Saturday, July 28, 2007

Xterra Sundance 10K Trail Race

Up at 5:30. Gathered up my running gear and ate some cereal with soy milk. Out by 6:00 on my way to Sundance for the Xterra Sundance 10K Trail Race. Nice and cool when I arrived—upper 50’s. Picked up my number and shirt, then stretched out and jogged around the resort.

The race started at 7:30 with about 50 of us. About the same as the Snowbird race. We ran almost a half mile up a steep road on our way to the trail. I’m not a hill runner, but I forced myself to keep pace so I could maintain a decent position leaving the road. Entered the trail in 7th place and stayed in that spot for several more miles of winding single track which climbed into the mountains above the resort.

While the altitude and uphill made it difficult, it was heaven compared to Snowbird with the heat and direct sun overhead. I thought I was cruising pretty good, but two people passed me before I reached the summit. There was supposed to be a water station at the half-way point, but we beat them to the top and missed it. I spotted the truck heading up as I was running downhill. Fortunately I was feeling good and wasn’t thirsty.

The last 3 miles or so were mainly downhill, with some fairly steep sections. The rocks and roots in the trail had been easy to avoid on the way up, but proved more of a challenge while speeding down. I let gravity take its course and allowed myself to go as fast as the switch backs would let me.

I made up the ¼ mile lead of the girl ahead of me, but she held me at bay about 20 yards back as we left the trail. The last half mile was on the asphalt road we first ran up. I went all out, moving into a dead sprint the last 100 yards, passing the girl as we entered the chute. I came in 9th overall and 4th in my age group, with a time of 48:19. Much better than last time. (7:46 min pace)

With the points I receive from this race, I will for sure qualify in my age group for the Nationals in Lake Tahoe. The next race is worth double points, but I’m going to skip it so that others can hopefully pass me. The finals are Sep 29th, which is at the end of my Thailand trip. I’d have to leave 3 days early to make it, plus make arrangements to get to Lake Tahoe and find a place to sleep, etc. I decided to let it go this year and make plans to qualify next year when my schedule is more flexible and I’m hopefully in better shape.

I really enjoyed today's race and look forward to competing again next year.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bairgutsman Preview

Before signing up for the Bairgutsman race, I attempted in vain to find some detailed information on it through the internet. Turns out, very little has been written. Whether that's on purpose, as to keep up the mystique of the whole thing, or simply because Bairgutsman runners can't read, I don't know. Irregardless, I've decided to publish my experience with this infamous Utah trail race.

With the race a few weeks away, I still know very little. The course goes up and over Farmington Peak, it's between 12-14 miles long, and it's supposed to kick your butt.

I just received this e mail from the race director that sheds a little more light:

Hello all! 

I hope your crazy training is going well! I have been on the trail a
few times in the past weeks and things look great up there. You
will be able to tell how far I made it by the mark in the trail that
looks like vomit. 

I just wanted to give you all a quick update on a few things: First
off, At the end of the race you will be given a finisher bag and that
will pretty much wrap up the race. There will be no awards ceremony! The
first place male and female will receive a trophy and everyone else
will get finisher bags. With that said, after you eat as much bread,
fruit and Gatorade as you can, feel free to begin heading down the canyon.

As most of you know, Farmington Canyon is not the most "worry free"
drive in the world. We would like to avoid a mass exit down that canyon
at the end by not having any kind of ceremony. 

Also, we regret to inform many of you "purest gutsman" racers that
there will be a few trail markings along the way. We know everyone loves
this race due to the fact that there are no rules and no real map or
course. However, the forest service also doesn't want there to be 200
different trails to the top. DON'T WORRY! There will be plenty of
opportunities to break bones, need stitches, get lost, throw up and push
yourself to the ultimate limit! We are just going to mark a few of the major
detour possibilities.

Lastly, please note that the finish line is not the same place as the
starting line and you will need to figure out your own transportation back.
Carpooling would be the best option to minimize the number of cars.

We expect a great race! Many of the past winners have already checked
in to re-claim their titles. Richard Barnum-Reese will be there to
shoot the starting gun and each one of you are in for another race of a

Tell your friends to hurry and get in. We are almost to our max
capacity set by the forest service! Good luck to you all!



