Sunday, June 29, 2014

Half Marathon Splits for the Provo Midnight Run

Well, I finally installed the Garmin GPS software on my PC and managed to extract out the results of my half marathon.  I wish the software made it easy to figure out what time I was at when I hit mile 2, for instance, but it doesn't.

However, what it does show you is an awesome map of where you ran and what your paces were throughout the run.

I captured a screen shot here.  I am really proud of myself for largely running an even paced race.  There are only a handful of serious spikes on this.

I'll have to remember to capture more screen shots on my hikes and other runs in the future (I love looking at the one when I bolted up Lake Blanche).

Broads Fork Trail Hike 06-29-2014

Today I went hiking and finished off the last trail at the S-curve in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  This little known train sits on the west side of the parking lot and isn't well traveled.  In fact, on the 2 mile hike I only saw a dozen people, if that.  Despite the parking lot being full, this trail just isn't used as much.

Sadly people are missing out on a pretty decent hike.

There is a small lake at the end of the 2 mile hike... however if it is more than 6 inches deep I'd be surprised.  What hikers are treated to, though, is a nice view of the snow covered Twin Peaks.

This trail isn't for the faint of heart and there are some relentless climbs on this.  It isn't too much different from Lake Blanche's trail, in terms of intensity though. Since this trail is on the west side of the mountain, it is a great trail to hike in terms of shade.  There was very little direct sunlight (except at the top).

Since this trail is less used, I totally expected to see a moose on the trail.  Thankfully, that event didn't happen.

The trail went further than the little pond at the end but I opted to enjoy the pond before turning back.  Ideally this can be a very quick hike with a pretty good payoff at the end.

Enjoy the photos:

Broad's Peak Trail Head

Standing on a bridge - the bridge marks the half way point

Some nice wild flowers coming into bloom

First basin

Grove of Cedars

View looking north

Just about to the unnamed pond / lake

Looking at the twin peaks

Looking north from the lake

Nice place to sit while admiring the lake and Twin Peaks

You will have to cross this bridge, only about knee deep of water though.

Rock climbers practicing on the trail

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This week in running 6/28

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday 6/22 8 miles This was a balls to the wall hike. Not really running but I hiked up to Lake Blanche in 75 minutes. So that's 3 miles, 2700 feet elevation climb.
Monday 6/23 4 miles Medium Pace with strides at the end
Tuesday 6/24 5 miles Solid effort throughout. Last hard run before the half marathon
Wednesday 6/25 4 miles Easy. Horrible run. More on this below
Thursday 6/26 Off No exercise today
Friday 6/27 13 2014 Provo Midnight Half Marathon
Saturday 6/28 Off Off
Total miles for the week: 26 - YTD: 892.5

This week wasn't bad at all.  I meant to take it easy and I was really happy with my hiking performance on Sunday.  I was passing people half my age.

I had a bit of a shocker on Wednesday.  I ran 4 miles, but stopped after 3.  I was 100% completely drained.  I had nothing, and when I stopped I was ready to throw up, I was dizzy and I was about ready to take off my running shoes and throw them in the Jordan River and forget running forever.

What was the problem, you might ask?

Let me make a list:

  1. I quit caffeine.  The coffee at work is good.  I admit it.  But the coffee doesn't like me.  Heart burn, anxiety -- it is just too strong and I was paying a price for it.  Call me a wimp if you want, but it wasn't doing me any favors.  
  2. Poor diet.  Wanna hear what I ate: at least a dozen Oreo cookies, a sugary soda, 2 bowls of Lucky Charms, and probably a handful of other sugary goodies.  Talk about putting cheap gasoline in a Lamborghini
  3. It was warm. I ran pretty quickly after work and the temperature was easily in the mid 80's.  Granted I wasn't pushing the pace at all, but it was warm
  4. I was tired.  I wanted to get some exercise, but at the same time my body was asking for a break.  I've put in nearly 100 miles the previous 2 weeks.
On Thursday I made it a point to eat clean. Other than a finger sized Crunch bar, I want to say I accomplished that goal.  No more cookies and I am ready to pitch my Lucky Charms (which seems to set me on edge), just fruit, protein and healthy stuff.  Hopefully I can continue the trend.  I did have an ice cream sandwich bar after the race on Friday night but after running 13 miles, I deserved it.

