stayed with him and that left me Rob and Sam running together for the next 7 miles. Rob had never been over 26.2 and Sam only one time, so it was a lot of fun running with them. Rob started hurting a lot about mile 25, but we kept pushing strong and ran mostly in the 8's. He stopped a few times to get a gel or a drink, but I told him not to stop if possible, because it is so much harder to get going.
Me at mile 29

I was feeling really good the whole day and it was by far the best I have felt during a 50K run. At about mile 28 Rob had gone into the pain cave and wasn't talking at all. I tried talking and singing to him, but he only grunted back. Haha. So I put on my ipod to get some juice and I think it ticked him off, so he picked up his pace. From mile 26-28 we were running strong, still in the 8's and occasionally going above 9:00, but everyone was looking good. I failed to notice that we had been running slightly downhill, so I had this genius idea to turnaround at mile 28 and run back the other way, as Matt would be coming to pick us up after he finished his run. Mistake! After a mile it was all uphill for the final two and it was tough. The pace fell off big time, but all of us continued to push it hard to the finish only hiking once up the end of the steepest hill. We all finished within a minute of each other and I was feeling great. It was an awesome day.
Craig on the high line above the canyon

We got back to the overlook just as Craig and Aaron had set up the highline and we got to watch Craig walk the slackline over the edge of the canyon. It was pretty intense and fun to watch. Crazy! Check out the vid from the run below.

The Wedge video

February training

My training goals for February were to up my miles to 50+ per week to get ready for the Buffalo Run 100 miler that I will be doing on March 22nd. I have been slowly ramping up my miles over the last 8 weeks trying to be careful not to overdo it and get injured and I think I was very successful. I averaged 47 miles per week in February and had some really incredible training runs.

The Avenue Twin Peaks became my training run of choice during the month and I ended up running to the summits 6 times. The trail was in great shape the entire month, it us 100% runnable and it is less than 15 minutes from work, so I was able to hit it early in the morning and still make it into work on time. I had some excellent runs with great friends.
Matt Williams and I completing the Ave Twins

I also ran Lake Mountain 3 times in February and like the Ave Twins it was in phenomenal shape with a nice packed track all the way to the saddle.
Summit jump on Lake Mountain

February was an excellent month of training for me and I feel pretty confident going into the Buffalo 100 with only some minor nagging soreness in places, but no injuries. I am very excited to run a 100 miler that isn't a tough mountain run. It will be a new experience for me and hopefully I'll do well. I certainly expect to have a PR in the 100 distance, so in that respect it is good knowing that I won't be out there as long, but 100 miles is still 100 miles, so it will be a challenge for sure. I'm fully psyched!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Altra Zero Drop Ambassador

I am excited to report that I will be representing Altra Zero Drop Footwear as an ambassador in 2013. I first started wearing the Altra Lone Peak trail shoe in the fall of 2011 and noticed right away there were some features of the shoe that I really liked. The extra wide toe box, the extraordinary comfort and the incredible traction gave me exactly what I was looking for in a trail shoe. The Lone Peaks proved to be the perfect shoe for easy trails as well as tough mountain terrain and I have run several ultra distances in the shoe without getting a single blister.

Not only are Altra's phenomenal shoes, but they are just a great company with a product that is intended to help people run correctly and more comfortably. I am excited for the opportunity to represent such an incredible company. I stopped by their booth at the OR show this week and got a look at the new Lone Peak 1.5 and I'm drooling. I can't wait to get them on my feet and up on the peaks. You can check out my profile on the Altra web page here: Altra Ambassador.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

BST marathon

On January 9th our Refuse2quit running crew ran a marathon in the hills above Salt Lake City.
Our original plan was to run 30 miles on the BST starting at the zoo. We were going to run all the way to City Creek Canyon and then hop onto the trail on the west side of the canyon and climb up to the radio towers and then run all the way back to the zoo. With several peaks on the way we thought we would tag those as well. We did most of that, but ran out of time and didn't quite make 30 miles, but I'm totally ok with that because it was a lot more difficult than the miles would indicate and it ended up being the perfect training run.

We started out early this morning on the Mt. Wire trail. MattW joined us for the first section and it was fun chatting away and climbing up Wire. We saw several deer and elk and the views as always were really good. From Wire we traversed over to Red Butte Peak and tagged that one too. The ridge on RB gets more technical with a lot of rocks and ice and from the summit back down to the BST is actually the most challenging part of the whole run. I was a bit slower here as we made our way down to the living room (chairs made out of stone). We hung out there for a few minutes and then MattW took off on a side trail back to the BST, while we continued on into Red Butte Canyon.

The trail down into Red Butte was snow covered and awesome. It was probably my favorite part of the whole day. At the bottom we crossed over and hit another trail that would take us up Mt. Van Cott. We slogged our way up to the summit where we again enjoyed some killer views. The run back down off of VC was a blast. It was fast, steep and fun. Back down to the BST we went up Dry Fork where we had to climb all the way back up to the Ave Twin Peaks. There was a ton of climbing today and my legs started to feel it on this climb.
Craig and MattVH on one of the Ave Twins

We finally topped out on the Ave Twins and took a quick break. I took my 4th gel and Craig asked if we wanted to go tag Little Black Mountain too, but that didn't sound appealing to me at all, so we stayed with the plan and ran back down to the BST again, where we ran all the way back to the trailhead in City Creek Canyon. My legs were now pretty hammered and it was tough to make them go fast. The other guys put some distance on me and for the rest of the run I was trying to catch up.

