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Month: May 2016

Trying to Train Without Getting Injured

Trying to Train Without Getting Injured

For the past couple weeks I have been thinking a lot about putting in smart miles rather than just lots of miles. Lots of miles usually just get me injured, plus I don’t have lots of time, so I’m trying to be strategic (and have even added biking to work once a week or so into the mix as a way to work on muscle strengthening and endurance without stressing my joints). Here’s some recent doings.

Two of them were deliberate attempts to put in smart miles.

On May 16, some quick miles to loosen up sore muscles after that Big Baldy madness.

Then, on May 23, I went up the crop circles trails above Lindon with the specific plan to work on slow climbing. This is a trail that has a nice long, but gradual, climb, then a downhill to complete a loop. I wanted to work on transitioning from aggressively power hiking climbs to slowly running them. I did the loop, then did it backwards, then went up and down the BST a bit. It felt great. I will add this on occasions to get some climbing in, but without the punishment of long downhills that sometimes stress my joints.

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Looking south towards Provo Peak. The grass up in the foothills is green-ing up and starting to grow!

On May 20 and May 27 I took my next-door neighbor on his first two trail runs. He has been a hardcore hiker in the past (600 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, the entire Great Western Trail from Idaho to Arizona – the full length of Utah – twice) and puts in a lot of road miles. I convinced him to join me in the hills and I think I’m going to get him hooked!

The Dry Canyon -Altar/Rock Pile loop was great in the morning and things were looking so green!

Then, of course, taking him on the Grove Creek Battle Creek loop. Wow. It is so green up top!

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Just cresting up onto Chris Flat. This is a pretty sudden view. You are climbing steep through some aspens and then boom – you’re at the top. He said, “Wow – that was sudden!”

 

The Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer Challenge

The Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer Challenge

I like maps and I like drawing routes on maps that I can only dream of ever running.  I draw them and then challenge others to run them. See all of them at The Professor’s Trail and Ultra Courses.

The Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer Challenge is in my backyard and I tackled it this morning before work. Yowzers.

The SW Ridge of Big Baldy (above Lindon, UT – in-between Dry Canyon and Battle Creek Canyons) is crazy steep. From the Dry Canyon trailhead, it is just over a kilometer of vertical gain over just 2.2 miles of trail. The 2nd mile alone climbs almost 2,300 feet. In all, the climb is 3,330 ft.

Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer (2)
Looking at the Big Baldy SW ridge

I’m not a strong climber but knew I could make it to the top. If feeling strong, I was planning to double it from the meadow at the Dry Canyon / Curly Springs trail intersection in order to also check off the Big Baldy Double (Vertical Mile+) Challenge. (That didn’t happen). But I did do the vertical KM – in 1:36:53.

Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer (4)
Panorama looking West-ish, with the ridge on the right.

The Dry Canyon Trail climbs fairly steep for the first .7 miles to the meadow where the Curly Spring trail intersects. I dropped an extra bottle behind a trail there and continued about .3 miles to the turnoff up the SW ridge trail. That first mile climbed 869 feet. Not bad, I was feeling ok. And, that is when the real fun began. The next mile of tiny switchbacks and steep pitches climbed almost 2,300 ft. While climbing I got some great views of Timpanogos and Little Baldy and the valley. About 3/4 of the way up, some clouds rolled in and started to wrap around the ridge below and above me. Then, right around ME. I could see the wisps of cloud moving just a couple feet away. Very cool.

After climbing 1 mile up the ridge, I got to the very prominent false summit (there’s an old flagpole, now laying on the ground). Continuing north, you drop down a tiny little col and then climb NE up a saddle to the actual Big Baldy summit where there is a large stone cairn.

Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer (6)
From the col just north of the false summit – looking up at the saddle to the true summit
Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer (7)
Summit cairn selfie
Big Baldy Vertical Kilometer (8)
Panorama from the summit ridge, looking East-ish at Timpanogos (see the false summit at the far right)

That adds another .2 miles or so. I took some pictures, turned around, navigated down the little bit of snow on the saddle, and then back down the SW ridge. Close to the bottom, I landed fairly hard on a hyperextended left knee. At the meadow, where I had hoped to grab my extra bottle and turn around for the double, I took a moment to feel out the knee. It wasn’t happy and felt like it might be swelling. So, I called it a day and headed back to the car.

It was a short but grueling morning. Very fun. I’ll be back for the double!

 

 

Grove-Battle Loop. Always a Good Choice

Grove-Battle Loop. Always a Good Choice

The loop up Grove Creek, up and over to Battle Creek via Chris Flat, down Battle Creek, and back over to Grove Creek is always a good choice. The first two miles up Grove Creek to the bridge have nice enough views. The next mile to Grove Creek Spring are steep, but gorgeous. The climb through aspens and meadows up to Chris Flat is gorgeous in all seasons. Chris Flat itself, even with short scruffy early-spring grass (not tall yet) is something special. The first mile of the drop down into the Battle Creek drainage – until the split where you chose to go down Battle Creek or up to the switchbacks to the Big Baldy Saddle are full of meadows and so green. The descent down Battle Creek has some beautiful stretches but the trail is rough and steep with large rocks littering the path. Not “fun” running. And, the Bonneville Shoreline Trail back to Grove Creek once you get to the bottom is just a mess of ATV trails. Despite this, its all worth it for those 2-3 miles up top.

Today’s run apparently was my fastest for much of the route.

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Looking down Grove Creek, stripped of color
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At the bridge at mile 2. The mossy creek was so green today.
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Chris Flat. I can’t wait for the grass to get nice and tall.
Grove-Battle Loop (1)
The intersection of the Timpooneke-Chris Flat Trail Nr. 151 and Battle Creek Trail Nr. 050. Go straight to climb the switch backs up to Big Baldy (straight ahead)