Upcoming Races

I am planning on going to Wendover on Thursday.  I checked and they have a low-key 5K on Friday morning for the 4th of July at the golf course.  It looks totally informal (I think they were asking for $7) so it'll be fun and an opportunity to see where I am at 5K-wise.

I am on the fence for two half marathons in mid-July.  I am tempted to do my Legacy Midnight run up in Bountiful.  On the other hand I met the race director of the Heber Valley Half Marathon and from the sounds of it, he has a very unique experience.  You get to ride the old "Heber Creeper" train to the starting line and run back to the station.  So I have some decisions to make.

Running Photo of the Week

I admit, I took this photo about a week ago, but it always brought a smile to my face when I saw it.  They have since fixed the signage but it stood that way for the better part of a month.  I would figure uptight Utah would've taken care of it within hours...

2014 Provo Midnight Half Marathon Race Review

Where: Provo, Utah
Time: 10pm Friday on June 27th
Distance: Half Marathon (actually just shy of 13 miles according to my Garmin)
Time: 1:50:53 (Results)
Place: 3rd in Men's 40-44, 13th overall in the men's (out of 37 men)
Temperature: Low 70's with negligible wind

On Friday, I choice to do the Provo Midnight half marathon.  Normally I do the one up north (which is in a few weeks), in Farmington / Bountiful but I was jonesing for a race.  Due to some financial issues (car repairs) I opted out of going to Elko for their half marathon and chose this one instead.  Made sense.  $80 for the race instead of hundreds for gas, hotel, and the race itself (plus don't forget I'd probably do some gambling out there too).  $80 is still pricey, but worth a night of entertainment (I didn't get home until 2AM)

This race is held on the Provo bike trail.  I would say only about 33% of the route was well lit.  The rest you had to either use your cell phone, head lamp, or the provided glow sticks to help you get around.  Luckily the course was fairly simple and there was only one spot where I nearly went straight instead of left (I saw one sap go straight and called out to him, but he had headphones on.  Hopefully he figured it out).  I had a head lamp from the inaugural Las Vegas Night Marathon from 2011.

The course, may have been slightly off.  However, I am not sure how my Garmin reacts to the total distance when it cannot reach a satellite.  There were a few sections of the course where you are running in a tunnel.  Either way, when I finished my Garmin was 12.95.  Given the lost connection in the tunnels, the race may have been just a bit short.

The race started off with out a hitch at 10pm and my goal was to pretty much see what I had, run evenly and crush it at the end.  I had a really lousy training run on Wednesday and I was worried I was going to get hit with a subpar performance.  Other than some tightness in my right hamstring, I want to say I hit my goals.

For those whose who haven't run a night race before, it is hard to gauge your pace.  Sure, I could've diddled with my Garmin every half mile but that is work and distracting.  The few times I did look at it, I was hitting around 8:25 miles.  For most of the race, I locked onto that pace and held on.  My hamstring hurt on a few of the uphills but it didn't really stop me.  Well I can't prove if I ran even splits, it certainly felt like it.  Normally I go gang busters the first few miles and crash and burn around mile 9.  Then by miles 11- 13 I am shuffling along.  This time, other than some tiredness I was cruising all the way until about mile 12.25.  At that point the monkey was on my back.

I am itching to re-run this course sometime during the daylight hours.  From what I could tell, I was running on the outskirts of Provo on a tree-lined bike trail.  We were nearly always running beside the Provo River, so you could hear the water gurgling beside you.  You also got to run within shouting distance of Lake Utah.

Most of the race I tagged along with other people.  I had my headlamp so I was helping other people when it got dark.  I was with a group of 40-something's for the first half of the race and eventually I dropped them after the turnaround (I wanted to run with a group so I wouldn't get lost).  I tagged along with a pair of 20-somethings but they pushed the pace late and I couldn't keep up.  The last few miles were pretty much solo. What I like about this race is they have 5K / 10K races also going on that get started at 11pm and 11:30pm respectively.  So as I was getting closer to the starting line, I was running with 10K / 5K people.  It gave me a lot of motivation to know that I was 10 miles into a race and still passing 10K.  It also was a sanity check to make sure I was still on the course.  In fact during the last mile I was 100% alone and was worried I had run off the course, luckily, I heard the crowd cheering for the finishers at the end to keep me from going into a panic.

