Monday, June 30, 2008

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Business in the Front

My front yard is quite ugly. I have this cactus-like plant that only blooms once a year. This time around, it's really reaching for the sky. The shoot on the right is a new height record.

A closer examination reveals a little city of industry. These little critters must know exactly when the bloom is set to launch, because they arrived in force from day one.

Are they aphids? Are the smaller white dudes their offspring? Got me. But they work round the clock.

Party in the Back

Ok, so this doesn't look like much of a party, but we are still in the planning stages. This is the south side, where I have tomatoes, jalapeƱos, and and squash I think.

Even less going on over on the west side--zucchini & squash. I hate a fatality in the middle area.

But in the southwest corner, it's all about the strawberries. They would have taken over the entire yard already if I'd let them. My little Japanese Maple is fending them off the best he can. My green rubber snake keeps the birds at bay.

Some of my crop

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Xterra Snowbird 8K 2008

My dad and I ran in the Xterra Snowbird 8K this weekend. The elevation was a factor for both of us, not to mention the long uphill portions of the course. I was just happy for us to finish in the top 10 in our age groups without acquiring any injuries along the way--others weren't so fortunate. Of the 35-39 year olds, I came in 6th, with a time of 46:42. I was 18th overall.

My dad was the oldest runner there, finishing 2nd in the 60+ category. His time was 1 hour 7 minutes, and was 68th overall. There were about 80 runners total. After I crossed the finish line, I ran back to snap some shots of my dad coming in.
Mountain trails

Slippery snow bank

Home stretch

He scored some Xterra socks for being the oldest runner in the race.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Race Update

On Saturday I ran in the Pleasant Grove Strawberry Days 5K. My time was 20:44, which somehow managed to snag me 1st place in the 30-34 year old division. I even got a trophy.

Xterra did a write up for the Wolf Mt. 10K, featuring my photo. I think this makes me famous.

Race #2, the Xterra Snowbird Challenge 8K, is this Saturday. My dad will be running it with me. The course is supposed to be easier than Wolf Mountain, but the elevation is higher.

And here are some photos from the Ogden Marathon:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Fun in the Arizona Sun

It had been over a year since I visited family in Arizona, and with my parents just getting back from their mission, it seemed like a good time to go.

Dinner at a Thai place with my parents and Grandma.

My nephew Issac, one of the cutest kids you'll ever meet.

Becca taking a dive

Jake with the kids

Launching Sammie

My sister Amy with Brigham

My mom with Jenny's newest: Tessa

All tuckered out

Saturday, June 07, 2008

XTERRA Wolf Mountain 10K Report

Rolled out of bed at 5:00. Slept better than usual the night before a race. Took a couple hours to drive up to Eden. Rained the entire way. Wolf Mountain is a ski resort, and the race begins at the base of the chair lifts. After picking up my registration stuff, I hung out in my car to stay warm. So did everyone else.

Stretched and jogged around a bit. The rain had stopped, but everything was wet. Big group out today for the first race of the series. Bigger than any race from last year I think. About 80 runners. Things started off very slow at 8:00 am. We all jogged a few hundred yards uphill, then slowed to a grinding walk/hike up the mountain side.

A thousand foot climb over a mile and a quarter is no joke. Everyone was breathing hard and striving to pull out a short jog burst before being forced to walk some more. I just remember raising my arms in the air upon reaching the final crest. The view was absolutely amazing.

The descent down Green Mile was a muddy switchbacking trail through heavy foliage. It dropped fast, and I felt like I was constantly on the verge of overshooting a turn or sliding through the mud and over the side. Back and forth, back and forth, down the side of the mountain. I passed a few people on this stretch--I'm weaker on the uphill, but fearless on the down.

The next rolling stretch of trail was filled with water obstacles. Lots of run offs to leap over, except for the large stream. There was no avoiding your shoe's watery fate. Splash, splash, splash through the icy water, feet, shoes, and socks soaking wet. I knew I should have brought my trail shoes, even if they aren't broken in.

Someone shot this of me coming out of the stream

The write up for this course simply said "up Nordic Valley". What a massive understatement. I don't think I've ever raced up a steeper trail than this for such a long distance. About a mile of up the most grueling muddy trail imaginable. Near the top, the front runners started coming back down after having reached the turnaround point. While we worked to keep putting one foot in front of the other, they struggled to just keep their feet under them.

I counted runners as they came down. I was in 20th place after reaching the summit. No raised arms or cries of jubilation this time. The run down was just as difficult and painful as the climb up. The angle was so steep that it was nearly impossible to slow down, and when you tried, it resulted in painful knee jostling or sliding down the mud. Several times I felt "out of control" and hoped for the best. There were several spills down this section. I felt fortunate not to be one of them.

Back along the trail we came in, which meant another dip in the river. Exiting, it felt like my shoes weight 5 lbs each--filled with water and an inch of mud caked on the bottom. Winding Moose Run had quite a few hills. I would drop to 20th on most climbs, and then move into 18th coming down.

The last mile I held my 18th position, even making a try for 17th the last quarter mile of steep downhill to the finish line. I was going full speed as I came upon the guy in front of me. Once the people at the end started cheering, he looked back and saw me coming, which resulted in him sprinting to the finish too. He beat me by 1 hundredth of a second.

Normal 10K times are disregarded on a race like this. The 33 year old guy who won today had a time of 59:59, which would be terrible on a flat road course. My time of 1:13:02 got me 18th place overall, 15th out of the men, and 7th in the 30-39 age group. The guy in front of me, also with a time of 1:13:02, was of course my same age. There were 22 of us in my group, as opposed to 12 in the 20's and 9 in the 40's. Oh, and the 77th and 78th place ladies to come in: 2 hours 19 minutes. Tough course.

I'm happy with how I did. I'll score some points in the series for my 7th place finish, and hopefully add to it in two weeks at Snowbird. My dad is going to run that one with me. There was only 1 guy in his 60's today, so he will likely qualify for nationals after just one race. Lucky.

Friday, June 06, 2008

XTERRA Wolf Mountain 10K

This year's Xterra trail run series kicks off at Wolf Mountain in Eden Utah tomorrow morning. It's been raining for a couple days, and is forecast to rain tomorrow, so it should be a wet, slippery race. Eden is located about 1 hour north of SLC, northeast of Ogden, next to Pineview Lake.

The Course:

It's a challenging course with 1000 feet of vertical climb in the first 1 1/4 mile up Oh My Hell Hill and Bayot's Blvd leading to the top of Wolf Mountain. From there you'll descend down the Green Mile and back to Bayot's Blvd. before doing an out an back up Nordic Valley. Nordic has several hills and some water hazards in the form of streams that will require you to get your feet wet. The trail finishes down a winding Moose Run to Howling Wolf chair lift.

I'll report on how I did in my next post.