Monday, December 15, 2008

Chalk One Up For the Weatherman

On Saturday I joined Peter and Greg to run the 2nd loop of the BSTM, just a 16 mile figure-eight loop between City Creek Canyon and Red Butte. We all knew about the predicted storm front that was supposed to hit at around 8am, but we'd never think of canceling a run because of a little weather. Once we got started and got up to the shoreline the route took us in a southerly direction with the wind in our faces, but after about an hour (around 8am) the wind changed direction in a dramatic manner and snowflakes started drifting around us.
I'm always amazed with the force of a big storm front. At one point as we contoured around a ridge a gust of wind pushed us from behind with such force that I was sprinting to keep up with my body. After the initial front came through the wind calmed slightly and the snow started coming down even faster. We looped around the far south end of the route and started heading back north with the wind in our faces once again. That was when Peter asked what was already on our minds, "do we go up Unkle?". What Peter was referring to is one of our favorite climbs up to the Black Mountain ridge line from the back of Dry Creek canyon.
We had a fairly logical discussion about it, before Greg quipped something about the older lady (70 or so) being tougher than us. I had seen this woman just the week before as Peter and I stood on top of Mt. Wire, watching her run toward us on the ridge, all alone. Her shins were scratched and bloody and after I asked, she told us how she had went out the length of the ridge before turning around. When I asked about her shins she replied "no leaves this time of year, the scrub oak just grab on like cats and won't let go". I was completely impressed and told Greg the story earlier on our run, now he was using it as a way to motivate us up the last climb. I believe this is the part where the lines between hardcore and stupid become blurred .
Dry Creek canyon is pretty narrow with steep slopes on either side which keeps it fairly protected, so we were lulled into a false sense security as we made our gradual ascent to the back of the canyon. The temperature was dropping but it was only around 25 to 30 degs so it didn't seem that bad, until we started the real climb. About halfway up I decided to put on my jacket, while Peter and Greg kept moving to stay warm. The wind was blowing harder and harder the higher we climbed. I plodded along, following their footsteps in the ankle deep snow, trying to catch up to them before they reached the top. Peter and Greg made it to the top of the ridge only a few seconds in front of me and yelled back that they weren't waiting. I was a little confused at first, thinking maybe they just wanted to put the screws to me, but once I reached the top I immediately knew why they took off, the wind. Not only was It blowing so hard up on top that I couldn't run straight, but the snow had also drifted up so it was nearly knee deep in spots. Visibility was reduced to thirty yards or so and I was sure my cheek was getting frostbite.
Several minutes went by and the conditions continued to decline. Then, right as I was thinking about curling up in the fetal position and giving up all hope, Peter and Greg bailed off the south side of the ridge.
Instant relief. I couldn't believe how calm it was just a few yards down off the ridge, now the only problem was figuring out where we were. The first words I remember hearing were "man, the weatherman nailed that one" from Greg. Because of the poor visibility we were unsure how far we had made it down the ridge. Normally it's only about 2.5 miles in a direct line back to where the car was parked but now we'd have longer, albeit a warmer, route back. We stood on the side of the mountain trying to figure out which drainage was which but nothing looked familiar from our new viewing angle. In no way were we lost, we just wanted to try and find the shortest way back to the car. We decided we couldn't go wrong if we just headed down and hoped for the best. A few minutes later we were back in the bottom of the drainage we had just climbed up, at the back of Dry Creek. Now it was just a return trip on the shoreline trail, pretty much the longest option we could have found. An extra 3 miles on empty stomachs made the return trip on the shoreline a quiet one. As we got closer the talk turned to food and the inevitable mention of Crown Burger. The crown burger is one of the most scrumptious sandwiches on the planet period. Pastrami piled an inch an high on a flame broiled hamburger patty dominated my thoughts as I found renewed energy in the last mile.
Sitting inside the warm restaurant devouring our sandwiches we decided that truly memorable adventures end with a crown burger.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lookout Peak

Greg and I decided to check out part of the potential TUERL (The Ultimate Emigration Ridge Loop) that we're planning on doing sometime in the future. The Plan was to get up to Lookout Peak to get a peak of the quagmire we'll be up against for the whole loop. Starting from the top of Emigration Canyon we took the trail heading north along the ridge to the junction of Killyons and kept heading north. It was pretty cool to start at around 20 degs. but it quickly warmed as the sun came up.

The high point on that ridge is Lookout Peak

Only 2 days before a small storm rolled through that left about 4 to 6 inches of snow covering the lower ridge. Normally not a big deal, but my ankles seem to be a little out of practice and I rolled my right one pretty good on one of the descents.

Greg grabbing a snack just as the sun is coming up

Looking up the long ridge to Lookout Peak

Looking back down the ridge, the Wasatch front in the background

The picture above shows the view looking back from the Emigration drainage, Freeze creek is to the right. Once we were on this ridge we could see the Wasatch 100 route over by Swallow Rocks and Big Mtn pass, but not Lookout peak. As we would soon find out the peak was hidden behind no fewer than four false summits. My ankle found some relief in the deeper snow as we made our way to the top but our lungs did not as we both notice the altitude.
Once on top I checked my GPS for the elevation and it read 8990'(Lookout is officially 8954'), which I knew was wrong, but we used that as a reference for the knob just to the west. We thought it might be higher, so we descended and climbed up to find that it read 8950'. This also allowed us a peek down at the route we will be attempting in the future and the real prize of the day. Just below us on the ridge heading west Greg spotted a bull moose, then two more appeared. The big one watched us for a minute or so before getting back to business whipping up on the other two. This was the first time I had witnessed this kind of behavior and it was truly awesome. The sound of antlers crashing together and snorts could be heard as the big bull let the other try and take him down. Below is a picture just after one of the battles.

The battle is over, the 3rd moose is in the middle right in the trees

All in all a great run, ~13 miles or so in a little over 3 hours.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Watch out for black ice.

This morning Rich, Christian and I headed out for an early run up Grandeur. There is no better way to start the day then to watch the sunrise from the top of the mountains. Especially a day like today where the Utes are going to clean up on the Cougars. At least I hope that's how it ends up. Go UTES!!
On the way back down, I realized that I was going to be late(had to be home by 7:30) so I picked it up a bit and got a little careless on couple icy sections of trail. Before I knew it, I was on my stomach looking back up the trail and my knee was throbbing. I had smacked it on a rock on the way to the ground. I didn't have time to feel sorry for myself, so I yelled to Rich and Christian to watch out and started running again. It wasn't until I got to the car that I looked down and saw the damage. A golfball hematoma sticking out of my knee with a little blood trickling down to to add to the effect. Like I said earlier, there is no better way to start the day! And again, Go UTES!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sub for Santa 5K

Well, it's been about 10 years since I've run a 5K, so I thought Sat was a good day to do it again. The LDS student singles ward (for those of you unfamiliar with this terminology, it means a church group of single kids/adults from 18-31) I am working with was doing a fund raiser 5K for a couple of Sub for Santa families, and I couldn't opt out of this one.

I really don't like 5K's. The shorter the race, the faster I feel like I need to run, and I don't like to run "fast" if I don't have to. I ran 1(one) six minute mile on the treadmill earlier in the week to prepare for the big event, held at Sugarhouse Park. I also did a couple sets of jumping jacks.

My race day strategy to take it easy was two fold. 1) I would get up early and run Grandeur Peak before the race, which I did with Peter, and 2) I would don the lamest elf costume I could put together, which I also did. See photo below.

After an official pre-race Stretch with Santa (next to me in the picture, his Santa costume is as bad as my elf one) we toed the line and were off to the sound of a cap gun. Some eager beavers took off on a dead sprint, and I settled into a comfortable pace. After about 10 steps, one of those eager beavers snuck up from behind and caught my ankle sending me sprawling to the pavement. I was already self-conscious enough in my candy cane striped knee-highs, and then I had to tumble head over heels with bloody knees and hands.

