Archive for the ‘Outdoor Recreation’ category

Google Street View… for Ski Slopes?

February 9th, 2010

Quick story: I am a half-decent skier… I can make my way down all the black diamonds at The Canyons Resort and feel relatively confident about my ski style. Last year I was skiing a few diamonds on a March afternoon when I thought “I think I’ll give 9990 a try”. 9990, named after the elevation of the peak, offers more advanced and technical terrain at The Canyons. As I was going up the lift, I started to get more and more nervous as the lift went higher and higher. Long story short, I made it down safely, but I wish I was able to see slope-side images before I got myself in over my head.

As usual, Google seems to have the answer. I recently discovered that Google is using their street view technology to attack the slopes. Naturally, with the Vancouver Olympics starting in a few days, they snowmobiled their way around Whistler Blackcomb resort, taking pictures in a ‘Google Street View’ fashion.

What they’ve done is set up the Google Street View camera on the back of a snowmobile, and took that baby for a ride around the slopes that were navigable. The result is Google Street View for ski slopes.

Google has created a street view gallery where you can access the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, as well as street view technology associated with other Olympic venues, such as the bobsled course, the alpine skiing course, the ski jumping venue, etc. All can be found here: http://www.google.com/help/maps/streetview/gallery/#the-games

And if you’re curious how they were able to get these incredible pictures of the ski terrain in Vancouver, check out this behind the scenes video:

I hope the resorts out here in Utah can get in on this. It would help me and vacationers alike.

Where’s Karl: After-thoughts

September 20th, 2008

AT sign - Newfound Gap

During the last week, I have been thinking a lot about the AT a whole lot; reading people’s thru-hike stories, looking at pictures, and formulating a new way to backpack even lighter and more efficient than before all in preparation for a proposed future thru-hike in the next few years. Karl and his AT hike have completely opened my eyes and have taken my “sense of adventure” to a new level.

I’ve “known” Karl since about 2005. I considered myself an ultra-runner long before a hiker and in the world of ultra-running, everyone knows the name Karl Meltzer. He’s the 100 miler champ, reigning from the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. I remember reading a trail-runner magazine article featuring the “people of Hardrock”, featuring articles of folks who competed in the toughest (in my opinion) 100 miler in the US. Karl, having won this race numerous times, had a page featuring him. I remember reading it like it was yesterday, even though it was years ago, thinking to myself “here is a guy that has it all figured out”. I was impressed with his feats, with his lifestyle, and his approach.

When I saw a job opening for Backcountry.com in UT in January of this year that matched my expertise, I was excited, but I didn’t know many folks from the area. I had been following Karl’s blog and decided to e-mail him some questions about the area, thinking to myself “he’s too cool to respond to my e-mail”. I got a well-thought out response in a few hours, 5 paragraphs long. I was very happy to say the least.

Fast forward 7 months, and I was sitting in the RV multi-tasking; taking care of the whereskarl.com blog to the best of my ability, crewing for Karl, navigating where to go next, making sure we had supplies, etc. It was a great opportunity that I wouldn’t miss for anything. I love ultra-running and follow ultra-running like any SEC frat-guy follows college football, but unknown to a lot of my peers, I’ve had an AT thru-hike in the back of my mind since the first few years of high school. Flying to the east coast, I wasn’t sure what to expect. A little nervous, but definitely excited.

Right off the bat, I saw what I was getting into, and loved every second of it. I met a myriad of people associated with the AT. The first day in PA, I met Billy (aka Woodstock), TrailAngelMary, folks at the Doyle in Duncannon, several thru-hikers (Stilts was one of them), John DeWalt (one hell of an inspiration if I’ve ever seen), folks that came out to cheer Karl on (particularly Karl from Carlisle and his family), Karl’s parents, and of course Karl. This was all in the first day, and it was quite the whirlwind.

When Karl was running, he was all business, but at the end of that day, he was the most down-to-earth guy I had ever met. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. Karl is one heck of a nice, sincere, fellow. Any time someone came out to visit him and say hello, he would always take time to converse, discuss, and learn about the AT from the locals. The first night in the RV, a family from Carlisle PA has come out to see Karl – two kids wanted to talk to Karl and get a picture with him. Despite it being “past bedtime”, Karl was sincerely excited to have folks from the area come by. I was thrilled to see this side of Karl, and how genuine it was.

This is how it was for the next week with Karl. I met so many folks from PA, to MD, to WV, all the way to Daleville, VA. Every individual who I talked to touched me in their own unique way. I consider myself “AT knowledgeable”; I have section hiked quite a bit of it. I’ve done pretty much all of NJ and GA, all of the Smokies, all of Mt. Rodgers in SW VA, and I consider Front Royal down to James River my stomping ground (I’ve been hiking those parts since I was 7 years old). I knew the “where” of the trail, but didn’t get the “who”, “what”, and “why” of the trail until Karl and Billy gave me the opportunity.

