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