Tuesday, December 12, 2017

This Week in Running 11/26 - 12/9

DayMileage / WorkoutComments
Sunday5Speed workout 1 @ 8:04, .5 at 3:51 and .18 in 1:21. Intended to go further but my energy level didn't have it.
Monday7Medium paced run.
Wednesday7Medium but with some fartleks at a good pace
Thursday5Ordinary run
Saturday5Basic run
Sunday12Long run Sunday
Monday5Medium with 1 mile of strides
Wednesday52 miles in 16:24. A little bit of speed work.
Thursday7Medium with bits of speed thrown in
Friday3All easy
Saturday3 AM
7 PM
5K Independence in December Run
YTD: 1701

Week's Summary

Well I have a bit of a streak going now.  I started running just before Thanksgiving and I haven't really let up.  With the cooler weather and feeling reasonably healthy (and with no major races on the radar) I can train and ramp up the miles a bit more.

My knee, which had pretty much healed, came back a bit this week.  One day it nearly stopped me from running, but once I am warmed up it seems to hold up on its own.  I am still doing my exercises and I do back down on the pace when it is bothering me.

Also as a bit of cross training, I've been getting in some hiking.  We have had an unusually warm winter with very low snow, which means a lot of the lower elevations hikes (between 5000 and 7000 feet) have very little, if any, snow. 

Salt Lake's Awesome air quality

On the negative side, Salt Lake and northern Utah has a "dirty" secret.  We have high levels of air pollution in the winter due to inversion.  It makes for horrible running in that it is like getting directly out of an exhaust pipe.  You might think it is a fog layer, but in reality is a soot and pollution.  Most people either hit the treadmill or just stop running altogether.  Me?  I breathe it in baby.  I am not sure I am doing myself any good though.

Overall, I just need to work on shedding a bit of weight and working on my speed.  I think about the speed work almost every time I go out for a run.  I can usually get one workout in a week.  I really would like to be "fast" again.

Upcoming Races

12/31: Beat the New Year 5K - Salt Lake City, UT (Maybe)
01/18: St George Half Marathon - St George, UT (Very Probable)
02/03: South Davis Recreation Center Sweetheart's Day 5K - Bountiful, UT (Probable)
02/03: Sun Marathon (likely the half) - Santa Clara, UT (Maybe)
02/10: Candy Heart 5K - West Jordan, UT (Maybe)
03/03: March Madness Half Marathon - West Bountiful, UT (Confirmed)
03/18: St Patrick's Day Half Marathon (6 Tunnels Half Marathon) - Las Vegas, NV (Unlikely)
04/21: Salt Lake City Marathon (Half) - Salt Lake City, UT (Confirmed (2018))
11/11: 2018 Las Vegas Marathon - Las Vegas, NV (Confirmed)

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Independence Day December 5K Run - North Salt Lake, UT

Official Time: 24:45
Placement: 1st in age group (45 - 49)
Results: Here
Race WebsiteHere
Weather: 25F, no wind
Garmin Dump: Here

Mile  Time Comments
1 7:55 Solid start. Was able to settle into a nice pace right off the bat
2 8:00 Turn around slowed me up a few seconds but otherwise feeling good
3 8:07 Started to fade but overall ran nicely
3.11 0:42
Total Miles: 3.11 - 24:45


I was definitely looking for a race to do this weekend.  It's been a whole 2(!) weeks since I raced and looking at the upcoming calendar I knew it was likely going to be a while.  So I was following the local race feed when I saw an impromptu 5K race popup.

The inaugural Independence Day December 5K is a race thrown together by Josher H at PhatJosh.com and race director extraordinaire Joseph C from OnHillEvents to help support a pair of runners through some difficult times.  100% of the proceeds went to the runners with a minimal entry fee of $10 (you could donate more).

The race was fairly close to my house and I decided that I wanted to race AND help out someone in need.

The Race

I rolled into the race site about an hour early.  Part of the deal was that the race offered recycled shirts (from other non-related races) from OnHillEvents.  It was more or less first come first serve so I was one of the first there. I managed to snag a Layton Marathon shirt.  I have run the race a few times but not that year's particular race so the shirt was new to me and not entirely undeserved.

We have a bit of a cold spell going on in northern Utah right now and the Saturday morning race was a balmy 24F when I got there.  Fortunately, there wasn't any wind.  Check-in was painless and I had my bib in under 30 seconds thanks to Josher, who was at the registration station.

The race started at the stroke of 9 and we headed north from Legacy Park along the Legacy Bike trail.

I've run along the Legacy Bike Trail a bunch of times as there are several races that use it.  It isn't the most exciting route, but for a 5K it works -- and best of all it is flat.  More or less it is your average, ordinary multi-use bike trail that hugs the Legacy freeway.

I was expecting to bottle necked for a bit, but luckily within a hundred yards I was able to maintain whatever pace I wanted to.

I wasn't sure what to expect with my performance.  I had done very little of a warm-up and on last night's "easy" run I felt sort of heavy and lethargic.  Luckily, once the race started my racing instinct kicked into gear.

