Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bosho Marathon Report

For me the Bosho marathon represents the true end of winter. It’s also chance to catch up with friends and meet some new ones in a low-key setting. And finally, to me at least, it represents what trail running is all about, enjoying the trails with some of the friendliest people around, fellow trail runners. Thank you to those who cannot be named for everything you do to keep the Bosho alive.

Two years ago I had some pretty good race fitness heading into the Bosho and I came out of it with a PR of 4:12 and a distant 2nd place to Karl Meltzer (note that a number of strong runners went off course early that year). Ever since then I’ve really wanted to break the 4 hour mark at the Bosho and with even better fitness this time around I thought it might be possible.

After a few words of advice from our faithful RD’s we were sent on our way. The pace was really nice and easy to start, just rolling along the double track and talking with friends. Then we hit the first climb and Karl made a quick pass in front of me. I tucked in behind him as my breathing rate increased and we immediately had a gap to the rest of the field. Up and over the first significant climb I was feeling good and didn’t really feel stressed at all. Descending down into Georges Hollow I noticed how quickly Karl was moving and I had to push to keep up. About that same time my toe hooked a rock and I went flying into dirt. Mid-flight I was already angry with myself and by the time I touched down I was over it as I watched Karl run down the drainage (his headphones were on and he didn’t hear me fall). By the time we reached the road crossing I had caught back up and realized my sunglasses were missing from head. My heart rate monitor strap also came loose so I tore it off and dropped it at the start/finish area as we passed through in 37 minutes.

The next obstacle was Dry Creek and Dry Fork with the long climb up Unkle (or Black Mtn Ridge if you prefer) and the drainages were anything but dry this year. We made no effort to try and tiptoe around the stream crossings in the beginning as we knew that we would soon be trudging through an icy stream in Dry Fork. I certainly don’t mind running with wet feet, but frozen feet are a different story and I was happy when we hit dry land for the final ascent up to the ridge. Karl made a quick pit stop and I assumed the lead as I crested the ridge and started the long descent. Slowly the blood flow returned to my feet and I looked back down the climb to see a large pack of runners on the last pitch of the climb only a few minutes back. Karl easily caught back up before we hit the aid station at mile 9 and by the time we hit Morris Meadow at 9.5 we were at 1:29. My pre-race pacing plan had the meadow at 1:20, so I became a little concerned about breaking 4 hours at this point and picked up the pace as we crossed the meadow.

Back in 2009 I had done this northern loop in 1:40, but that’s when it was the beginning, not 10 miles in. This year the plan was to cover it in 1:50 since I figured fatigue would have an effect on pace by this point. I continued to press the pace all the way to the radio towers where I had opened a small gap to Karl. Up and over the crest I spotted Le Car with it’s fabulous new paint job and picked up a rock. My aim was perfect for once but the rock fell short by a few feet and I was actually happy about not hitting it this time around. By the time we hit the North Salt Lake bench Karl had easily closed the gap as we started the long descent up to Meridian Peak. I could tell the extra climbing I’ve been doing this year was paying off as I assumed the lead and felt strong. Karl would have none of it though and took the lead shortly before the long descent back into the canyon.

Toward the bottom we had a quick exchange and I let him know my intentions about breaking 4 hours. His reaction was awesome, because from that point on it seemed like Karl’s mission was to help me get my goal. The pace he set was steady and fast as we hit the climb back up to the meadow. At the top I glanced at my watch and was astonished to see we had covered the loop in 1:38. My confidence was restored as I had my bottle re-filled by Olaf at the aid station and started the climb up to 5 points with Karl right behind me.

By the time we hit 5 points I was ready to just roll a nice and steady pace along the BST back to the finish. I knew I had a bit of a buffer on the 4 hour goal at this point, with 35 mins left to cover the remainder of the course, but that wasn’t good enough as Karl encouraged me to run harder. I pressed harder than I had all day, hitting my absolute limit and feeling everything start to hurt. It was awesome. Back in Dry (wet) creek I could feel my hamstring on the verge of cramping but I wouldn’t give up as Karl was right behind me, pushing me to go faster. We started the last little climb to the upper BST and I was in survival mode as Karl assumed the lead. I gamely held on as the last descent started but I couldn’t go any faster as Karl opened up his stride and put about 10 seconds on me. I was slightly bummed at first, but as I looked up I noticed Karl had stopped short of the finish line and was looking back for me. He waited until I approached and we crossed the line together, stopping the clock just a few seconds before 3:56. Between the weather, the trail conditions and the company on the trail I couldn’t have asked for more.

