Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wahsatch Steeplechase: Dude Peak

Race report for the Wahsatch Steeplechase on June 11th

Up at 4:30 after going to bed at 1:00 am. It took 20 minutes for my head to stop reeling. I don’t use Caffeine as a wake-me-up in the morning. Once you start, you are committed for life. Bagel with peanut butter and honey for breakfast. Out by 5:00 am. The start was inside Memory Grove Park in SLC, next to the capital building. I’ve never been before. There are trails that lead up into the mountains above the city.

The Wahsatch Steeplechase is normally a 17 mile race that makes runners climb over “The Crags” at the top of Black Mountain. This year, due to the heavy snow, we had to run an alternate course, said to be 13 miles. Perhaps I’ll run it again to see these infamous Crags. The race is limited to 300 runners. Everyone looked pretty hearty to me.

I didn’t have any race goals other than to finish without breaking anything. Easier said than done. There’s been 2 rescues in the last 3 years, and a life flight helicopter was standing by. Group start at 6:00 am. Some fantastic views as we climbed out of the valley. I carried my hydration pack today with 2 bottles of Gatorade.  I figured I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, but getting passed constantly.

Mile 1 9:04
Mile 2 11:13

The trails up 3 successive hills with radio towers were really steep. The first aid station was after the third hill. I crammed a handful of shot blocs into my mouth and washed them down with water and some electrolyte drink. From there we continued to the top of Dude Peak (7200’) The top runners were already heading back at this point, and I started counting to see where I was at, as well as to keep my mind occupied. My Garmin read 7 ½ miles at the turnaround point. By my count, I was sitting in 132nd place. New goal—to try and get into the top 100.

Mile 3 14:31
Mile 4 18:54
Mile 5 12:06
Mile 6 13:53
Mile 7 21:14

We ran back to the aid station and then broke off onto the pipeline trail to get back to City Creek. Almost non-stop downhill, something I normally love. But the trail was so incredibly steep that it was nearly impossible to pick up any speed. To do so would be suicide. Instead it was quad and knee destroying grades that were covered in loose rocks. You have to continually put on the brakes to keep from tumbling downhill. My quads were screaming from all the jarring foot falls.

Mile 8 12:28
Mile 9 10:05
Mile 10 9:55
Mile 11 10:21
Mile 12 9:18
Mile 13 7:51
.92 Miles 7:43

Once we got into the City Creek trail it leveled out some and I was able to get some full strides in as I made my way to the finish. I came in 103rd overall, 90th out of the men. And it was just shy of 14 miles, not 13. My time was 2:48:01. 249 runners. 247 finishers. My average pace was 12:04. Calories burned: 1425.

I hung around for the awards ceremony even though I was way out of the running. I soaked my legs in city creek for as long as I could stand it—less than a minute. The snow runoff is FREEZING cold. The river is running insanely fast and high. I was nervous about getting sucked in.

Thanks to Butch and all the volunteers for putting on a fun race!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Champagne Turkey

I had some minibar bottles of champagne laying around, so I tried this recipe to cook my first turkey. Heaven.

I've been enjoying turkey sandwiches ever since. Turns out turkey tacos are good too.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wahsatch Steeplechase Prequel

I only found out this week that I made it off the waiting list and into the Wahsatch Steeplechase this Saturday.  I've been following the drama with the course for awhile though. Record snowfall this year is messing up all the mountain races, including this one. Here's the update I received minutes ago from Butch, the race director.


Welcome to the Dude Peak Derby!

After hearing moderately positive reports from people running the Steeplechase course this past week I decided that I had to check it out one more time before pulling the plug. So, Wednesday evening, several of us headed back up Smugglers Gap Trail to see if there had been some miraculous melting of snow or if collectively we had enough retired climbing ropes to fix the entire snow section. We didn't...

There has been some melt but with the cooler temps the sections that I feel are a bit sketchy are now rock hard and have the potential for serious consequences. I know this group of racers are a pretty hardy bunch. I know many of you personally, and I'm not really concerned about most of you having the ability to get through the course without incident. However, we have had 2 rescues in the past 3 years, so maybe I'm a bit gun shy at this point.

Over this past week I have tried to create another loop course that would actually mirror the Steeplechase course. I failed. Let me qualify that, I didn't completely fail, I've connected this route but it's not ready for an event like this.

So, I know many of you will moan and groan, but we will try to make this as fun as possible while keeping the suffering as high as possible.

Course Description:

Start in Memory Grove Park 6:00 am

Up the road to the hairpin.

Go through the gate in City Creek and up the road for 1/3 mile

Slight left to the City Creek Canyon Trail

3/4 mile up canyon Turn LEFT on the Shoreline Trail intersection. (Mt. Bike Route)

Follow the Shoreline Trail (west) for approximately 1 mile to a single track trail, turn right.

Follow this to the third/single Radio Tower. That is your first Aid Station

From here you will follow a Double Track due East on the Ridge to the Top of Dude Peak (7200 ft) Total from start 7 miles

From the Summit of Dude Peak you get to turn around and run back for about 3 miles

Turn left on the pipeline trail that will take you 1.10 mile into City Creek Canyon

Turn Right on the City Creek Canyon Trail Run 2.5 miles to the finish

Total 13 miles, 3800 vertical gain.

