Monday, July 28, 2014

Summer time life post Bryce 100

I've had a nice lax time since Bryce. I wanted to take time unstructured to recover fully despite the fact that I felt great from the day after the race. Like way better than I thought I would. I attribute it to a conservative consistent pace the whole time. Faster harder efforts are harder on the body I think. I had many very sweet people, comments, and gifts given after the race. I so appreciate that!  Yes I do this crazy stuff all the time but Bryce was something special for me and I appreciated the extra acknowledgment and kindness. 

I got to go for my first post Bryce run with American record holder and Altra athlete Zach Bitter who was driving out to Western States and spent a night here. As in awe as I was of his level and accomplishments it was also neat to feel how down to earth and normal he - and most elites- are. It was only 3.5 trail miles but I felt great!

I've spent lots of time with my little crew enjoying their summer break. This was a fun bike trip with just the girls (we left brother at home with Dad) to our favorite shaved ice place. This stuff is amazing!

Went on my first longer run post Bryce again feeling great. This is a favorite 13-14 mile loop of mine at the top of Millcreek and Big Cottonwood Canyon. These guys are a blast
Living here does not stink, that's for sure. Love that trails like this are a 20 min drive

Decided last minute to do a local 5 mile road race 2 weeks post Bryce. Was fun to be able to run to the race all of 1/2 mile away as a warm up. Technically I ran there and back twice since the high school kids that we're helping with the race were surprisingly all in Altras!  They love them!  So I ran home after registering and before the race to grab a few of my husbands shoes for the most passionate high school runner to try during the race. Was so fun to watch his face light up when I handed the bag of unreleased shoes over to him for an hour :)
The hard fast pace definitely felt different than ultra lace but was fun to run with a long open stride. Wanted to run it under 35 and I finished in 33:18 with a win!  Came away with enough money to pay for the race entry so that was nice. 

Ran the loop a few more times and saw a moose on one of them finally.

My patriotic friend Zac and before a fun 4th of July eve run up Mt Timpanogus. A large group of us started at 9pm and finished the 14 mile, 4500ft run about 1:30am and hung out in the parking lot eating pot luck food. A great time. I had some weird knee pain at one point coming down but it went away. Hauled a redbull up there with me to test out. Don't know that it made me feel jumpy or way more alert and I certainly didn't get any wings, but it may have helped some. Did bother my stomach a little but that may have been just drinking all the chemically liquid.

Took my oldest daughter mountain biking. Should have done the route we did in reverse order so some of the uphills kicked her butt and it was really hot, but it was awesome to watch her do things and go over stuff and follow lines I didn't think she would, even things I didn't do.

My husband Jeremy and I had the chance to spend 30 miles and a night together backpacking in the Uinta mountains. Loved it!  People often ask if we run together and the answer is no. We've got 4 kids so one of us has to be here with them, and we just aren't the same pace. He gets stressed he's holding me back and I get impatient sometimes. But ironically we worked super well together at his Zion Traverse 50 miler earlier this year with me as his pacer and we backpack really well together. He has more wisdom than I do there, except in first aid, I usually treat those injuries :) but we just keep a good pace together that works well for both of us.
We would stop so he could fly fish every few hours and so I could devour everything in my pack. I love to eat. And sit on bridges and watch him and listen to nothing.

We also enjoyed a week in Yellowstone and Grand Teton as a family the week before Bryce. Such a wonderful trip!  It's been a good summer so far. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bolt to Speedgoat

That's what I'm calling this week of mine.
(I am backdating this post.  It's really Sept 9 and I'm a slacker but I like to keep some order to this blog)

