Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Buffalo Run 50K

With 4,000 feet of elevation gain and 32 miles this is a very tough race, but one I thoroughly enjoyed. This would be the first of my longer training runs in preparation for the Wasatch 100. I will be doing at least one long tough training run each month until September. Full race report: I had heard a lot of good things from friends about the Buffalo run, so I wanted to do it this year. I was trying to decide between the 50k and the 50m, and I knew that I could grind out the 50m, but I hadn't run anything long since October and I wanted to gradually build up my miles for later in the year, so I decided on the 50k. I had several friends doing the race, but I was late getting to the start and by time I got to the line we were within a minute of starting. Seth Wold saw me and said hi and we chatted for a bit and I told him to go get it and Jim started the countdown. I started out in the front of the pack and within a minute I found my good friend Mat Williams, so the two of us talked during the first mile while we went up the long hill. Eventually he dropped me, but I wasn't far behind. So far I was feeling good, but didn't want to push too hard because I knew it would be a long course. After we crested the first big hill I could still see Matt, and I wanted to catch up to him so we could chat, but he was moving pretty fast, so I picked up my pace to a 7:00 and finally caught him around mile 4. We chatted some, but he dropped me again before the Lone Tree hill, where I decided to power hike. At the first aid station I just stopped long enough to fill my bottle and then I took off. The run down into the valley was fun and I resisted the temptation to push it hard, although I did pick up my pace and it felt good. There was a group of about 15 of us that headed up the switchbacks together. Everyone was pushing pretty good and it seemed to help me push not wanting to get passed. I ran most of the time, but on the steepest section I power hiked while taking a gel and an S-cap. The run back to Elephant Head aid station was a bit muddy, so it was a little tricky staying out of it, but overall the course was in excellent shape. I was still feeling really strong, so I didn't even stop at the aid station. Just before the drop to Lone Tree I passed my friend Dustin Erickson, who placed 6th in the 25K. We missed our high five attempt and then I saw my friend Nick at the bottom of the hill and I made sure I didn't miss this time and gave him a good smack on the shoulder. I wish I could have stopped to say hi, but I didn't want to stop my momentum. Just before climbing the hill back up to the flats I saw my longtime friend Allison from high school and we exchanged "Hi's". On the hill I took another gel and an S-cap and once on top I tried to get into a nice steady pace without pushing too hard. I wanted to save my energy for the second lap. Once I came around the bend I could see the aid station and the wind picked up quite a bit. I tried to pick up my pace on the downhill and I was still feeling really good. I passed Matt just before the aid station and he was looking good. At the aid station I looked for my drop bag where I had some Cytomax and I had a good drink of that and downed a gel. I was thinking about dropping my long sleeve shirt, but it was so windy that I thought I might need it again. I said hi to Lily and she helped me with a few things and I was off. That was my longest stop of the race. The first hill on the second loop was an absolute killer. I thought I was feeling pretty good until I started the climb and all of the sudden my energy was gone. I felt wasted. I was thinking I must not be very tough if I am feeling like this at this point. I just tried to power hike and hoped my energy would come back. What made it worse was the strong headwind pounding us relentlessly. I was kind of in a funk from about mile 17-20 and it was very tough to climb back out. The hill took a lot out of me and once I reached the top it was hard to get going again. I was running a 9:30 pace and tried to speed up, but my legs just wouldn't go. Finally when I reached the Lone Tree hill I started power hiking again, took another gel and an S-cap and hoped I would be feeling good at the top. I filled my water at the aid station and then thankfully on the descent back into the valley I found my groove again. My legs started to feel better and I picked up the pace a lot. I passed 4-5 people that had passed me while I was in my funk and by time I reached the switchbacks to climb back up I was feeling strong and energized. The climb up the switchbacks was so fun. I felt just as good as I had on lap number one and I passed a few more people on my way to the top. I passed the marathon distance around 4:30, which isn't fast unless you consider the elevation gain over over 3K that I had already put in. Just before the top I had another gel and S-cap on the steepest section as I hiked and when I reached the top I had two runners in my sights. I was feeling good and eventually passed a guy that was trying to hold me off and then I tried to catch a girl that was moving great. I followed her all the way to the aid station where I finally passed her because my stop was less than 20 seconds to get water. On the downhill I pushed the pace and felt great, but noticed that my second toe on my right foot was hurting a lot. I had put some mole-skin on the toe to prevent a blister and I remember there was a crease at the bottom and I knew that was causing it. It really started to hurt, so at the bottom on the hill I stopped and took off my shoe, gaiter and sock and removed it. I hated stopping, especially since I was feeling so good, but it helped a lot and I felt better. The girl I had passed at the aid station passed me again and I would follow her into the finish. The last 4 miles were fun. I was feeling as good as I had felt all day and nothing hurt, except my toe a little where I had the mole-skin. I actually ran a lot of the last 4 in the 8's and felt so good and strong. Except for the girl nobody had passed me in at least 12 miles and I reeled in 4-5 runners that last 4 miles. I wanted to pass the girl, but she as strong and kept pushing hard. Once we came around the bend and could see the finish we both picked it up and there was another runner in our sights. She passed him with about a quarter of a mile left, but he picked up his pace a lot at the end and I couldn't make up the distance. I was still feeling really strong at the end and felt like I had a lot left in the tank, which makes me feel really good about my training so far this year. It was good to see Matt at the finish. I was really happy for him. He ran a great race and had made incredible strides this year. It was also fun to see Craig and Kelli come in on the 50 mile race. They were awesome. I also got to say hi to Crockett, Bryce and hang out with Seth and the guys for a while and eat some buffalo stew. This was a really fun event and was very well organized and I had a great time. Congrats to everyone that ran and to those that reached their goals. Also, props to Bryce for going 30+ miles while fighting a nasty cold. It is very inspiring to watch everyone out there and makes me want to get better. I finished in 5:37 and I was very happy with that. My goal had been 5:30 and I felt like I would have to run a perfect race to hit it.

