A few weeks ago I took a long drive out to hang out with my college buddy/best man Coldie in Auburn, CA and run the American Canyon 25k. It turned out to be a great "man weekend" filled with good times, food, drink, music, and running. Race day turned out to be gorgeous... high 30's and sunny at the start, which felt warm to this Utahn. Knowing that this was a totally runnable, non-technical, fast course with only mild vertical, I was very tempted to head out on the opening downhill stretch at a blistering pace. Realizing that I had been slogging through snow for the past few months in SLC, I decided against that strategy and went out fairly conservative. I ran at a decent, sustainable clip with a group of female ultrarunners from the Bay Area until about mile six, when they slowed a bit and I was feeling good and picked it up a bit. By the time I reached the turnaround at highway 49, I was feeling great and decided that now was the time to put the pedal to the metal on the 3+ mile downhill back to No Hands Bridge. I ended up absolutely hammering this section of smooth, buttery single-track and was ready to attack the remaining 4.5 mile climb to the finish. I was able to maintain a decent pace uphill despite mild cramping (it was in the 50's by now and hot by my winter standards) and passed a few runners. As I crested the last ridge, I came upon a fellow runner who looked to be struggling a bit. With the finish line in sight, I urged him to run the last bit in with me, but he was badly cramping so I went ahead with my uphill sprint finish. My goal for the race was to break three hours, and I absolutely crushed it... I crossed the line in 2:47:13 in 11th place overall. This year's winner came in at a very speedy 2:09, whereas my time this year was only five minutes slower than the winner last year and would have gotten me fourth place overall. No complaints, I couldn't be happier! After the race I spent some time chatting with the race director and his wife (former SLC residents) and commended them on a job well done. Overall, a great race... beautiful course, well organized, and good aid stations and volunteers.
|Yours truly at the finish line of the AC 25k.|
|Just some no-name trail... no biggie.|
|Coldie and I.|
|The drive home, near Donner Pass.|
|A quick run on the drive home at Rye Patch Reservoir, Nevada.|
|Sunset on I-80, near the Bonneville Salt Flats.|
Since then I've been getting my weekend long runs in, adapting to the wide range of trail conditions we have had the past few months as winter recedes and spring arrives in the Wasatch. One weekend, it was a spur-of-the-moment, Friday-after-work, five-hour-long, solo outing with headlamp in the snow along the foothills (which was the very definition of epic). The next week it was a 22 mile road run on Antelope Island with a fellow runner after discovering that the trails were in horrible shape due to snow and ice. The whole spectrum of weather has been experienced here in the last few months... from stupid-cold temps and white-out conditions, to glorious sunny days with temps in the mid-to-high 70's. You just never know what to expect.
|Epic night run,. Photo by Ashley Gleason.|
|The lights of the Salt Lake Valley from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail above the Avenues.|
|Slow, sloppy day on the trails of Antelope Island.|
|Pounding some pavement instead of post-holing, Antelope Island.|
|Ruby, soaking up the rays and loving life.|
Speaking of unpredictable weather, this Saturday is the Buffalo Run. After a few weeks of glorious sunshine and warm-ish temps, the race-day forecast is calling for a high of 39º and a low of 23º, with a good chance of snow on race day and the days leading up to it. The good news is, I absolutely love racing in colder temps, even if there is a little white stuff falling from the sky. Almost every ultrarunner I know in the Wasatch (and a few from out of town) will be racing this weekend, so it should be a blast. Thoughts/prayers/offerings go out to the handful of friends that are running the 100 miler, starting Friday at noon. Running a 100 miler in March in Utah is quite the gamble, and it looks like this year they will be facing some seriously cold overnight lows and possible snowfall... I hope everyone wears their "woolies" and stays warm out there! On the saner side of the crazy spectrum, I am very much looking forward to running the 50k. My buddy Adam is driving out from Bozeman, MT for the race, so it will be good to hang out with him before and after the race (he's much faster than I), and I know a few first-timers out there, including my coworker/cubicle-mate Stevie who is running the 25k with Ash. Should be fun all around... best of luck to all!