Erik was next to cross the line a few minutes back, followed by a few other guys heading to Hardrock in July, including David Hayes and Ben Corrales. Jason Berry, Bryon Powell and Jeff Gerke were in the top 10 along with Peter and Greg but I don’t know the order off the top of my head. Roger snuck in ahead of Jill to even the score for this year, followed a short time later by Cheryl. That’s when I started to grow a little anxious as I knew Betsy wouldn’t be too much later, unless of course the wheels had completely come off. She was hoping to go under 7 hours but I thought 6:30 was more feasible. Next thing I knew I saw her flying down the hill and stopping the clock just under 6 hours. I’m so proud of her.

Thanks again to those that make this possible, it’s one of the true gems on the calendar.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Race Report - Red Mountain 50k - Sabotaged

After a subpar race a month earlier on Antelope Island I needed to race again and soon to get the bad taste out of my mouth. The Red Mountain 50k in Ivins Utah, near St. George, seemed to fit the bill. I checked out the race profile and realized it would be hard not to PR my 50k time. Basically the entire course is downhill. I wasn't too thrilled about the 19 miles on the road, but it would be a good opportunity to get some leg turnover in and run a fast time. So I signed up the night before registration closed.

The morning of the race came quickly, I woke up feeling refreshed, relaxed and ready to go. I slept unusually good for a pre-race sleep. My brother in law Ryan, lives in St. George and he agreed to drive me to the start line and save me a few minutes of sleep and not having to take the bus to the starting line. He also was going to meet me at mile 12 where the trail met the road and help me out with anything I needed.

The start line was the same as the St. George Marathon , a big dirt shoulder with a few port potties. It was pretty windy and cold up there (nothing surprising there). It was also quite dark still. I decided to wear my headlamp realizing I would be able to see in about 30 minutes after the race started but didn't want risk running without one. I would just drop it off to my brother in law at mile 12. Running on trails without a light can be rough and I didn't want that slowing me down

The time came to get to the start line. The race director then was going to have us sing the national anthem, but the sound system didn't work, so we all just pledged allegiance to the flag instead. That was a first for me for any race. Kind of cool actually.

Before I knew it, we were off. I settled into a 7:00 mile pace right off the bat. Not too fast, not too slow. I was just giving myself a chance to warm up a bit, feel out the competition and see where my body was at. I can usually tell how my race is going to go a half mile into it, unlike Antelope Island a month earlier, I felt great and got excited.

By mile 4 I was all by my lonesome out in front . My watched beeped at me and I looked down and saw 6:19. No wonder. I better check myself, so I backed off a bit and just concentrated on my nutrition and the course markers and enjoyed the run. Miles just started to click by one after another with little effort and went by without any incidents until mile 9.

After a quick pit stop at the aid station, I was off once again. I ran around the corner and saw the course markers pointing west and continued down the road. Shortly after that, there was a good sized creek I had to run through followed by a pretty big hill... I thought to myself, " I don't remember this being on the course profile." But I just saw markers pointing this way so I just shrugged and continued up the hill.

Once I got to the top of the hill, that awful feeling of "you are going the wrong way" started to creep in. For some reason I just kept going thinking I would see markers around the next corner, then the next. But there was nothing. Now I was starting to get worried after that last mile and not seeing anything and almost started to panic.

By the time I came to a major intersection with no markers about 2 miles down the road I had to make a decision. I was definitely going the wrong way. I had to either go back and run an extra 4 miles for the course or continue on and hope the road would drop back down on the course.

I started to picture the Google map I was looking at the night before in my mind and I remembered seeing a road on top of a ridge line on the west side of the river that dropped down to the course. I was 75% sure this was it. Any sane person would have just gone back, but for some reason my instincts were telling me it would be fine. So I turned up the road and continued running the wrong way.

My mind was racing now. I don't think I have ever ran a race the wrong way on purpose before. Was I committing race suicide? I basically just threw the race out by doing this. I was able to look down over the ridge line and see the Santa Clara River, that deep stream I crossed 2 miles back. If this road just kept on going, I would just jump off the side of the road and bush whack my way back down to where the course really should be.