I gathered my pride, and my elf hat, and got up to try again. I passed the Jingle Bell Jaunters on their 1 lap walk around the park, then tried to catch the speedsters out front. One by one they fell to Santa's Helper, and at the halfway point there were only two in front of me......... And that's how it stayed for the second half. I got closer and closer to the kid in front of me and with about 500 yards left I caught up. I panted out "good job", he asked how old I was (was it that obvious?), I answered "35" and that was all he needed to hear. I tried to put on a burst to pass him, but he wasn't about to let some old dude 20 years his senior beat him, so he slowly pulled away and crossed 5 feet in front of me. I'd like to say I let him pull away to give his ego a little boost, but the reality of it was that I was shot. My hamstrings were hurting, my quads were jelly and I had that lovely metallic, anaerobic taste in my mouth. My time was 18:39. Nothing to shout about, but it's my fastest 5K time. I don't know if that's something to be proud of or not.

The important part is that we all had a great time and raised a bunch of money for some needy families. Hopefully we can grow it a bit for next year. Put it on your calendars for the middle of November, and start planning your Santa costume. Ho Ho Ho.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fall Running, 3 Weeks - 3 new trails

I love running in the fall. There's no pressure of an upcoming race, nobody on the trails and the mountainsides have a naked beauty about them. This late in the year the leaves have left the aspens, maples, and even the scrub oak are left with bare branches. The evergreen's stand in stark contrast to the dead golden grass covering the mountainside. This morning may have been the last run that we get in up high, as I now sit here and watch the heavy clouds envelope the mountains sure to leave snow in their wake.

Three weeks ago Greg and I set off up Bowman, a trail I'm very familiar with, but hung a left two-thirds the way up on the Alexander basin trail. I had never been on this little gem of a trail and I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. It is fairly steep and since it's north facing we had a couple of sliding incidents on the hard packed snow left behind from the week before. My favorite part was the natural tunnel provided by the half-dozen fallen trees over the gully (see pic). My least favorite part was the ice we encountered on the pavement in Millcreek canyon.

The week after that Peter and I decided to do a leisurely run up toward Lake Mary, turn off to Twin Lakes, take the trail up to Twin Lakes Pass then drop down into Albion Basin and come back by way of Catherine's Pass. The new part of the trail for Peter and I was the section from Twin Lakes down into Albion. What we found was a very rocky and technical drainage with a bit of ice and snow. Best part: watching the early morning sun light up the frosted peaks, Least favorite part: none.

Yesterday Greg, Peter and myself did a loop up Porter Fork and came down Bowman. Earlier in the week, while the weather perfect I was scheming a plan to take out Broads Fork Twin Peaks, but a wet weather system came in and by the time we reached the ridge line between Millcreek and Big Cottonwood I was happy i wasn't on the other mountain. Of all the times I have been up Millcreek I have never been on the Porter Fork trail, and while the road isn't that thrilling the trail that follows is well worth the road portion. The funniest part of the run is when Greg told me I had been on the upper portion since it is the only trail that connects the ridge line and I kept insisting I hadn't. Of course Greg was right, I just hadn't been on this trail heading east, I couldn't believe how much different it looked. Since it was rainy and wet I left the camera back at the car, so no pictures for this one.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

2008-2009 Training Year Begins

I just returned from an hour run from my house up to the BST around to City Creek and back home, and now sit on my back porch.  This morning I woke up to what Christian tells me is the beginning of the training year, November 1.  As I ran I thought about the coming year.  Lately, I have been so consumed in the mornings either getting work done or reading the NY Times dissection of the financial mess and the 2008 election, having a focus on running or perhaps being able to focus better on life because of running is a welcome change.  

Getting on the trail this morning was particularly nice.  The dirt was damp, the fallen leaves had a sweet smell and soften the trail in spots.  It was nice to have a few moments to think about kids soccer games today, the nice runs over the last year with great friends, and goals for the upcoming year.  I am looking forward to trying to continue to bike commute more often and trying the run commute with the "Storheim Work Shower" idea.   Without getting too caught up and lost in tracking progress, I am even going to keep track of my weekly runs this year.  Though I am sure to have fewer columns on my excel sheet than my training hero pictured above.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something a little different

Last Saturday I was in the mood for something different, so I ran a loop course through Deer Crest and Deer Valley.
Below is a list with quantities of things I saw and random thoughts I had during the run.

2- Moose
3-Security guards
4-Breast enhancements (could not officially verify) two for each trophy wife
5-Jacked up 4- wheel drive trucks with chrome wheels with a construction foreman standing next to it.
7-Hot tubs
8-times I wondered were all the runners or bikers were.
9-Million the average price of a home at Deer Crest
10-No trespassing signs
11-miles of buttery smooth single track

A little different than my usual Millcreek run. Thanks to the Mountain Trails Foundation for their great trail system in the Park City Area.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bear 100 by the Numbers

I finally got around to posting a race report over here...I thought for this entry I would share some interesting numbers from the Bear.

Here is a link to my own spreadsheet with results and splits.

100 miles
22,518' of climbing - 21,576' of descending

76 Starters
54 Finishers
71% Finishing Rate (interestingly enough this ranks as one of the highest for 100's around the country)

22 mins - Shortest combined aid station time, Leland Barker
3:56 - Fastest split from the start to mile 22.5, Ty Draney
5:56 - Fastest splits(s) from mile 22.5 to mile 52, Ty Draney, Nate Mcdowell, and Leland Barker
5:03 - Fastest split from mile 52 to mile 75, Ty Draney
4:56 - Fastest split from mile 75 to the finish, Erik Storheim

1:13 - Fastest split from Ranger (final aid) to finish, Erik Storheim

1:18 - Greatest comeback - Carter Williams, based on aid station time vs. final split (2nd fastest in the race from last aid station to finish).
5:00 - Slowest start (up to mile 22.5) to still make the top 10, Chris Quandt (27:05)
4:26 - Slowest start to break 24 hours, Leland Barker

9 mins - average duration of aid station stop
18 mins - Highest average aid station stop, Beaver Lodge aid mile 75
7 - The highest number of drops at an aid station, Logan River aid mile 70
7.1 - The average distance between the 13 aid stations
10 - The number of glowsticks used to mark the course...

Having run the Bear last year on the previous course, I think this new course is harder, and a lot more fun. Thanks Leland!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bear 100, 2008

