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Month: September 2015

First Road Half Marathon

First Road Half Marathon

I have run 1/2 marathon distances a number of times, but never on pavement. It has always been on trails and going mountain pace.

I attempted this a week ago, but got rained out.

So, I tried again. This time I started at Big Springs Park and ran down to Orem. It was great for the first 9 miles – nice easy pace. I’m not fast. But then the last 4 were hot and exposed. Why did I do this in the middle of the day?!

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If you absolutely HAVE TO run pavement, make it pretty pavement.
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Tree Tunnel! Hooray for Shade!
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3 more miles, caked in dried salt, bonky-bonk.
Night Run + First Rattler of the Season

Night Run + First Rattler of the Season

A nice headlamp run up the Lindon Squiggles.

I made it about 30 minutes without the headlamp, but once I got up into some small stands of trees it got pitch dark. I forgot how creepy it can be up there.

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Utah County falling asleep

Then, as I crossed the parking lot at Dry Canyon, a guy warned me about a rattler he heard near the trailhead. Sure enough, there it was in the middle of the trail. It was my first sighting this season.

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Hi friend!

Herny’s Fork and Grizzly Paranoia

Herny’s Fork and Grizzly Paranoia

The family spent a weekend at my in-laws cabin along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River in Island Park, Idaho (about 20 minutes southwest of West Yellowstone). It is gorgeous and this is the latest in the season we had been there. The leaves were stunning. The Mrs. and I took a little run along the river and then I doubled back when we got to the cabin and did it again solo. The place is crawling with grizzly bears, so despite the overwhelming urge to go explore the various ATV trails, I stuck to the main road.

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Wasatch 100 Pacing Fail

Wasatch 100 Pacing Fail

Local legend and 17-18-time Wasatch 100 finisher and friend Phil asked me to pace him for the last 25 miles of the Wasatch. I thought that might be a bit more than I could handle, so he said, how about the 14 miles from Big Mountain to Alexander Ridge to Lambs Canyon. It is the hottest and most exposed section of trail and Phil was pushing for a sub-24 finish. This would push  me to my limit, and he knew it would be tough for me, but I thought I could do it.

I was wrong.

It was a very hot day. I kept with Phil for the first 4 miles or so. I led up through Mule’s Ear Meadow and up to Bald Mountain. Then, he started to pull ahead on climbs, and I would catch up on downhills. We yo-yo’d to Pence Point. That was fine with me.  I’m a better downhill-er than climber. That’s not news. The heat was really getting to me, but I felt that with some ice down my pack, I could continue on.  But then on our way down ball-bearing hill, I rolled my right ankle – 3 times. It has been weak for a while and I have rolled it every couple weeks or so. Quickly, the distance between Phil and me grew. Then, as I was placing more and more weight awkwardly on my good left ankle, I rolled it. It made an audible pop. My stomach was already uneasy from the heat and exertion and the burst of pain doubled me over and I puked. A second, less severe, roll on the left ankle soon followed. I limped my way to Alexander Ridge. Phil was already gone.

I felt horrible. I sat for about 5-10 minutes, cooled down and then limped out. The ankles ended up walking off a lot better than I thought they would. By the time I got to Lambs Canyon, about 20 minutes behind Phil, they were sore, but I was jogging on them. Looking back, I suspect that even without the ankles slowing me down, the heat may have forced me to tell Phil to go on with out me. I think I could have hung with him a bit through, probably dropping on the long exposed climb out of Alexander Ridge on the Sheep Trail.

You know what hurt worse? My pride. And this is saying something, because I make no pretensions at being a good runner. I’m always touting my weaknesses and blunders. So, maybe it wasn’t my pride that hurt. Maybe it was just the shame of feeling like I had really let someone down. Phil had placed some trust in me, and I had let him down. I know he did it with the hoping of boosting my running experience, and grooming me to do Wasatch myself some day. Perhaps, he asked me to pace him more as an opportunity to give me a good learning experience than to benefit from my being there.

In any case, it wasn’t the best day.

However, it WAS a lot of fun to be out on the course and see people out there. When I arrived at Lambs Canyon the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers were out in force! And, they even cheered me a bit and told me to keep my chin up as I limped in, head hanging low. Those smiling faces actually meant a lot. There I was, proving that I could NOT hang with the best of them, and they were slapping me on the back and saying it was great to see me nonetheless. Good people.

So, to Phil. Thank you and I’m sorry. It was both a great and horrible experience.

Pacing Phil Wasatch 100 (16)
Some things you may not know about Phil. He doesn’t talk on climbs, he yells “Air Assault” when jumping over obstacles, and he is prone to burst out in song – Eastern European national anthems, Handel’s Messiah, etc…
Pacing Phil Wasatch 100 (15)
Exposed Phil
Pacing Phil Wasatch 100 (9)
There were a few nice vistas, despite the exposure.
Pacing Phil Wasatch 100 (7)
Downhill Phil
Pacing Phil Wasatch 100 (6)
Post ankle-rolls and post-puke. #walkofshame
Pacing Phil Wasatch 100 (2)
On the climb out of Alexander Ridge. One friend suggested these were the bones of a racer last year whose pacer failed them. Thanks Joe. Very helpful.

 

More Summer Shenanigans

More Summer Shenanigans

Thankfully, the back pain from last month did not return and I was able to fit in a number of runs and hikes (not listed here, but on Strava) during the remainder of August.

I ran a bigger version of the squiggly wiggly. Lots of fun.

Some HOT BST action:

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Ready to get the burn on!

An awesome morning run up Grove Creek to Chris Flats. Bagged my first Mountain Goat sighting.

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He just sat on the ledge above the trail watching me, curious.
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North Timp ridge from Chris Flats

I even ran some pavement. Possibly the first time this year! Actually, it was kind of exhilarating to click off miles at a faster pace than I’m used to, but it was painful.

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Pavement?! What is wrong with me?!

Plus, some nice blister pains during an attempted Big Baldy Summit. Woot woot.

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