The road continued on for another mile or so and then started to drop and head towards where the I was hoping it would. My adrenaline was pumping. I looked down at my watch as it beeped at me, 6:04. I didn't care at this point. It was mile 12 and I was supposed to be on the road by now. All I could think about was how many people would be ahead of me when I found my way back. I continued to run down the road pretty hard and all of sudden it turned north and then east.. there was the aid station and the road. What a sight for sore eyes. My watched beeped for mile 13. I only ran 1 extra mile. My instincts were right.

I met my brother in law as I got onto the main paved road and asked if anyone was else had come by yet and no one had. Something wasn't right. Did everyone take the same wrong turn? What was going on? We were supposed to come down a road north of the aid station, I came down a road west of the aid station. I clearly remember the arrows pointing to the river to cross, I couldn't think of anywhere else I could have gone wrong. More on this later.

My watch had a total time of 1:31 for 13 miles, my pace was still on where I wanted it to be. (even with the extra mile) I took a deep breath and took off down the road feeling anxious about what could be going on behind me. Talk about a roller coaster of emotions during a race.

About 10 minutes later, my brother in law came driving up behind me. He told me a couple runners came down the same road about 7 minutes after I did. That helped me relax a bit. I then turned my attention back to the race at hand.

Instead of adjusting my race plan for the extra mile, I just let go and was still going to race for the 31 and not care what happened after that. I started to fly down the canyon road. I knew I would pay for it later on, but at this point it didn't matter. I would deal with that when I got to it. Feeling pretty crisp, I covered the next 13.1 miles in 1:20 and I just ran a 2:51 marathon. I still had 6 miles to go. It was getting hard to ignore that extra mile.

I survived one more mile and the wheels started to fall off. Not terribly, but I had to slow down, my legs were just trashed from all the downhill running that I was not used too at the pace I was moving. The last 5k could have just been another 10 miles. It was a bear. As I got closer to 31 miles, I knew it was going to get my goal of a sub 3:30. I unofficially passed 31 miles in 3:27:58. I will take it. But I still had another mile or so to go. I finally crossed the finish line in an official time of 3:36:19 after 32.2 or so miles.

After talking with race director and another 50ker who was familiar with the course, they said someone had sabotaged the course the night before and re-marked it to go the wrong direction (to cross the river and up the hill). That is unbelievable. Everyone made it back ok as far as I know, most people ended up running an extra mile (if they ran the same route I did) or 2-4 extra miles if they turned back. This could have gotten real ugly and someone could have gotten into some serious trouble going the wrong way. Thank goodness no one got hurt.

All in all it was a good race experience and kind of crazy at times haha. If you want to PR your 50k, this is one to do for sure. Highly recommend it.

Trail Gear Testing – Zion Style

This past weekend I traveled to Zion National Park for some warmer weather AND some trail gear testing. You see, I’ve got a couple of big runs coming up including a 4X Grand Canyon crossing, the Millwood 100 and the 200 mile Tor des Geants – so I was feeling a compulsion to test some new gear.

On day one I ran from Lee Pass to Wildcat Canyon. Things to test on this run… First, with the sun shining and the temperatures in the low 70’s – could my paisley winter skin handle three hours of sun?? I’m most pleased to report that the mild sunburn feels GREAT! A passing grade on that test. Second, I’ve had trouble finding a good set of headphones. I’ve tried almost every kind of ear bud with no success. They seem to always be falling out; whether from pounding descents, the cords getting snagged by vegetation, or they simply seem to slide out of my ears when I’m sweating heavily. Last week I purchased a pair similar to what I’ve seen Jared Campbell and Karl Meltzer use – a behind the head pair of “neck phones.” If figured if they work for these guys, then they should work for me. I’m pleased to report that they performed smashingly! They stayed in place. They were comfortable. And, I didn’t have to mess with them while I was running to keep them in place. Thanks guys!

And lastly, I recently purchased a new iPod Nano 6th generation thinking the small size would be perfect for running. To say using it was frustrating would be kind. I do not find the controls intuitive. Without glasses I can’t see the icons. And, the battery life is less than my old iPod Nano 5th generation. I’ll give it another try or two before crying “uncle” and going back to the 5th generation.