Grandeur Peak 3/18/11

Matt Van Horn and I decided we would do a pre-work climb/run of Grandeur Peak via the West Ridge. This would be 8 days before the Buffalo run, so it would give my legs plenty of time to recover for the race. Here is the report I put on my training blog: I woke up at 4:00 am to go climb/run Grandeur Peak with Matt Van Horn this morning. We definitely had our challenges today. First of all it was wicked cold at the start, and the wind that beat down on us for the first 30 minutes was horrible. That West ridge is sure windy and exposed. At least the lower trail was dry. The last mile to the top took us forever because there was about a half inch of light powder on top of a icy hard crust, and no tracks or trail, so we slipped and slid the rest of the way up. It was tough and slow. We finally hit the summit in 1:40, which is 20 minutes slower than the last two times we did it. It was still dark when we reached the summit and I took a gel and checked out the incredible view of the valley lights below. Heading down the back side was also quite challenging because the snow had a hard crust that you would punch through to deep powder. It was slow going down to the saddle where we finally hit a packed snow trail. I guess we were the only ones dumb enough to go to the top. After descending off the steep east face I took a look down into the valley and back up at Grandeur. Wow! What a view. You really have to work for a view like this and it gave me chills. Very awe inspiring. We ran down to Church Fork, and then on the Pipeline to Rattlesnake Gulch. From there we ran down to the canyon road and then back to the car. It took us almost an hour longer than the last time we did this route two weeks ago. It was a lot of fun anyway. We saw some deer, elk and had some impressive views along the way. This route is definitely one of my favorites.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

February/March training

I have really had a fun month training for the Buffalo 50K on Antelope Island that will be held on March 26th. I have tried to do some kind of training daily with at least one bigger training day each week. I have been out to the island twice in the last month with Craig and Matt to run. The first time we went out and ran the 25/50K loop and had an incredible time, and then we went out and ran a portion of the 50M course that runs along the shore on the east side of the island. We did a 21.5 mile day, which was my longest run so far this year. Other than a little bit of mud at the end it was a perfect day.

Last Saturday I did a 19 mile run on the Jordan River Parkway in Lehi. The day before I had wanted to do 20+ on the same trail but because of some work issues I only got in 8, so I had to go back the next day. It was an incredible run by myself in perfect temperatures. The Saturday before I ran Grandeur Peak again with Seth Wold, Matt Van Horn, Bill Hiatt and two other friends. It was such a fun morning. We hiked up the West ridge to the summit and then ran down to the Pipeline trail, where we continued to Rattlesnake Gulch and then out the canyon and back to the cars. It is only 11 miles, but feels like a lot more with all of the elevation gain/loss.

I have continued to run as many peaks as possible, and I usually try and do at least two every week, although sometimes I have to settle for one. So far I have climbed 17 peaks in 2011 and I have a goal of getting 65 which I should be able to do as long as I keep up my current training schedule. Mt. Wire, Grandeur Peak and Lake Mountain are still the peaks I have been climbing most because I can get up and down quickly and then get into work, but I am really getting excited for the Spring mountaineering season. This year I want to do the Triple Traverse, the Pfeifferhorn, Lone Peak and possibly the Grunge couloir and the Beatout (White Pine to Bells).