2009 was probably the best year I have ever had in terms of staying fit, working out, and climbing peaks. I set some lofty goals for myself and I think I had a successful year. I wanted to just post some of the highlights. You can find reports for most of these adventures on my exercise blog. I only typed up a few trip reports last year that I posted on summitpost, and this year I need to take some time to write a few more than I did last year.
Mountain stuff- I set a goal early last year to try and climb a peak every week in 2009. I knew that I would probably miss a few weeks because of work and family commitments, but I just wanted to try and do whatever I could to get on top of a peak every week. I reached the summit of 31 peaks in 2009, which is probably the most that I have ever done in one year, so even though I didn't get out every week, I had some really great experiences and saw some incredible places in 2009. I did have some major knee issues after my marathon, so I wasn't even able to hike anything in September and October, so if you throw those months out, I made 31 summits out of a possible 43 weeks.
I started off the year on New Years Day hiking to the top of Grandeur peak via the West Ridge with Jackson and Matt Van Horn. We got to the top just as the sun was setting, and it was a great way to start 2009.
I got caught in a full white out on Little Black Mountain with Matthew Van Horn. It had to be one of the most memorable trips of the year on Valentines Day. You can see a trip report here:
The most difficult climb of the year was definitely a winter climb of Lone Peak with Matt Van Horn. The final push to the summit was a dodgy proposition, and it definitely got the adrenaline flowing. You can see a photo album from the climb here:
I had some fantastic spring mountaineering adventures. The most memorable were doing the Beatout hike with the Wasatch Mountain club, and climbing North Timpanogos via the cold Fusion Couloir. The Beatout was a fun day, and we went really fast because of the threat of inclement weather. We didn't even stop for a breather until the summit of Pfeifferhorn, and I was a little behind because of a wardrobe malfunction, so when I got to the top I barely had a chance to get a drink, take a picture and slam down a packet of gu. We hit 4 summits that day, and had an amazing experience traveling from the White Pine trailhead in Little Cottonwood all the way on top of the ridge and out Bells Canyon. Cold Fusion was also a memorable climb with some of the best views I have ever seen. It wasn't extremely technical, but there were a few places where you had to take care because I fall could be serious. I did have a scary glissade on the way down, and had to self arrest because I was going so fast down the hard snow slope. I'll add some pictures later
Some of the best memories I have from 2009 are from early morning pre-work outings with Matt. We tried to get out every week, although it wasn't always possible. We would meet at the various canyon park-n-rides or trail heads usually at 4:30 - 5:00 and would try and be down by 7:30 so that we could make it to work on time. We climbed several summits, and had many memorable experiences. I also learned how to shower using my Nalgene bottle or by using the sink in the bathroom of the Park-n-rides. Not ideal I know, but you have to do what you can to get some adventure. I hope we can continue these outings in 2010.
I set a goal in 2009 to workout every day that I possibly could. I know from experience that there will be days that it just won't happen for you because of work and family, so most of the time I would usually get in 6 days per week, and I am ok with that. This was my 'typical' routine from 2009:
Monday- Weights at the gym
Wednesday- Peak in the morning or treadmill/elliptical
Thursday- Peak in the morning or treadmill/elliptical
Friday- Weights in the AM before work
Saturday- Hike or run in the AM or treadmill/elliptical at night
Running- I started running in 2009 to get in shape for the Spring mountaineering season, and I discovered that I actually enjoyed it. I set a goal to run a marathon, but I knew that I probably should run a half marathon first, so I decided that I would do my first half in the summer, and then I would probably do a full in 2010. I joined a running blog for motivation, you can see it here: http://scottw.fastrunningblog.com/
I signed up for the Provo River Half marathon on August 8th, and I was running 2-3 times per week t get ready for the race. There had to be at least 3,000 people running, and I was excited for the challenge. The course started up Provo Canyon, and then ended at the Riverwoods shopping center. The adrenaline was really pumping, and i think it carried me for the first 5 miles. I kept up a really fast pace until about mile 10, where I kind of ran into a wall. My legs were so tired, and every step hurt. The next two miles I slowed down a lot, and I tried to push it hard when someone would pass me, but my brain was stronger than my body. I just couldn't push it anymore. When I got out of the canyon and started to see the crowd of people I got another shot of adrenaline, and I really picked up my pace. I sprinted the last 1/4 mile to finish in 1:49. It felt great to finish, and I changed my mind and decided that I wanted to try a marathon in 2009, so a few weeks later I signed up for the Provo River Marathon, which follows the same course as the half but then continues on to Utah Lake State park.