Day two brought out the Hokas and the Black Diamond Ultra Distance poles. Because of all the snow in Salt Lake, I’ve mostly been running low and haven’t had much vertical. I was excited to run up to Observation Point, a 2100’ climb in less than 4 miles and test the poles on the ascent, and see if the Hokas were as great as people have been saying for the descent.

Poles have been strongly recommended for the Tor des Geants with its more than 76,000 vertical. I purchased a pair several months ago on the advice of Jared Campbell and have used them on several runs with flailing results. I’ve had a hard time getting into a rhythm with them. I find they caught in vegetation. And, I have a hard time daydreaming when I need to think about what to do with my arms. Ughh!! But on this climb I got into the groove and the poles felt a part of me. I felt I had a bit more power. I found the poles were rhythmic and helped with my turnover and pace. And most important, I reached Observation Point from the trailhead in less than 45 minutes. Probably the fastest I have ever reached the top. There may be something to these poles!! At just 4.5oz each, these super light collapsible poles are pretty cool. They can easily be extended or collapsed on the go (extending them is almost more fun than I should be allowed to have) and they are surprisingly rigid. Only problem, I don’t know what to do with them when I am not using them. It looks like I will need to purchase a hydration pack with tie-downs for poles.

As for the Hokas… I have to admit that I have disparaged them on multiple occasions. They look stupid! The hype is annoying! And it is JUST WRONG to pay $160 for a pair of shoes. For this test, Peter had loaned me his pair saying, “you just need to try them.” And frankly, I was curious as to what they are like. Well, they were pretty amazing on the downhill. I was able to open it up full throttle and not feel like I was beating the sh*t out of my feet. Now I’m conflicted. I won’t pay that much for shoes. I refuse to look like a clown. But, I can see a role for these shoes in the quiver.

For day three, no testing was allowed. Just my favorite La Sportiva Crosslites, a hand held water bottle, a soft cotton Armani shirt and me on a 14 mile run. No distractions. No hindrances. No thinking. Just good times trail running in Zion…

Friday, April 22, 2011

Desert R.A.T.S. Trail Running Festival 50 mile Race Report

Take it easy baby

take it as it comes

don't move to fast

and you want your love to last

oh you been moving much to fast

These lyrics gave me a laugh as the Doors song played over my headphones at mile 43 just as my legs were starting to cramp up. At the time it felt like Morrison was singing directly to me. Funny thing was, or not funny depending how you look at it, is I had been taking is easy and I had been taking as it came. I didn't feel like a had been moving much to fast ,but the love did last which I determined was my cramping legs for another half hour or so.

The first 25 miles of the Gemini Desert Rats 50 mile race were uneventful. The sun was out, there was absolutely no snow on the ground, I had been running a fairly easy pace and managed to run by myself for most of the race. I was behind on my splits from the start, in fact at the the first aid station at 5.9m I was already 4 min behind and would continue to loose another 3-4 minutes on each section. I didn't worry about it, I just continued to run a pace that I felt was proper for 50 miles. I had a time goal for the race (8:20) but since I had not raced since CCC100 in August I was trying to just focus on the basics, fluids, calories, electrolytes and pace. I figured my best advantage in the race was going to be experience and would catch some people on the second 25 mile loop.

At the 25 mile turn around I was in 8th place in a time of 4:06 and was now 15 minutes behind my pace goal, but I was feeling good, I managed a quick turn around and headed quickly back out for the second loop which you run in the reverse direction. It was great to travel in the reverse direction because it makes it a little more interesting, but also means you get to run against everybody that was behind you for the next hour. This made for a rather annoying climb as it was hard to get in a rhythm while constantly saying good job to everybody and trying not to crash into people.

Just after the next aid station at mile 31 I started to see people in the distance, which finally pushed me into race mode. I started to pick up the pace to catch people. I went from 7th to 4th by the next aid station at mile 37 but I had also managed to run out of water in this section and the heat (all 71 deg of it) had also started to wear me down. Hey no laughing, its been freaking cold in SLC all winter and most of the spring. I think I only ran one day above 60 degrees since October of last year. Needless to say I was not heat trained.