The AT has an incredible culture. The trail is special not just because it’s remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, and lonely for contemplation, but because of the people that reach out and are willing to help folks who are on the trail. Terms like “trail angels” and “trail magic” are now happily in my vocabulary. As Billy reiterated, “it’s great to see folks who are willing to bend over backwards for strangers in this day and age”. I couldn’t agree more. I was only on the trail there for a week with Karl, but I am sure what I saw was the tip of the iceberg.

And as I try to write one more paragraph, sitting in my recliner drinking a beer after a long day of running on some trails here in UT, and fiddling around with my new “Tarp Tent Contrail” that I received in the mail this morning (I love it… thanks for the recommendation Billy!) I can’t think of what to say, but I believe Billy summed it up the best, so I’ll go ahead and copy and paste what he wrote:

I’m getting to see some things up close that have humbled me. Karl Speedgoat Meltzer is a great person filled with admiration for this trail and the highest respect for the record Andrew put down. I have seen a man walk out of here some mornings that almost brought tears to my eyes. It has not all been pretty to say the least. What he is doing is so far off most of our radar it’s impossible for me to communicate. He is the toughest human I have ever been around, period, end of story. If anybody wants to argue that, they can talk to me. This has been and continues to be a great challenge, an inspiration to my spirit, and a huge opportunity to be a part of a beautiful thing. I’m in love with this trail and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to help a good man and a good friend live out his dream. Go Speedgoat, you can do it man.”

Karl – savor the finish and enjoy Springer! I’m with you all the way… what you are doing is special and I am humbled to be a part of it.

– Greg

Where’s Karl now? Check out WheresKarl.com!

August 29th, 2008

Well, I can’t tell you, but I will be able to in a few days. Straight from Where’s Karl headquarters!

AT Trail SignI am flying out of Salt Lake City this afternoon to meet up with Karl Meltzer on the AT.  Starting next Wednesday and lasting for a week, I’ll be his mobile aid station volunteer; feeding him, doing his laundry, taking care of the RV, and just general crewing for him will be my day to day tasks.

If you’ve haven’t been following this, let me fill you in very quickly. Karl Meltzer, reigning from Sandy, Utah, is a very experienced ultra-runner who is being sponsored by my company, Backcountry.com, to try and break the Appalachian Trail speed record. He set off from Baxter State Park in Maine on August 5th, and has been at it ever since.  He had a few days off after a bad case of tendonitis caused by a change in stride from a case of trench foot due to the torrential rain he had to face, but he has been making some good progress in the last week, logging in 50+ miles each day the last two days.

About 7-8 folks from Backcountry.com will be helping him in week segments, and its my turn to fly out there, and give him what he needs to make it to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the AT. I’ve crewed some folks in the past on 100 mile footraces, and paced a good friend of mine at Umstead 100 in April, so I think I’ll do a good job in keeping Karl’s mood up. I’ll be travelling with Karl in PA, and MD most likely, but it’s always hard to predict where exactly he’ll be, hence the site www.WheresKarl.com, dedicated to you following his progress.

I’ll be constantly updating the Where’s Karl blog while I am out with him on the road and trail, so check in there to see what I am up to, and more importantly how he is doing. All very exciting! See you on the AT!

Where’s Karl?

Speedgoat 50K Race Report

July 27th, 2008

Speedgoat 50K

  • Speedgoat 50K – 7/26/2008 – Snowbird, Utah

About 115 runners gathered at the base of the Snowbird Tram around 6:15 for pre-race instructions. The morning brought rather warm but manageable temperatures. I was excited to start, but definitely a little nervous. After Logan Peak 28 miler a month ago (or the Crash and Burn 28 miler as I refer to it), I was curious to see how I’d do in my 2nd mountain ultra.

Karl Meltzer, the RD of the Speedgoat 50K, counted down from 10, and we were off. Known as the toughest 50K in the US, the first 8.2 miles of the race climbs from about 7,500 ft. up to 11,000 ft. to the top of Hidden Peak, where the Snowbird Tram ends. Given my performance at Logan Peak and my lack of time spent at over 9K feet, I decided to take the first half of the race relatively slow, and pick it up after that depending on the conditions.

Speedgoat 50K Elevation Profile

Around mile 1.5 or so, pre-race nerves got to me a little bit, and I upchucked some Gatorade and a Clif Shot block I had just eaten.  Not a great start! However, I felt instantly better after the fact (boot and rally, anyone?) From there on out, despite the long climb up, I felt pretty good. I hiked most of it, but ran some when I felt good. I reached the top of Hidden Peak in 2:24. Slow, but definitely felt comfortable. After a bathroom break, a few snacks and a little light-headedness, I hit the trail again to head downhill towards Mary Ellen Gulch aid station at mile 14.5 at 7.5K ft. elevation.