The week before the marathon I climbed Kings Peak, the highest point in Utah in one day (26 miles and over 4K elevation gain). The weeks prior to this I had done something major every week including some peaks with a lot of elevation gain/loss. My knee (IT band) had been getting a little sore, and on the Kings Peak trip it really started to hurt me. I did a peak jump on the summit of Kings, and it hurt really bad the rest of the way down. I tired to stay off of it the next week leading up to the marathon, but it didn't help much. I also picked up a brace at Wasatch running that is supposed to help with IT band issues.
The marathon was September 12. I was running with my friend Amy and her nephew Michael. There was not as many people as the half the month before, and when we started there wasn't as much adrenaline, but I was excited to see if I could make it. After a few miles Amy's foot was starting to bother her, and I was having a little pain in my knee. Between mile 5-6 I tripped on a screw on a bridge and fell hard. I must have still had a lot of adrenaline because I didn't feel anything even though I could see a few cuts and scrapes. At mile 7 Amy had to stop because she had a stress fracture in her foot. I felt so bad for her because she had been training so hard. it was sad to see her drop out. Right after that my knee took a turn for the worse, and after mile 7 the course made an uphill detour for a few miles. The next 6 miles were as hard as anything I have ever done in my life. My knee was throbbing, and every step I had a shooting pain in my knee. I told myself that if I could keep running I wasn't going to stop. I had to stop to adjust my knee brace several times, but nothing seemed to help. I was getting very discouraged because I was being passed by everyone it seemed. It was a mental low point for me, and luckily I was able to push through it. Those 6 miles were so incredibly bad, that the rest of the race was actually easier. Once I made it out of the canyon (mile 13.1) I noticed that my knee felt much better because I wasn't on the downhill slope. It still hurt, but was nothing like the pain I had been feeling. I actually picked up my pace, and mentally felt great. My half time was about 30 minutes slower than it had been just a month before. Those 6 miles had just killed me. At this point I didn't care at all about my time, I just wanted to finish.
Miles 15-20 hurt pretty bad, but I was still feeling really good. My knee was still throbbing, but at least it was bearable, but now my legs and feet started to hurt as well. It seemed like there wasn't much on my body that wasn't hurting. I had some great tunes in my iPod, and I knew that if I could just get to mile 20 I would make it.
Miles 20-23 I just got into a groove. I think all of my years of mountaineering paid off here because I am already used to grinding physically all day. It was very similar to doing a long peak in the Uintas. My body was tired and hurt, but you just take yourself to a place that gets you into a rhythm, and you just push through. I thought about a lot of things, and I was mostly in a really good mood because I knew I was going to make it.
Miles 23-26.2- After I went through the last aid station I was running completely alone. I didn't see any other runners. The course follows a paved trail that goes through Utah Lake State park, and is right next to the Provo River. At this point the pain wasn't bothering me because I was used to it. I was just tired. My body wanted to quit, and it did take everything I had to keep pushing. When I finally reached the park I was so relieved. There was a few people there cheering me on, and I knew I had done it. My time wasn't great, but finishing this race was a big accomplishment for me. It took everything I had mentally and physically to fight through the knee pain, and I was elated to cross the finish line. As soon as I stopped my leg locked up, and it was hard to even walk to my car. I took an ice bath when I got home for 20 minutes, took ibuprofen and tired to rest. That night at 2:00 AM my knee woke me up with a shooting pain that felt like I was being burned with a branding iron. the pain was unbelievable, and as bad as anything I have ever felt. It took me two months to be able to run again. I am glad that I pushed through the pain, but I am not sure if I would do that again. I will definitely run more marathons, but not if my knee feels like it did. My body was trying to tell me to stop, and next time I will listen. Hopefully I will train smarter in the future and I won't have the same problems. I have learned that I need to taper my training before a big race.
I am really excited for 2010. I have several goals that I want to reach, and I am really looking forward to a fantastic year. Hopefully I will get to experience the great outdoors with my friends, and have some epic adventures that we will remember forever.