Sunday, June 25, 2017

This Week in Running 6/18 - 6/24


If you look closely, you'll see me on the left.



DayMileage / WorkoutComments
SundayOffSore from Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon
MondayOffSore. Felt fatigued
Tuesday5Easy
WednesdayOff
Thursday4Medium
Friday12.25Midnight Half Marathon
Saturday5Easy
Total miles for the week: 26.25; YTD: 948


Week's Summary


Well this was a pretty frustrating week.  I would've liked to have run more, but the primary reason why I didn't was that the Lamoille Canyon Half totally beat me up.  I was extremely sore afterwards.  And it is also the reason why I only (generally) do about 1 or 2 downhill half marathons a year.

I was also feeling a lot of fatigue on Monday (and throughout the week).  I sense it is because of the warmer temperatures, but it also could be that I am over trained or low on iron.  The previous week(s) before this posting has resulted in similar training... just overall a low volume.  Part of that is okay as I definitely need a break, but part of me wants to keep training.

I really hate this time of year.  The weather isn't conducive to hard training and instead of getting home, changing out of my work clothes and into running clothes and starting a run, I have to sit around for a while before it gets cooler.  Fall can't get here soon enough.

Awards from the Sun Valley Half Marathon


A week or so ago I got a package in the mail.  I had no idea what it was and was shocked to see I had taken 1st in my age group at the Sun Valley Half Marathon.  I had left almost immediately after the race figuring I was completely out of any contention for an age group award.  I was even wondering if they had awards -- the race was just really small.

To be honest, though, it wasn't because any spectacular performance, but just a numbers game: I think I was the only one in the 45 - 49 age division.  Certainly a nice little memento from the race.






New Friend


If you've read my weekly recaps, you know that I am always coming across cats on the bike trail.  It is basically a haven for every feral cat in the county.  I've been feeding one since November (and he looks a lot healthier than when I found him).  I also had the pleasure of spending time with Snowball, but he wasn't a feral.  However, he has gone missing for the past month or two. 

But I came across another cutie.  He was hanging around near the bike trail and he didn't seem to be a feral.  He was too clean and seemed to be used to humans.  I had some spare food from my other feral and he immediately ate it when I dropped it off.  I wound up coming back down with more food and he was glad to see me and ate the second offering.



For the best week I've been feeding him and he seems to be hanging out in the same area.  I think he is a feral -- he is fully clawed and has been hunting mice to supplement his food from me.  He is super friendly and always greets me with a hearty meow.  He'll rub his body again me and wants to be played with.  I am hoping to call the city and see if I can get him adopted out.  I am not really in the market for a cat, but I this one I could easily get used to.


Weight Loss

I am holding steady.  I am hovering around 179, which isn't too bad.  If I could only skip out on the all you can buffets, I think I'd be a little further along.  At least I am not blimping up.

Upcoming Races



07/04: Spring Creek / Elko 4th of July 5K - Spring Creek, NV (Confirmed)
07/07: Utah Midnight (Legacy) Half Marathon - Farmington, UT (Confirmed)
07/22; Handcart Half Marathon - Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
08/19: Dam Train Race - 12 KM Race - Midway, UT (Confirmed)
11/12: Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))

Saturday, June 24, 2017

2017 Provo Midnight Half Marathon Race Recap - Provo, UT






Official Time: 1:50:03
Placement: 10th Overall, 2nd in the 45 - 49 age division
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Low 70's, mid 60's at start. Night race.
Garmin Route: Here

MileTimeComments
18:13Off to a promising start
28:13A little fast for my liking
38:43
48:26
58:41Might have started to get some stomach issues here
68:53Turn around and had to fiddle with my glow stick
78:47Bathroom break - stopped Garmin at this point
88:57
99:08Sort of out of gas here.
109:18
119:56Felt like I was running faster here, but clearly on my last wind
129:44
12.221:55
Total Miles: 12.20 - 1:48:59

Introduction


The Utah Midnight Half Marathon is a bit of a summer tradition for me.  I started doing its sister race when I first moved to Utah in 2012 (The Legacy Midnight Run) and I jumped on board the Provo race in 2014.

The race is located in Provo, home of BYU and is about 30 minutes from my house.  It is a "midnight" run that starts at 10 PM.  There is a 10K and 5K as well, which each race to more or less designed to have you finish around midnight.

Due to some high water issues, this year's race started near the Days Inn hotel in Provo.  In years past, it was located near the Baymont Hotel.  It was also pointed out that there was a bit of a water hazard on the race -- at about the 2.5 mile marker, the Provo River had flooded an underpass and would require runners to go about 50 (or so) yards in 6 to 9 inches of water.