The first mile felt good and it felt like I had just started before my Garmin buzzed at a 7:55 mile.  I was hoping to run 8:00's for the first 2 miles and then gut out whatever I had left.  So I was pretty happy and I felt good.

The lead pack was a ways a head of me but I was running well. Before I knew it, I spotted the turn around (they were serving warm water of all things...) and it measured exactly at 1.55 on my Garmin.

I really started to feel a little winded at 1.75 but with all my training geared towards longer distance stuff, I knew I had roughly 5 quarter miles left (I love to break down races in my head like that).  I only had one young woman pass me in the final stretch and I felt like I had at least another mile at that pace.


I really felt good after this race (despite a little bit of a creaky knee again).  I had hoped I would finish in sub 25 minutes and I did it!

I wound up talking to a few other runners and thanking the folks that put this together for a bit.  I was surprised to see that they also gave out awards.  Once again, the awards though were pick your own and from another race.  So I grabbed a 2012 Layton Marathon age group winner award (I came in 4th I think that year) since I won the 45 - 49 age group.

I really felt good about this race.  It was accurate and about as simple as it gets.  Also this race helped two people who are really in need.  Running has so many positive benefits and coming together as a community to help someone in their time of need makes it even better.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ferguson Canyon Hike - Cottonwood Heights, UT


Another weekend -- another hike.  I decided to do the Ferguson Canyon Hike -- located at the base of Big Cottonwood Canyon on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley.

I used to live in this area and I never did get the opportunity to do this hike, let alone even know about it.  It is a popular one -- particularly for dog walkers and rock climbers.  

I went there on a Saturday looking for a short, doable hike that wouldn't completely wipe me out.  Also I needed something with low elevation as to avoid a lot of snow and ice.

The hike is located here, just off of Wastach Blvd.  There is some parking but if you get there late or it is busy, you'll have to park a little ways away, as the roads directly near the canyon are by permit only.  Luckily, I arrived fairly early and found a spot.

The trail head is easy to find and involves what looks like the Bonneville Shoreline Trail:

You basically hike up the trail going north before it turns eastward.

The trail is listed as hard and at first I thought, wow, did they totally over state this one.  The trail was very smooth and I almost felt like running on it.

However, once you get into the canyon it gets more tree-shrouded, and rocky.  You'll be walking by a stream for the majority of the hike and you'll see various small waterfalls as well.

The trail starts to get steep about 3/4ths of a mile in and you'll be scrambling over rocks.  The trail, surprisingly, was easy to follow.  Sometimes I lost it, but if you keep going east, it'll show up again.  You can follow my path here.

The trail in December had an inch of snow on it and I was in running shoes.  I would highly recommend ski poles and sturdier shoes.  There were a few sections where it was really slick and I almost thought about turning back.  I also didn't see anyone after about half a mile into the canyon (on the return trip I ran into nearly a dozen people, however).

There are some interesting rock formations and I imagine this trail is a delight in the fall.  However, after about 1.25  miles the trail suddenly becomes exposed.  No more snow!  My pace picked up tremendously and I managed to make it to Ferguson's Overlook.  Here you can get some beautiful views of the valley and the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

I came up with a one-way trip of about 2 miles, with 1600 feet of elevation climb.  It is definitely a workout, but I made the round trip in under 2 hours (excluding kick-back time at the top).

The views at the top are awesome and I found this hike enjoyable and not terribly strenuous.  I could see this one also being busy in the high-hiking months.  So choose your visit wisely.

Enjoy the photos:

Little Black Mountain Hike - Salt Lake City, UT

Little Black Mountain


The other day I was looking for a fairly mild hike to do.  I had read about a local hike that looked viable given the late time in the season -- Little Black Mountain.

This hike is located near the Avenues section of Salt Lake City -- an area kind of near the University of Utah and kind of near the downtown area.  The trail is easy to find and there is ample parking located at the end of Terrace Hills Drive (Map)

There are two trails at the cul-de-sac but the one trail that leads to Black Mountain is located in the north eastern section.  Here is a photo:

The trail starts off modestly enough and it is pretty wide.  In fact, most of the trail is highly runnable.  You'll likely encounter a lot of dirt cyclists as well as trail runners.  You can see the route I took here.  I came up with just shy of 3.5 miles to the top.

The trail climbs fairly steadily but for the most part it seemed pretty mild.  The worst stretch is right before the top of the mountain (and it is almost worse coming down then going up).  The trail was also fairly easy to follow, with the only turn being about a mile into the hike.  So long as you keep your eye on the mountain in the distance, you'll get there.

There are some awesome views of the city and surrounding Salt Lake valley.  And best of it, it doesn't require that much effort.  You could probably get the most payoff with just a fairly short hike.

There is no water on the trail and you probably won't be alone.  I saw dozens of runners, walk, cyclists and dogs.  There also isn't a lot of shade, so this hike is best done in the spring, early morning or late in the season.

I'd definitely do this one again.  The hike was very enjoyable and

Enjoy the photos: