The Ultra Experience

Here's to the adventures of my life which are usually ultra marathon trail running or fly fishing but may include other trips, experiences, thoughts, opinions, or pretty much whatever I want. As co-founder of Altra Footwear my life and adventures seemingly revolve more around developing and promoting the best footwear in the world...and I love it!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2008 Ultra Race Calender

It's getting that time of year when you need to apply for the 2008 ultramarathons. I hope everyone is figuring out their schedules. Luckily I'm not overly concerned about WS100 and Montrail's claim of it being the world championships, which for the record I think Karl is right about Montrail being on the downward slope(I hate Columbia!) and the whole situation being lame. Personally I'm looking forward to racing this year. Last year I had lofty expectations which for the most part were not met. This year I'm taking a much more chill approach, although I hope to continue to learn and improve as an ultrarunner. So far I have the first half of my schedule sorted out but with my wife and I graduating in April, things are up in the air for the second half of the year (anyone have a six figure salary opening??). So here is what my ultra schedule is looking like:

Jan 26th- Kahtoola 50K
March 22nd- Antelope Island 50K
April 19th- Bonneville Shoreline Marathon
June 7th- Squaw Peak 50 miler
July 12th- Devils Backbone 50

?Katcina Mosa 100K
?Mt Disappointment 50 miler CA
September ???-
?TransRockies Relay
?Bear 100

Who knows exactly where I'll be but is should be fun! Any advice? Anyway, happy running and here's to a great 2008 year of trail running!! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goblin Valley

So last weekend I led a small group of people to Goblin Valley for my job as an adventure trip leader at UVSC. It was a quick weekend trip without being hardcore. We just had a fun and relaxing weekend. Also my wife Zanna was able to come on this trip which is always fun. It was the full moon that night so hiking around the Valley of the Goblins was brilliant to say the least. The next day we also hiked Little Wild Horse Canyon, which is a very cool yet accessible slot canyon in the area. It's just a neat little area.
It was also my two year anniversary of Ultramarathoning! Exactly two years early I ran my first Ultra event which was....the Goblin Valley 50K. Being there definitely brought back some memories. Sadly the race was cancelled this year. I've heard substantial rumors indicating that it will be back next year. Hopefully huh?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Moose Fighting & Movie Star

So last week I decided to go on one of my most favorite training runs with my good friend Karl Jarvis. We started at Rock Canyon and went up the right fork. On the way up we ran into a female moose which quickly ran away. We were excited to see the amazing creature. As we neared Maple Flats we heard some weird noises. As we crested, we saw one of the most amazing spectacles of nature. Two large bull moose fighting! We were stunned. The moose saw us and moved to the far side of the meadow. We stood there whispering about what we had just seen when they started fighting again. It was incredible! It is something that I will never forget. I don't know about everyone else but the running this past fall has been great.

Also, on a recent video by Park City Television I'm on TV! It's a short video on downhill running techniques hosted by ultra great Karl Meltzer and Scott Mason. It's an interesting 2 1/2 minutes. Look for a 3 second blip of me at 1:05. It was during the 2006 Mid-Mtn Marathon that I ran. Check it out!

Sunday, October 21, 2007


For those who have not been to Havasupai or who don't know what it is, you need to find out and go. Aside from Runner's Corner I have a part time job as an Adventure Trip Leader for Utah Valley University. We lead a trip to Havasupai every year and I got to be the trip leader this year. I was excited to go back, since my only previous experience at Havasupai was only for one day. The drive down was long and tedious especially when one of our vans got pulled over in a small Arizona town. Luckily he only got a warning. Our group of 19 people camped on the rim Wed night and hiked down in the cool temperature of morning. The trip was pretty uneventful aside from playing in and around the waterfalls. They were gorgeous as usual. The trash and hygiene of the campground and village definitely put a damper on things but our group ran into some LDS missionaries in town and we volunteered to help clean up an area of the village as a service project which was totally cool. An Indian woman died and so we cleaned up her yard and house as well as built a memorial for the funeral to take place under (see picture). It was a neat experience. We hiked out Saturday morning and drove home that night, making for a very long day, but we all survived and had fun. Being the leader of 19 people gave me a slightly different perspective since I was directing traffic and worrying about safety etc. We all had a great time and I learned even more as an experiential educator and leader. Next weekend I am leading a trip to Goblin Valley and then over Christmas break I'm leading a 9 day sea kayaking trip to Baja Mexico. Lots of fun!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Front Side of Timpanogos