My first round of thanks should go to the Wasatch 100 Race Committee for not drawing my name for the 2008 race. Without their help, I would have run Wasatch and not had the incredible experience of running the Bear.
As I made my preparations, I wasn’t sure what to think. The Bear has a reputation for being super laid back, and with a new course, I wondered if that would pose any problems. At the same time, as the new course took shape, I became really excited to run it. It looked a lot better than the old one, and after running the last 7 miles in July, I knew it would be a killer course.
Race day came, and true to fashion, I had forgotten something at the starting line. Luckily, Jared Campbell was more prepared than me and lent me a spare headlamp. The first 20 miles were fairly uneventful. After some confusion at the first major turn on to single track, everyone lined out and I was pretty much running by myself, with an occasional glimpse of Nate, Ty and Jared cruising ahead. After refilling my bottles at Logan Peak, I started the killer descent down Leatham Hollow. The colors were out of this world! I caught up to Jared Campbell and was content to run along with him and enjoy the good company and the beautiful colors.
From there until Temple Fork, I ran by myself and as it started to heat up, I concentrated on keeping hydrated. I was running with my Nathan Pack that holds two bottles, and I picked up a 3rd handheld bottle at Right Hand Fork. I tried to remember an S-cap every hour, as well as popping an Orange-ginger Nuun tablet into my hand-held every time I filled up. I think the Nuun, as well as eating as much solid food as possible-Snickers bars, PB&J’s, soup, banana’s and Pringles- instead of an all gel diet, kept my stomach under control for the first time in a race over 6 hours. I think I only ate 10-12 gels the whole race. I need to take a moment to thank Jared Campbell’s girlfriend Mindy. She was at a few of the aid stations through this section and was a great help to me in making sure I had something to eat and drink as well as providing a few encouraging words and a smile. Thanks Mindy! It was also a nice surprise to see my my Dad and his wife Denise at Temple Fork and Tony Grove. Thanks for making the drive up just to cheer on a haggard runner for 3-4 minutes!
Leaving Temple Fork I felt great. I ate another PB&J and started the climb up to Tony Grove. I don’t remember much of the climb, except that it was beautiful, and I loved getting towards the top with the aspens all aglow. Talk about inspirational. I have to admit, at one point, I just sat down on a log for 3-4 minutes, ate some gum drops and soaked it all in. Being dead tired didn’t have anything to do with it at all. Then I got to Tony Grove. WOW. What a beautiful setting. One of the highlights was running by the lake before the aid station and watching a guy catch a fish with his kid. At Tony Grove I picked up my first pacer of the day, Preston Aro. Preston paced me at Wasatch in ‘05 and I knew I would be in for an entertaining 25 miles. I drank a Red Bull (At least I think I did-it gets kind of blurry from 35 to 85) ate some soup and a banana and off we went. It was over the nest 45 minutes that I experienced my only real stomach issues. Nothing too serious, but enough that I had to slow down and let the sloshing work itself out. From there until Beaver Lodge, Preston and I had a great time. I didn’t push the pace too hard, choosing to power hike most of the uphills rather than run them. I was in a pretty solid 4th place at this time, and was thinking I’d be happy to stay there, and maybe pick off Leland. Preston and I had a great time talking about lots of nonsense and enjoying the magical twilight. We only got off course once or twice, and it wasn’t for more than 3-4 minutes a time. Approaching Beaver Lodge, we got off course for the third time. I honestly don’t know where or when it happened, but all the sudden we were on the main road and there were glow sticks off through the trees and arrows on the pavement pointing in other directions and the aid station was no where in sight. I was getting pretty bummed as we wandered and lost minute after precious minute. Finally we flagged someone down on the road and they pointed us back up the road. “How far?” we asked. “Oh, only ½ to ¾ of a mile.” I almost sat down and started to cry. I’m not kidding, real tears. Or I could have kicked something real hard, luckily Preston kept his distance. That was the lowest point of the race for sure. When Preston called Brooke to let her know how I was and told her that we had spent the last 25 minutes wandering, she was concerned that I’d be a little upset, and in his understated fashion, Preston told her that I was acting “a little grumpy.”
Fortunately, we made it to Beaver Lodge and Jim was waiting for me. I swear he had just taken 2 No-Doze and had 3 cups of coffee because he was bouncing off the walls. I refueled with some soup and coke, gave Preston a hug and told him thanks (at least I hope I did) and we were out of there. Jim kept saying crazy things like we were going to win the race and overtake everyone in front of us (at this point Nate, Ty and Leland were around 1 ½ hours, 1 hour and 35 minutes ahead) and all I could think was he was crazy. I was happy to hang on to 4th. When we left the aid station, Jim asked if I wanted to lead or if he should. I said I would, and that lasted about 2 minutes. Without me realizing what was happening, Jim started running in front of me and for the next 25 miles, he never let me catch up to him, except on the downhills. Talk about making me mad. He kept saying cheesy things that you only find on inspirational posters and all I could do was grunt in reply. The short of it is that we hammered those last 25 miles. I think I ran every step of runnable uphill, and I wouldn’t have done it if Jim hadn’t been the relentless task master. Say what you want about pacers, but I was sure glad to have one at that time. As we came into Ranger Dip, Shane Martin and Jeff Lamora were there to tell me that Nate was only 5 minutes ahead of me. Apparently he had been pretty sick over the last 10 miles and had to walk a lot. With a surge of adrenalin I jumped out of the chair and told Jim to get moving, we were done. I won’t say that we powered up that last mile of climb, but we went as fast as we could and towards the top we saw some lights. I thought for sure it was someone flagging the course, but as we got closer, I realized it was Nate and his pacer Larry O’Neill. I truly felt bad for Nate when I saw him because he looked terrible, and he had run such an awesome race to this point. We chatted for a second or two, and then I finished the last of the climb. I was finally on familiar territory as I had run this section a couple months before. All I had to do was hammer these last 6 miles and it was over. I even began to think that I might be able to 1) run the last 25 in under 5 hours 2) break 21 hours and 3) pass Leland for 2nd. Jim has spent the last year running the flat beaches of California and this last descent, the most brutal of the whole course, fried his quads. I gave it all I had and soon was running by myself. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink, it was all adrenalin. I hit the road and Jim caught up to me and told me to turn off my light. He had seen lights on the ridge behind us. I thought he was playing games, but I did it and tried to push it the last mile of pavement. We were probably running a blistering 9-10 minute pace. I knew that I was going to run the last 25 under 5 hours, I knew I’d break 21 hours, the question was Leland. Finally we saw the glowsticks marking the finish and turned down the driveway to finish in 20:56:58. I overtook Leland’s time and finished in 2nd. Jim wasn’t playing games with me, because Nate came cruising in not 7 minutes behind me to take 3rd.
What a great race, and a great day. I know there were a lot of frustrated runners due to course confusion. I was lucky that my one detour was relatively short-lived, and didn’t lead to anything more serious than a few extra minutes being on a beautiful course. If I don’t get into Wasatch in the future, then I’ll be back to run the Bear again. Who knows, I may even choose the Bear instead.
Thanks to everyone who helped with this adventure. Foremost to Brooke, Sam and Andrew for putting up with my Sat mornings away from home. Thanks to Preston and Jim and all other race day help that came my way, Greg Norrander for the great photos, and thanks to Wasatch Running Company for their support and excellent service. Happy recovery everyone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Moab Alpine to Slickrock 50 Miler

The MAS50 was my first 50 miler. Kelli, Samantha and I headed down to Moab on Friday morning. We rented a house on La Sal Road near the Slickrock Trail parking lot, where the race finishes. We went to the pre-race meeting at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. It was laid back, with only about 40 runners present.

After a pasta dinner and glass of red wine, I went to bed around 1o:00 and set the alarm for 3:45. I arrived at the Slickrock Trail parking lot at 4:30 to catch the shuttle to the start. It didn't leave until 5:00. I tried to relax on the shuttle.

The race starts at Pack Creek. I tried to keep my speed down at the start because I knew it was going to be a long day. I've learned the lesson of going out too fast. For example, in the Millcreek Midnight run, I went out pretty quick but Peter and Brian caught me in the middle of the race. There were a few eager beavers who were moving pretty quickly.

The course climbs 4,000 feet up a canyon before hitting the La Sal 4x4 road and first AS at mile 9. The mountains are incredible- the fall colors were spectacular. We were then on a rolling single track for miles and miles. This was a great section to run and I was moving pretty quicky. The race then climbs up and down several big mountain passes. In all the race climbs over 11,000 feet.

Heading up to Moonlight Meadows, I saw Greg taking pictures. It was great to see him, and a flood of summer running memories flooded back, including the last 25 miles of Wasatch.

Miner's Pass at mile 27/28 was super tough. The pass is about 11,000 feet. It was sunny at the foot, but as I climbed the dark clouds started to roll in. It started hailing pretty hard. I saw Greg dressed appropriately in rain gear. I was not dresssed appropriately- in my tank top. I put Kelli's pink I-pod back in the fanny pack, and tried to keep moving to stay warm. Towards the top of the pass, it opens up in a big clearing. It looks a lot like the slope on the West side of Gobblers. The thunder was hitting hard now. I was fairly certain I was going to get hit by lightning. I imagined some helicopter hauling my carcass of the mountain and thinking how futile it would have been to die on a trail race. I said a quick prayer and moved on to the summit.

I obviously made it to the summit and started the descent. I eventually passed a sign that said "Miner's Basin [Aid Station] Beer, Whiskey, Cigarettes." The Miner's Basin Aid Station is a wood cut-out saloon. The AS volunteers were dresssed in 19th century mining clothes. They had whiskey, rum, beer, and cigarettes. Runners that partake sign their name on the wall. I changed my socks here, had some warm chicken noodle soup, drank couple sips of beer, signed my name to the wall, and moved on.

