Adventures In Running

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Porter Rockwell and Draper Canal Trails - Loop run

Today I had a long run scheduled with Leslie Peterson and her dog Odee. We were meeting at a new location - a park across from the start of the Porter Rockwell Trail. Since Les was running a bit late, I checked out some of the loop trails around that little park as a warmup.

We started our run on the Porter Rockwell Trail and at .8 mile, took the branch off to the Draper Canal Trail. Odee decided he wanted to stop right as I was going through a gate - so he made me do a graceful face plant. We ran the 2.6 miles on the Draper Canal Trail until its end. I was able to run along the edge a lot of the time to get some trail miles in. At that point, we walked up to the Porter Rockwell Trail.

We headed southwest on PR trail to its end at Point of the Mountain. Odee and I did a couple of fun runs up some dirt hills and I stayed on the edge whenever I could. It was very cold and windy when we reached the end of this trail, so we turned around and headed back. I did a lot more exploring and trail running across the dirt fields.

Odee was starting to struggle during the run back on the PR trail. We took it to the end, at which point Les headed out. We switched waist packs for a while - because she was really frustrated with hers and wanted to try mine out.

I was feeling pretty bouncy after 12+ miles of running and had been running pretty slow to stay with Les the last 5 miles. I ran the 1.75 miles back to the South Mountain bridge at a really good clip - staying for the most part between 9:30 and 10:00 minute miles. Not bad for late in a long run and generally uphill section. I was thinking of slowing down on the way back - but my legs still had power and my lungs weren't too bad. I stayed between 8:40 and 9:30 minute miles for the remainder of the PR trail.

Ran a couple more laps around the longest trail in the little park as a cooldown.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Draper Canal Trail

I ran a short stretch of the Draper Canal Trail last night and headed back this afternoon to see how long it actually was and where it ran in relation to the Porter Rockwell Trail. The start of the Draper Canal Trail is about 3/4 of a mile in on the Porter Rockwell Trail. It is 2.6 miles in length and is a gentle incline (in one direction). It ends up just one block below the former end of the Porter Rockwell Trail - at Bangerter Highway.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Porter Rockwell Trail

I was on a mission tonight to find out how long the Porter Rockwell Trail really is. The trail - according to all the literature and Google Earth - supposedly ends at the Bangerter Highway crossing in Draper, but since Leslie and I crossed the road and ran it further, we knew that all that data was out of date.

I started from Bangerter Highway and headed southwest on the trail. It turns out that it runs another 2 miles along the Frontage Road and near the freeway (I-15) and ends up at Geneva Rock by Point of the Mountain. I enjoyed this stretch although it was a bit windy. I was able to run on the side of the trail on gravel, dirt and sand which gave my legs and feet some 'trail time'.

It is important to train on surfaces that you will be racing on. If you are going to do a road race, you have to spend some time running on roads so your body gets used to the pounding. If you are going to do a trail race, you need trail time, so your muscles and joints get used to the softer and constantly varying surfaces.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Second longest mileage week

I finished up the 6 day period (with one rest day out of the 6) with 65+ miles this week. It was good to see that I am in relatively good shape for the 50 miler, but I am really glad that tomorrow is a rest day.

2009 Utah Grand Slam

While driving to Park City with Les this morning, we decided that we are going to run the Grand Slam this summer. The schedule for 2009 is as follows:


Ogden Marathon - May 16, 2009
Utah Valley Marathon - June 13, 2009
Park City Marathon - August 22, 2009

Top of Utah - September 19, 2009 - Alternate Marathon

St. George Marathon - October 3, 2009

I did the Grand Slam 2 years ago - but really hated the Deseret News Marathon. I was actually thinking of running the Utah Valley Marathon (I think this is its second year) - and hearing that it was on the list made this a no brainer.

I will push on Ogden and St. George and use Utah Valley and Park City as long training runs. It will be fun to try a new marathon this year - Utah Valley. Plus, it will give me a chance to visit with my dad.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Book Review

Living Successfully With Screwed-Up People (by Elizabeth B Brown)

I've been reading this book the last 2 weeks as I walk on my treadmill at night. It is a well written and easily read book. I wish I had read this many years ago, but I honestly was probably not ready to read in until 2005 or 2006.

