Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lake Mountain 50K

With Craig Lloyd, Matt Van Horn and Josh Greenwell. January 10th 2012:

Matt wanted to get in a long run to prep for his 100 mile race in March, so we got some of the fellas together and decided that the Lake Mt. 50K course would be the perfect option. We started out a little after 7:00 am and it was downright COLD. The car said 15 degrees and while everyone got their things together I tried stretching and dancing a bit to keep warm and it took a mile or two to start feeling good. Almost right out of the gate we started to climb up to Soldier Pass and we kept up a pretty decent running pace all the way up. The views from the pass were stunning and we were the only humans within several miles in all directions. After that we dropped down into the Cedar Valley where we could see the fog hovering eerily and waiting for us to enter. As usual we were laughing and joking and the miles were clicking by.

When we got lower into the valley it became quite apparent that the temps had dropped significantly and we all felt it. We were dressed appropriately, but we all had to make a concerted effort to keep the water moving in our hydration tubes or they would freeze within minutes. Jun actually had to mess with his for several minutes after it froze up. At about mile 6 I took off a glove to take a gel and my hand was so frozen that it became totally numb and I couldn't even open a zip lock bag. The gels also were almost solid and became a little more difficult to swallow, but as long as we kept moving we were all fine. There was a fine layer of frost covering all of the bushes and brush and we all started to accumulate it on our facial hair as well, but we were having a great time.

The dirt road we were on eventually takes you into the edge of Eagle Mountain and after a short stint on some pavement we were back on the trail that would take us around the north end of the mountain. We stopped here to take a break and at that point the trail seemed to be numerous rolling hills the rest of the way. At about mile 17 I noticed that my hamstrings were a little tight and I would try and stretch them out whenever we stopped. At mile 19 we had a cache of food and drinks and we took about a 15 minute break to eat and replenish our energy. I was feeling really good except for my hammies. They were still tight.

The next 6 miles were pretty tough for me. I usually really enjoy hills, especially on a long run like that, but they were really hurting me and the farther I went the tighter my hamstrings got. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely slowed me some. It was one hill after another as we made our way south on the east side of the mountain. Eventually we topped out on Enoch pass with about 6 miles to go. I had been behind Matt on the way to the pass and he was running really strong up every hill and I was impressed with his toughness.

Running downhill was such a relief for me and my legs felt instantly better. I did have some fatigue, but my hamstrings were no longer hurting and it was nice to be able to run under a 9:00 pace, however I still wasn't keeping up with the other guys and Matt and Jun took off at a blistering pace which was very impressive considering we were over 26 miles in. I settled into a 9:00 pace for the next 3 miles and I was pretty content with that. Eventually I caught up to Josh who had stopped to take a break and we ran in the last couple of miles together. His ankle was hurting and my legs were quite fatigued, so we went pretty slow. Those were some tough miles, but it felt really good to finish. Check out Craig's blog for some really good pictures

City Creek Canyon runs

Craig Lloyd about to top out on one of the 'bumps' on the ridge

From Dec 26th-Jan 4th I did 3 runs in City Creek Canyon. First Matt V. and I ran to the Avenues Twin Peaks on the 26th on a cold morning. There wasn't much snow on the trail and other than it being cold the conditions were fantastic out there. A few days later we decided to check out the other side of the canyon, so we ran to the top of the ridge above Ensign Peak and hit all of the small summits with towers. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed the trail, so I talked Jun into heading back up there a few days later to try and climb Dude Peak on Jan 4th. It was an absolutely perfect day with sunshine and warm temps above the inversion. We were both running in shorts and sleeveless shirts and really had a fun run. we didn't quite make it to the summit (we'll be back) because of time constraints, but we had a blast anyway. I really love this canyon. There are some fantastic trails with good elevation gain and awesome views all with easy access.

On the way back from Dude Peak on the ridge

December training

I had a very good month of running in December. We have been experiencing very warm temps this winter and without much snow in the mountains it has been great for getting out into the mountains to run. One of my favorite runs in December was a Friday night/Sat morning run with Matt Van Horn. We decided on a whim to run View Benchmark peak and Lake mountain back to back in the middle of the night. This would be summit #76 and 77 for the year and we had an excellent time laughing and joking the whole way while most of the world slept. Here is a short report:

View Benchmark/Lake Mountain run. 12/17/11

I was frustrated that I couldn't make it out on the trails the last few days and with a very busy Saturday coming up I decided to do a late night mountain run and I was happy Matt wanted to come along. I suggested View Benchmark via Ann's trail and Lake Mountain as possibilities. Matt said why not do both. I like the way he thinks.

We met at Ann's at 11:00 and we were running up the snowy trail a few minutes later. It was bitter cold and it took about 5 minutes to start to warm up. After that I felt fine, but whenever we stopped it would chill me within about a minute and I had steam flying off of my head. We were having a blast though. It took us longer than I had hoped because of the snow, but we made it up to the summit in about an hour (That included breaks for Matt to move some product). On top we checked out the views, but after a few minutes we were VERY cold, luckily there wasn't much wind.

The run down was a lot of fun. We laughed pretty much the whole way down and had a decent running pace most of the way. Back at the cars we decided to add in Lake Mountain as well, so we drove to Lehi and after taking a break to eat, warm up and change some clothes we parked and were on the trail just before 2:00 am. It was COLD!

We had both changed into our Altra Lone Peaks and after running the first 1.5 miles we could feel the extra strain on the calves and tendons. After the first mile we were in snow the rest of the way. After two miles we settled into a nice fast hiking pace for the rest of the way, but we would still run the slopes that aren't quite as steep.

About a mile from the top the nice 4X4 track we had been following ended and we had to break the trail the rest of the way which did slow us some. There was a slight wind after the saddle and the snow was very light powder and you could see bright crystals sparkling in the headlamps. It was pretty cool. We reached the summit a little before 3:30 am. It was cold, so we didn't stay long. We tried to snap a few pics, but they didn't turn out so we headed down.

The run down as incredible. We picked up the pace with each mile and the Lone Peaks provided plenty of traction on the steep snowy grade. We were singing to various songs that were blaring on my ipod, laughing and just having a fun time. The last two miles were in the 7's and felt really good. We both had an excellent time and I made it to bed just before 5:00 am and it was definitely more fun than sleeping.

We had just under 5K elevation gain for the night and we were able to run all but about 2.5 miles of the 16.2.