This was a pretty small race -- about 100 people for the half and a bit more for the 5K / 10Ks.  I could definitely tell though that more and more races are attracting women.  It seemed to me that the women outnumbered the men at this race 2 to 1.

I did have the experience of running under a trestle bridge with a roaring freight train just a few feet above my head.  A very unique experience.  Also during the race, I saw a guy running with his small dog -- a Pomeranian.  I was pretty amazed a dog that small could do the race but she was as happy as she could be.  After the race, I talked to the owner.  In 4 short years, the dog had completed 22 marathons, was wearing a Marathon Maniacs t-shirt and had done a few 50 mile ultras.  Incredible.  The guy even had a cool neon leash so you could see where she was at.

Overall I am happy with my effort.  It was solid, even paced with no death march at the end.  I ate well beforehand, which unlike last year where I ate way too much before the race and was ready to hurl after 6 miles.  My speed is down, but that may likely be because the course was dark and I am still recovering from the marathon.  I am just pleased I felt strong throughout the race.

All smiles after the race (I had changed at this point, I had worn a lot less)

Waiting for the race to start. Wasatch Mountains in the background

Waiting for the race to start. Wasatch Mountains in the background

Finish Line

Typical stretch of bike trail

After the race.

Me on the podium

Finishers medal and 2nd place age group (I got moved up one because another 40-44 year old had placed in the top 3)
They blink too.

The cool ultra runner Pomeranian

My Finishers Card


Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 2014 Lake Blanche / Lake Florence / Lake Lillian Hike

Well today I made another hike.  I had been itching to get up into the mountains since Saturday but do to family obligations and such I never made it on Saturday.

I decided to revisit Lake Blanche.  I've been up there a bunch of times, but I enjoy the hike.  It is a 3 mile hike (one way) and it is a toughie.  If you aren't ready for it, it will kick your butt, as it is a solid climb and if it is warm, the heat will take something out of you too.

It is one of the more popular hikes in Big Cottonwood and this early in the season there was absolutely no shortage of people on the trail.  What is also nice is with that many people, generally the moose stay away.  I think I saw at least one group of hikers every 5 - 10 minutes, which is reassuring, particularly if you are a solo hiker like myself.

I went nuts on the way up.  I was passing people left and right, even people half my age were gasping for breath as I climbed towards the lakes.  I really have to say that hiking really builds leg muscle strength.  I measured my heart rate a few times and my heart rate was consistently in the 130's through 150's.  It is like a nice tempo run without all the pounding.  According to my Garmin, I made the climb in around 75 minutes.  That includes time for pictures, chatting with random people and any waiting I did to get around people and such.  I've done this hike with other people and generally it is a 2+ hour adventure, so suffice to say I was booking.

One word of caution to those who read this:  bring PLENTY of water on this hike.  I brought 32 ounces of Gatorade, at least 64 more of water.  I am in pretty good shape so I don't need a lot (as a runner, I am conditioned to not expending as much energy and I feel I have better acclimated to cooling myself off), but if you aren't in shape you are going to need more than a 16 ounce bottle of Crystal Geyser to make the trek.  On the way down I realized I had plenty of water and wound up giving / offering water to any who would take it.  I found quite a few takers.  You really can't bring enough water up there.

I finally got to get up close and personal with Lake Blanche's two sisters, Lake Florence and Lake Lillian.  Lake Florence is absolutely stunning, but small.  Lake Lillian is gray and seems very lonely.  Not very many people seemed to visit it and not a lot was going on there.

Me at the top in front of Lake Blanche and Sundial Peak

Pretty much have to climb up to the snow peaks

Getting closer to Sun Dial Peak

Looking out over the Salt Lake Valley from Lake Blanche

Lake Blanche

More Of Lake Blanche

Waterfall that feeds Lake Florence

Lake Florence

Lake Lillian

Wildflowers are coming up.