July 31, 2011

Park City Weekend

Andrea cruising on Park City's Mid Mountain Trail

We spent this weekend at the 5 star Westgate resort at The Canyons in Park City, in exchange for listening to a sales pitch about buying a time share. We considered it a fair trade... 2 hours of nonsense for a couple days of altitude training.

Wanna see how we staycation? Or what a typical weekend looks like? Here we go...


After work we made the 20 minute drive from SLC to Park City. Since we had both gotten in two workouts each already, all we had left to do was relax! We checked out the amenities and the resort and spend some quality time in the hot tubs and pool.

Living the dream

They put us up in a small but nice condo for the weekend


First order of business... long run! We headed over to our new favorite spot, the Jeremy Ranch road. This is a dirt road of rolling hills at 6000+ feet. Andrea ran 14 miles, then jumped on the bike and took some pictures while I finished up my 20 miles. The temperatures were in the low 60s, so it was perfect running weather. We are having an unseasonably cool summer so far (haven't even turned on the AC yet!).

Before getting going

On the ranch

Watch out for the cows

Couple miles to go...


We headed straight for breakfast afterwards...

...and scored some yummy omelets and hash browns!

And then it was time for a few more rounds of hot tubbing

Icing down the legs

On Saturday afternoon we had to go to our sales pitch for the timeshare. It actually was a pretty good deal, but since they don't have any properties in the Sierra Nevadas, we didn't buy one! :-) We did manage to take about a dozen complimentary chocolate chip cookies, though, so it wasn't a total loss.

Post sales pitch, time to head out for the afternoon shakeout

Around 5:30pm I headed out for my four mile afternoon run. Andrea biked along w/ me. I ran a trail that pretty much went straight up the mountain!...

My afternoon run climbed 750 feet over 2 miles! Then came screaming back down.


Woke up a little earlier since we had to check out at 10am, and we wanted to get in another round at the spa before we headed out.

I ran 15 miles, with Andrea joining me for the last five & a half. We iced down for 20 minutes, then hit the spa...

This pool was only for adults. They still let us use it.

Sometimes I wonder how we survive w/out a hot tub on a day to day basis

After we checked out, it was time to go mountain biking. But first we went to Burger King for $1 breakfast sandwiches! Breakfast of champions! Then we hit the trails... starting in Park City and climbing the Spiro trail, then connecting to Mid Mountain and taking that all the way back to the Canyons... we climbed ~1400 feet over the first 3 miles, then did about 14 miles of singletrack rollercoaster riding, then bombed down a jeep road and completed the loop.

Andrea riding the Mid Mountain trail (also called the 8000 foot trail, since it basically hugs the 8K contour).

Park City's ski runs in the background

Taking a snack break at the Red Pine lodge

The entire loop... 22+ miles and 2600 feet of climbing

Back to Burger King for $0.89 cones!

Yep, we are living the dream!

So that's a pretty typical non-racing weekend, other than the 5 star resort! We capped off our Sunday night by grocery shopping, cooking dinner, cooking breakfast and lunch casseroles for the upcoming week, and doing laundry.

Time for ice cream (again)!!! More pictures from the weekend can be found in this album: Random July 2011 (starting at #71)

July 27, 2011

Tennessee Watersports

Andrea showing how its done on the type of skis not typically featured on this blog

This past weekend we took a little mid-summer trip down to Tennessee. It was hot and HUMID, so we spent a lot of time on the water. The first order of business was water-skiing, which is a forte of Andrea's family. For me... not so much. I had never tried it before, and ended up w/ a pretty nasty (and painful) muscle spasm (and never actually got up on the skis). I'll stick to snow skis, thank you very much! But I had a great time hanging out on the boat and watching everyone else in action.

In addition to water-skiing, we also went rafting on the Ocoee River. The weather provided a dramatic backdrop on that adventure, as we spent about half of the rafting trip in a full blown thunder/lightning storm!

Overall, a great trip! It was nice to get out of SLC for a long weekend... although I have to say that the dry heat felt pretty good when we got off the plane this morning!