The downhill felt pretty good. After a quick rollercoaster run up down Hidden Peak and back up Mt. Baldy, we travelled down a very steep downhill equipped with ropes and assistance from Black Diamond. I generally take my sweet time on sections of trail like this, and I went especially slow as the volunteers said someone had just fallen. After the climb down this steep section, I passed the runner who had fallen; a good amount of blood on her head, and definitely not looking in the best of shape. She was being helped by 4 other folks, and they seemed to have the incident under control, so I pushed on. I never heard what had happened, but I do hope everything turned out alright!

The next 5 miles were all downhill. Every now and then, I would turn around just to see the top of Hidden Peak in the Speedgoat 50K - Hidden Peakdistance getting further away. Stinks that we have to climb back up! After a nice spill running downhill too fast, I hit the Mary Ellen Gulch aid station in about 4 hours flat. Feeling good and knowing full well that a large climb was ahead of us, I fueled up, took out the sunglasses and bandana, and it the road. The hike to the next aid station was 3 miles up and one mile down according to the folks at the aid station, which seemed accurate. I felt good up to this point, and was glad I saved enough energy to hit the 2nd half of the race feeling great.

The climb back up to Mineral Bottom (water only) aid station had treated me well. I passed about 10 folks, and felt great all the way up. 18 miles down, about 13 to go. The next 2.5 mile would lead up a little more to the tunnel aid station at mile 20.5. I hit the Tunnel aid station in about 6 hours. I grab a quick bite to eat, and enjoy a small conversation with volunteers before I headed back out.

This is where things took a turn. I had been enjoying the race up to this point, and felt comfortable. We were only about 500 feet from the top of the ridge, and I had the impression that the next 5 miles to the next aid station were going to be along a ridge, or on relatively flat ground. With the last 5 miles being all downhill, I had thoughts of finishing the race in 8 or 8 ½ hours. As soon as we exited the other side of the tunnel, we headed down. The downhill would not stop, and I was starting to get a little concerned about the uphill that would follow.

Finally the uphill came, and it was one heck of a trail on a ridge, heading straight towards the top of Hidden Peak. I could see the peak getting closer and closer, and I was craving some sugar like no other. Maybe some solid food. Maybe a cold Mtn. Dew! I had some gels in my pocket but I figured I wouldn’t need them as I could see the peak in the distance that held the last aid station. Plus, with nausea returning, I didn’t want to risk trying to stomach a gel, and throw it back up. About 100 feet from the top, I pass a hiker. She then says “great job… about a mile and a half to the next aid station!”

I had no idea that once we reached the top, we had to take another dip in elevation and climb switchbacks in some snow before we got to the top. Talk about a false front! I was completely devastated… it was like a dagger in my heart. With the switchbacks in front of me after jogging down the hill, I filled up my water bottle with a stream created by snowmelt. I drank some, and poured some over my head. I was not looking forward to the next climb. Granted this next climb would be the last 1K climb of the day, bonking at the bottom of it kinda sucked. I took a gel and a 3 minute break on a rock, and climbed halfway up the switchbacks. After about 500 feet up, I took another break and another gel. Cooperating with my stomach, I finally pushed on, and eventually reached the top. Those 6 miles that I had thought would just be lollygagging on top of the ridge ended up being a 140 minute death march.

I sat down at the top of Hidden Peak for about 10-15 minutes. My legs felt good, but I had 0 energy. Fully well knowing that the last miles to the finish were all downhill, I was confident that as long as I could get my ass out of the chair, I’d get to the finish. Feeling a little sick, I decided to suck it up, and head out of the aid station.

Speedgoat 50K Finish LineThe last 5 miles were bliss. It was all downhill, and I passed the 5 folks that passed me in the aid station. Like I said, my legs felt great and the downhill was awesome. I stopped to take in some of the views, finally knowing for the first time in the race that I’d finish it feeling pretty good. As I got closer to the bottom, I could smell the barn, picking up speed. After a long 9 hours and 27 minutes on the trail, I cross the finish line, happy to be done, and feeling pretty good.

The Speedgoat 50K was definitely the toughest 50K that I have done. Rather than underestimating the later miles in the race, I was rather happy with my performance. With that being said, I am still getting used to the altitude difference. I still find myself breathing hard at the top of climbs, and my heart still races when I run over 10K feet. In the 4 weekends leading up to this race, I did a lot of hiking and running, putting in tons of elevation gain between 8K and 11K elevation. Without that specialized training, I definitely would have struggled much more. With my second mountain ultra behind my belt, I am looking forward to my third!

Despite training going well as of the last month, and feeling like I could have kept moving after the race, I will be putting my plans of running a 100 miler on hold until further notice. Though I finished Logan Peak a month ago, and even felt good yesterday crossing the finish line, I am still not running at the level I’d like to be. I also have to figure out this nausea problem. Getting sick at the top of the mountain at 11K due to altitude is one thing, but getting sick 2 miles into the race? I’ve got to figure something out. I’ll be smoothing out the kinks in the weeks ahead, with the intention to maybe get a race or two in before November hits.