So things were definitely a change from years in the past.


The Race


First off, I had a hard time finding the race.  The pre-race emails, at least to me, were a bit confusing.  I initially arrived about an hour early to the old starting line -- only to find no one there.  So I immediately pulled up the email and punched the address to the one in the email.  I arrived there and drove around a parking lot and didn't really see anyone who looked like they were getting ready for a race.  

I immediately broke into a cold sweat.  Darn, where was this thing. I don't know Provo real well but I drove around and didn't see anything that looked remotely like a race starting.  I finally decided to go double check the place where I stopped at and drove way into the back of the complex -- and saw what looked like runners getting ready for the race.  Yeah!

I quickly signed in, grabbed my shirt and had about 30 minutes to kill before the race start.

 I didn't have too many goals on this race other than to see what I had.  I hadn't run much all week thanks to last weekend's half marathon.  I had felt sore and beat up most of the week and just flat out burned out. On the plus side, when I did arrive to the starting line, I was feeling pretty good.

The race started at 10 PM. I wanted to start out conservatively, but the first part of the race is a slow down hill.  I was tailing the 1:50 pacer and wound up holding within shouting distance of him for most of the first half of the race.

For a while I was running with a group of 2 women and 1 young man but after about a mile and a half I turned on the jets a bit.

At mile 2.5 or so, we finally reached the 'water crossing'.  The race director had warned us this was coming up and I wound up splashing through it.  The water was chilling but actually not too awful.  For the next half mile though, I was sloshing around in my shoes though.  It was sort of funny, on the way back seeing people from the 10K taking off their shoes to wade through.  Come on -- it's race. Power through it!

It was pretty lonely running for the first half of the race.  I could feel someone breathing down my back every now and then.  His (or her) light was bobbing and helping illuminate my way.  Occasionally they would catch up but I just held steady.  The 1:50 pacer was making ground on me and I was using his beacon to figure out where to go, but soon he was a distant memory.

The race is usually held on a full moon but for whatever reason there wasn't much moonlight.  I wound up using my headlamp (which I carried) for most of the race. 

Water stops were at the 1.55, 3.10, 4.55 and 5.25 spots.  I had a hard time judging my pace.  I was so focused on not tripping over any of the little ridges from tree roots on the trail. Occasionally, I'd glance at the mile splits when my Garmin signaled a new mile.

I knew the course, which was good.  I was running solo almost the entire race and I think if it had been my first time, I would've been really uneasy.  It was just so dark and I kept having visions of some lunatic jumping out of the woods to mug me.  I did know where I was at all times and more or less you follow the Provo River until you get to Utah Lake.

The race director had warned us that the course was a little short (and had offered to make us run a bit of extra distance to make up for it) but this year it appeared to be WAY off.  The turn around came at mile 6.20 or so.  My total mileage, according to my Garmin, was 12.22.  I sort of checked in with a few other runners and they too came up short.  I think with the new start location (that resulted from a trail condition) that the course wasn't quite a half marathon.

After the turn around however, I was pretty gassed.  I was happy to see I was in roughly 6th or 7th place overall.  I was getting a lot of encouragement from folks on the way back in who hadn't reached the turn around point.  I did, however, at mile 7 have to use the restroom.  I thought about just toughing through it, but this was a critical situation.  I'll just say, I almost messed my shorts and luckily there was a bathroom just in the nick of time.  It probably cost me a minute and I think two or three people passed me as a result, but a more dire situation would've resulted if I hadn't taken care of business.

The last half of the race was tough.  I knew I was grinding out the miles and my legs just felt fatigued.  Looking at my splits and stride rate, I could tell where I was getting tired.  On the flip side though, I lasted a bit longer than I usually do.  I think it was nice to run at night with ideal weather conditions.  I was also getting a LOT of encouragement passing / working off of the 10K and 5K racers who were running a shorter edition of the course, who had started at 11 PM and 11:30 PM respectively.


Conclusion


I always think I am going to do well at this race.  But it is hard to run fast on this one.  The footing is a little off and it is hard to judge your pace.  For whatever reason, I felt like I was running faster than what I was.  

I carried my own hydration, which I went through about 50% of it.  The water stations were well manned and at appropriate spots.  I think they could've used a bit better markings on the course -- at least to let people know you are going the right way.  It was so dark and a little off-putting, especially to someone unfamiliar with the area.  This was my 4th time running the course, so I certainly remembered most of it.

The shirt I got was a repeat of last years.  Kind of a bummer because On Hill Events shirts are usually pretty cool.  I wound up swapping it out for a smaller size, which I'll give to a friend.  The medals -- both finishers and my master's age group award -- were outstanding.  They were nicely designed, heavy-duty and have blinking lights.