For anyone who has dealt with or deals with a Screwed-Up Person (SUP) - I highly recommend this book. If you have relationships at home or work that involve a person that emotionally is able to manipulate you, this book will help provide techniques for how to deal with them.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hill Repeats

For anyone who has never run an ultramarathon, the basic rules are "Walk the uphills, run the flats and downhills". However, the more uphills you get used to running, the better your cardio and strength becomes.

I decided to start doing a hill workout every week or two. Today I found a hill that was about .4 miles long with some steep section and ran this hill 3 times. Then I headed over to another hill and ran this short, much steeper hill 2 times.

The plan is to get so that I can do more hill repeats with more speed as the body adjusts. The downhill portions are used as a recovery section on the run.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Jeremy Ranch Road

Leslie, Odee and I decided to go up to altitude and get a break from the inversions down here in the valley. We drove up to Park City and ran the Jeremy Ranch Road from Jeremy Ranch (where the dirt road starts) up to Emigration Canyon and back. We ran together the first half of the run and found that the actual road is 7.3 miles. Les forgot her yak tracks - so had to stay on the side of the road where it was not slippery. The road had been plowed, but was all packed snow and ice. Odee and I were able to run anywhere we wanted (although Odee slipped a lot). I wore my hobnail trail shoes and only felt my shoes slip once on a downhill ice patch.

Les turned back when we hit the pavement, but Odee seemed to want to run on the road, so I took him along for a faster run. However, he got worried about his human mom and turned around to catch up to Leslie. Les had already done 5 miles on the treadmill and was starting to get tired, so she gave me her car keys and I ran faster to get the car and come back for her and Odee. I was probably between 1.25 and 1.5 miles ahead, so didn't have to drive back too far.

We switched vehicles and Les took the dog and headed up to Park City to get some food. She assured me it was all downhill from there. (Liar!). The remaining 1.1 mile on the ice road was almost all gradual uphill and then I got to the main Jeremy Ranch Road and it was also an uphill. What is worse, I looked a mile or so ahead and saw a long, steep uphill. I was praying I didn't have to go up it - but my prayers were not answered. After walking to the top, I ran down the one short, steep downhill, crossed under the freeway and headed to the frontage road to meet Leslie. She picked me up at about 17.75 miles. We ate lunch and headed home.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Queen's Penguin Trail Half Marathon

I needed to have a 'ramp up' week in mileage to see where I was fitness wise for the 50 miler, so this was the start of it.

There is a trail in Sandy that runs next to the Trax trains. I used to think it only went from 8900 South to 114 South, but one day last week I noticed that the trail continues on the other side of the Trax tracks and wanted to explore it.

From my house down to the start of the paved trail is 1.5 miles. I ran the trail and found the new section to be very nice. It actually goes to 12800 South in Draper, with only one block where you have to run on the road. I threw a couple of blocks on the end to make it 6.75 miles at the turnaround so I would have my half marathon in.

I like this run. Once you are on the trail there are not a lot of uphills and downhills - other than gentle ones. Every 4-8 blocks you have to cross a busy intersection, but most of the time it is not too bad. I also think it could easily be extended because I think the end of the one trail is less than a mile from the start of the Porter Rockwell trail.

Oh - and a bonus - I PR'd by one second from my previous best half marathon time. Not at all bad for a training run.

If you want to know how the trail got its name....I couldn't find a name for the actual trail online and one day while running on it, Leslie noticed a pigeon ahead and commented about 'see the penguin's!' Marion named it the Queen's Penguin Trail in honor of Leslie.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Should I Be Committed?

Sometimes it is good to commit yourself to a new challenge. Sometimes people think that anyone crazy to sign up for a 50 mile race should be committed.

Either way - I decided it was time to be committed.

My plans for some of my spring runs have been changing. The Red Mountain 50K race in April down in St. George was cancelled last week for 'economic reasons.' I looked at the new Sapper Joe 50K in May (the week after the Ogden Marathon) and decided that the elevation changes would be a little hard on my body so quickly after a marathon.

In order to accomplish something new this spring I decided to 'upgrade'. I have run the Buffalo Run 25K in 2006, the Buffalo Run 50K in 2007 and 2008 and was scheduled to run the 50K again in 2009. After talking with the Race Director, Jim Skaggs, I took the plunge and upgraded to the 50 miler. This will be my first 50 miler, but I feel pretty good about it. I have run all the open trails on Antelope Island and know what will be ahead of me.