I was now on a dirt road, heading downhill, and the sun was out. Things were looking up. I passed a large burn area. The smell was strong and acrid. Eventually I hit a road. It had a moderate incline. I ran for a bit but thought it would be safe to walk it as fast as I could. The road looked like the top of the Emigration Canyon road.

At the top of the road, the course turns on the Kokapelli Trail. From this point on it is desert running. I love running in the desert. It is a great change from summer alpine training. The cramps I had experienced in the cold and hail were now gone, and I was running pretty fast.

After the mile 36 AS, I couldn't beleive I was still running. With each step, I was running further than I ever had. That was exciting and a source of motiviation so I continued to push it. I remember the Bob Marley lyrics at this point: "No weak heart shall prosper."

From AS 43, it is all downhill on the hard Sand Flats road. I just kept moving.

I turned the corner and finally saw the finish. I sprinted into the finish where Kelli and Samantha were waiting, along with our friends, Heather, Chad, their son Jack, Keli and Dave. It was great to see everyone at the finish. I hydrated with some beer and talked to some of the racers.

Greg Poettgen did a great job. The aid stations were tip top, the course was marked well, and everything was run smoothly.

I highly recommend this race, and I'd like to see some MRC runners go down and crush it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wasatch 100 2008 report The long version

I met Peter at his house to catch a ride. Fred Reimer had graciously offered to give Peter a ride and I took the offer for an open seat. We also picked up Kevin Shilling on the way. Fred immediately washed away any pre-race jitters with his wit and dry humor and had me laughing with in a few minutes. Kevin made me laugh even more with his I am just going for a long run demeanor, I had to chuckle to myself as he was digging around in his waist pack mumbling that he thought he had some chips or something stashed away that he might want to eat during the race. The ride passed quickly and before I knew it we were at the starting line.

The weather was cool, just about perfect running weather. I talked with a few people, and then it was time to get running. I lined up with Peter hoping I could keep him in my sights, but soon after the start he quickly pulled away and he disappeared into the darkness, I was smart enough to back off and I quickly settled in with a group of runners going my pace. I soon realized I was running behind Michael Stevens from Idaho who I had met a few weeks prior on a training run, I said a quick hello and we settled back into a steady run. No one was in the mood to chat so we just motored along and started the long climb up to the ridge. Michael set a study but slightly slow pace, which of course is perfect for a start of a 100-mile race like Wasatch, a few eager beavers passed but the rest of us just followed behind Michael. I finally pulled off to take a nature break and I soon found myself running alone so I turned the headphones and cruised up Chinscraper and along the ridge. There was a strong wind blowing from the north, a little cold but not to bad.

Everything was going great and then as I went to drink some water from my Nathan pack, nothing came out, I was out of water. I had already drank 50oz plus a 16 oz bottle of water, I didn’t panic because they usually have a water only station at around 10 miles and they did this year so it worked out, but I should have made a bigger mental note of how fast I was sucking water down. I caught up with Brian Hamos about the time we hit the radar domes and chatted with him for a while and then put the headphones back in for the long descent to Francis Peak AS. Everything went smoothly until some time after the long climb from the Session Lift Off AS. I really wanted to keep well hydrated in this section because a lot of people get in trouble because the running is fairly easy and you tend to push and you are exposed a lot to the wind and sun. So about three to four miles from Swallows Rock AS I ran out of water again. I had let the lady at the last aid station fill my Nathan pack and I opted not to fill my water bottle. Bad move, I had to back way off the pace and run with no water for the next 45 minutes. Too some people no water for 45 minutes is no big deal, but the way I sweat it is. Luckily the weather was fairly cool and by backing off the pace I managed not to do too much damaged, just felt a little silly making such a big mistake in a 100 mile race. For the rest of the race I filled my own hydration pack and made sure it was filled to the brim.

I ran into Big Mtn. aid station at 1:48 making a conscious effort to stay calm and get out of there quickly, last year I got caught up in the excitement and felt a little sick write after I left, so this year I said hello to a few friends, kissed the wife and was out of there in two minutes. The next section Big Mtn. to Lambs was boring and a little hot, I just tried to relax and get through it. I ended up at Lambs at 5:04, changed my shoes from Hardrocks to Streaks and headed out for the Lambs canyon road. I was really pumped for the next section because I knew I would be basically out of the sun for the rest of the race and I was ready for the coolness of Lambs Pass and I really like the climb up from the east side. It didn’t disappoint me, perfect early evening power hiking weather. As I neared the summit a runner passed me running literally full steam, I had passed him sometime after Alexander Basin AS, and he didn’t look well then, now he was running like he was in a 50k, go figure, I yelled at him that he was doing great and he soon disappeared over the summit. I hit Elbow Fork and ran most of the road up toward Millcreek AS. I talked to Rich McDonald as he was driving down from crewing Kevin and he said Kevin and Peter were running great with Kevin around 30 minutes ahead of Peter.

I hit one small problem when I hit Millcreek, no crew. My wife was not to be found. I had thoughts of just going on but luckily came to my senses. I had no more gu, power gels and only had arm warmers on for warmth. I just sat down not sure what I really could do but wait a while and see if she would show up. Luckily I asked a lady that was driving down if she could check the lower parking lot and see if my wife had arrived. She had! My wife felt so bad, but I quickly assured her no big deal, got my food and jacket and headed off. I only lost maybe 10-15 minutes. I could see my breath as I climbed. It was very cold as you crossed the lower streams but it was getting warmer as I gained vertical and there was no wind so it was easy to stay warm as long as you kept moving. It was complete darkness as I neared the halfway point to Dog Lake. Even though I had my headphones on I thought I heard a baby crying, and sure enough coming down the trail in complete darkness was a family with a newborn and they had no lights, obviously they had miss judged sunset. I felt bad for the baby and wanted to scream at the dad but managed to keep my mouth shut and just kept on climbing. I passed Desolation at 9:40pm and there seemed to be an abnormal amount of people that were probelms at the AS, I decided to get out of there quickly. I ran alone to Brighton arriving at 11:58pm.

My wife filled me up with supplies, I drank a bit of broth and headed out with my good friend George who would be my pacer for the last section. I was feeling tired but ready to tackle the last 25 miles. We followed Phil Lowry and his pacer up through Brighton. We passed two guys drinking Coronas on the beach at the summit that were cheering the racers as they passed. George and I ran the last 23 miles alone and it sometime seemed like we were in our on private race. We never really saw anyone accept two runners we passed just before the turn off to Pot Bottom. We were taking a little to long in the aid stations but I was ahead of my schedule so we took extra time at Pole Line and Pot Bottom. I figured it was a luxury I would take for being so far ahead of last years pace. I think most people would just call is lazy.

George and I set a fairly strong pace in the last seven miles and crossed the line at 27:12. It was really different finishing a little earlier than last year as only a few people were at the finish, so it felt like it was just George my wife and myself to celebrate at the finish. A very mellow finish to a overall very mellow race. Kevin and Peter as usual ran stellar races, Peter taking another big chunk of time of his PR. Kevin getting another sub 24 finish. Michael Stevens must have had a great race as he finished in 26:28. Jason Berry and Brian Hamos both finished their first Wasatch 100 with Brian’s being his first 100 mile race. Have to give the usual thanks to all the volunteers as they did another stellar job. A quick mention of the overall winner Geoff Roes, a 20:01 time, no pacer no crew, first time racing the course. I call that getting it done in style, truly amazing. Congratulations to everybody that finished he race. Hope to see you next year.

No harm no foul 2008 Wasatch report

As punishment Peter you must wear biking gloves, your Yoda shirt, pink dirty girl gaiters, and Rich’s helmet on next years 4th of July run.

Its funny because this morning as soon as I got up I checked the blog because I wasn’t really happy with my race report and I thought I would take a quick look and correct it, or even delete the entry. Then I noticed somebody had beaten me too it. The report was not very good, a little long winded and not very well put together. You only did what any good English teacher would have felt compelled to do. No harm no foul. Lets leave it at that.

Instead of me reposting my report, let me sum up the race this way. It was great. Good people, fantastic weather and a killer 100 mile course, and located just out our backdoors. I am looking forward to next years race already as maybe we will see the possibility of 4 sub 24 hour times from the MRC crew. Not that there’s any pressure.

Breaking Blogging Rules

I think I broke a rule of blogging this AM. I logged on and read a great race report from Greg. The report was thoughtful and captured the race. I was right along in the race with Greg as I read the report. I decided to add some paragraph marks, as I thought it might be easier to follow. I made a few edits. I thought about asking Greg, before I did this but it was pretty early, and went ahead and published the post after making the edits. I logged back on to make a commment and noticed the post was gone.

Greg, please repost the race report. My sincere apologies for making edits without asking. I realize this was not very tactful on my part.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Uintah Speed Goat?

How about an adventure with a goat?  For $25 a day per goat (you have to take at least two, they like to have some company) you can have a goat carry your stuff.  They carry up to 40% of their body weight. The only MRC runner I know that can do that is Storheim.  Next year for the Wasatch I think we forgo pacers and take a goats.  There are only rules against muling, not goating.   Besides I suspect the mountain lions are more apt to attack the goat and not the runner.  

Congrats to Erik and Christian at the Bear 100+, 2nd and 6th.  Both Christian and Erik ran more than 100 miles, with a few (ok more than a few) detours.  Hey it was the first year on the new course, which is quite beautiful and challenging, and worth the few extra credit miles.

I had the pleasure of pacing Christian for the last 50 miles. Pretty amazing to pick a guy up at the half way mark, vomiting, pale, dehydrated and then running after him as fast as I could go for the last few miles to the finish.  Once Christian figured that he could make it under 25 hours he made a mad dash the last 6 miles... 22 seconds to spare.  There was a poor guy that we passed about an 1/8th of a mile from the finish.  He was shocked to see us, and wasn't able to keep the pace.  Frankly, I was nearly not able to hold the pace either.   I think that Christian would have run in with him if it weren't for the time goal.  

Saturday, August 30, 2008


As I was running up Thaynes Canyon Trail of few weeks ago, my mind was chewing over the same old territory, I was thinking about my race plan for Wasatch this year. Then I came to the same conclusion I always do, why do I bother thinking about race plans? The race will take its own course, I will do the best I can, I will deal with whatever the day brings. I mean really, what else can you do? This got me to thinking of how I spend all summer waiting for September to come only to have it blow by and feel as if I never got my arms around it. Of course last year was my first 100 so I spent the last weeks of August spending wasteful hours looking at maps and pace charts, getting drop bags ready a week before the race even started. I will never forgot the look my wife gave me when I handed her my colored laminated pace chart, all she said was” that’s great honey I can’t even make notes on this.” Needless to say I was a little wound up. It seemed after finishing Wasatch I felt a little like I missed something. I think I was so wound up in the race I never stopped to look around a bit. My mind was always ahead to the next aid station.

I continued up Thaynes Canyon and my thoughts turned and I started thinking about the training runs and races my running partners and I have done over the year. The early February snow runs, watching Christian go faster backwards than forwards trying to negotiate ice on Signal Peak, the Crown Burgers after a tough 20+ mile run on Antelope Island. We have dogded police on the shoreline trial, ran 50 mile races with miles of snow and mud, forgotten to put fresh batteries in or headlamps before a night race but continued anyway, some of us have even been attacked by a Aspen tree. We ran new races on both sides of the country. It has been a great year of running.

As the weather starts to cool and the wildflowers are finally fading some of us are getting ready to do their first 100 miler, or first 50 or their 7th Wasatch. A few are still pounding out those last 4-5 hour training runs getting ready for the Bear. It is going to be a great end to an already great summer of running, I am going to try to slow down and take in as much as possible. Not matter what happens in these big races I am going to remember what Peter said more or less to Christian and myself when we were on an early morning training run. It’s not about the races, races are fun but this is what it’s all about what were dong right now. Enough said.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wasatch 100 Preview video

Here's a compilation of the video we took over the past weekend. Peter and I took turns with the camera, Gomez, Get Miles is the soundtrack. Greg, Brian, Sam, Peter, Mike and myself all played the action heroes.

Without further ado, the second MRC production...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wasatch 100 Preview

I'll keep it short and let the pictures do the talking.

On Saturday (8/10) Greg, Peter and myself ran from the base of Big Mtn. to Lambs Canyon then down to Mountain Dell golf course. The I-80 bridge project forced us to park down at the golf course and bushwhack our way around the fairways (note to self, just run on the fairway next time).

This section of trail is normally dry and dusty, but all of the afternoon thunderstorms left the vegetation holding a lot of water. As a consequence my shoes were wet for the entire run and the trails were really nice, I wasn't complaining a bit...

On Sunday we decided to run the last section of Wasatch from Brighton to the Homestead. The bummer part of this run is that is requires a rather long car shuttle, but thanks to Peter, Brian and Sam's father-in-law, we had rides waiting for us when we were finished.

The run itself was great. We actually had a pretty good size group that included Peter, Brian, Greg, Sam, Mike, and myself. Mike came down from Ketchum to preview the last section the Wasatch 100 and he was a welcome addition to the crew.

The morning was a little chilly, producing goose bumps on my arms from time to time. I didn't mind because I knew the last 2.5 hours would be pretty exposed to the afternoon sun. Sure enough it started to warm up as soon as we got to Rock Springs and discovered that the pipes had no water flowing from them. We all went in to conservation mode, waiting for the next spring just before Pot Bottom. On the way we were able to show the Brian, Mike and Sam the delightful Dive and Plunge, which are just as pleasurable as ever. Luckily the spring before Pot Bottom was producing a trickle and we were able to fill our bottles for the final 8.5 miles.

After Pot Bottom the climb up was the same as ever, but I'm happy to report that the road down to the gate seemed to be in better shape than usual. Then again maybe I'm just getting used to it. For Wasatch virgins remember this mantra: pass the water tank, start down, quick left on singletrack. Seems as though a few runners missed this junction last year and it's real easy to just keep running downhill right past it if you don't see the markers.

Stay tuned for a video...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Pocatello 100K

Check out this new race, the Pocatello 100K, that Jared Campbell is helping put together. It's a unique format and the course looks great. I'm in for sure. Unless of course, something comes up and I can't do it. How's that for commitment.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hitting the Speedgoat Wall

Erik’s description “Speedgoat Death March” turned true for me. I had really been looking forward to this race. I like to climb and I am not a “true runner” more of a steady trail slogger. So this is my kind of race. In last years Speedgoat I went out slow and finished strong, passing a lot of people in the last third of the race. My plan this year was the same. I wanted to run somewhere back in the top 25 and then hopefully pass people on the climb up the Ridge trail and Little bowl in the last few big climbs of the race and try to get myself somewhere in the top 20. I figured a few people would hit the wall after the massive climb from Dutch flats back to the tunnel. What I hadn’t counted on was that one of those people would be me.

