I came home early from work tonight, with an upset stomach. After a while, I felt better and was feeling quite restless so I decided to go hit the trails for a quick run before dinner.
My plan was to climb the south switchbacks that lead to the Farmington Upper Terrace. It is about 1,000 ft. elevation gain in about 1 mile of trail. At the top, a local trail building colossus, Ryan, had recently cut and flagged a new trail up canyon to the trail that comes down from the Francis Peak trail and meets up with the canyon road at the 2nd switchback. The first time I came down that trail from the Francis Peak ridge, I had thought, “It would be nice if a trail cut down canyon here to meet up with the Upper Terrace.” Apparently Ryan read my thoughts.
As I reached the trail intersection to head up Ryan’s new route, I joined the Trail Puke club. Many ultramarathoners have GI troubles during long races and throw up a lot. I haven’t ever had any trouble – and I haven’t really run any long races. So, I don’t think throwing up at 1 mile is the best way to get into the club, but I’ll count it. Afterwards, I felt much better.
I followed the trail up but about 1/2 way along, the flagging split into a high road and low road. I took the high road and it soon thereafter got lost in a thicket of scrub oak. I was tired and surprisingly sweat by that point, so I descended, running another couple miles along various BST branches.
It felt good to be out, but my ankles hurt. Stupid stress fractures. Stupid tibias. Stupid basketball!
After the 21+ mile President’s Day run at The Wedge I was so excited that the tibial stress fracture (left and right, yay!) did not hurt at all. Zero pain. I was excited that this might be the end of my stress fracture troubles.
Then, 2 days later, on a Wednesday night, I somehow found myself playing a little pick-up basketball on a nice hardwood court in a pair of random sneakers. An hour later, I limped home – both sets of bones throbbing.
I have explained before my aversion to group runs. I’m slower than most of the 100-miler ultramarathoning trail runners who I have the pleasure to know. So group runs quickly become solo runs. For Presidents Day, however, there was a group run that I just couldn’t resist. A 21-31 mile run along the Good Water Rim Trail in The Wedge are of the San Rafael Swell.
The group totaled 26 runners – a collection of Wasatch Mountain Wrangers, Orange Trail Monkeys, and their friends.
We started at 8:30ish at the Wedge Overlook (the southwest portion of the map above) and ran the 16 miles around the many squiggly finger side canyons to the opposing cliff walls. It is crazy because at about mile 2-3, you can see – just across the canyon – trail that is miles 15-16. It is so close, but you have to wind around so many side canyons to get there.
For the first 5-6 miles, I felt pretty good. I fell in with different packs of runners, chatting, enjoying the scenery. I did miles 6-9 solo, going into the aid station. At mile 9 we had dropped supplies. When I arrived, most were still there. I socialized at the aid station for a few minutes before they all took off. I took a couple extra minutes to change my socks and discard some layers (it had gotten nice and sunny).
The next 7 miles were a bit rougher. The trail was rougher, and I was getting worn down. I jogged, interspersed with some walking. I passed a couple who had stopped due to a fall and were patching up some cuts. Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t fall at all. I made it to the end of the trail, mile 16, just as people there were turning around to return. Some turned around and did it in reverse for a total of 50k. Instead, I jumped out to the road (about 5.5 miles) that goes around to the north and back to the starting point.
I hit the road with a few others, letting 2 go ahead, and 2 others fell behind. I had some hip and groin muscle pain, and one IT band was thinking about flaring up – thankfully it never did. On the return a cold wind picked up from the north and when I swung by the aid-station, I put my layers back on. Brr! The last 3 miles on the road were a long steady uphill. Thank goodness there was a nice tailwind.
In all, 21.5 miles in just over 4 hours. An 11:33 min/mile pace. That made for 1/2 marathon, 20k and 30k PRs!.
It was gorgeous and a lot of fun. Afterwards there was a big potluck-ish gathering and everyone goofed around and talked for a couple hours while runners came in. It was so much fun. I was also glad that my tibial stress fractures didn’t hurt AT ALL! Total miracle!