There is an organized fun run called Butler Bolt up Big Cottonwood Canyon from Butler Fork to Dog Lake and down to Mill D.  Only like 5 miles, but it's timed so you want to go fast (if that's what you're after).  I had been looking forward to it for a few weeks as something fun to do.  So a group of maybe 30 of us gathered and with a "ready go" headed off.  And by headed off I mean sprinted.  Ouch.  I was seeing stars and feeling dizzy by 30 seconds in.  Took it out way too hard but didn't want to get caught in a long line on the singletrack.  Resorted to powerhiking this steep first climb quickly but kept the pace quick.  Alternated running and powerhiking, quick bush stop, and powered up and hard as I could since I know in the past, downs haven't been my strongest point.
Figured when we got to the top my legs would be fried and making them support me going downhill fast would be tough, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I wanted to break through that past idea of not being a good downhiller so I just leg go and gave it everything I had.  It felt reckless but somewhat under control.  I kind of figured Aaron or the other guy behind me would catch me, but I was going to keep going all out regardless.  It was a fun hard push.  Such adrenaline.  Rounded the corner to the finish and had held on!  1st woman and 3rd with the men I believe!  Don't remember my time, 54:something?
Was fun hanging out there and watching others come down, including this sweet 10 year old girl named Lauren.  Her dad whom I didn't know came up to me after and asked if he could take a picture of Lauren of I and spoke of me like I was some kind of celebrity.  It was so nice and humbly and surprising.  I won't sandbag and say I'm just an average runner, but I don't see myself like they did.  It was a really neat moment for me after earlier in the week throwing somewhat of a tantrum for not making the cut in the photo shoot we did the week earlier.  That stuff doesn't matter, real people do.

So after Butler Bolt I was talking to local cool guy and friend Mike Place.  I asked about Speedgoat 50k and if he thought it would be good prep or a good idea what Hardrock might be like, since I've been pondering doing Hardrock after being inspired by friend Mick's amazing performance there.  Mike said it wouldn't really, but that it's a great race worth doing despite how hard it is.  I felt fine from Bryce and it was plenty early before Run Rabbit.  I was originally on the wait list and had a spot but turned it down when a friend of mine who was due to have a baby on the day of Speedgoat asked me to be her doula (childbirth support person/coach).  Well she had her baby a week early and since then my thoughts had been on doing Speedgoat.  It came down to it being a hard enough race that I wouldn't want to do it too close to any other big race and I don't know what next year will hold, so while I have the chance, I'm going to take it.  I signed up 3 days before the race.

So everything was exciting now and I didn't have time to be nervous, but that also means I didn't have time to really prepare for that course.  I'd seen friends posts about being up on the mountain running on some of the course.  I had never been on any of it.  But I was in good shape, healthy, and like to powerhike so what the heck.  The womens field was STACKED.  Easily the most talented and deepest field I've raced.  I was ranked 14th going in I think and my goal was top 10.  I wouldn't be horribly upset if that didn't happen, but I like to have a goal.
So race morning came and man it was exciting!  So much electricity and smiling and people saying hi.  My husband was rushing me a little like he did before Bryce but I was fine, just having a good time and excited.  Looking back now, some warm up would have been good.
Karl sent us off and straight up a road.  I don't want to keep restating it, but this course has a ton of big ups and downs, everywhere.  It's 8 miles to the top of Hidden Peak where the first aid station is, but it would probably take you 2 or 3 tops to get there directly.  We would go up and in the right direction and you'd think "ok, we'll head there now" and then plunge back down or in the wrong direction.  Like 5 times, in the first 8 miles.  I think the first 8 may be the hardest chunk honestly.
Up, down, all around goes the Speedgoat 50k. The top 2 pictures from Renee show a consecutive section of the course, up to Hidden Peak then straight back down the other side. The bottom pic is much of the middle of the course. Go down, around most of that little mountain and back up. Then down. Then way up.
Was nice to run with friend Ashley for a bit and whine about how everyone went out so darn fast.  I have come to love a conservative first half...a lot.  Well this is only a 50k and I wanted top 10, no room for super conservative I guess, but I was hoping to not have to push as hard as I did those first 8 miles.  After that we were all spread out enough and things quieted down for me.  Ashley had left the first aid station 5 minutes before me which bummed me out I couldn't keep up with her, but I had hoped I'd catch back up later.