We were hoping to get water at the City Creek trailhead, but it was shut off which meant I would for sure run out on the way back. MVH was pretty low too. The hike/run back up the BST was pretty brutal. I was shattered. My legs were worked and my energy low. At the top of the climb we had about 6 miles to go. Every step the rest of the run was tough and I felt really out of shape. With about 5 miles to go I ran out of water and I was starting to feel dehydrated, so I knew the final miles were going to be a total death march and they were. I stopped a few times to eat some snowballs, but otherwise I would have to wait to the finish to rehydrate.

All of the vert was now taking its toll on my legs and I'll just say it wasn't fun running it in. I have a lot of work to do before the Buffalo run. Craig and I both said this run felt more like 35 miles. It was tough, but we did have a total blast out there. There were a lot of laughs, the views were super good and overall it was a pretty sweet day.

Here are a couple of videos made by Matt and Craig:


Monday, January 14, 2013

December Training

I was recently asked my my good friend Craig Lloyd to contribute to his blog along with the other guys in our running crew. My first post was a recap of my peak bagging exploits in 2012 and you can check it out here 116 in 2012. Even though I'll post about some of the bigger adventures on Refuse2quit I'll still continue to post here about my training.

December was a challenging month for me. I had to deal with my nagging sores on my heels and left ankle from our snow climb of Grandeur on November 13th. The sores were open and oozing for a few weeks and then it took a good month after that for them to really start to heal. The one just below my right ankle was the worst because it would rub on my shoe if I ran on anything remotely technical, so I had to stay on easy trails for most of the month.

Even with the injury I still got out a lot and had some excellent mountain runs. Lake Mountain and the Ave Twins became weekly runs and I also did the Grandeur loop a couple of times as well. Here are a few short reports from a few of the more memorable runs in December:

Grandeur Loop 12/8/12:

This is one of my favorite loop runs in the Wasatch and it didn't disappoint. Met the fellas at 6:00 at the Grandeur West Ridge trailhead. It wasn't as cold as we thought it would be and we settled into a slower than normal pace up the steep WR. About 3/4 of the way up Craig and I put a bit of distance on the other guys and we hit the summit in a slow 1:14 which was still an hour faster than the last time in the deep snow. It was cold on top and we waited for 5 minutes for MattW and about 10 more for the other guys. Craig and I froze our tails off and resorted to some snuggling.

From there we ran down Church Fork to the Pipeline. The trail conditions were really good. At Rattlesnake Gulch we checked for the Millcreek Flasher (darn no luck) and then took Bambi hill up another few hundred feet and then dropped back down to the steep trail that would take us back to the WR trail. I took a dive at one point, but landed in a pile of dry leaves. No damage done. It was an incredible morning with really good friends.

MattW, AaronW, MattV and Craig on Grandeur

Lake Mountain 12/26/12:

I woke up to snow this morning. It was coming down hard and I was meeting some of the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers aka FLUFFERS at the American Fork park n ride to climb Lake Mountain. By time everyone made it there and we were driving to the mountain the roads were a mess and the snow only got worse, but I told Craig that the worst thing that could happen is we end up running and playing in the snow for a few hours. Hitting the summit was in questions, but I knew we would give it a good try.

It was pretty much a slog the whole way. There were 6 of us that took turns breaking the trail, but at about the half way point it was me and MattW (mostly Matt) breaking the trail in the shin to knee deep snow. We saw a few deer on the way and at one point there was a pretty big buck that started running down the road right at us full speed. Matt and I stopped and after about 5 seconds in put on the breaks when he saw us, slid a few feet and then quickly turned around and went back up the road. Awesome.
Me and Matt getting abused by the wind

Craig joined us the last mile and the 3 of us pushed it pretty good to the top. It was now blowing really hard and I was wishing I had my windstopper hat and gloves, but we pushed it on up to the top where it was blowing and cold. We snapped a few pics, took a frozen gel and waited for Aaron and Mindy to hit the top. After a few more pics we got the heck out of there.

The run down was fun in the snow and a few hundred feet below the summit we ran into 3 guys on snowmobiles that were shocked to see us. They called us crazy and gave all of us high fives. Pretty much awesome. The rest of the run was a little tough in the deep snow and I didn't really ever get into a great groove, but it was still a total blast. Summit #114 for the year and it was a good one.

On the summit of Lake Mountain #114

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lake Mountain

Lake Mountain has been one of my favorite training runs for a few years now. It is the long mountain on the west side of Utah Lake with the radio towers on top. I run to the summit via Israel Canyon and love the route because there is a really nice 4X4 road all the way to the summit and it gets tracked out in the winter by a snowcat in order to service the towers, so there is usually a nice packed trail all the way to the to. I love it because it is 2700 feet of vertical climbing and most of it is runnable and you get 8.4 miles round trip.

In the last week I have run to the summit twice, first with Craig Lloyd and then yesterday with Van Horn, Craig, Jared Kennard and Eric Jeppson. We had a blast both times just talking and enjoying incredible early morning sunrises over Utah valley. Craig and I both agreed that this has to be added to our weekly routine during the winter.

Here is a video that Craig put together and it has some of our run to Lake Mountain from last week. It also has some running from the BST above City Creek Canyon which is also one of our favorite places to run.

Random Nov running