Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase

My race report from last weekend's Jupiter Peak Steeplechase in Park City.

I got to bed about 1:00 last night and got up at 6:15 this morning. Not bad. Ate a whole bagel with peanut butter and honey. I learned my lesson from not eating enough last week. Covered the nipples with band aids and gathered my gear. Left later than I wanted, about 6:50. Drove really fast until I got to Parley’s Canyon where I caught up to a police escort that lasted all the way to the parking lot at Park City Mountain Resort. Arrived with only 15 minutes till the start.


Picked up my bib and then ran back to my car to get my hydration pack. I had filled my bottles with ice and had to go inside the resort to find some water. Poured a half pack of CytoMax into each one. By the time I got a satellite lock on my watch and a quick pee, it was less than a minute to Ready-Set-Go! I never had time to stress about the race until I was running it.

We followed the Crescent Mine Grade road until connecting to the Mid Mountain Trail. There’s something like 400 runners moving in mass uphill. I didn’t bother jockeying for a position before entering the single-track. I’ve never been a strong uphiller, and today was no exception. I somewhere in the middle of the pack and ok with that. I passed a few people here and there, but got passed by twice as many. I saved a little time by skipping the aid stations since I was carrying my own energy drink with me.

Mile 1 13:44
Mile 2 13:35
Mile 3 13:44

Lots of room for passing on the Comstock Mine Road. I don’t know if I need to mention how gorgeous it is in this area. The mountains above Park City are amazing. We continued running up, up, and up. We started at 7,000 feet and I think I passed the 3rd aid station on Pioneer Ridge at around 9,000 feet. That’s when you get a view of Jupiter Peak, and it’s a bit terrifying. I hope I can find a picture. Off in the distance is a huge line of runners scrambling up one of the steepest ascents I’ve ever seen in a race. It’s insanely steep.

Mile 4 11:30
Mile 5 15:51
Mile 6 15:48

There’s nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other. Or rather, one foot several feet above the other. It’s an endless stairmaster, if the stairs were twice as high as high as normal and made of loose gravel. I know my legs weren’t the only ones burning. But eventually the distant peak comes into view and I gave out a shout as I slapped the flag pole on my way past. 10,400 feet high with epic views in all directions.

View from the summit

Mile 7 21:50

Transitioning into downhill mode, I picked up speed coming off the top, but as a first timer on this race, I hadn’t realized there was a second peak to climb: Tri County Peak. It wasn’t as steep as Jupiter, so my pace didn’t suffer as much. After that, it was truly all downhill to the finish.

Mile 8 12:55
Mile 9 9:09

We followed Scotty’s By Pass to the Shadow Lake area before connecting back onto Comstock Mine Rd. And by road, I mean more of a dirt atv trail. I don’t know where I stood at the halfway point, but I consistently passed people the entire way down. I was hydrating on the run, consumed 2 gels, 2 salt caps, and a handful of gummy bears. Legs were shot as far as uphill was concerned, but they were doing great on the down. No trips or missteps on the many rocks and roots.

Mile 10 7:57
Mile 11 7:32
Mile 12 7:19

Meanwhile, the winner was finishing in a lightning fast 1:51:42, narrowly ahead of the 2nd place guy. 

We detoured onto Spiro Trail to take us to the finish at Silver Star Café. The trail is very runnable and not too steep. Mostly shaded too. I really enjoyed this section.

Mile 13 8:07
Mile 14 8:33
Mile 15 8:02

Home stretch

Checking the watch in preparation for crossing the finish line.

And then the finish line appeared. I thought I had another mile to go, but it turns out the race was 15 miles long, not 16. Nobody on my tail so I simply coasted into the finish. Drank lots of water, picked up the nice tech shirt and a bag of snacks. Hit the restroom where I washed all the sweat and grime off with cold water from the sink. Felt so good. Ate my yogurt, banana, and oatmeal bar in the shade while watching other runners come through.

My official time was 2:55:42. The results show me in 87th of the males. 121st overall out of 274 finishers. My pace was 11:43. I burned 1496 calories. Happy to make it in under 3 hours, and without an injury. Next up: Epic Cache-Teton Relay from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY.

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