Monday, March 11, 2013

50K at the San Rafael Swell

The Wedge 50K at the San Rafael Swell with Craig Lloyd, Matt Williams, Aaron Williams, Rob Bladen, Sam Jewkes and Davy Crockett Sat February 16th 2013.

I was up at 4am to meet the boys at the American Fork park 'n ride. We traveled down to the San Rafael Swell to run the Good Water Rim trail around the Little Grand Canyon area. We had a lot of laughs on the way down and hit the Wedge overlook just as the sun was coming up. It was 15 degrees and there was a lot of snow on the ground which we weren't expecting, but that wasn't going to stop us from having a great day.
Davy, Craig, Aaron, Matt, Rob and Sam at the Wedge overlook

We took our time on this run stopping at several overlook locations to take pictures and enjoy the views, but we did run at a fairly good pace between stops. The first 4-5 miles we tried to stay on the trail around the rim, but the snow was pretty deep and it was very challenging. There was no way we would have been able to complete the full 31 miles under our time limit on the rim trail, so we decided to make our way over to the road where we were able to pick up the pace significantly. We stayed on the road all the way to our original turnaround point overlook where we took a quick break. It seemed like it was uphill most of the way, but it was all very runnable and never too steep.
Me flying on the rim.

The run back down was a lot of fun. At mile 17 we had placed a cache of food and we ran a solid pace all the way there where we stopped to have some lunch. I had some pizza, Reeses sticks and a Mountain Dew and it was awesome, like rocket fuel. It was 4 miles back to car at the Wedge overlook and my muscles were a bit stiff after the break, so it took about a half mile to get going again. The last mile is straight up hill and I ended up running most of it with Crockett as we had dropped the other 3 guys (Craig and Matt were ahead of us). It was fun running that hill and we ran mile 21 at a 9:00 pace on a pretty big long hill climb. We took another break here and then ran a few more miles on the rim in the opposite direction of where we started the day. Running the rim was a lot more challenging with loose rocks, shrubs and the constant cliff and cracks that had to be avoided, but it was a lot more fun and the views were outstanding.

When we got back to the Wedge overlook at about mile 23ish we all had different goals for the remainder of the day. Rob, Sam and I wanted to hit 31 miles for an ultra distance, Craig and Aaron wanted to set up a highline and Crocket wanted to keep running near the rim. All of us minus Crockett started running back down the road and within about 10 minutes we started to spread out. We had been running an 8:00 flat pace and Craig passed us like we were standing still. He wanted to get in some solid miles before he set up the highline. Aaron started to fall back a bit and Matt stayed with him and that left me Rob and Sam running together for the next 7 miles. Rob had never been over 26.2 and Sam only one time, so it was a lot of fun running with them. Rob started hurting a lot about mile 25, but we kept pushing strong and ran mostly in the 8's. He stopped a few times to get a gel or a drink, but I told him not to stop if possible, because it is so much harder to get going.
Me at mile 29

I was feeling really good the whole day and it was by far the best I have felt during a 50K run. At about mile 28 Rob had gone into the pain cave and wasn't talking at all. I tried talking and singing to him, but he only grunted back. Haha. So I put on my ipod to get some juice and I think it ticked him off, so he picked up his pace. From mile 26-28 we were running strong, still in the 8's and occasionally going above 9:00, but everyone was looking good. I failed to notice that we had been running slightly downhill, so I had this genius idea to turnaround at mile 28 and run back the other way, as Matt would be coming to pick us up after he finished his run. Mistake! After a mile it was all uphill for the final two and it was tough. The pace fell off big time, but all of us continued to push it hard to the finish only hiking once up the end of the steepest hill. We all finished within a minute of each other and I was feeling great. It was an awesome day.
Craig on the high line above the canyon

We got back to the overlook just as Craig and Aaron had set up the highline and we got to watch Craig walk the slackline over the edge of the canyon. It was pretty intense and fun to watch. Crazy! Check out the vid from the run below.

The Wedge video

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