Down to Larry's Hole AS (under number 5 of the 2nd picture up) to be greeted by good WMW friends and then down Mary Ellen Gulch.  I had been worried about this section from what I heard but it wasn't that bad.  Plenty of big rocks to slow you down, but not as steep or loose as I had worried (there was a steep loose stressful short section a little earlier though).  Looking back I think I could have covered it faster had I simply just hopped over the rocks lighter and faster.  Oh well.  Long hot section into half way at Pacific Mine where I could see most of the women in front of me including Ashley who probably had 7 minutes on me now.  Friend Kelly Agnew was there and took good care of me.  Filled my pack with ice and grabbed a few salted potatoes and water melon, had a freezing cold gallon of water dumped on me that was startling but lovely and hurried out of there.
THANK YOU always to race volunteers and directors!!  Looks at all the goodness - food, water to be dumped on you, shade, friendly smiles and all the attention you could need.  Thank you!
Now I wanted to turn it up a little bit, but the plan was not to attack till Larry's Hole the second time.  I powerhiked strong and made good progress passing several woman, one whom had been looking back every minute it seemed.  Ashley was closer now, 3 minutes up at Larry's Hole but I moved through that AS fast.  Caught up to her quickly, her quads were suffing.  I wished her well (and figured I'd see her again) and took off.  By took off I meant power hiked my butt off, not ran.
We came to the infamous bottom of Baldy straight up the mountain side climb.  There is no trail, because one could not exist here.  It's simply straight up the face of a mountain.  Ouch.  It was super hard even though I expected that.
Wanted to show a little of how this beastly Speedgoat course works. See that peak at the top of the top pic? That's Baldy. We ran down from that. To get to it though, you just take a straight shot up the face of the mountain, sans trail, as you see in the photo above. Killer climb. Starts way down by the dirt road. The steep part anyway....
Saw my husband at the top, went through another super friendly tunnel aid station and LOVED the
cold cool tunnel through the mountain.  It's probably only 1/4 mile at most, but man, I'd run the whole darn race in there.  Rough downhill leading up to the trail to just go straight back up.  That uphill after the tunnel to Hidden is tough.  Longer than I thought, hot and exposed and just long.  But I was looking forward to getting to the top since it meant all downhill from there.  Only 6 miles.
My husband said I was in 10th now as Ashley Arnold was sitting there at the aid station.  Great!  I'd made good progress in the back half of the race.  Friend Zac who was working as a volunteer at the race was at the top and ran down with me.  Didn't expect that, it was nice.  For a few miles till I got a little grumpy.  It was certainly not all downhill, there were 3 steep uphills.  I'm not going to complain, Karl is known for throwing in extra fun every year.  Comes with the territory.  But they were hard, and so were several of the downhills that were very steep and now my legs tired not wanting to support me anymore.  I was passed by 2 girls I had previously passed in those steep miles.  Dang it.  We finally came out the the dirt road and I kept asking how close.  This is the only point I wished I was wearing GPS (I don't anymore, I look down too much and see 0.2 has passed).  Wouldn't have helped however since the course turned out to be 2 miles long.  I kind of gave in and "just finished" the last hour of the race.  I wish I'd bucked up and pushed a little harder and I may have made my goal of top 10.  But honestly, 12th in a field like this with no real proper preparation for this race is great, and I'm cool with it.

Speedgoat is HARD!  I know, I know, everyone says that, it's no secret.  But it was true.  I won't say I'll never do it again, wouldn't be surprised if I do, but I think even a month+ later I can say that I won't be sad if I never do it again.  It's a race box I've checked.  Karl does put on an excellent organized event however so I wouldn't discourage anyone from doing it, just be mentally prepared and strong for a long hot tough day.  But one you can do.  Even after Butler Bolt :)

Telling Karl himself and Bryon from IRF just how much fun I really had :)
And my super handsome husband and support.