After getting word at mile 37 aid station that 3rd place (Anita Ortiz) was 20 min ahead of me I slowed the pace back down and tried to get back on track with water and electrolytes and was determined not to get passed by anyone and hang onto 4th place. I started to cramp just before going into the last aid station at mile 44, luckily I had read AJW 's race report on hia AR50 race and had read at one point he had taken 3 s-caps at one time and it had worked for him when he was on the edge of cramping up. For some reason I have never thought of taking more then one at a time. I only took two but it was enough to keep the cramps at bay and kept me going and I was able walk the last hill and run hard down the last technical decent to the finish. I was amazed that I needed so much salt as I had been taking around 200-300mg per hour for most of the race. After finishing in a time of 8:37 I sat down and realized why I needed so much salt. My face was absolutely covered in it.

I am happy with the race, the course was a good mixture of fast smooth sections and short sections of very technical rocky trails with moderate climbing. The race organizers claim more than 8,000 vertical climb but I would guess that is a bit of a stretch. The course was well marked and the views were fantastic, the aid stations were some of the best I have found. Duncan Callahan was 1st overall in a time of 7:38, Anita Ortiz was 3rd overall and first female in a time of 8:16. To see full results click here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Sometimes you need a target, a goal, something to aim at, something to work towards. It should be fun to try to hit, but difficult. Hitting the target should ring true in your ear. After, as you run down the trail with a small feeling of satisfaction, knowing there will be hills to climb, you will remember that the targets were set with friends. The type of friends that meet you at 4 AM on a cold dark morning in the middle of winter, dreaming of some far off run through the mountains of who knows where, ready for whatever adventure awaits.

Good luck to all you bandit racers. Let one fly on Saturday, you will be glad you did.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

SweetH2O 50K 2011 Race Report – A Fish Out of Water

I’m normally not nervous before a race. But, the 2011 Sweetwater 50K was an exception. I felt like a fish out of water in so many ways…

It started with the short drive to Lithia Springs Friday evening from Atlanta where I was working. The traffic. Yikes! How can people live like this? Then, in search of food I could only find chain restaurants and fast food – neither, of which are especially celiac friendly. Then, a trip to Wal-Mart on paycheck Friday for breakfast items was simply overwhelming and frustrating. How I wished I could be home in the familiar….

Reviewing the race on the Internet only added to the sense of being out of place. Past race reports empathized how tough the course was. My short exploratory run on part of the route suggested this was definitely a 4+ hour course. Then, the thought of a field of 250 runners on a two-loop course with an out-and-back made me panic – I don’t do well in traffic – either on the road or on the trail. I’m so out of my element I thought. I don’t belong here…

But I was here. I knew I would be fine once I got to the starting line. In the meantime I had to decide, what would my race strategy be? Perhaps influenced by a third glass of wine in my pathetic budget chain hotel, I decided that I would go out hard and just see what happened.

A group of about 6 runners immediately broke away from the pack. As the pleasantries in the early miles ensued, I learned that two others had a Utah connection - Speedster Jon Allen, formally of Logan who recently moved to Greenville, South Carolina and Matt Hoffman of McKinney, Texas who interned in Salt Lake City last summer with Jared Campbell. What a small world.

After about 2 miles on pavement we hit the single track. Whew! I just don’t have the speed or turnover to go fast on pavement and knew I couldn’t sustain the pace we were running. Once on the trail I felt great. I was relishing being on dirt and being in a short sleeve shirt. It felt great to not be in snow AND not be cold.

The course is a great mix of flats, technical sections, water crossings, and some pretty steep rollers that surprised me. The terrain was constantly changing which seemed to make the miles fly by.

Our group of six stayed together until mile 10 where Jon made a break and began to pull away. Dennis Bauer hung onto Jon. While Matt and I couldn’t keep up with Jon and Dennis, we were able to pull away from the others in the lead pack.

I completed the first loop in 2:12 and was feeling great. As we jumped on the short section of payment I could see Jon and Dennis together about ¾ of mile ahead of Matt and me. I was encouraged that Jon and Dennis were not father off the front. For the next 10 miles up until mile 25, Matt and I traded places. I’m used to running alone and found having someone either right in front of me, or right behind me annoying. I decided that at the mile 25 turnaround I would see if I could pull away from Matt on the long uphill out of the aid station and rollers that followed. I knew my best chance to loose him would be on the hills over the next three miles. I had noticed that he was faster than me on the flats and knew that if we were together at mile 28 then I would likely get dropped – big time!

I ran scared the last 7 miles. But, I felt great. No hamstring issues. Legs felt strong. And I was pleased with my speed given that I’m not a particularly good 50K runner.