So, 10 weeks from tomorrow I will start on the longest new adventure of my life.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Twilight's Cronies

Twilight is a popular dog. She has lots of friends that she likes to hang with.

In the picture to the left, Twilight is the middle dog. On the left is the new puppy my sister's family just got: Porter Rockwell the dog. He is about 4 weeks younger than Twilight.

Sadie, the dog on the right is her mother. She looks like she is trying to figure out which puppy is hers.

Twilight had plenty of puppy bonding time today. Porter Rockwell came over to hang out this afternoon. Twilight was in puppy heaven and all over her new puppy cousin. Porter was a little intimidated at first, but towards the end he was starting to gain ground.

Twilight also met another canine buddy today. Leslie brought Odee over to my house this afternoon and we introduced the two of them. Odee was more interested in checking out the place and hoping I was taking him for a run. Twilight was a LOT intimidated by Odee and spent her time hiding. As you can see from this picture - Odee is a tad bit bigger than Twi.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Porter Rockwell Trail

Today I went running on the Porter Rockwell Trail in Draper, Utah with my friend, Leslie Peterson. A description of this trail I found online is: The Porter Rockwell Trial starts at the Draper City Park at 1300 east and 12500 south. It follows the Union Pacific railway and ends at about 14500 south Bangerter Highway.

We started out from the Albertsons at 1300 East in Draper. After a nice downhill we turned left onto the start of the Porter Rockwell Trail. I have wanted to run this trail for a long time, but didn't know where it started, so was glad of the opportunity to check it out.

The trail runs between lots of houses. It was a nice trail - about 3 people could run across on it. There was an equestrian trail paralleling a lot of the path. We started out before 7:30 and there were not a lot of other runners on the trail. On the way back, there were a lot more runners - including a group from Team in Training. We ran for an hour (about 4.5 miles) before turning around.

Leslie thought the trail ended at the South Mountain bridge. It turns out that it used to end there at one point in time. After that crossing, the path started doing a series of ups and downs and gradually increased in elevation. The path was clean and shoveled and we did not need to worry about ice. Actually, the only dangerous part of the run was when we crossed a road and the front car would stop for us, but the car in back wasn't paying attention and almost rear ended the other car.

We plan to go back again. We want to find out the full length of the trail and also explore the Draper Canal Trail which branched off from the Porter Rockwell Trail 3 times in the length that we ran.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Coping with slippery conditions

One thing any serious runner in Utah (and many other states) has to deal with is slippery conditions that come along with snow, ice, rain and cold. It is bad enough having to brave the winter weather most days without worrying about falling.

The first step to coping with the slippery conditions is to reduce your speed. Luckily, winter is typically the 'off season' for running and most runners are working on building a solid base of miles. If the roads and trails are slippery, one of the safest ways to stay on your feet is to slow down.

The next step is to find any way you can to provide better traction. I have used trail shoes with better lug soles. I have also tried to use Yak Trax. Those provided good traction, but after only 3-4 weeks of using them, the elastic on the bottom started snapping from the salt eroding them.

Last weekend I stopped in at Striders to see what they suggested and they told me about a new product from La Sportiva. I purchased a set of La Sportive A.T. Grip Hobnails & Tool Kit. This is a set of hobnails that screw into the bottom of your running shoes. When the winter season is over, you can simply unscrew them and use them again the next year. It only took a few minutes to insert them into my running shoes and they provided great traction on uphills, downhills and over black ice.

I strongly recommend these to any one!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Treadmill Endurance Test - take 2

Yesterday I did a lot of icing of both my knees since they have been aching a lot to be ready to do a treadmill endurance test for Sasha.

I got up about 4:45 to head off to the gym. Weight pre-run 148.4. Drank about 10 oz water before heading to the gym. Ran 1 mile warmup at 4:30 mph pace. Potty stop and another 8 oz of water.

Set the treadmill for 6.6 mph and settled in. My heart rate the first two miles was about 159-161 most of the time. At the start of the third mile my heart rate started going up and I was feeling the pace. Heart rate averaged 161-163 during this mile. In the fourth mile I mentally wanted to stop the entire time. I was tired and hot and thirsty. Heart rate went between 163-165 and occasionally 166.

I stopped at the 4 mile mark. I was starting to feel faint, but did not yet have the roaring in my ears and black spots that usually precede this yet. I am not sure if I was at the end of my endurance or if I mentally gave up.

1 mile cooldown at 4:30 mph pace.

Weight post-run 155.6. Lost nearly 3 pounds of fluid during the run - plus the 18 oz I drank pre-run. (I am going to have to research this to find out how I can figure out an optimal amount of hydration for a run such as this)

I think I have pushed past a lot of mental barriers in the past 3 months. I know there is a ways to go, but I am going to limit my hard speed training to one day a week (either a speed or tempo workout or a race) and then work on endurance and get back into weight training.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Provo New Years Run - 5K

What a way to finish out 2008!

2007 was the year that I decided I wanted to become a serious runner.

2008 was the year that I feel I actually became a runner.

2009 will prove what my potential might be. I only have a couple of years until my body starts slowing down even more from aging.

Sasha Pachev from has been informally acting as a coach and guiding me as I try to gain speed and endurance. He wanted me to run this race to see what kind of speed I have in a 5K. I was really scared about this because I knew I would have to be uncomfortable the entire race. I also knew that I had to overcome a mental block I have that says I cannot run fast on the road. This is not just an 'imaginary' condition - I really felt (before this) that I could not run fast and every attempt ended in failure.

1 mile warmup off and on to get my legs loose and moving. I am used to marathons, where I have 26+ miles to warm up and knew this would be different. There were only about 17 runners for the 5K - so I knew I could win my age group - but wanted to earn that award. My dad came down to visit with me before the race and support me. That was pretty nice of him on a cold day. I stripped down to running capris, a long sleeved running shirt, cap and gloves. I figured I wanted to not have extra clothes on since I was going to be raising my core temperature through the pace.

Mile 1 - I started out pretty fast, but was kind of bummed that I was soon in last place. This was all too familiar and I was hoping that some runners had gone out too fast and would end up walking or slowing down. I decided that I needed to keep pushing myself and would look at my watch and sometimes say 'wow' and other times say 'push'. 9:10 for the first mile - the body was warming up. I was breathing hard, but not feeling tired - so far so good on conquering the mental block.

Mile 2 - Sasha passed me on the out and back shortly after the start of mile 2 - he had a definitive lead on the other runners. I was speeding up at times, but still dead last and making no progress at picking off other runners. It looked like they were all running easily. Benjamin Pachev (Sasha's 9 year old son who was also racing) encouraged me at 1 3/4 saying "you can do it." That was nice of him and gave me an emotional boost. Shortly after the turnaround, one of the guys that was running with a girl about 20 feet ahead of me, slowed down to a walk. Chicked him! .....9:07 for mile 2. I was actually speeding up and maintaining a fast pace.

Mile 3 - I kept telling myself I could push harder. Breathing was really difficult at this point in time. I was really spent. Chicked another guy right around 2.5 miles. There was a small uphill and I tried to push up it. I could see the church where we finished and kept saying "get me to the church on time." With two turns to go I was pushing hard and feeling like I wanted to quit but refusing to quit. Shortly after that turn Sasha and Julia Pachev came back and got me and kept telling me to catch up and give them 5. I think I caught up twice. Sasha also guided me on the fastest area to run to avoid ice. 8:51 for the last mile. I was trying not to puke a bit at this point.

Home Stretch: Sasha was telling me to sprint. I couldn't get anything else out of my body and was trying hard, but just didn't have any get up and go left. (on pace for 8:10 - so I guess I did sprint some).

That was just plain HARD! But so satisfying. I took almost 3.5 minutes off my previous PR and that was on a short course. It sure felt good to quit running. Sasha kind of looked at me like 'I told you you could do it.' Sarah said he must have been pleased at my effort because he wasn't yelling at me. :)

Avg: 9:01/Max speed 7:07

After the race I did 2 miles cooldown with Sarah (12:00 avg) on the Provo River Parkway. It was nice to visit with her.

I won a blue ribbon and $2 in prize money for winning my age group (ok - I was the only old person there). I am going to frame my award and prize money. Even better - I really felt like I earned it.

I can't describe the feelings I felt after this run. Since I started running seriously in Junior High, I felt that I had great endurance, but absolutely no speed. Now, I want to see how much speed I have. I don't want it to hurt that bad all the time, but it was worth the hard effort to see those incredible results.