As you are all probably well aware, Karl Meltzer is going to begin his AT Assault in about a week’s time, so I will definitely look forward to that. Remember, you’ll be able to follow all progress of his 2175 mile trek at WheresKarl.com.

Legs after the Speedgoat 50K
Karl and his volunteers pulled off a great event. Very challenging and very scenic. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for a challenge. I ran Mountain Masochist 50 Miler about twenty months ago in about 10 hours and 20 minutes, only an hour slower than this 50K. It definitely puts the two races in comparison. Have no doubt though, the winner of the Speedgoat 50K finished in 5 hours and 43 minutes… unbelievable to me!

Thanks for reading!

Logan Peak Trail Run Report

June 29th, 2008

Logan Peak Trail Run logoYesterday morning around 5:45am, about 45 or so runners gathered at Gibbons Park in western Logan, UT at the base of Dry Canyon for the start of the 2nd Annual Logan Peak Trail Run – a 28 mile trek from the base of Dry Canyon at 4847ft to the top of Mt. Logan at 9710. The morning brought cool temperatures and no clouds – a beautiful day to run.

In the days leading up to Logan Peak, many thoughts about the race went through my mind.

  • First off, I was excited to go into an event with a racing attitude. Despite running several marathons and shorter races in the months leading up to Logan Peak Trail Run, I feel like I haven’t tested out my race legs since Mountain Mist 50K in late January.
  • Second, this will be my first race out west, and my first race at elevation. I have been putting in some very quality miles since I moved out here, and I think I am about ready to go (despite being no higher than 9K feet in my training).
  • Finally, and contrary to my second thought, in the back of my mind I kept thinking that I haven’t done any long runs as I usually have in training for such an event. I have done weekends where I have run, 3, 4, and 5 times in the span of 36-48 hours, with each run between 5-12 miles in distance, but I haven’t put in that many long runs over 18 miles. I’ll be curious to see how I perform after we hit the 3 hour mark.

I looked down at my watch – 5:50am. With the race starting in about 10 minutes, I gather up my last minute belongings (watch, gels, hat) and decide to chow down on half of a mojo bar. Now I’ll have you know that I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, especially in a race that I expect to do well in. I’ll be honest, approaching this race, I had full intentions on being competitive, definitely thinking about top ten, and hopefully coming within 45 minutes of the leaders. With my stomach already filled with butterflies, the mojo bar clashed. I took two bites that did me in – for whatever reason, I felt like vomiting. I had already eaten a large pre-race breakfast and a few gels 25 minutes before, and I knew throwing up wasn’t a good option as I would have lost all my race energy.

From this point to the finish, that is the main plot of the race – just nauesa the entire time. I have run 24 ultras/marathons now and this race was the hardest race on my stomach and head. Regardless, the start came at exactly 6:00am, and we were off!

The first 4-5 miles were all about hiking… up, up, and away to the first aid station up Dry Canyon. I ran as much as I could, but there wasn’t a whole lot of running going on. I was feeling pretty good at this point – the sickness in my stomach subsided and I was taken away by the forests and the occasional views through the trees.  Around 7:22, I hit the aid station, feeling pretty good, but admittedly a little tired. The climb to the first aid station was a good one as shown by the elevation profile of the race:

Logan Peak Trail Run elevation chart

As soon as I hit the aid station, I felt a little low on energy, so it was GU time! I shot a GU and like deja-vu, my stomach hit rock bottom. I came close to throwing it up again and decided to stick around the aid station for another few minutes to walk off the nausea. My ultimate plan was to walk up the first climb to the first aid station and then kick it into gear, running a good amount of the remainder of the race. Keeping that in mind, but with some lingering nausea, I decided to move on, and ran a good portion of the next few miles, passing about 4 runners and feeling pretty good. By the way, the views of the surrounding mountains and the valley down below was beyond description. Just incredible!

In between these next aid stations, I found a little waist belt bottle in the middle of the course filled with gel. I decided to be a good citizen and pick it up and return it to the folks at the next aid station. The jeep roads and trails lead me to the next aid station in good time; still feeling a little sick, but enjoying myself. As I entered the aid station (by the way, the volunteers in the race were awesome!), I flash them the gel bottle that I picked up.

Oh! The runner in front of you was looking for that! He said he dropped it somewhere on the trail. He is probably about 4 minutes in front of you!”

With a simple mile and a half to the next aid station, I decided to kick it into gear and run a good amount to see if I could catch him. I knew whoever dropped it would probably like their energy before stomping up Logan Peak. I took off at a good pace, and actually caught him relatively quickly, maybe within 10 minutes. Thankful I had picked it up, we chatted a little bit on an uphill section, and then he took off as the trail leveled out as I decided to walk and catch my breath a little.

