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Month: March 2014

Back on the Trails! BST-Upper Terrace

Back on the Trails! BST-Upper Terrace

 

 

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Hello Dirt. These feet have missed you terribly. Please forgive cranky old-man ankle for not letting them come play much lately.
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Trail heading up? Yes Please!

Over the past couple weeks I have been reading about active release massage and how it might be able to solve my ankle trouble. I have begun to suspect that the lasting pain on my peroneal tendon is from scar tissue that built up.  Apparently, you can break up the scar tissue by massage it and so forth.  So, along with rolling and stretching out the muscles that the tendons attach to, I have been doing it for the last couple days.  Painful, but hopefully it will do the trick.

Today is was about 60 degrees and overcast. We had nothing going on this afternoon and I just couldn’t take it anymore – staring up at those mountains by my house, know that the snow was melted from all the lower ones. They were calling to me. Beckoning. Begging me to come run them. Taunting me even.  So, I gave it a shot.  This was the first trail run since a 4 mile run on the BST south from Farmington Canyon almost exactly 1 month ago.

I parked above Farmington Pond and took the trials north up to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and took that north to the Shepherd Creek Canyon Trails. It felt great to be back on dirt, stretching my legs. I could tell that my lungs and legs were out of shape though. So, I have work to do. At Shepherd Creek I climbed up to the Upper Terrace and took that back south to Farmington Canyon. Whereas the BST was a mix of trail and dirt road, the Upper Terrace was all single-track. Delicious delicious single track. The switchbacks down into Farmington Canyon weren’t the best – lots of loose rock and gravel. I came up Farmington Creek a bit, bolder hopped over to the south Bank and then ran the Canyon pavement down to my car. All in all the ankle felt ok. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow. My left knee, which I suspect is still the IT Band, flared a bit. I need to get serious about my daily stretches and rolling of the muscles. I need that under control for the Zions Ragnar Trail relay next month. About 4 weeks and counting!

4.3 miles @ 12:35 min/mile and 851 ft. elevation.

Busting my Bike Legs While Resting my Running Ankle

Busting my Bike Legs While Resting my Running Ankle

So…I have still be really nervous about my ankle.  But, equally nervous about getting out of shape. So, I have put in some miles on my mountain bike.

11 March 2014
All pavement, but first time riding the Lagoon Trail up to Farmington Pond
7.4 miles in 36:11, 12.2 mph average and 24.4 mph top speed

20 March 2014
I only have about 45 minutes, so I through my bike onto my car, parked at the bottom of Farmington Canyon and rode up to the 1st switchback where the pavement ends.  That non-stop climb burns.
3.1 miles in 23:42, 7.8 mph average and 36.7 mph top speed, 750 ft. elevation

 25 March 2014
This time I rode 4 miles up Farmington Canyon. My legs felt great and I was hoping to make it a full 5+ up to Sunset Campground, but I ran out of daylight.  Yarg!  The climb was tough, but the way down was almost just as bad. Flying down that dirt road on my hard-trail (no suspension) bike was PUNISHING on my wrists, hands, forearms, etc…  Ouch.
7.9 miles in 1:05:37, 7.3 mph average and 35.3 mph top speed, 1,661 ft elevation

 

Panorama looking south

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Blasting my Legs on my Bike as I Rest my Ankle for Running

Blasting my Legs on my Bike as I Rest my Ankle for Running

One thing I noticed  a couple weeks ago when I went for a short 4 mile run on the BST above Farmington was that after taking a full month off to rest my injured ankle, I was OUT OF SHAPE. Actually, its scary how fast I had lost my lungs, legs, and overall endurance – not that I had much to begin with. My ankle is feeling a lot better, but I don’t want to chance reinjuring it. So, in hopes of keeping my overall fitness going, I jumped on my mountain bike today to head for the hills.

I made it about a mile from my house when I realized I had forgotten my water.  Turned back, got it, started again. I had thought about driving to Farmington Pond and starting from there – saving my legs the 2.5 street miles to get there, but was too lazy to load my bike up in the car.  So – streets it was. The climb up Farmington Canyon Road was slow and hard.  Man, I’m out of shape. I was happy that I didn’t really have to stop at all, but I creeped along pretty slow as I climbed about 1,300 ft. straight with out stopping from the turn off onto E 600 N (from W 600 N), up to N 100 E, and from there up the Canyon Road proper. The steepest sections are the pavement climb up to the first switchback.  After that the dirt road is harder to ride on, but not as steep – so it was a bit easier going.  I didn’t make it too far up – only about 2.5 miles up the canyon. This made me wish that I hadn’t started at my house and had instead parked at the Pond.  Oh well.

