Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catching Up

So it's been a while, I could come up with plenty of good excuses, but really I just stretched myself a bit thin. My body responded last week by giving me a pretty hearty head cold, forcing me to rest. Despite being busy the last month or so has been great.
On March 22nd I joined 70 other trail runners at the 3rd annual Buffalo Run. for the second year in a row there was a 50 mile option in addition to a 50k and 25k race. Originally I had planned on doing the 50k as I didn't care for the 50 mile route from 2007. But RD Jim Skaggs changed the 50 mile route to include the 25k/50k route before heading over to the east side of the island, making it a fun course with more up and down singletrack. Peter and I rode up with Greg and arrived at the start line a good 30 mins before the start. As we jumped out of the car to get our drop bags in the proper place we were greeted with a bitter cold north wind. I would guess that the wind chill was hovering around 20 degs so we opted for a warm-up that involved sitting in the car with the heater on. Storheim liked that idea and jumped in for the final countdown. With about 1 minute to go before the start we got out of the car and toed the start line, anxious to get going and warm up. Storheim took off right away and I stepped up the pace to catch up. We held a pretty good pace that warmed us up as we turned our back to the wind and made our way up the first climb of the day. Next up was one of the highlights of the early morning, the descent down to split rock bay. The full moon was hovering in the western sky reflecting off of the Great Salt Lake creating a stunning scene. Thankfully the descent isn't very technical so could afford to take it in a bit more than I usually would. Storheim and I continued together through the 20 mile mark where he found an extra gear, steadily pulling way as we made our way to the east side of the island. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful as I held on for 2nd place in 7:42. Storheim put 38 minutes in to me cruising in for 1st in 7:04 and Greg had a solid race taking 6th in 8:32. I was really pleased with my race as I ran with a steady effort throughout and managed to finish strong. I was really proud of Betsy, my wife, for running and finishing the 25k a 2nd time.

Next up was a family trip to Moab for my daughter's birthday. We had a great time hiking over 12 miles in Arches National Park. I was able to squeeze in a 15 mile run on an abandoned stretch of 4wd road in the park. The plan was to run from Balanced rock to Tower arch and have the family meet me at the other end. It started out great, running up and down the hills through the desert but after about 7 miles the hard-packed dirt road gave way to soft sand. Of course this slowed me down considerably and my supplies were gone by the time I reached Tower arch. I didn't regret doing the run, but I don't think I'll be doing that again. The rest of the trip was great. The highlight had to be the self guided (permit) trip through the Fiery Furnace. The lowlight was coming back from 60 degrees and sunshine to snow packed roads over soldier summit.

The following weekend I was able to get back on the trails with Peter and Greg. We started at 5:30 from the east side of City Creek and ran on the shoreline toward Red Butte where we planned on meeting up with Erik and Rich. So there we were just cruising along east of the UofU parking lot approaching Red Butte when we found a University cop standing on the trail. He told us we had to turn around and wouldn't tell us why but did tell us it would be a couple of hours. Shortly after we turned around we decided to head up the mountain to Mt. Van Cott instead going around. Erik and Rich gave us a yell from below as they had gone the long way around blockade on the road. Erik was able to get more information out of the cop from the other side and told us that they had some type of dangerous chemical that needed to be disposed of so the bomb squad was going blow it up. Not quite as exciting as the manhunt we had imagined but still very odd. As we were making our way down from Van Cott to the mouth of Red Butte we heard the explosion and held our breath...Apparently everything was fine since nobody dropped dead and I didn't hear about it in the news. How many times have you been stopped by a police officer on the trail?