As I hit the Dutch Flat aid station I felt in pretty good shape but I just didn’t feel quite normal. I blew it off and headed out on the big climb back to Snowbird. I caught a few people but just couldn’t seem to pull away from them, and then I really had to battle to just stay in touch. As the climb progressed I just felt worse and worse. I started downing gu’s like crazy hoping that I might be just a little low on calories and could rally back. By the time I hit the aid station at Mineral Basin I was cooked. I believed I had officially hit the wall. After the guy running the aid station filled up my hydration pack I think I was just standing there in daze. He finally just kinda of yelled at me “get out of here, get moving” and I did, funny how sometimes all it takes is somebody to just tell you to get moving and you do. Sarah Evans caught me soon after and she made me take the lead, I like running with Sarah, we usually run about the same pace and she is a always a pleasure to be around but I soon had to let her go as I started to cramp a bit and just didn’t have and energy to push at all. I hit the tunnel aid station being run by Jim Skaggs. I asked him what place I was running in and said 18th. I ran through the tunnel hoping I would recover on the downhill before the killer climb up the Ridge trail. Usually I love this trail, it’s a rugged rocky ridge that over looks the cirque and you run on the same basic elevation as the tram cars, but I was doomed. Even on the lower tail leading up to the ridge I just couldn’t make any pace. I stopped at least 10 times up that ridge and got passed by at least 10 people. As I neared the top I could hear Scott Mason cheering people on. I thought to myself, man I must look pathetic, here is a guy that just pulled himself over the Hardrock 100 course and here I am just trying to finish this 50k. Scott gave my some kind words and then I was off for the last real climb of the day, Little Bowl which at the time looked to me like a 4,00 foot climb but in reality is probably more like 500 vertical. I actually sat down a few times climbing up Little Bowl, hoping nobody I knew would see me.. Rich passed me heading down the final descent to the finish looking great, then Christian came buy not to long after, looking not so great but still moving well. I moaned to him about my sorry state of affairs, he complained his legs were shot and don’t believe people when they say this is the last climb, there is one more little ****** climb after the tram on the backside. Then he basically said treat it as a training run and get moving, so I did. I slogged my way up to the top did the ***** little climb on the backside then actually rallied a bit once I hit the hot dusty road to finish. Its funny because all day long I wanted to quite or stop and all it would take is some one to say get going or some kind of words of encouragement and I would respond and keep moving. So about a mile from the finish I caught a runner that had passed me earlier in the race and he was walking on the road going down hill, so as I passed him I yelled at him “come on latch on to me and lets get this thing done” and dammed if he didn’t immediately start running, we both pushed a really strong pace all the way to the finish. A nice way to finish after a long hard run.

After the race I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Adam Casseday and his wife. My wife had met them when I ran the race at Massanutten100 in the spring. He had placed third at that hard 100 and he had come out from West Virginia on his honeymoon and thought he would try one of our local races. At one point he looked at me and said this race is like the Barkley Marathons of the west. I think he was very impressed with our mountains here in Utah! I want to thank Karl Meltzer for creating one of the harder if not hardest 50ks in the country. Also of course all the great volunteers that helped. To name just a few Scott Mason, Roch Horton, Jim Skaggs, Butch Adams, Dave Hunt and many more I wish I knew all there names,thanks again. Also congratulations to Erik, Rich and Christian who all finished strong and placed in the top 10. Believe it or not I love this race and will be back next year and will hopefully avoid the Speedgoat bonk. To see a few pictures my wife shot of the race click on my link. Also to see some great professional pictures go to Pure Light Images


MRC Conquers the Speedgoat 50K

Ouch!! What a course. After looking over the map I knew the race would be brutal, but I had no idea.  When the race started the jack rabbits took off and I was not going to be one of them. Erik, Christian and I ran at a conservative pace letting a few runners burn out in the first 5 miles. Erik was about 3 minutes ahead of Christian and I approaching Hidden peak for the 1st time. When we finally crawled over the top Karl and Jared Campbell were there waiting. Christian and I left together and headed over Baldy. I passed Christian while he was picking up e-caps he dropped. After that I never really saw him. I knew he was breathing down my neck a couple minutes back the rest of the race. I ran with a nice guy originally from England named Dominick. To be honest the fact that he was wearing  a pink camelback lead Christian and myself to think he was in over his head. I was wrong he was a strong runner. I followed him all the way to the final decent from Hidden Peak. Mineral Basin was super rocky. I rolled my ankle twice but it never really got swollen or tight. What was really scary at that point was how far down we ran before there was any sign of returning up to Snowbird. The people at the Mary Ellen Gulch aid station were great. Rock Horton was there with a smile. At that point he told me Erik was 12 minutes ahead. The climb up  M.E.G went on forever. It was starting to warm up and the water station in Mineral Basin came at the perfect time. Up,up,up to the tunnel then down, down down to the switchbacks that took us up,up ,up,up to the cirque ridge then up ,up, up to the road just below the tram. We were finally to the Hidden Peak aid station again. NOT! OK, I do not know how the express in words how I felt or what I wanted to do to Scott Mason when he said "Just run down there across Little Cloud Bowl and up through that snow field." I was in shock at how far we ran down just to go up,up,up. On the way up Little Cloud Nate McDowell blew by me then the 2nd place runner. A few minutes later Anita Ortiz ran down past me on the snow. I saw Erik on the road almost to the top of Hidden Peak. My wife and kids were up tops. It was awesome to see them. It really gave me a second wind. Uncle Dave filled my bottle and sent me on my way. Erik had gone through just over half an hour before me so I knew I couldn't catch him. I was in 6th place at this point and I really wanted to finish in the top 5. Dominick was just in front of me and I had one other runner a couple minutes back. I felt great all the way down. I passed Dominick for 5th place and was able to run the decent in about 35 minutes. I had to tell a few runners they were of course. It was sad. They were below Mid Gad restaurant. The climb back up to get on course would have be a killer. I think they all dropped. After it was over I felt really good about the run. Christian finished a few minutes after me (With the Millcreek 50K win on his legs). Greg had a great run as well. I hope the MRC made Dr. Lindgren proud. Jason Berry finished strong and must have taken off to the symphony right after. Congrats to my friend Tom Nelson on finishing his 1st ultra. He was sick the day before and still managed to pull through and have a great race. Greg's friend from Virgina (I think) called the race the "Barkley of the West" That sums it up for me. See you all soon on the trails and Congratulations to all the finishers! -Rich

Unofficial Results (I Think?)

4th- Erik Storhiem 6:09
5th- Rich McDonald 6:33
Christian Johnson Sub 7 hrs
Greg Norrander Sub 8hrs
Jason Berry Sub 8hrs
Tom Nelson Sub 10hrs
 P.S. In light of my recent near fatality, I will be adding the helmet to my running attire!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Speedgoat Deathmarch

Has anyone else looked at the maps for the Speedgoat? Holy crap. I think I'm staying home. And I thought last year was bad.... This year when I take a wrong turn again, I think I'll just mosey on down to the bottom of the mountain. If I do decide to finish, I'm thinking about 8 hours. Have fun ya'll.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

No Sleep till...Church Fork or the Millcreek 50k report

Friday night, under a full moon, Peter, Brian, Sam and myself joined about 30 others for the 6th annual Millcreek 50k. After everyone was shuttled up to Big Water we started at about 9:20pm. It was slightly cool at the start but once we got moving that changed and I quickly warmed up. I led much of the way up the great western trail and pulled off for a nature break once I was on the crest and I could see down into Park City. Phil Lowry and Matt Bero caught up to me and took the lead as we made our way down to Desolation Lake. I knew Shane Martin would be stalking us on the descent and sure enough he caught us shortly after passing deso in about 1:50 (elapsed time). I took the opportunity to jump in behind Shane as he upped it a notch on the downhill. I let him get slightly ahead of me on the steeper part because the dust was so thick, something I don't notice as much during the day, but at night the headlamp beam shows you just how much dust you're inhaling. I made the turn at blunder fork and there were some hikers or early starters that kind of startled me. Just then I noticed Shane had taken the Mill D turn but quickly got back on track just as we began the climb up to Dog Lake together.

Shane refilled a bottle and I walked out of Dog Lake heading toward Big Cottonwood. As soon as Shane caught up I started running again and we were soon on my least favorite part of the course. From Dog Lake over to Baker Pass the trail rarely gets used so the vegetation is overgrown, which is a problem during the day, let alone trying to navigate it at midnight. After about 10 mins or so I was by myself in the lead with my little 20' window of light in front of me. I was now experiencing another first, running by myself at night. I didn't have my headphones and I'm not sure I would have put them on anyway. I didn't feel like as if I was moving that fast but pretty soon I had trouble seeing any lights behind me. That's when doubt would begin to set in, did I miss a trail junction in all this overgrown mess? Then a glowstick would appear just ahead on the trail restoring my confidence once again. I would occasionally look up to the northwest and see Mt. Raymond, Gobblers Knob and the low spot between them, Baker Pass, my next target. As I made my way up the last little section I turned off my headlamp and used the moonlight to get over the top. I paused for a moment on the pass and saw a few headlamps further back down the trail and flickering lights seven miles below in Millcreek.

This was my first time on the Bowman fork trail this year and the only time I did it last year I went up not down. What this means is that I forgot just how long this descent is. I felt like I was being fairly conservative and I didn't have any mishaps on the technical sections. My plan was to pick it up a notch when I hit the bottom of the canyon and it's a little less technical. I really like this section of trail that jumps back and forth over the creek and downed trees and pretty soon I fell in a groove, then fell flat on my face. It wasn't that big of a deal, my wet shoe slipped off a downed tree and I fell on the other side. I picked myself up, did a quick assessment making nothing was wrong and started running again. Not even five minutes later I rolled my ankle. I decided it was time to back off a bit, no sense in beating myself up if I don't have to, plus I had a nasty little climb coming up after passing through the Terraces picnic area.

The trail that connects the Terraces with Elbow fork is another section that receives little attention and usually resembles a game trail rather than a hiking trail. As I started the steep climb I was pleasantly surprised to see the trail was actually in pretty good shape. The trail was still very much on a side hill but the vegetation wasn't as bad as I've seen it in the past. When I began the climb I was sure that I could do the two miles of up and down quick enough that I would easily get to Elbow fork before the 4 hour mark. What I forgot was that the two mile section is about 1.5 miles up and .5 down. I eventually pulled into the last aid station at Elbow Fork in 4:03 with 21 miles behind me and only 10 more to go. RD Rich B. filled up my nathan hydration pack while I dealt with a pesky heel blister on my right foot. Next up was the dirt sidewalk, also known as the pipeline trail.

Funny enough this was definitely the least technical section out of any of the trails yet, but I tripped and stumbled more than anywhere else. I think it was because the headlamp could pick up rocks, roots and anything sticking up out of the trail, but it couldn't pick up the slight undulations. I still made pretty good time to Church Fork, getting to the trail junction in 4:50. Now just a quick jaunt up to Grandeur Peak, back down and I would be done. Once I started the climb I realized there would be nothing quick about it. I pretty much hiked the whole thing reaching the top in 5:45 or about 2:00am. Even though I was in a hurray I just stood there for a minute. I always feel as if I don't take in the view afforded by a summit that I am somehow disrespecting it and there will be dues to pay in the future (is that being superstitious?).

Now I just had to stumble off the mountain and I would be done. I still had no idea what kind of lead I had so I was anxious to see how close the next runner was to me. I was also slightly nervous that if Shane was relatively close he would close the gap on the long descent. Last year, Peter and I watched as Shane flew down the mountain and disappeared in front of us on the first descent of the race. Soon I saw a light in front of me and it was Matt Bero, just behind Matt was Shane. I estimated my lead to be about 20 minutes so I just kept up my cautious descent. I ran into Peter and Brian shortly thereafter and wished them well on their final climb of the night. Soon enough the trail ended and I hit the pavement at the top of church fork. Then something I wasn't prepared for, route finding. I'm not very familiar with road up there and it was a little hard to tell whether the road led to a parking area or if it was the main road. Not really a big deal, I just thought it was kind of funny on the easiest part of the course. At the finish I found Rich B., Shane's sister and some chairs. I stopped my watch at 6:23 and fell into a comfortable chair.
Thanks to RD Rich B., Ken J, Storheim, and all the other volunteers that made for an outstanding night.
In order after me was: Results posted soon here.
Matt Bero
Shane Martin
David Hayes
Phil Lowrey
Peter Lindgren
Brian Hamos
?Ken Jensen

MillCreek 50 km

I look forward to this race, like a boxer might look forward to a warm up bout with a tough opponent before the big event. It may be brutal, you are bound to take a few blows, just how many one cannot be certain, and learning never to under estimate an opponent is critical.

A few days before the race when Sam asked what to wear I joked that I would wear my Yoda jammies for the nighttime race. I don't actually have Yoda jammies, though I do have a cotton Yoda shirt, a gift from my sister. Being a silly the Yoda shirt ended up getting worn. Jeff Lamora asked if this was a Coolmax Yoda shirt, and thought as a physician that I should know better than to wear cotton for a trail run with some cold sections. Looking at my shiny new shoes Phil Lowery asked if I liked my Vasque Velocity shoes. I told him that I didn't really have an opinion as I hadn't yet worn them yet. My most questionable move was not replacing the batteries in my headlamp. I had a long day at work starting around 6:30 AM, and getting home at 7:00 PM. As I raced around gathering gels, water bottles, and finding my Yoda shirt, I seriously thought about which headlamp to take. I decided on the Petzl Myo XP, really a great light. The batteries must have been changed since I used it at Wasatch last year. I hadn't changed the batteries.

Christian and I talked a little about staying together. This is after all is a "training run", not a race. I told Christian not to let me hold him back and to go ahead and take off and win the damn thing. We ran together for the first mile, before I dropped back. I don't think he knew that I wasn't with him as David Hayes was running right behind him. It was about this time that I knew I was in trouble with lighting. Sam and Brian were running behind me, and I was running in my own shadow from their lights with a dull small disc of light in front of me. The tell-tale flash indicator on my light indicating 90% of the battery life was used up flashed. The moonlight however was intense as we came up to the Wasatch Crest, I was able to turn off my light and climb by the moonlight several times. Sam seemed to get a surge of energy and took off ahead of us as we climbed towards the Crest. We wouldn't catch-up to Sam for another 10 miles. 3 or 4 other runners caught and passed Brian and me. We kept a conservative pace knowing that this is a long course.

At Dog Lake we stopped and filled up our water bottles. I was surprised to have only consumed half a bottle by this point. Starting the race tanked up on fluids was part of my good hydration status but running in the cool of night makes a huge difference. I thought several times that running this course during the day, fighting off mountain bikers, dogs, and the heat might actually yield slower times. This is more of an adventure to be running a secretive race under the cloak of darkness. My mind began to wander a little at this point and I started to hope that running with a Yoda shirt would give me some extra sense of what lay ahead on the trail, since my light wasn't much help. Of course, anyone who has done the section from Dog Lake to Baker Pass will tell you having a bright light might not be much of a help as the vegetation overgrows the trail so severely in spots that no light will help. This is where I started my long count of trail push-ups. As Brian can attest, I alerted him to many many hidden roots, stumps, and rocks. If I have ever made fun of anyone wearing bike gloves while trail running I got my due. I no longer can say that I don't fall, nor can I say I only fall seldomly. Time after time I tested the trail with my full body. Each time I picked myself up dusted Yoda off and tried to be more careful. Brain took the lead as we headed into the last couple of miles towards Baker Pass, mercifully the trail is better in this section, and I stopped falling. We caught Sam, and we figured that he would keep pace with us, but he had just eaten 1/2 of a peanut butter sandwich, and needed to let it digest. We caught another runner who I did not recognize and started to close in on Phil with his red light as we approached the pass.

After Baker Pass Brian let me lead again, supposedly because I am a faster downhill runner, but I really think that I was physically marking the trail of trouble spots. We caught Phil, but shortly after I ran off the trail and had a cramp in my right gastrocnemius as I tried to break yet another fall. Phil passed us again, but stopped at the spring to fill a bottle. Phil made some great whooping sounds as he filled his water bottle. On this long descent I started to loosen up and feel really pretty good running down hill. This was again a time that I was reminded that being able to see what was in front of me might have been helpful, as I ran my left leg into a fallen tree branch. I felt like I had been aggressively tackled by some big defensive player. I wanted a whistle to be blown and a red card given to that damn tree. My distal vastus medialis was hit pretty hard. This is a muscle that is necessary for downhill running. As I got going again I knew that I would be perfectly fine for the night, but this was going to take a few days to heal. I started to get my confidence back, and tried to hurdle a fallen tree before the Terraces. This time my right knee didn't quite make it clear of the fallen tree and I was thwarted in mid-air. This was push-up number twelve, and luckily only left a little scrape on my patella with no muscle injury. While trying to be careful after this fall I managed to turn my ankle enough for some extra internal embarrassment.

The distance from the Terraces to Elbow Fork is 2 miles. Anyone who does this race should realize that it is virtually all up hill. Several times I said to Brian that we were near the end of the climb. I had no idea. This illustrates one of the lessons you get in trail running and for that matter life, expectation matters an awful lot. Something that is expected to be hard is never as bad as something that is hard but is expected to be easy. I was expecting one mile up and one mile down. Not so. The temperature was warmer as well, and damned if the cotton Yoda shirt might have actually been helpful in keeping me cool. We caught up to David Hayes, and stayed behind him until the aid station at Elbow Fork. He took off on the pipeline trail ahead of us.

Brian and I ran together down the pipeline trail. I asked Brian if he wanted me to pick up the pace. Usually at this point he is increasing pace and I am watching him pull away. Mercifully he said he was in no hurry. Besides I was in no shape to run any faster. The trail to the Grandeur peak climb seemed to take forever. The 3 mile climb up Grandeur took a little more than an hour. Christian was the first runner on the way back down and looked great. I passed the car key to him, and wished him well. It was about 14 minutes of climbing before we saw Matt Breo, followed by Shane Martin. Brian told me to feel free to go faster downhill when we hit the top. I was hoping to stay in one piece, but that I didn't want to get passed. We made careful process, then Phil passed us. Getting past down hill was a hard pill to swallow so I picked up the pace. I don't doubt Phil's downhill running, but I was sure that his superior light (one on his head and one in each hand) was allowing him to go down so damn fast. I was able to stay close, but not too close. I was worried about falling, and was full of memories of doing just that. I was feeling bad about leaving Brian, so I figured I had better catch Phil despite the danger of tripping on the rocks. I got pretty close, but when I got to the road leaving Church Fork, I ran into and out of several pull-up picnic sites. I totally lost Phil and wondered if I was going to find my way down at all. At the finish truck, chairs and camp stoves, I was greeted by amazingly awake folks for 4 am cooking hash browns, and telling stories from the night of running. Brian came in a few minutes later.

I made it through this time, but not without some tough knocks. Earlier I had dreamt of going out to an all-night place for an early breakfast, but when Christian and I got in the car to drive down I was longing mostly for a shower and bed. The new shoes were fine. The cotton Yoda shirt didn't give me any Jedi powers , but wasn't problematic either. The effects of the dim headlamp and my clumsiness I am still feeling. Thankfully Erik didn't have to sweep me off the course along with the glow sticks and ribbons. Many thanks to Rich and Ken for another great MC50.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Salt Lake City Man Attacked by Tree

On Wed July 16th 2008 while trail running Rich McDonald was viciously attack by a teenage quaking aspen. It began like any summer run up Millcreek Canyon. Starting at Upper Big Water, McDonald ran to Dog Lake, then up to Desolation Lake. From the crest he ran down the Great Western trail back to his car. The run seemed like just another spiritual experience on the trail. Then things took a dramatic turn for the worst. As McDonald ran down the Great Western he spotted his attacker laying across the trail. Moving at the speed of light McDonald attempted to duck underneath, but instead was struck. The blow to the head stunned the runner. He remained on his feet and was able to verbal assault the tree, until he saw the blood! McDonald stayed calm and applied pressure to the wound as he walk back to the car. Face and chest covered in blood he passed several hikers who wanted to help. He explained that he was "SUPER TOUGH" and continued to his car. On his return he was also responsible for traumatising 3 young children with the 3 gallons of blood on his head and body. On McDonald's return to the city he received 3 staples in the head. When asked if he was worried about future encounters with hostile trees, McDonald replied "It's the trees that should be worried!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Annual MRC 4th of July Run

This was the 2nd annual 4th of July MRC run on the Desolation loop. We strayed from tradition slightly by heading up the Great Western Trail to the Millcreek Divide before heading south along the ridge.
Once we hit Red Lover's ridge (or the Spine if you're a mountain biker) then Erik, Jason and Mark cut out slightly early headed back down to Big Water. Peter, Greg, Sam and myself continued south along the crest to the sheds. It was great to get out on a Friday with some friends in the mountains.
Maybe it's a bit late but I figured I'd at least post the photos.

On Saturday I met up with Storheim for a slog up to Bear Ass Pass. I had tired legs from the day before and he was just plain tired from the 4th of July festivities the night before. I didn't bring the camera on this one, but one thing to note, there has been some trail work done on the section between Mt Aire trail junction and the first stream crossing. The trail is a bit smoother in some of the rocky areas now.

On Sunday I met up with Peter to run from Big Water to Guardsman together. From there he ran to Deer Valley to meet up his family and have brunch, while I continued on to Albion Basin where I would meet up with my family. My plan was to take the Wasatch route to Catherine's Pass where I would drop down on the trail to Alta.

Peter and I made it to Scott's Pass and I paused to look over at Sunset Peak and Catherine's. We both concluded that I would definitely be running through some snow, how much was the real question. As the pictures show, it really wasn't that bad. One other thing to note, the mountain bikers were a lot more friendly on Sunday then they were on Friday, except for one that I managed to get a picture of...

Monday, July 14, 2008


This morning I ran my favorite route of all time. Up and down the west face of Grandeur Peak. I really do love it, but I hate it just as bad. It never feels good. I can go up in 1 1/2 hours and it hurts, or I can try for a PR and it hurts even more. This morning was a PR attempt, and it hurt. It was a perfect morning. There was a nice gale force wind coming out of Parley's as there always is in the early morning, but it was probably only of Tropical Storm intensity, rather than the usual Class III Hurricane. Once I got out of the wind after the first big climb, I was feeling pretty good. After the second big climb (right before the trail splits to the left to loop back down the northern ridge) I was a minute ahead of normal pace. Maybe today would be the day!

Side Note: From the first time I attempted the West face of Grandeur Peak, in August of 2004, my goal has been to beat my good friend Erik Badger's time. He and his dad, Bri Badger(who introduced me to the Wasatch 100 and all the addictive behavior associated with it), were making a weekly ascent and invited me along. Erik was trying to beat Bri's time of 49 minutes to the summit, and did so, then went a little further and made it in 46 1/2 minutes. I'm sure there are faster times. In fact, I think Ken Jensen did it in around 43 minutes, and I'm sure Jared Campbell, in his 1000+ summits has done it faster, but right now I'm shooting for Erik's time. I've only had 3 years to work at it, while Erik was away at school in Kentucky. You'd think I could pull it off in 3 years, but it has remained elusive. So.....Back to today.

The second half of the climb I was feeling pretty good. It was a beautiful sunrise, the flower's were in their prime towards the top, and I was lucky enough to flush a covey of Chukar and 5-6 Grouse. I purposefully didn't look at my watch, just kept it going as hard as I could. Even then, I'd find my mind wandering now and then and my pace would slack off a little, until I realized I wasn't going hypoxic anymore. Finally, almost to the top, where the trail bumps over to the north of the ridge. No matter what I feel like, I always try and run from here to the top. No walking! I was thinking that I really could be in the 46 minute range today. I crossed back over to the ridgeline, and really began to feel anaerobic. You know that nice metallic, almost bloodlike taste in your mouth? Only 100 yards to the top, and then I'm there, push stop and the watch says 47:20......
It's a PR. I beat it by 7 seconds! So that was great, but at the same time, I thought I'd be in the 46's somewhere. You'd think I could be satisfied, but the 46 1/2 lurks in the back of my mind. You're still safe Erik! That one really hurt, I may not try again for a while. Then again, maybe next Monday morning.