I jumped in early on this race.  I think I got a special for like $50 or something this winter.  For the experience received, it was a good deal.  With halves costing over $70 in some cases, this was good. 

Post race food was plentiful.  These night runs are like a party.  Plenty of Fat Boy ice cream sandwiches, which I love, cotton candy, Powerade, and fruit.  I wasn't in an eating mood, but the ice cream was a winner.

I wound up socializing until the age group awards were presented (it took awhile since I had to wait through the 5K / 10K awards).  I was freezing but I had come prepared and had a sweatshirt and jacket in my car, which kept me toasty.

It wasn't until just after 1 AM (about an hour after finishing) that I was able to hit the road.  I didn't hit the sheets until after 2 AM.  Definitely a long night.

My performance on this race was so-so.  If I extract out the results, I ran roughly a 1:56 half marathon.  I also extracted out the results to the other original course and I came in a few minutes slower than years past.  Not totally unexpected, but I would've hoped for better.  As usual, the latter half of the race was tough and I really didn't have anyone to work off of.  I was running solo for nearly 80% of the race.  But looking at the Garmin pull, a lot of it wasn't too bad.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sawtooth National Forest Drive and Lake Stanley


Introduction 


After running the Sun Valley Half Marathon Shari and I decided to do a bit of exploring.  If you look at a map of Sun Valley, ID, you'll see a huge area of national forest.  I knew I had to explore it.

I had gotten a tiny taste of it when I had run.  The Big Wood River flows to the west of the city and I had run alongside it for a few miles.  The source of the river is definitely from the national park.

We talked to the lady at our hotel and she said it was definitely worth the roughly 60 mile drive to Stanley, ID.  We were in awe of some of the photos of the lobby and they had been taken at Lake Stanley -- so we knew we had to go.

The drive took a while.  The speed limit is generous but there were just way too many spots to stop and take pictures at.  There also were a plethora of places to hike at.  You don't know how badly I wanted to stop and just go for a hike.  I probably could've spent an entire month there and not explored every trail.

The drive is easy and well-traveled.  There aren't any gas stations along the way, so be sure you have supplies.  Stanley does have food, gas and is actually a very small city.  

The first part of the drive was all flat, but you are surrounded by flowing rivers and gorgeous, jaw-dropping scenery.  It was like being in the Swiss Alps -- without being in Switzerland.  Occasionally I'd pull over and take a photo or two.  

After a while, you being the ascent through the actual national forest.  It wasn't terribly long of a drive, but there were several pull outs with stunning vistas to photograph.  In addition, you could always see the mountain range that gives the national park it's name.  The mountain peeks definitely looked like jagged teeth of a saw.

Finding Lake Stanley was pretty easy and it was a stunning lake.  It was mosquito infested though and I found myself slapping at them.  The lake area is also a campground and a jumping off point to dirt bike trails and hiking.  It is also bear country up there.

This drive is a must-do when you are in the area.  Even if you don't do any hiking, I found it to be so pretty and an awesome way to spend the afternoon.

Enjoy the photos:
























Stanley, ID







Lake Stanley








Sunday, June 18, 2017

2017 Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon Race Recap - Lamoille NV






Official Time: 1:48:20
Placement: Soon
Results: Soon
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: Upper 40's at start, mild 10 - 15 mile head wind. upper 50's at finish
Garmin Route: Here

MileTimeComments
18:36First quarter of a mile was tough.... 
28:18Starting the steady descent
37:58
47:38So much fun running down hill
57:40Hard to keep an even pace.  Very nice downhill
68:05
78:42Had to shift gears here. Mostly downhill but some flat
87:47
97:56Back to running downhill
107:58
118:47Have to power myself here. A bit of uphill
128:41
139:05
13.121:04
Total Miles: 13.12 - 1:48:20

Introduction


Last year I ran the Lamoille Canyon Half Marathon for the first time.  And as soon as I finished the race last year, I made a mental note to myself that I wanted to run it again.  So when June rolled around, I started to make plans.

One of my favorite places is Lamoille Canyon and I love to hike there.  It is a gorgeous canyon just about 25 minutes south of Elko.  It is easy to get to, but just not close to much.  From Salt Lake, it is about 3 hours away.

The race is a small affair.  They have a full marathon, which looks like it netted about a dozen people.  The half probably got about 75 -- mostly locals and a few traveling from affair (I guess there was a couple from Scotland).


The Race


I stayed at the Red Lion Hotel, in Elko and I arrived there on Friday night.  I did arrive early enough to pick up my bib and shirt at the local bike store.  It was an easy in and out and I said high to the race director.  

Shari and I wound up carbo loading at Machi's Bar and Grill downtown before heading back to the hotel.  Elko continues to not disappoint with the food and I am glad I avoided the buffet.

I managed to sleep okay.  I knew exactly where to go in the morning and when I needed to be there, so there wasn't much pre-race anxiety.  It wasn't long before my 4:45 alarm went off and I grabbed some food and headed out the door. 

They had a single coach bus that took us the roughly 13.1 miles to the top of the canyon.  I quickly made friends with people on the bus as we ascended to 9000 feet.  

There was a heavy duty breeze coming up the canyon that clearly wasn't in the valley.  It was cooling, but not cold.  I had brought up a sweatshirt and wound up wearing it until the race started.  I managed to cycle through the bathroom and just as I was setting up my Garmin, the race director was assembling everyone to the starting line.  Thank goodness for no long waits.





The race's hardest part is the beginning.  You haven't quite warmed up yet and you have to run uphill for a whole quarter of a mile at 9000 feet elevation before turning around and come screaming down the canyon.  That quarter of a mile is a lung burner as your heart rate gets used to running and your lungs get used to breathing thin air.

Luckily it is short lived and you get to make a speedy descent.

I was eyeballing people in my age group and was running shoulder to shoulder with a guy who I thought might be in my age group (he wasn't).  I could sense he was laboring and while we ran together for at least the first 5 miles, I could sense he was tiring.



I was definitely enjoying the downhills and I was surprised at my splits.  I just didn't want to crash and burn.  I had vague memories about last year being a long shuffle in the final 5K.  I also had memories of the Idaho half marathon I did last week.

At times I felt a little tired but for the most part I powered through any rough spots.  My only gripe was the head wind.  Initially I was trying to draft off of people, but a race this small, it is hard to find someone who was running the same pace as I was.  And within a few miles I was running more or less solo.  The breeze was cooling but it did take away from my pace a bit.

The course had water stations every 2 miles starting at mile 3.  I do believe in the latter miles they were missing a station.  I am SO glad I carried my own.  I wound up going through most of mine and I only missed one aid station (it was on the right hand side of the road, and I was on the left).



Occasionally I'd pull out the camera and take a picture while running.  But on this race I was definitely running for time.  And I didn't want to have that "one" guy in my age group catch me.

The smell of the canyon, despite not having many wildflowers was intoxicating.  The canyon has a smell reminiscent of Juicy Fruit Gum.  And that smell was present.  There also were a bunch of mini water falls and I could hear the river gurgling below me.  Just a perfect day for a run down a fast canyon road.

As I descended the canyon, I was greeted by the occasional hill.  The first one, at about mile 6 or so might have just been a mountain.  My quads were pretty trashed and it was hard to change gears.  There was also a segment of flat here and I began to panic a bit... .was the last half of the race going to be a sufferfest?

Luckily, the downhills continued again and I was able to coast down them, reeling low 8 minute miles.


Also, as I got closer to the end of the canyon, I could see sunlight ahead.  We've had a bit of a hot spell of late and I certainly didn't want to bake.  Luckily, the breeze had kept things cool and while the last 5K was warm, it wasn't stifling.

Into the home stretch
I was working off of some women in the final stretch.  It was good to have company and motivate me to push forward.  I tentatively looked behind me and the fellow that I was worried about was nowhere in sight.  I checked my Garmin and I knew I was on target for a pretty good race.

I was pretty beat up as my quads were shot from the downhill.  But I managed to use my arms and whatever I had left to push the final .5 of a mile along the country road to finish at Lamoille Grove Park.




Conclusion


Upon finishing, I grabbed some water and walked off the wooziness I was feeling.  I had really pushed the last mile or so (as best as I could do) and I needed to cool down.  Luckily, the Lamoille valley was cool and there was some shade as well as sun (when I started to chill).

They had a pancake breakfast as well as some fruit for the finish.  One of the local ice cream stores also had a huge supply of ice cream, which was heavenly after the race.

I wound up talking to a ton of people, sharing training tips and our experiences.  People from Nevada are friendly and they were pretty impressed with my knowledge of the state.

This woman and I were neck and neck at the end
I was pretty ecstatic to place in my age group.  I was hoping for second (like last year) but I was satisfied with third.  There was no way I was going to catch the first place guy (he came in 3rd overall).


Finisher's medal and age group award

After grabbing my age group award I hit the road.  Writing this a day later, I am pretty happy with the results and my effort.  Even though my time was a little slower than last year, I didn't feel like I crashed and burned.  It was also a stunning run.

I look forward to running this one again next year.  It is always worth the trip and I had so much fun.