Jon took first place missing the SweetH2O 50K course record by three minutes. Top five finishers were:

Jon Allen 4:23
Dennis Bauer 4:26
Jay Aldous 4:32
Matt Hoffman 4:46
Jason Hanlin 4:46

Full results can be found at http://www.sweeth20races.com/

Monday, April 11, 2011

90 days and counting, and a DNF

On Jan 1 I entered a bet with Rich. Running 90 days in a row. It sounded like a great idea, especially as I was getting ready to run the Antelope Island 100 mile in March. I should have accepted Rich's initial offer of the loser mowing the winner's lawn 3 times during the summer, because 2 weeks into it, he went on a binge of rest days and missed 3 in a row. I had already won, but decided to keep on with it. On March 31 it ended, with only 2 days missed, which were within the guidelines of the bet. One day I missed because it was Sunday and I just felt like laying on the couch and eating a bag of Cheetos, the other day was spent in the car for 15 hours driving home from Mexico. Here's a few highlights.
-I started out with a bad case of Plantar Fasciitis, and it seemed to be getting worse. Defying conventional wisdom, I increased my mileage, decreased my rest days, and it went away.

-I ran 784 miles

-I spent way too much time on the treadmill, and ran up Grandeur exactly 0 times.

-I did, however, summit the top of Lincoln Lane and 2700 East about 55 times.

-I PR'd at the Moab 50K and felt very fit coming into the Antelope Island 100 miler.

Which brings me to the DNF. While in Mexico two weeks before the race, I felt great. What a great way to taper. Sleeping more than I've slept in months, long runs on the beach and deserted dirt roads, and soaking up some long missed warmth and sunshine. Instead of heading home fully rested and relaxed, I picked up a nasty sinus infection and stomach friend two days before heading home. I immediately loaded up on the kids emergency antibiotics I had brought, and was feeling decent by Monday. By Thursday the stomach was still a little funky and Friday morning (race day) my head was full of gunk again.

In addition, I had planned for a late start at 6 pm instead of noon on Friday as I didn't have enough vacation accrued at the VA dental clinic where I spend my Friday's. I got out a little early, made it to the start line by 5, where the weather had improved to perfect conditions instead of the blizzard conditions at noon, and headed off, fairly apprehensive as to how my body would hold up.

My legs felt great, my sinuses emptied fairly quickly, but from the moment I started eating, my stomach let me know it would be a long 100 miles. Even after stopping multiple times to clear my troubled intestines, I finished the first lap in 2:40, right on pace and legs feeling great, and hoping that after clearing itself, my stomach would settle down. At Lower Frary, I was still on pace, but becoming more unsettled and by the time I had left the Ranch (mile 33) and was headed back to Lower Frary, I couldn't keep anything in. No vomiting, which is surprising for me, but a lively version of the Aztec two-step. For me the race was over. I made it back to the start/finish area at around 1 am, informed a disappointed Mick that I had dropped and he didn't get to run 30 miles in the dark with me, and that was that.

Looking back, there is some disappointment, purely from the fact that I was really ready to run. I had trained hard and felt like I could have given it a good run. But, my body said otherwise, and from a health perspective, dropping was the right thing to do. From that standpoint, I have no regrets.You can fake a marathon, you can sometimes even fake 50 miles, but to run 100 miles, and to run it hard, the stars have to align themselves and your ducks need to be all in a row.

Now, I feel like a little redemption is in order. I'm in 100 mile shape, and the Salt Flats 100 is in a couple weeks. Anyone have any other suggestions?

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Red Rock Smorgasbord

While patiently waiting for spring to come to the Wasatch, I had three great runs this week on a work trip to Southern Utah.

Wednesday night I ran in Red Canyon, a fabulous 13-mile loop up Lossee Canyon, connecting to Castro Canyon via the Cassidy trail, and down Castro Canyon. An excellent run with a variety of terrain including stunning red rock, stream crossings, ponderosa forests, and high desert. The trailhead is just a quick 5-minute drive off highway 89 near Panguitch making this a perfect run to break up a drive to/from the south.

Thursday night I finally connected the Tom’s Canyon and Squaw trails in Kanab. This could be one of THE VERY BEST short (6 miles) trail runs in the state. Start at the Squaw trailhead at the north end of town next to the recreation center. Run through the La Estancia sub division (about a mile of pavement) and up Tom’s Canyon. Watch for where the trail leaves the road on the left and follow the steep trail to the top of the mesa. The trail is challenging, the scenery stunning, and the views of Kanab and the surrounding valleys spectacular. Once on top follow the ATV trail towards the towers and connect with the Squaw trail.

