Friday, June 15, 2012

Big Cottonwood Canyon

Last weekend we went up into the mountains with some friends for a dinner and some smores. We had a great time, as we always do with these friends. We get together often and always have a blast. Good conversation, great food, a lot of laughs and just a good time. We would get together every week if we could and always look forward to seeing each other.

We had tin foil dinners...

Jack & Sarah

Harry and Everett...Jane missed the picture Reel.

Pete & Bekah

Andy, Liz and Archie

A few weeks back Sarah Roberts posted a blog about Life Friends. I am going to borrow her saying and second her entry about life friends so its on record.

These friends are life friends!! We love them very much. A quick recap for journal sake

Jack Roberts! I met Jack in eight grade band class. Yeah, band class of all places is where our friendship started. We played the freaking trumpet. Jack and I have novels of stories. That guy knows me about as much as Megan does. We were probably suppose to be brothers. I am a much better person in all areas of my life because of Jack. Our friendship has been one steady ride since the eight grade. We will be best bro's forever. Except I just found out this last weekend Sarah's mom deleted my "best man comments" at their wedding dinner from their wedding video! Disgusting...She is lucky she hasn't been struck by lightning yet for doing so! He married Sarah...she is a babe! Grateful our wives get along so well. They have 3 great kids.

Peter! Peter and I are a lot a like. We met in college our freshman year. I don't know how we became life friends, but we have. Something about that freshman year in college cemented our friendship. Even though we became better friends our sophomore year of college after our mission. Pete likes all the things I like. Our wives have helped make our friendship life long as well. Bekah is great and they have a little girl named Dali. We have a lot of fun with them.

Andy is always fun to hang out with. He is really funny. We became friends in 9th grade and were good friends all though high school. He's hard to convince...and I have tried to sell this guy on things since he ran track with us our Junior year and wouldn't be caught dead doing it his senior year. I tried my best with Andy. Liz is the best thing that every happened to Andy and he would most definitely agree. We have some great memories, and could spend all day recapping the glory days.

It will be fun watching our families grow up. Someday I am sure Jack, Pete and I will be grumpy old men on a fishing boat talking about the good old days.

And now the pretty ones!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Squaw Peak 50

Someday if one of my kids want to run a fifty mile race, I can now tell them from experience "You really don't want to do that! But if your hell bent on it....good luck...its a looonnng day! Here was my experience!

My dad and I signed up for the Squaw Peak 50; a 50 mile trail run up, down, and around the mountains above Utah County. The race was Saturday, yesterday I could barely walk and today I am still sore.

Here are the details:

308 runners

223 finished....1st place time 8:19.22 last place time 19:25.11

Distance: 50.74 miles

Elevation Change: 14,000 feet of elevation gain/loss (felt like mostly gain)

Pain Factor: massively massive

First off, This was such a well put together event. I was really impressed. The aid stations were great. We had a dinner the night before with all the runners. The director went through some race history, and details for the next day. It was a nice evening. The first thing I noticed at the dinner was everyone there looked like experienced runners. You didn't have the random person that didn't look like they belonged in a endurance race. For most this was their 3 or 4th ultra marathon. They had those stand up who's it would be there first ultra marathon and there were probably 25 of us or so, the rest had done up to 15 of them. I went home with my dad, we planned our drop bags and I slept at my parents home having to wake up at 3:30 AM the next morning.

Having tossed and turned all night with little sleep we were off for the 5 AM start time at Vivian Park up Provo Canyon. The race starts out down the parkway along the Provo river for basically 2.5 miles. Then you hit the trail.

That first climb went 2500 ft up over the next 4 miles. Then at the top we ran down for like 12 seconds then started up again. This would become the recurring theme for the day. Here’s the elevation profile for the race:

While this was my first ultra endurance running event, it’s clear the race directors for these events take great pleasure in turning the suffering dial up to super gluing your eye lids open. A common practice is to require runners go up and down trails that aren’t really trails. More like routes weed whacked into the steepest face they can find. Granted they did find some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Some of the views were spectacular. I was taken back a few times of how beautiful it was. The mountains with the Utah lake as the back drop was incredible. It was so green as well. I left my phone so I didn't take any pictures, but have some from the last time I ran a portion of this race.

Miles 11 to 21 was really the best portion of the race for me. The scenery was beautiful. We were well into the race at this point and I really enjoyed that time. My dads knees started bothering him at the end of those mile, but I for the most part felt great and we were making good time. I felt pain in my IT band much of the race. Sometimes it was unbearable and other times the pain just went away, but the first 21 miles were pretty good.

My dad and I didn't go into this race to do it fast. It was more for the experience together. We both had IT Band (knee) issues during our training. I wanted to run most all of this with him if possible and our goal really turned into just finishing the race.

I’ve also determined that God doesn’t really like how trail runners destroy their bodies by running ridiculously long and hard in the mountains. How else would you explain these strewn along the course throughout the day:

The hardest portion of the race for me was miles 26.5 to 33. It was hot then...and it was all uphill on a rocky dirt road. At about mile 31 was the first time I started getting frustrated, mad, tired and defeated. I remember cussing at a hill that just never wanted to end and was so steep. I finally got to the top and a guy on a 4 wheeler said "you have half a mile to the aid station and its all down hill". I said "oh my gosh thank you"...I had thought I still had roughly 2 miles to the aid station. The only problem is at the top of that hill my knees hurt so bad I could hardly muster running. I hobbled into that aid station knowing I needed to change my attitude and mind set. The aid station 8 at mile 33 was the cut off time. You had to be there by 2:30. My dad and I arrived at about 1:40. We had run together the whole time to this point.

My dad was worn out as well. I decided to change shirts, put on a new pair of socks, drink a red bull, drink a chocolate milk, eat a banana and lay on my back for 5 mins. We stayed at that aid station for 15-20 mins, which was long, but we both needed it. It really refreshed me and I was ready to rock and roll! I felt good and wanted to push it. This is basically where my dad and I separated, it was around mile 34. I put my head phones on for the first time and started running hard for the next 5 miles. I was motivated. I started passing people and with each person I passed I gained more energy. It was a really good part of the race for me.

Between mile 28 to 40 we’d be climbing up 4,000 feet to the course summit at 9,450 feet. Almost half of the gain would happen between mile 38 and 40 up Bozung Hill.

As I stopped to prep for the Bozung Hill accent (you know, sun salutations, animal sacrifices, etc.), a guy runs up and asks “do you know where this Bozung Hill is?”. Pointing across the way to the monstrosity with people strewn like little ants up and down the face I said “it’s that beast, right there.”

(picture from 2 years ago)

“Son of a BITCH!” he yelled. Then bent over, put his hands on his knees and just shook his head.

Putting that hill at mile 39 is ridiculously cruel I said. “Hell on earth” he replied.

I still felt strong up Bozung Hill. My mom called my dads cell phone as I was hiking up that hill, which I had in my pack. I couldn't believe there was reception, but I answered it and she said "on-line it shows dad didn't make the cut off. I said "I know he did because I was with him until mile 34"...I started thinking maybe he went back to the aid station and called it a day. Luckily that wasn't the case, they had just not recorded that he left that aid station.

Half way up Bozung I asked a guy if he knew what pace we were at. He said "If you keep going as your going you have a chance to break 14 hours maybe" It was like a punch to my gut for some reason. I didn't have a goal for a certain time, but for some reason I had in my mind that we would come in between 12-13 hours. I didn't know to believe him or not. I didn't have a watch on, but we were on pace to finish in 12 hours after 20 miles. It kind of freaked me out and I was now on a mission to go fast. I finally got to aid station 9...mile 40. I was tired, Bozung Hill really took it out of me. I sat down for just a second and my knees just froze up. I knew it was down hill from here, and I didn't know how I was going to make it if my knees won't move...especially on the down hill.

I remember saying a prayer right there. I needed my knees to be healed enough that I could run and not be in complete pain. I thanked god he helped my knees get to that point. I prayed for my dad. I really felt like I would be fine after I finished that prayer, even though I could hardly walk. Shortly after walking a little bit to loosen them up, my legs were fine for the rest of the race. I ran down the entire hill, it was rocky and dicey at spots, but I made it. There was a large hay field you run trough at the bottom of the mountain to the last aid station. I had a runners high right there and I ran through that field as fast as I could. I passed 2 guys and just felt like I was flying. It was amazing! I came into the last aid station with 3 miles left to go feeling good. The guy offered me a tums, which I thought was strange, but thought maybe that would help, so I took 2 of them and downed another red bull and was off.

I few times during the race I got emotional for some reason. Probably because your exhausted, in pain, and loosing your mind. I remember thinking about Megan at the finish line and it would just tear me up. I thought about my dad, and our girls and it chocked me up. I thought at those times I would be crying like a baby when I finished. Needless to say, I wasn't emotional at all. My motivation those last 3 miles was I just want to be done. I was tired of the race and just wanted to be finished. It was great to see my mom, Megan and Savannah. Savannah ran with me for the final 200 meters or so. It was cute and so good to see my family. Jenny and John were there as well and it felt good to see them too.

I was hungry and exhausted afterwards, but solid food just wasn't going down. I ate a few creamy's and a few bottles of chocolate milk. I soaked in the river and waited for my dad to come in. I found out there from the finish line coordinators that he registered at aid station 9 and was probably 40 minutes from finishing. It was great to see him come in.

Here are my toes...they hurt! I think I will lose 5 or 6 of my toe nails.

My finishing time was 13:35.06. My dads was 14:45.00. We are happy to be done. But its been a great experience training and being able to run that with my dad.