I wanted to get in a long training run for the month so I started looking at some possible trails and I came across what looked like a really good one. It is a 10 mile loop on Stansbury Island out on the Great Salt Lake. I asked Craig if he wanted to come and he was in and then Josh and Matt also wanted to come, so the four of us headed out to the island on what we thought might be a terrible weather day. The forecast was for snow and rain all day, and on our way out there we were driving in rain and hail and I thought it might turn out to be a long day, but the closer we got the island the better the weather looked.
The trail is pretty straightforward. We started on the west side of the island and then immediately climbed 800 feet to the crest, where we followed the trail around the rim, in and out of a few canyons and then back down on the southwest side of the island, where we ran a trail to the road and back to our car. The first loop was really fun and all of us were feeling really good. The trail can be tricky with a lot of rocks, obstacles and some steep cliffs off to the side. We all stayed together and ran at a pretty decent pace. When we got back down to the road I stopped to take a few pictures and the guys kept running, so I did finish a few minutes behind.
It was nice being able to stop at the car every 10 miles to fuel up and hydrate. On stop number one I ate a banana, had a V-8 and some Powerade. We decided to do lap two in reverse and Craig and Josh were really setting a quick pace and after a couple of miles my stomach just wasn’t feeling right. At about mile 13 the other guys started pulling away and I wouldn’t catch them. Lap 2 was pretty tough for me, but after my stomach started feeling better I got into a pretty good groove and tried to keep the pace in the 9’s. The guys were waiting for me at the car and we re-fueled and then started lap 3 the same way we did number 1. The 800 ft. climb was tough, but it was actually nice to give my legs a short break from all the pounding. At the crest the other guys pulled away again over the next mile as I was just not feeling great.
At mile 23 I was looking off of the edge of a cliff at the spectacular views and my foot clipped a rock that sent me face first off the side of the trail. I almost lost my water bottle over the edge and that would have been a disaster, as it had all of my water and a few gels and I still had 7 miles to go. I banged my knee and tweaked my ankle, but it wasn’t serious. When I rounded the last bed before I descended I could see the other guys below me on the trail and it was the last I would see of them until I got back to the car.
Miles 25-28 were tough. I just tried to get into a groove, but it was difficult. When I finally got back to the road I actually felt better and I was able to keep the pace around 9:00 all the way to the finish where I came in exactly 30 miles. I did not have a great day out there, but I am encouraged that my legs did not feel very fatigued at the finish. Usually I get pretty sore if I run over 25 miles but today my legs felt solid. I did have some stomach and energy issues and other than the first lap I never really felt like I was in a great groove, but I feel good about the miles and the scenery could not have been much better.
Here are a few photos from our run.