Friday night on my way home to Salt Lake I stopped for a quickie to Kolob Arch in Zion National Park. This relatively flat and speedy 14-mile out and back offers a number of stream crossing, stunning scenary, and of course, an arch!. Easily accessed from I-15 between Cedar City and St. George, another great run for when you are traveling north or south.

And tonight I’m back in Sat Lake looking at snow, patiently waiting and longing for spring...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Birthday Peter

Because we all know that Peter is a glutton for attention, I thought everyone should know that it's his birthday today. Feel free to send him warm wishes.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brotherhood of the Traveling Shoes

I’m not really sure when it began. Our collective recollection of that first exchange is fuzzy. Christian claims it was during a run late last summer when Peter suggested that he demo his new Hokas on the descent from Twin Lakes Pass to Brighton with the reported exchange taking place on the leeward side of a large granite boulder. Although, I think the origin may have been after the 2010 Pocatello 50 when Peter took pity on me not having any dry shoes to drive back to Salt Lake in and offered an extra pair of Montrail Hardrocks. “Just keep them,” he said.

Regardless, a year later we’ve found ourselves behaving like a bunch of teenage girls – exchanging a plethora of size 8 running shoes at a dizzying and often confusing rate...

Actual quotes from conversations, emails and texts the past couple of weeks include;

Christian to Jay, “Matt just gave me a pair of Montrail Rogue Racers to demo and review. Do you want to borrow them this coming week?”

Jay to Peter, “You gotta try these Rogue Racers Christian gave me, I’ll drop them off at the clinic along with your Newton racing flats. Loved those Newtons, they sure made me feel speedy. It was like wearing paper towels on my feet!”

Peter to Jay, “Glad you liked them. Let me know when you want to borrow the Hokas.”

Jay to Christian, “I think the Rock Ridges would be perfect for Hardrock. I’ll leave a pair on the porch. And, why don’t you also try out the La Sportiva Fireblades and Crosslites. I’ll leave them on the porch too.”

Christian to Jay, “SWEET. Thanks!”

Christian to Jay and Peter, “Hey, who has the Rogue Racers??? I want to wear them for the Buffalo 50K and need them back”

Radio Silence from Peter and Jay. Hmmm… I hope this isn’t the end of the Brotherhood of the Traveling Shoes…

Sunday, April 3, 2011

BoSho Opening Day

In the Wasatch we get a few trails that are situated at a low enough elevation and right aspect to allow running nearly all year long. One of those trails is the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.

The BST, or BoSho contours along the Wasatch from Logan to Springville and while it's not continuous from beginning to end it has to be the most used trail in the Great Basin and Saturday was opening day. Two days of dry weather in the middle of the week followed by a 70 degree Saturday brought runners, hikers and bikers out in droves. I joined Greg, Peter and Jay for a stroll along one of our favorite routes on the BoSho (We plan on doing this again on April 23rd at 7am) except we decided to skip the opening southern loop around Red Butte. I finally brought the camera along to document our run, something I need to get better at this year. For those interested in stats we did about 22 miles and 5,000' vert.

Jay in "dry" fork before the sun came up

On our way up "Unkle" or Black Mountain Ridge as the sun is coming up

On top of Black Mountain Ridge looking east. Grandview Peak is just left of center, between Black Mountain and the City Creek Ridge

Peter is using his neon arm to show us where we'll be running in another ~10 miles

A bit of snow can still be found along the Black Mountain Ridge

Peter and Greg running up the trail from City Creek on the west side of the canyon

Greg, running over to the radio towers amidst the dormant scrub oak

Peter demonstrating perfect form for throwing rocks at our favorite target. Hit the target and 3 mins are deducted from your time, or if you're like me you'll end up with a sore arm and 3 mins behind...

Peter leading Greg up to the North Salt Lake bench

Up above the gravel pits in North Salt Lake (L-R) Peter, Jay and Greg look out at Antelope Island on the horizon

Topping out on Meridian Peak

At the top of City Creek just before the "Drop"

Peter pointing out our location ~10 miles ago
Just before we hit the bottom of City Creek Canyon