Hitting the next aid station, I chowed down on some fruit (mainly grapes and watermelon) as my stomach was still not craving any solid food, like cookies, chips, and sandwiches. Because of this, with a big climb to come, I knew I was in trouble. I did have some GUs, some Clif Shot Blox, and some fruit in my pocket to assist me with the out and back section up Logan Peak, but I knew I was in for a good climb. As I left the aid station, I joked with the aid station folks “I’ll see you in 15 minutes!” The climb ahead was a 6 mile out and back, marching up to the radio tower at the peak at 9710 feet elevation.

This section was fun, and also very tough. About 80% of the course from here was covered in several feet of snow leftover from the record-breaking winter Utah enjoyed. The runners in the lead were on their way back down, which was fun watching them play fox and hound, chasing each other down the snow. What a performance! The climb up was a tough one, getting steeper and steeper, but finally, after a good hour and a slow 3 miles, the tower was only several hundred yards away.

I wish I had pictures from this point in the race. You could see forever when you hit the top. Rather than being in an airplane or in a car, I had never been at this high elevation before. I definitely felt dizzy walking up the last 1/4 mile of the peak. The trail was a dirt road underneath the snow, so there was plenty of room to hike up the slope without worrying of falling off the side, but man it was steep on each side! I got up to the top and walked around the tower to take the views in from all directions. Just awesome! The following video isn’t mine, but it’s the view that we all witnessed from the top:

Had it not been a race I would have stuck around up there for at least an hour. After unsuccessfully attempting to stomach a few shot blocks, I headed back down.In general, I consider myself a great downhill runner. I hear a lot of folks complain about downhill running just because it is tough on your legs and knees. Rather than an occasional toenail crying mommy, I can turn up the heat on the downhills. I could not muster any energy however, and felt like I was stumbling down the peak. I was even passed in this section, which was unlike me. I crawled into the next aid station, returning from the out and back section with hardly any energy left.Dropping out at this section definitely crossed my mind, I won’t lie. I felt like it would be impossible to complete the next few sections with the energy I had left. I decided to stick around the aid station a little longer than I generally would, and chit-chatted with the volunteers (did I mention they were great?). I joked around saying that I probably should have volunteered as opposed to run the event. We all laughed, when deep down I was thinking that maybe I should have 🙂

There were 3 reasons why I decided to push on:

  • I have never DNFed from a race and wasn’t about ready to start today
  • I am considering running a hundred miler by the end of the season, and if I couldn’t push through this, that would have a poor affect on my confidence
  • I kept coming back to Karl Meltzer’s AT speed attempt coming up in a few months – if he is able to average 45+ miles a day for 47 days straight, surely I can push through one bad day of 28 miles right? It’s all about the ups and downs in a race of this nature, and I was just in a rut.

I pushed on with very little energy towards the next aid station, which was quoted to be 5.5 to 6 miles away. Man it felt like an eternity! There was a good amount of downhills in this section, and I tried to run as much as I could without collapsing 🙂 It was starting to warm up, and there was about 3 miles of this section that were completely unshaded. It was a death march to say the least. The trail however, was unbelievably beautiful. The views into the canyons, the views back up towards Logan Peak, the valley down below, I could go on and on. The views helped with the hike towards the next aid station. Just one foot in front of the other right?

Finally after a long 1:35, I hit the next aid station, completely zombified. I was so happy to see people with food, and even more happy to see a chair. I sat down immediately. I know you aren’t supposed to sit down in a chair in an ultra as chairs usually mean the end of the race, but I was in a good position depending on how you look at it as it was impossible to drop of at this point. The aid station folks had hiked to this section and there was no transportation down the mountain without hiking out.

I have volunteered at about 10 aid stations in the past, and I felt bad for the volunteers putting up with me. They were very helpful, retrieving food requests and asking if I needed anything. I felt like I was a crab. I was thinking to myself, “man, talk about a crash and burn victim at mile 24”. Usually when I run into the last aid station, I have the finish line in my sight, thinking about how many people I can pass before I hit the tape. All I was thinking about here was trying not to completely burn out.

Despite the last four miles being downhill, I don’t think I could have made it without taking in any sugar. I was fed shot blocks, some coke, and a full bottle of gatorade, just enough to get me off the mountain. I probably spent 10-15 minutes at that last aid station, “regaining conscientiousness”.  Finally, I got off my butt and made a move towards the trail. Thanking the volunteers, I was off towards the finish.

The next section towards the finish was actually great. Like some folks said, it was tough not to run this section as it was just constant downhill. I probably put in 9 minute miles down the canyon, and after a quick stop at a cooler for a drink at the trail head, I hit the finish line in 7h15m and change. I was told I came in 26th place but I was just happy to finish, and for the first time in the race, feeling pretty good.

I learned a lot from the race. I learned what to eat before the race, what not to eat, and never to underestimate a race. Being my first ultra out west, I am not all that disappointed with the finish as I can hopefully take away some aspects of racing out here and apply it to future mountain ultras. I was comparing this race a lot to my last 50K that I had run in January, and was hoping to have results similar to that race and finish in the top 15%. I put together an elevation comparison chart to the two races, and realized maybe comparing these two races was flawed thinking:

 Logan Peak Trail Run vs Mountain Mist elevation chart

Probably not the best way to compare a mountain course to a “hilly course” and it’s probably not fair to compare the two courses, but I thought matching one elevation chart to the next tells a good story. Finally, with the Speedgoat 50K coming up in exactly a month, I know how to train better. I have been training pretty hard in comparison to how I used to back in Atlanta, but if I want to do well, I will really have to put in some quality miles. I am not talking increase the mileage necessarily, but put in a lot of miles with climbs and elevation change and run at higher elevation. Thankfully I have The Canyons in my backyard, which will help me in the next months training.

Because of my nausea yesterday, the Logan Peak Trail Run was more like a hike to me. With that being said, I am still tired, but my legs aren’t sore.  Usually after running a hard ultra, I am knocked out for a good 5 days, but I feel good enough to go for a run right now. Maybe I will do just that.

Thanks for reading!

Pictures of the event can be found here thanks to Greg Norrander: http://norrandertrailshots.blogspot.com/

Logan Peak Trail Run results

Runners	M/F	Age	Finish Time	Overall Place
Jonathan Allen	M	29	4:51:30	1 (new course record by 1:25)
Brain Beckstead	M	26	4:53:38	2
leland barker	M	50	4:53:52	3
Wade McFarland	M	52	4:57:35	4
Jon Wheelwright	M	28	5:37:05	5
Drew Michener	M	28	5:39:02	6
Sarah Evans	F	35	5:42:25	7 (1st female)
ryan brueggman	M	32	5:47:15	8
Jami Smith	F	31	5:49:52	9 (2nd female)
Brandon Haddick	M	43	5:52:41	10
Jamie Williams	F	38	6:04:44	11 (3rd female)
Jim Skaggs	M	49	6:12:34	12
Jen Clancy	F	29	6:15:00	13 (4th female)
Davy Crockett	M	 	6:25:57	14
Mark Ellison	M	43	6:29:53	15
Aric manning	M	36	6:30:10	16
Dave Evans	M	31	6:30:14	17
Matt Lloyd	M	38	6:33:00	18
Daniel Bray	M	49	6:41:19	19
Jared Storrs	M	33	6:45:00	20
Jill Bohney	F	43	6:48:33	21 (5th female)
Terry Williams	M	51	6:49:05	22
Cody Blackett	M	34	6:49:05	23
Steve Cracroft	M	29	6:49:44	24
Bill Emmett	M	56	7:07:07	24
Brita moe	F	31	7:10:34	26 (6th female)
Greg Goodson	M	24	7:15:19	27
Larry Mangum	M	54	7:29:31	28
Jake Stephens	M	26	7:57:06	29
james mcgregor	M	65	7:59:03	30 (7th female)
Caroline LuckettF	41	8:11:00	31
Tony DeArcos	M	55	8:32:00	32
Dave Isom	M	43	8:36:55	33
Lisa McMillan	F	45	8:38:32	34 (8th female)
Celeste Collman	F	54	8:43:03	35 (9th female)
Marc Collman	M	51	8:44:33	36
Bruce Burnham	M	 	9:05:30	37
paul cracroft	M	52	4:26:45	1st syncline loop
joseph macavintaM	33	7:57:53	2nd syncline loop
phillip maestas	M	33	7:58:43	3rd syncline loop

Wasatch Back?

June 22nd, 2008

The Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay was this past weekend… what a blast! My company sponsored 4 teams to run in the Wasatch Back Relay which is a 12-person, 181 mile relay race from Logan to Park City, UT. Our teams all started at 8:20 am on Friday morning and finished within 90 minutes within each other.

The race itself was a blast! The scenery was awesome, the format of the relay was great, and it was a great team building activity so-to-speak. Getting 3.5 hours of sleep the night before was the only factor that slowed me down. The lack of sleep hit me hard around dinner time around 9:00pm on Friday night. Luckily, we got 3 hours of solid sleep from 11pm to 2am, when the team called in and said it was about time for us to start running again. I ran 2 legs back to back around 3:00am, which allowed me to proudly say I put in 10.5 miles in my Pajamas (seriously!) through farmlands from Oakley, to Kamas, to Francis. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky… it was awesome!

Our teams finished around noon the next day, which meant at 2:00pm, I was finally able to get some sleep! 🙂

Next weekend is the Logan Peak Trail Run. I just got an e-mail from the RD saying that there is still a good amount of snow on the course, but it is melting fast. I ran a total of 21 miles during the relay, all on the road, and I am a little sore and my right foot has been reaggrevated again. I have been taking some advil, icing, and I didn’t run today, but I will probably run 5 miles tomorrow nad test it out. I think I have a good chance at doing well to Logan Peak as I have been training on some great terrain in the last month. Only time will tell!

Training?

May 25th, 2008

So I haven’t written a post in quite some time, but that is because I have been busy, busy, busy! Spending most of that time on the trails, exploring my new surroundings, and moving apartments yet again!

First off, I have moved into a studio with a loft at the base of The Canyons Ski Resort (practically ski on ski off; I am very excited for the winter)… the apartment is actually much larger than my last apartment in Atlanta, I have a gigantic deck, and it is two stories in some respects (I will soon post pictures). My address here is 2100 Canyon Resort Drive, Park City, UT 84098. I have also acquired a PO Box (hooray… you can send me mail if you are really bored).The address of my PO Box is #982573, Park City, UT 84098. The old apartment wasn’t working out, and this place is definitely a step up, as nice as the last place was!

I have also signed up for the Logan Peak Trail Run and the Speedgoat 50K. With those races on my mind, I have been training quite a bit in the last 2 weeks, almost every day which is unusual for me (I typically give myself 2 days off a week). Though I haven’t done many runs longer than 12 miles, these training runs have been very quality runs, which I am very happy about. I have conquered the altitude finally, and I am running up switchbacks very well. I think I am in very good shape at this point. A small setback in my training though – I had to cut my planned 13 miler today short as my right foot is giving me problems… I think it has to do with my ankle and overuse, but I will have to take the next 2-3 days off, which sucks as running on Memorial Day weekend is awesome 🙁 I hope patience in this case will pay off, as I expect to do very well at Logan Peak and Speedgoat 50K.

After I cut my run short today, I got back to my apartment and threw together a light camelbak and went to explore some of the trails in my backyard – I literally walked out my frontdoor and went for a 3 hour hike up some awesome trails surrounding the ski resort. I fully expect to run into more wildlife as I will continue to hike around the mountains around here, but for today, it was just birds, deer, and the occasional chipmunk (definitely no complaints though!). There is still a good amount of snow on some of the trails out of the way of direct sunlight, but the snow is melting quickly. Anything above 10K feet is still buried in the white stuff though… I really can’t wait for that stuff to melt, I am just dying to hit the trails!

If I can fix this foot problem and have a good few months of training, I may be signing up for my first 100 miler, the Bear 100 in September. If I can go uninjured this summer and keep up the training, I feel that I am more than ready to tackle a 100, even if the Bear 100 isn’t the easiest 100 miler to start with.

Feels like I am in a picture

April 28th, 2008

Pretty much what the title says.

I went for a 7 mile run today on some single track trails just north of Park City where you can see the trails from the highway in an area of town called Jeremy Ranch. I chose these trails for the time being because you can tell that the snow has melted a good bit and the trails looked dry for the most part. Rather than a few snowy patches, the trails were perfect.

The trail probably climbed a good 1000 feet by the time I turned around. Boy was I huffin’ and puffin’ on the way up. I didn’t stop to walk, but I sure wanted to. I am hoping that in a few weeks of being out here, running at elevation will become much easier. I think I now know why folks come out to these big mountain ultras (particularly Hardrock 100) two weeks ahead of time. But hey, no complaints from me! It got up to about 67 degrees today in Park City and it was very warm on the trail, probably due to absolutely no shade.

Regardless, the entire run felt like I was in a picture; I have only encountered wide open sky and unshaded single track trail  like today in Backpacker and Trailrunner Magazine. Seriously, all those pictures that you see published, those trails do exist. And not to make you jealous, but the trail I ran today is only 5 miles from my apartment. On top of that I only ran 3.5 miles of the 300+ miles of trails in the area.

To say the least, I am a happy camper. I start my job on Thursday, and I get internet and cable tomorrow (which means I’ll begin uploading all the pictures and videos). But until then, run on! 🙂

ING Georgia Marathon

April 6th, 2008

ING Georgia Marathon… where do I begin?

Well, I’ll take it from the start I suppose – the way I figured it was that I have not run a road marathon in a very long time, I have never actually run (or driven for that matter) through Atlanta all that much since I moved here in 2002, and it was time for a long run, and paying the $100 entry fee forced me to get up early on Sunday morning 🙂 I signed up for the race 10 days before the actual event just before registration closed. I signed up for the race not to race it, but like Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in November, run it “for fun” as a long run. Unlike Chickamauga where I had a 3:20:00 goal, I set a 3:30:00 goal for the Georgia Marathon.