There will be NO AID at Dude Peak.


See you all Saturday


It sounds like we will be getting off easy, as the original course is 17 miles and higher elevation. That means I'll probably have to run it again in the future, to get the full experience.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Reel Big Fish

I went fishing with Cort today. Check out this monster I pulled in.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Draper Challenge 15 Mile Trail Run

Race report for the Draper Days 15 mile trail race on May 28th

Up at 7:00 am. Ate a banana for breakfast and geared up. Out by 7:30. Feeling ok. It was a challenge to get through my Thursday run. I’ve been doing consecutive tough runs every Saturday lately. I’m hoping I’m building strength instead of heading towards an injury. The weather is partly cloudy and mild. Trails are
mostly dry with patches of mud.

A bike race started at 8:00. Runners had a group start from the equestrian park parking lot at 8:30. There are 4 race distances: 4, 7, 10, and 15 miles. The trails are in Corner Canyon around and behind the Draper Temple—where I ran 15 miles a few weeks ago. That took me 3 hours and resulted in a nice sun burn.
Knowing the trail climbs for the first 3 miles, I started off slow. Impossible to know how you’re fairing with everyone running different distances. I didn’t want to get caught up with the 4 milers going out too fast.

Mile 1 9:59
Mile 2 11:23

I didn’t carry hydration with me since they had plenty of water stations. Long climb up Lower Canyon, Ghost Falls, and Brock’s Point trails. I was able to run the entire way up on fresh legs.

Mile 3 11:28
Mile 4 8:51

I knew that Clark’s Trail was a long stretch of downhill into Bonneville Shoreline Trail, and that it was full of rocks, roots, sharp turns, and patches of mud. Exactly what I love, but early in the race. I decided to take it as fast as possible since I wouldn’t be able to make up the time later in the race, even though it would mean trashing my legs earlier than I prefer. I had a great time blazing down the trail passing quite a few people.

Mile 5 7:27

The 10 and 15 milers continued on the rolling BST behind the temple, heading SW along the mountainside. The 10 milers had a turnaround point up ahead, so there was a lot of two way traffic on a narrow single track trail for awhile. A lot of the people I thought I was racing against passed me going the other way.

Mile 6 9:29
Mile 7 9:31

The 15 mile course continued on BST until I think we broke off onto Hollow or Oak Creek. This had some nice downhill sections, and I caught the pretty girl I’d been following for several miles. We got kicked out onto a surface street for about a mile to complete a loop. Not fun running in trail shoes on asphalt.

Mile 8 8:32
Mile 9 7:37

We took a small trail from the road that led us back up to the BST—more climbing. I had 2 guys on my tail that I had passed earlier, plus the cute girl. My legs had reached their breaking point by then, and I was struggling on the uphill. I kept them at bay until about mile 11 when they both passed me. Stupid uphill.

Mile 10 10:07
Mile 11 11:17
Mile 12 10:48

We had a short but nice downhill section that took us across the Lower Corner Canyon Trail to an out and back section along the northern section of the BST I think. There was more climbing here which I pushed through as best I could. I had managed to get within site of the 2 guys who passed me earlier and I didn’t
want to lose them again. I shadowed them through the turnaround and all the way back to the main trail down the canyon.

Mile 13 9:19
Mile 14 8:49

One of the guys stopped to get a drink at the last aid station. I skipped it and passed him by. Only about a mile of downhill left. Pushed as hard as I could to catch up to the other guy who had passed me at mile 11. It took until the tunnel under Highland Dr. where we were running through darkness side by side at full speed. I rounded the corner just ahead of him and powered up the steep hill to the parking lot for the final 100 yards into the finish line. I think I broke his spirit, because I finished 13 seconds ahead of him. Sorry 27 year old Tim Thorley of Washington, Utah. He was a good sport about it though.

Mile 15 6:48

Cooled down while they awarded medals for the other races. Chatted with some of the other runners and snacked on bread and pastries. Turns out the top 2 finishers in our race were a couple girls from Park City who destroyed the competition. They finished the out and back section before we even got there. I guess there was some debate as to whether they had completed the entire course, but in the end they were awarded 1st and 2nd. (Their times were 1:49 and 1:55. The fastest male was 2:13)

My time was 2:20:59.3, a 9:23 overall pace. I burned 1620 calories and consumed 3 gels during the race. The aid stations only had water. That banana lasted me the whole race. My fastest pace was 4:37—during the last mile, as usual. I came in 6th overall, 4th out of the men, and 1st in my 36-49 age group. I lucked out,
because the age group below me was 19-35. Hooray for being old! They gave me a ribbon and gift card to Applebees for $20.

Really fun race and it was awesome that the weather coorperated with us. If you haven't run the trails in Corner Canyon, you should schedule a visit soon. They are great.

I also want to give a special shout out to Don, Mark and the Fleet Feet Running Group for helping me train these last couple years. Come join us for some Saturday runs.