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.