On the way down I quickly realized that my brakes were busted.  I had adjusted them before leaving, but apparently didn’t do it right.  That made for an interesting, and sometimes terrifying descent. They worked, but not well.  When I hit the left turn off for the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, I decided to get a little actual trail miles on.  I grew up mountain biking on the trails of Galbraith Mt. in Bellingham, WA – some of the best trails in the world. The BST is a bit of a let down.  And, getting run off the BST multiple times by 4-wheelers and motorcycles was not great. At Steed Creek, I hung a right and hit a short section of actual single track, then hit the streets and made my way home.

15.2 miles in 1:43, average speed 8.8 mph, max speed 32.9 mph, 1,693 ft. elevation.

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Oh – and my ankle doesn’t feel aggravated.  Phew!  My legs are a different story.

Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest (on sale!) – Gear Review

Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest (on sale!) – Gear Review

I decided to make this my first gear review because I just saw that (at the time of this posting) Amazon has a great sale .  Only $67 instead of the regular $90-100.

Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest

Grade: A- / B+

Nathan HPL 020

This was one of the first pieces of running gear I purchased after moving to Utah last June. I had never carried water before while running, but the combination of heat and desire to go longer distance up on remote mountain trails convinced me otherwise.  Oh, that and disastrous trip up Flag Rock in 90 degree + heat with no water. I spoke with a couple people, and although it was pricey, bought it on amazon. I took it for its first spin on my hike up Baer Canyon a couple weeks later and was in love.  Seriously.  I have continued using it on longer runs and have very little to no complaints.  On shorter runs I have started using a Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Belt, that is, when my wife isn’t stealing it for her runs.

Pros:

  • 2 liter capacity.
    • If I am going to head up miles into the mountains on trails, especially in summer heat, I don’t feel comfortable with just a hand-held water bottle. (Nathan makes a number of those – as do others –  and I have heard very good things and see people with them all the time). Not yet at least.  I current err on the side of caution, bringing more water than I need. Better safe than sorry.
  • Comfort
    • I have worn this vest with and without a shirt and had no problem with chaffing.  Even when loaded to capacity it doesn’t bounce when I run and fits nice and snug to my back. The straps are all adjustable so I assume it can accommodate various sizes.  I’m quite small and some gear won’t size down small enough for me – but this gets quite snug.
  • Pockets
    • Along the two main chest straps there are pockets – one with a zipper – to carry supplies, food, gels, a phone, camera, etc… things you need to access without taking the vest off.  Very handy. On the back there is a much larger top pocket, divided into 2 compartments, and containing a plastic clip to hook keys to. This top compartment can fit quite a lot – especially if you haven’t filled the bladder to a full 2 liters. You can also store things in the main bladder compartment – but obviously nothing that may puncture it. I once took an entire bottle of Mtn. Dew up the mtn with me and it fit in there with the bladder. In short – LOTS of cargo space. It will start to feel heavy when loaded up, but still rides comfortably and doesn’t bounce around when running.
  • Bladder Seal
    • The bladder has a nifty seal on the top – a beveled section of plastic you fold over and then lock shut with an attached piece of plastic that slides across. No leaks. I was worried about this and have had zero problems.
  • Straps
    • On the back of the main compartment there are some straps you can use to tie something on.  I have used these a number of time when I go out for a run wearing a shirt, but quickly overheat and want to take it off.  I can quickly secured it to the back and be on my way. I have never had anything come lose – even an entire bag of sunflower seeds once. Don’t ask why I was carrying an entire bag of seeds up the mtn.

Cons

  • Pocket size
    • I love the pockets but wish that they were a little bit bigger. My iPhone – which I use for GPS tracking with the Strava app – fits in the zipper pocket, but barely. Enlarging this pocket just a smidge would really help.  (Its an even tighter fit on my Nathan Trail Mix Hydration Belt…but that’s a review for another day).
  • Bladder Tube
    • The tube that runs from the bladder comes out a hole in the top of the vest, and can run down either strap with a loop to secure it. There is a clip built into the chest buckle that can secure the end of the tube, but it is kind of a stretch to make it reach.  Also, every once in a while water will drip out of the tube, but not often. You can twist it to lock it shut, so not a big deal.
  • Interior Bladder Hook
    • The top of the bladder seal has a little hook that loops around a fabric hook on the top inside of the main compartment.  The idea being that it will hang the bladder inside of the compartment instead of letting it just sag and flop around in the bottom.  Mine never stays hooked.  This isn’t a big deal, and actually has zero impact on performance…it just bugs me that it does it.