Andrea's Dad going one handed

Andrea's uncle Craig is pretty darn smooth on water skis

Andrea's brother Alex

Andrea again

When it comes to water-skiing... I'm better at just hanging out on the boat!

Relaxing on the pontoon boat

Our raft group

Our entire group and the guides

July 19, 2011

Garmin Forerunner 110 Review

I finally broke down and got a Garmin watch (the Forerunner 110), so I thought a little review might be useful for some people reading the blog. I'm not going to go into too much details, because if you want all the tech specs on GPS watches there are plenty of good sites that break down every little detail.

There are lots of watches out there that have all sorts of crazy (or some might say useful) features. All I want is distance and time. I can do basic math in my head, and I don't need a gadget to beep at me all the time, or pre-programmed workouts, or a touch screen that will be impossible to use when I have 2 pairs of gloves on in the winter months. I mainly just want to know how far I've run, especially on routes that I can't accurately map (dirt roads, trails, etc). On longer tempo runs, I find it very useful to have my mile-by-mile splits. On workout days where I'm doing shorter reps, I'm probably on the track anyways, so I'm using my trusty and foolproof Timex Ironman watch.

Bottom line: This Garmin 110 watch gets the job done. I'm really happy with it after using it for about a week. Its about the same size as a typical sports watch, it picks up satellites in 10-15 seconds, and its really simple to use. It is also preset to record 1-mile splits, which is perfect (although you can customize it to give you whatever splits you want, or you can do the splits manually). It also gives you your average pace since the previous split was recorded, which is also useful on tempo runs.

Comparing the output to routes that I know the exact distances for shows that the mileage data is pretty much right on the money. The elevation data is a little wacky, but that is true for pretty much every single small GPS device (it requires some smoothing to eliminate spikes in the elevation profiles).

The bonus is that it was also relatively inexpensive. There are fancier versions that are marketed towards "hard core" runners... although I don't know many people that are more hard core about running than me, and this is all I could ever need in a GPS watch.

Some sample output data from a run I did this past weekend - Jeremy Ranch Long Run and a workout I did this morning - Emigration Canyon Run. In both cases, the mileage is right on, but the total elevation gain is overestimated by 30-50%. Neither run was a "roller coaster" like the profiles show... the hills were more steady and gradual.

July 16, 2011

Draper Days 5K

Final stretch of the Draper Days 5K

I ran the Draper Days 5K this morning... I'm using a bunch of shorter races this summer to maintain / improve my speed as I pump the miles back up and buildup towards the fall.

I had a pretty good race, finishing 4th in 15:04. My full report is on my fast run blog page if you want to read how the race played out.

Before this year, my PR was 15:30, so its a good sign that I consider something around 15-flat (at 4000+ feet) to just be a typical performance at end of a 100+ mile week. I'm definitely moving in the right direction.

Andrea is still on the mend from her back pain, but getting better, and we'll both probably be racing when we are in Tennessee next weekend.

Front pack about a half mile into the race

Final kick...

... finish line

July 11, 2011

June Training

Here is the somewhat overdue monthly training recap for June. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep doing this in a monthly format now that we are both using the Fast Run Blog (Andrea - Jake) to record our workouts.

The big race we were aiming to peak for (Utah Valley) was the highlight of this month, preceded by a taper, and followed by some rest and recovery. We were on vacation in California from June 25 - July 4th.


May 30 - June 5: 76 miles (Fight for Air 5K, 14:47, 1st)
June 6 - June 12: 61 miles (Utah Valley Marathon, 2:21:47, 4th)
June 13 - June 19: 57 miles
June 20 - June 26: 77 miles
June 27 - July 3: 79 miles

Total Miles for June (30 days, 44 runs): 297 miles
Average Miles a Day: 9.9 miles
Total Pushups: 3000 (100/day)
Days I drove my car to work: 10 days

2:21:47 @ Utah Valley pretty much sums it up. Had the best race of my life, and now I really think I have a chance at hitting that Olympic Trials Qualifier this fall. I'll be giving it my best shot. Recovery from the marathon was super quick... I never felt sore, and was itching to get back into "real" training almost immediately. Still, I took it relatively easy and let the body fully recover. Our vacation in California was just what the doctor ordered... tons of activity and tons of fun!