The ING Georgia Marathon started in downtown Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park at 7:00am. I was awakened to a 4:15am alarm. Though not racing the event, I was still very excited and jumped out of bed. I showered, threw on my clothes which consisted of a pair of injinji socks with my patented cut off oxysox combination, new raceready shorts (woohoo!), a hanes t-shirt, and of course my orange bandana, and stepped out the door with my roommate, Jon, who was also running the marathon. He was number 283 and I had 284 (we were both seeded from previous sub 3:10s at other various marathons, but the numbers side by side was just a coincidence).

We parked at my fraternity house, which was around mile 24 on Georgia Tech campus, and ran to the start. It was a cool drizzly morning with temperatures ranging in the 45-50 degrees range. Perhaps I would have been happy with gloves or maybe arm warmers (I am the biggest cold wimp!), but after an hour of trying to keep warm, the race started. I ran with Jon for the first 1000 yards or so, but with my 3:30 goal pace, I quickly backed off, as he went through the first mile around 6:10. I hit the first mile around 6:40 and eased into a much slower 8:00 pace.

It was difficult to keep that slow pace with folks passing me left and right, but I steered clear of the folks out there who were racing. Miles 2-10 were nice, running through parts of Atlanta I have never been through. It was a nice tour of the city. The looped course went through areas such as Little Five Points, Candler Park, headed east towards Agnes Scott in the first half of the race before turning back northwest towards North Decatur and Emory University. I hit the first half in 1:43 or so, on track for a 3:26 assuming even splits.

I felt great at this point, but admittedly a little tired. The course was quite hilly to be completely honest for a road marathon, and I suppose I underestimated the hills for the course. Running into miles 17 and 18 through Druid Hills, I felt like I was losing a good amount of energy. Granted I was out there not to race, I was definitely feeling it! I had not run on roads in a very long time prior to this race (I am for the most part a trail-runner) and my legs were begging me to find some dirt to run on. Not to mention, my stomach was growling, begging for food. I simply ate 3-4 gels in the last 10 miles of the race due to hunger. I probably should have eaten a little more before the race 🙁

The course turned through Virginia Highland, down past Inman Middle School, where I used to train quite a bit when I lived in midtown in 2007. Being familiar with the area, I enjoyed running on the roads for once instead of always on the sidewalk. We were led into Piedmont Park, down towards Juniper Street, and finally onto Georgia Tech campus. I stopped for a bit here to talk with several folks from my fraternity, saying that Jon had run through this part of the race about 35 minutes before me. He ended up finishing 18th overall and PRing on a very tough marathon course in a 2:52 and change… way to go!

I rolled past Tech campus and hit the tape around 3:33:30. I was a little off my time, but to be completely honest, happy it was over. I had felt like I underestimated the course and the Atlanta hills, as well as the 26.2 distance. I was cold, hungry, and in need of a warm shower. I walked back to my fraternity house, grabbed a hot shower, and immediately drove to Wendy’s where I downed a #5 biggie size value meal, a few 5 piece chicken nuggets, and another burger. Man did that taste good.

The race was fun and challenging but I am not sure if I would recommend running it to be completely honest. Maybe I am just a small town marathon kind of guy. I prefer the marathons with a more low key feel, smaller crowd event. Also, the half marathoners did get in the way quite a bit as the course was designed to have both races finish in the same spot. In other words, I was crossing the finish line with half marathoners running a 3:30 half marathon, which is great for them, but quite often they got in the way of some of the other marathoners running.

Back to the trails that I love so much. Maybe I’ll revisit the road marathon once again when I am better prepared 🙂

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Oak Mountain Weekend

March 23rd, 2008

I took an ETO day from work (leftover from 2007) and made the drive out to Pelham, AL to help out at the 9th annual Oak Mountain 50K. After a round of golf (which I played very well – even par through the first 6 holes… shot in the 80s) and a night in the campground, I showed up to the start of the race under a pavilion near the trailhead to check runners in.

There were a total of 127 runners registered, and maybe about 115 or so started. It was a comfortable 50 degrees at the start, and the temperatures got into the 70s by mid day. I don’t think there was one cloud in the sky. Being that this was one of the warmest days to date this year, there were a lot of runners finishing with salt on their face, and some runners dehydrated.

I don’t have the official results, but I do know that DeWayne Satterfield took 1st around 4:40 or so and Alan Abbs all the way from Red Bluff, CA home visiting took a close 2nd. Ragan Petrie took first for the ladies around 5:30 followed by Sally Brooking.

The Parkers and the rest of the volunteers should pat themselves on the back for a race well directed!

I did bring my flip video camera along for the ride and posted several videos on YouTube:

Start of the race:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfQUQwITcEs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tohpGVCqOuE

Peavine Falls aid station:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tznxchjv2w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBIj8lfnnBw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FjY8XZcAPU

Finish:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAgBNFNlfGU

Helping out at these kind of races always get me excited about running in general… I think I go out and get in an easter 12 miler 🙂

Enjoy!