After a failed attempt a couple weeks ago to run the Buffalo 25k course out on Antelope Island, I tackled it again. This time with a couple friends, Glen and Spencer. I was again struck by how gorgeous Antelope Island is. It is stark. The vistas are enormous. Expansive. I don’t run many places where you can see the next 8 miles of trail all laid out ahead of you. Coming down on the bone road either going to or from Elephant Head, you can see a LOT of trail ahead. It is a deceptively big place. The run was grand, except for the 2nd 8 miles when my IT band on the right knee flared something fierce again. The beauty of the place, and the glory of being (somewhat) out of the inversion smog made it all worth it though.
I clocked a 1/2 marathon and 20k PR as well.
Treadmill Winter. Avoiding Injury and Inversion Smog
Last week, too lazy and unwilling to slog through a muddy local trail, I took a spare hour and put down a few miles on the paved trails in Farmington – plus a little gravel trail. That night, my right ankle started throbbed – exactly like the stress fracture I have on my left ankle.
It was one year ago – Jan/Feb 2014 – that I incurred a painful stress fracture on my left outer tibia by putting in too many miles too soon on the pavement. I was trying to avoid vert to rehab my IT bands (wow, life is cyclical) and overdid it. I don’t want to let that happen, so I’m trying something new.
I’m going to build my base mileage this winter on treadmills. I joined a $10 a month gym and am going to just suffer through it. I have done 2 runs so far, and no increased ankle pain.
Cons: I hate gyms. Treadmill running is pure torture. I miss the trails.
Pros: I get out of the horrendous inversion smog in the Salt Lake Valley. It is fast and convenient. It will hopefully prevent injury. I can use the other parts of the gym to do some strength training to strengthen my hip flexors and other muscles in order to rehab my IT bands and prevent them from flaring up.
Ugh. This is going to be a long few months.
First Snow Run of the Season and First Time on Antelope Island
While in Arizona for the last couple weeks I have been drooling over all of the beautiful snow-running pictures my Utah friends have been posting. So, having just flown back to UT (family still in AZ) yesterday, I resolved to go exploring. A number of people suggested Antelope Island for good snowy trails. I have been out there before (twice) but never to run. I was also excited to test out my new winter running gear: a Bjorn Daehlie Ambition Hat, Buffs neck/balaclava/bandana stretchy thing, Altra trail gaiters, Patagonia Houdini windbreaker, IO-Merino Wool Chaser half-zip base layer, etc… Long story short, the gear worked amazingly – all of it. However it was mid-30s, sunny, and no wind…and I got way overheated.
It was gorgeous and the trails were in amazing condition – nice softpacked snow. No ice. Little to no mud.
My plan was to run the Buffalo 25k course, but that was quickly altered to a short 7 mile loop up above White Rock Bay due to some extreme IT Band pain. The knee problem flared a couple weeks ago during my 29 miler in AZ and I didn’t have a foam roller down there to work on it. Clearly, it didn’t solve itself.
Regardless, it was gorgeous. A real stark beauty. And, I saw a ton of other trail runners out there – which is always fun.
2014 was first full year where I considered trail-running (or running at all) my primary hobby. Excited about the prospects of what I hoped to accomplish, I set the goals of running 500 miles and climbing 75,000 ft. At the time, it seemed like a lot. I still don’t like running, per se, and am primarily motivated by the excitement of exploring new places and challenge of doing hard things. Compared to my ultra-marathon friends, 500 miles is probably laughable.
So, how did I fare? I ended with 425 miles and over 81,000 ft. climbed. I was 75 miles short. Yarg! I partly blame February – where I didn’t run much at all due to a stress fracture on my left ankle. Truth be told, my mileage from January-April was less that I had hoped as the injury continued to plague me and I was worried about aggravating it and ruining my summer running plans. On the flip-side, I did beat my climbing goal.
I had also set the goal to summit the 3 highest peaks in Davis County (from the valley floor) – Thurston, Francis, and Bountiful Peaks. Which I did. I also pushed my “longest run ever” from 13.1 to 16+ to 20 to 29. I ran in the Zion Trail Ragnar and Wasatch Back Ragnar (ugh!) but look forward to some non-Ragnar trail races in the near future. I am pleased that I don’t think twice about going out for a 10-20 miler in the mountains.
Here is what I propose for 2015:
100,000 ft. elevation gain
Summit Timpanogos and Box Elder peaks in Utah County, Olympus and Lone Peak in Salt Lake County.
Run a 50k (already scheduled for June – Bryce 50k)
Run other non-race marathons and 50ks – just as adventure runs.
Why the repeat mileage goal? Well, running still isn’t a part of my daily routine. I don’t love simply putting in miles (on pavement), and I don’t want a mileage goal to force me to spending what precious free time I have out clocking miles on the road just to hit the goal. Moreover, I think it has been some of those road miles (attempting to keep up with my goal pace last year in January) that really aggravated my stress fracture and put me out for a while. I would rather be motivated by goals to summit peaks, explore new places, hit new distance PRs, etc…