May 30 - June 5: 57 miles (Fight for Air 5K, 16:52, 1st)
June 6 - June 12: 48 miles (Utah Valley Half-Marathon, 1:17:54, 1st)
June 13 - June 19: 38 miles
June 20 - June 26: 19 miles
June 27 - July 3: 32 miles

Total Miles for June (30 days, 28 runs): 161 miles
Average Miles a Day: 5.4 miles
Hours of Cross Training: A LOT OF hours

My half marathon time for Utah Valley pretty much sums it up as well. I ran two minutes faster than my goal and won the race! Since then, my mileage has dropped off significantly. I have been dealing with back pain for the last few months (probably due to running hard and then sitting at a desk all day during the week), so my focus now is to be 100% pain free. I've been seeing a PT and incorporating a lot of stretches and exercises into my daily routine. I have definitely ramped up the cross training to maintain my fitness while the running mileage stays low. So no races for me for a while, but I think it'll be nice to watch a few races instead of run them!

We skied for 8 straight days during our CA trip, highlighted by a classic line in Ellery Bowl off Tioga Pass. Toss in a few days of early June skiing at Alta, and we really took advantage of the big snowpack in terms of getting in some spring/summer skiing.

Next up...

: A few 5Ks and other random races here and there this summer. Mainly using them as hard training efforts. The next important race is the Top of Utah half-marathon on August 27th, so that's the current focus.
Trips: Tennessee over Pioneer Day weekend
Skiing: Hung up the skis for the season... until November...
Mountain Biking: We're getting more profecient on the bikes and are looking forward to taking advantage of some of the great trails in SLC and Park City this summer.

July 10, 2011

Baldy Main Chute - End of the 2010-11 Ski Season

Today we decided to head up to Alta and ski one last time before shutting it down for the season. We've been skiing since Halloween, so its probably time to hang up the skis for a few months.

We skied the "Main Chute" on Mt Baldy, a line that has been on our list, but something we just had never gotten around to skiing. We booted straight up it... the chute averages ~35 degrees, but is ~40 degrees right off the very top. For mid-July, the coverage is still incredible, although the snowpack is melting fast with the recent warm tempaeratures.

Afterwards, we cleaned all the gear really good and put a thick coat of wax on the ski bases. We could probably squeeze out a few more days, but I think we're both more excited about doing some more mountain biking in the spare moments when we aren't running.

Andrea booting up the main chute

On the top of the chute. The other side of the canyon melted out completely while we were in California.

Looking down Little Cottonwood Canyon

Andrea and I celebrating the end of ski season

Andrea off the top

Andrea skiing down w/ the majority of the chute visible below her

About 1/3 of the way down... there were a few other guys skiing at the same time as us (seen behind her)

Last turns of the season were some BIG jump turns!

Skiing down

Lower chute... right before the apron

Andrea and the main chute behind her (the continuous line that goes to the top).

July 5, 2011

2011 Summer Vacation Roundup

We're back from an EPIC vacation in California. For the last 10 days, we've been skiing, running, mountain biking, and hot-tubbing from Lake Tahoe to Mammoth Lakes.

I have about 400 photos in my picasa galleries, so I'll put the highlights here and link to the full galleries if you are interested in checking them out.

We had incredible weather and completely took advantage... skiing 8 straight days (including some STEEP lines on Mt Tallac and Ellery Bowl)... between running/skiing/biking, I estimated the total vertical gain at around 35,000 feet. So... we earned all the ice cream we ate (and somehow still each lost several percentage points of body weight... ridiculous)! I only ran ~10-11 miles per day the trip, but w/ the altitude (6200-9300 feet) and all the additional activities, it felt like the volume of a 150 mile week!

Here are all of the 2011 Summer Vacation Links, organized by the primary areas we visited:

Click on those links to see more pictures and descriptions of our adventures in those areas. On the last day, I also jumped in a road race: Mammoth Lakes Freedom Mile

Some highlights...

Now THAT is what I call a vacation!