September 20, 2014

2014 Top of Utah Marathon

Final stretch of TOU 2014

I couldn't resist being at the 2014 Top of Utah Marathon one way or another. I won this race in 2012 and came in second last year. With Chicago only a few weeks away (21 days!), I had to be careful with my effort today - too fast, and I'd regret my decision to run TOU. On Friday I laid out my goals for the race: the aim was 2:30 +/- 2 minutes, and hopefully sneak into the top 3 and win a little cash in the process. This was at the end of another big mileage week, so I still have a lot of cumulative fatigue in the legs. I'm glad I continue to feel so strong despite (or probably because of) the big volume.

TOU Marathon - 2:28:14, 3rd place. Came through the first half in 1:14:24 and then ran the second half in 1:13:50. A controlled, even effort... stuck right to my plan. Mile splits were very consistent and not worth typing out.

Tylor Thatcher and Jason Holt took off at a quick pace, which ended up being a very good thing because it forced me to decide right away whether I was going to follow my plan or give chase. I ran most of the first 14 miles with Nate Hornock and Jon Heslop. Once we hit Hollow Road I pulled away a bit and ran the rest of the way solo. Overall it was a good effort and just what I needed today - a high quality long run that would continue to build fitness and not take anything out of the bank.

TOU always puts on the best races. I'm happy to add another moose trophy to the collection.

Andrea and Amiee were out on the second half of the course providing encouragement and giving me someone to briefly talk to every couple miles. All of these photos are from Amiee...

I took 5 gels today - PR! (I'm liking the liquid consistency of the Powerbar gels)

I also took a 20 minute ice bath afterwards - another PR!

Millville Hill

Our friend Devra won the women's race and got to wear the moose ears
"Good job not being stupid today" -Love, Andrea
The floppy hair is something new :-)

September 14, 2014

Chicago Training #4 - Biggest Week, One Month Out

I posted this on Twitter earlier in the week. Can I make the jump over the next month?
Previous training posts from this cycle:

Running at the Classic 10K last weekend
The Chicago Marathon is now exactly 4 weeks away, and I'm starting to really feel like my training and fitness are clicking. Today I capped off my biggest week of the buildup (160 miles, after back to back 145 mile weeks) with my staple 26.2K tempo run. Essentially this is the Hanson's "simulator" - but I make a few adjustments: 1) I don't run it at marathon goal pace... I aim for 10-15 seconds slower per mile. 2) I don't take any fuel or fluids. Today I averaged 5:31/mile, which is actually a touch faster than I ran this workout before CIM last year, and today was a very controlled effort. I made an effort to dial back the pace and make sure I wasn't dipping under 5:30 pace. I've found that if I run this workout closer to goal MP it takes a little too much out of you - especially mentally, when you are running it alone. You only have so much mental focus to use, and I think it's better to save the bulk of it for marathon day.

The rest of the week was standard - 14/8 doubles (with as much grass / dirt running as possible), 17 miles with a 10 mile progression on Thursday, and 10 x 30 second hill efforts (I can't call them sprints) on Saturday.
Workouts for the week of September 8th
I'm not as fast as I've been in the past (in terms of shorter workouts and 10K/HM races), but my aerobic strength is as good as it's ever been. I think that bodes well for the marathon. I've had an excellent stretch of long runs this summer (graphic below)... most of them at higher altitude and with a decent amount of hills. Today's run was almost completely flat, by design.

Over the next couple weeks I'll start to reign in my total volume, focus on a few quality longer efforts without trying to squeeze in too much now that I'm starting to feel "in shape." I'll save the magic for the streets of Chicago in four weeks. Ice bucket, protein bars, and massage will also be key elements of the next month!

First 8 long runs of the cycle
Fresh pair of Fastwitch for the next stretch of workouts

September 13, 2014

Southern Utah Trip #6 - Jeep Tour with Dan Mick

I want to upgrade to this jeep!

On the final morning of our trip, before Andrea and I drove back to Salt Lake City, we went on a jeep tour with Dan Mick. We were pretty tired after several days of hiking in the heat and wanted to do something a little different. We found Dan on TripAdvisor and almost couldn't believe his reviews were THAT GOOD. But I can tell you with 100% truthfulness that the tour was really that good. We spent the whole morning with Dan himself - he drove us up some incredible obstacles, took us to dinosaur tracks, and told great stories about the history of Moab. It was worth every penny and a lot of fun.

We didn't take any video during the tour, but this video gives you a very good idea of what it was like...

And a few photos we snapped...

Dan teaching us about the history of Moab. I love this kind of stuff.
Dinosaur footprints
Jeeps on the slickrock

A crowd waiting for us as we drove up Hell's Gate
It should be noted that around the time of this jeep tour, the White Wolf (my Jeep) busted a radiator...

I love this vehicle, but sometimes it gets the double middle finger anyways.
Luckily we got it fixed and we able to bring home several delicious Green River melons...

September 12, 2014

Southern Utah Trip #5 - Canyonlands Chesler Park

It seems fitting that I'm making this post on the exact 50th Anniversary of the creation of Canyonlands National Park. We've been to a lot of national parks, and this region is definitely a favorite. It's remote, rugged, diverse, and downright beautiful. The battle to protect the lands surrounding the park boundaries is still being fought.

We hiked out to Chesler Park on a very warm morning. Like any single day you spend in Canyonlands - you only get a taste of the landscape and it leaves you wanting to spend more time there. I definitely came away from this hike (and this whole trip) thankful that we have such a wonderful national parks system to explore and enjoy.

Don't step on the cryptobiotic soil!

September 11, 2014

Southern Utah Trip #4 - Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse Canyon

Andrea and her parents in Goblin Valley

On Labor Day we drive from Torrey / Capitol Reef and visited a pair of cool spots area along the way: Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wild Horse Canyon. Both the park and the canyon are just a little ways off Highway 24, north of Hanksville (ie. the middle of nowhere).

Goblin Valley is hard to describe - it is simply a big, flat valley full of interesting rock formations. There aren't really any trails - you just walk around wherever you want to go. We highly recommend it.

After wandering around in the goblins for a while, we drove down a side road to the Little Wild Horse Canyon trailhead. After just a few minutes of hiking in a wash, you enter a very fun, non-technical, slot canyon.

Both of these places are a dream for hiking with kids... but they great for adults* too!

*FYI - Andrea and I consider ourselves kids

Lots of photos - starting with Goblin Valley...

Little Wild Horse Canyon...