So, anyone want to come run this with me?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Garden: II

My garden has come a long way since the last time I posted picture of it. These are actually about a month old, so I'll be posting new photos again in a little while.

The seeds made little progress and seem doomed to failure.

Flowers are holding their own

The cucumbers and cantaloupes are on the verge of going ballistic.

While the strawberries are done producing fruit, they certainly haven't finished claiming new lands for next years production.

The tomatoes are just reaching their first cage level. If you could only see them now.

More pictures to come...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Snowbird Challenge 10K

It was another blistering hot 100 degree day out, and the numbers didn’t fall the way I was hoping they would as I climbed in elevation up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was still 90 degrees out at Snowbird when I arrived at 1:30 for the Xterra Snowbird Challenge 10K.

I didn’t do much of a warm up since I was already sweating from my walk through the parking lot. I guess the 2:00 pm start time scared people away, because there were only about 50 runners signed up. 

So the first mile was a short uphill and then mostly downhill, causing me to throw pacing out the window and let myself go. It’s always bad news when I’m in the lead a mile out. But then the next mile was almost all uphill, and I was quickly put in my place. I made the mistake of looking above at the people riding the chairlift up the mountain, and caught my foot on something. It sent me sailing forward, bent over with my hands out in front of me. I skidded my hands along the ground and managed to catch my footing without any serious injury. Eyes to the ground from now on.

With the merciless heat, the 8200 ft elevation, and the steep inclines, I was having difficulty regulating my breathing. Just when I thought I might be able to catch my breath, another steep incline would appear around the corner. Add to that having to avoid roots and rocks, jump across small streams, and keep your footing on loose gravel, and it makes for one tough course.

That was just the first loop. I was breathing really heavy and feeling very overheated going into the second loop--then I came to a massive uphill section—about a mile straight up with zero shade. Everyone in front and behind me walked it. It wasn’t really a question. I had been walking here and there before, which I hate to do, but I felt no shame in walking this entire uphill section. 

I was dying of thirst and completely overheated by the time I reached the top. The view was amazing, but I had an insane downhill looming ahead of me to worry about. It’s extremely hard to run downhill when you have nothing left. Gravity pulls you forward and you have to use all your muscles and focus to keep your feet under you and slow down when necessary. 

It took me an hour and 3 minutes to finish this race—the toughest 10K I’ve ever run. (and walked) That’s like a 10 minute pace. Terrible. Even though I finished 14th overall, I was only 10th in my age group. (30-39) In comparison, there were only 2 guys in the entire race in the 20-29 category. My age group is extremely competitive. But, I do get 33 points for finishing 10th, so it’s not a total loss. Had I got 11th, I would have been really pissed. (Xterra series points are only given out to the top 10 finishers in each age group)
Drove home and took a long, cold shower. My feet were filthy from all the trail dirt. I took some pictures to document the occasion.

That's dirt, not a tan.

I know. My feet are disgusting. And yes, I was wearing socks AND shoes during the race.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Getting Back To Nature

As an owner of various camping supplies, (2 tents, sleeping bag, cook kits, flash lights, camp chairs, etc) I felt it was due time for a trip into the woods. I convinced my friends Joey and Cort to bring their families, along with my sister Mary and her husband. Darren and his family came up for the evening.

I left work early on the 3rd to go scout out a spot up American Fork Canyon. It was a beautiful place minus all the dust from the road. I hate ATVers. We had multiple streams surrounding us:

Before everyone arrived, I took these two videos:

I was reading a magazine by this spring and hummingbirds were all around me:

Cort brought up his new off road vehicle:

Kids everywhere:

Carolina & Grace

Darren's Kid

Cort, Ash, & Rob


Celeste, Jack, Joey, Ash, & Rob
Dinner over an open fire:

After dark:

Cort & Rob

Cali & Carolina

Sorry Cali, but I had to post this one. The expressions are great.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

extra mile

I was in Seattle last week on business and I snapped this photo at the airport while waiting for my shuttle. The Asian airlines really go the extra mile with their service, including these cute little uniforms the stewardesses wear.