Saturday, December 29, 2007

Winter workouts

I recently got a camera to take with me on some of my runs. It fit all of my qualifications: it's small, lightweight, takes regular AAA batteries and it was only $50. One problem, it takes pictures like what you would expect from a $20 camera. Oh well, live and learn I suppose.
This first shot is from our second snow run of season. Peter convinced me to do the first loop of the BSTM which is about 10 miles. It had dumped about 8 - 12 inches a few days before and we knew we would be making fresh tracks most of the way. This is just before the long descent back into City Creek canyon.

(Peter and Jamie ready to crest the ridge)

This next one is Peter coming out of the scrub oak about halfway down the descent. Usually we bomb this descent, especially when there's snow, but not this time. There was just enough famous Utah powder sitting on top rocks and branches that it made for a cautious descent. The really cool part was all the cotton like snow sitting in the branches.

The next weekend I decided to put on the skinny skis and go up to Mtn. Dell for some skate skiing. Man, did that ever make me feel out of shape. For those of you who haven't tried before, skate skiing is about 60% fitness, 40% technique. When the technique isn't there it makes it hard to find a comfortable zone to ski in. So it's on-off-on-off for the better part of 2 hours.

(Random skate skier in the middle)
Later back at the ranch, I was browsing the interweb when I found this little article on the screw shoe from Matt Carpenter's site. This was after I had flailed around Mtn. Dell 2 hours and I was looking to put some productive miles in running. The problem is often traction on well used trails and sure enough this did the trick. I was unable to find 3/8" screws so I used 1/2" all throughout the sole of the shoe. On my first test run up to sugarhouse park I could feel the screws in the front part of my foot while I was on pavement. On the ice and snowpacked roads they worked to perfection. At one point I tried to slide but they wouldn't budge, good solid traction for $3. I'm still going to try and locate some 3/8" for the front though.

Erik and I headed out on the 29th to run along the shoreline, up Mt. Van Cott (minor peak on north side of Red Butte Canyon), then up Dry creek. I was amazed by the amount of deer and elk we saw on this run. In fact we probably stood around for good 15 minutes combined just looking at all the animals. We saw some good size bucks with the deer but only cow elk. The picture below shows a deer crossing the trail just 20 yards in front of us. This is a popular spot for the deer to cross dry creek to the other ridge and it reminded me of a run from last year when Peter almost ran into one while we were descending.

(Squint hard and look in the middle of the photo, Erik on the right)
This next one made us both laugh. The pile of brown stuff is exactly what you think it is (if it was warm it would smell). The funny part is the pack of trident gum laying next to it. In case you were wondering, the gum was still in the package. Weird.


Friday, December 21, 2007

An Urban Epic - Omloop Het Volk

Wow! I didn't think it was possible to have such an epic run on my beater loop. I have this standard route from my house that I can take through two parks then do 2 mile loops around the perimeter of Sugarhouse park. I'm not very fond of this route but, when I'm strapped for time I can get a few miles in with minimal pavement. Right after I got home from work I headed out the door at 4:30, dressed in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. It was pretty windy and the temperature was a comfortable 40 degrees or so. Man, did that change in a hurry.
The storm front (from
As I was completing the first loop around the park I could see the storm was coming but I knew I had at least 15 to 20 minutes before it would hit so I decided to do another loop. I made it about 1 mile to the far east end of the park and the storm had arrived. It was obviously moving a lot faster and packing a bigger punch than I had originally thought. Almost immediately the wind changed direction, the temperature started falling and then the marble sized hail started. I laughed out loud thinking that rain or snow is one thing but hail, come on, are you kidding me? I picked up my pace as my quads turned to blocks of ice. The path that was wet grass just 10 minutes earlier was now covered in hail stones. I ended up running faster than I had intended but I had some extra motivation fueling my pace. The hail stones felt like hundreds of little needles against my wet legs. The fun part was over but I have to admit it was still exhilarating. I made way through the streets to Fairmont and it seemed like the worst was over when the lightening started. Once again I increased my pace as the sky lit up around me. I figured that if I kept moving I would at least stay relatively warm and I was right. The only nagging issue I have from that run is some sore quads from the quick pace. I think I'll head out for some nordic action this weekend on the fresh snow, before the family heads up to Solitude on Christmas day.
As for the Omloop Het Volk reference in the title, I know someone out there remembers a similar epic on 2 wheels. You'd think I would learn my lesson...

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