So the other week I wanted to go for a nice long run. I finally felt recovered from Wasatch and I needed to go long. I decided to run the Great Western Trail along the front side of Timp. It was a beautiful day and I felt good. Nearing the saddle of Baldy I felt a blister coming back on my left foot. I stopped on the saddle to apply some tape when, as I was looking up at Timp, suddenly decided to go for it. It was a spectacularly spontaneous decision that I rarely make yet I soon found myself heading straight up the south face of Timp. No trail, no trees, just me heading up an extremely talus and angled slope. The wind was crazy and luckily I had my Golite Wisp jacket which is amazingly wind resistant as I powered up the mountain. Finally reaching the Saddle I was nearly blown off a cliff due to the ridiculous wind. I'm not the best judge of wind speed but it must have been 50-60 mph winds as I slowly and tiltedly made my way up the ridge line. The view was beautiful with snow patches from the first couple storms of autumn and the valley below. I was getting a bit chilled but I quickly made my way to the summit. After starting at just over 5,000 ft in Orem, I had made it to the top (11,749 ft) in just under 3 1/2 hours! It was awesome. Soon I was off heading down the mountain. The autumn colors were perfect and the run, aside from the small blister, was unbeatable. I barely had enough water and I took 40 oz on a 76 degree fall day. Doing this run in summer would be way too hot. Luckily it was perfect for me and I had an awesome run! This run is definitely recommended for you adventurers. Happy trails everyone.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wasatch 100

Short version: I ran the Wasatch 100 mile foot race on Sept 8th-9th 2007. It hurt really really bad. I finished 53rd in a time of 29 hrs and 53 minutes. Did I mention how painful it was?

Long version:

Wasatch 100....this race was difficult. Why I chose to do this race at the young age of 25, who knows. Looking back my preparation wasn't as good as it should have been. With me not being able to train in the month of June, since I was on my NOLS course, I didn't get the base I needed. July I trained great but after running Katcina Mosa I didn't get much training in and then 12 days after Katcina I did the Highline Trail. My blisters were so bad from the Highline trail that it took them two full weeks to heal up at which time there was only one week until race day. Not ideal but I still felt I could run close to 25 hrs. 26hrs would have been a better goal. My splits were set and I prepared as well as I could. The beginning of races are so much fun. Everyone feels good and you can just talk and relax. I ran the first few miles with Dave Hunt and than the next few with Christian Johnson, Peter Lindgren, and Roger Smith amongst others. I settled into a comfortable pace. At the first aid station I was right on pace as I was at the second and third aid stations. But heading into Sessions Lift Off, the balls of my feet started hurting. Same place where I got the blisters from the Highline Trail. This was a bad thing. Remembering those last 7-8 miles from the Highline run and realizing that I had seventy miles to go was not a great realization. Within two miles out of Sessions the blisters were fully blown and I was slowing down. By the time I got to Swallow Rocks I was limping and in serious pain. The five miles into Big Mtn were slow and painful. I just couldn't run downhill very well with 3 inch blisters on the balls of both my feet I was slowing down. By the time I got to Big Mtn I was almost in tears. My dad and wife were there and obviously worried because I had fallen 45 minutes behind my goal time. I sat down, took off my shoes, and all I heard was gasps from both my father and wife. "There's no way you can go 61 more miles on those feet," they said. I was adamant about still going. I decided to tape the blisters up and put on a fresh pair of socks and shoes. By the time I stood up and was ready to go their concern had caught up to me, as they were still expressing their doubts and concerns. I hesitated and finally told them that if at Lambs Canyon I was still hurting this much or worse that I would drop. After a long 27 minutes, I left Big Mtn. The first quarter mile I was careful on my feet but the tape job and new shoes were incredible. I felt almost back to normal. After a mile or so I ran into a guy heading back towards me with a race number! He asked if he had missed a turn and I assured him that he hadn't. We ran the next 11 miles together. His name was Kelly and he was a year younger than I. My blisters felt 100 times better and off we went passing quite a few people. It was my most memorable section of the course but tape doesn't last forever. I got to Lambs in great time and there my wife was ready to pull me off the course but our agreement was IF I was feeling better I could keep going, and I wasn't about to quite with my feet feeling that much better. Unfortunately my wife called both my pacers about the blister problem and she was so sure that my feet were past repair that she told them not to come. Luckily, I chose good pacers. Tommy Schlosser decided that if nothing else he would come and talk to me about the first 53 miles even though I was suppose to drop out. Needless to say he had to get dressed quickly because I was excited, feeling better, and ready to keep going. Tape doesn't last forever and the miles of asphalt over and into Mill Creek Canyon were taking their toll. My feet were starting to get sore again but I kept making good time. The climb out of Mill Creek wasn't too bad but once I started trying to run along the downhill section next to Dog Lake my right blister had had enough and tore right open. For those of you who haven't had the skin from the ball of your foot rip entirely off I would highly recommend never having that experience. If was incredibly painful. I came to a sudden halt. Luckily I carry athletic tape wrapped around a pencil -brilliant!-. I wrapped up my foot and within minutes was hobbling along again. After a quick cup of soup at Desolation Lake I was off and soon heading up Red Lovers Lane when my left blister ripped open. This time I wasn't stopping. I didn't have much tape left and I decided to stomach the pain all the way to Brighton. I was determined to make the best time I could regardless of the pain. Brighton was actually somewhat fun. I was able to stop and really fix my blisters, talk to my pacers, and family, eat some soup, and know that I only had 25 miles to go. Unfortunately I had no way of knowing what this would entail. I left Brighton feeling good and confident. The only problem I had experienced up to this point were blisters. About half way up Catherine's Pass I started getting nauseous. 5 minutes later I was throwing up everything I had eaten at Brighton next to the trail. Man it felt good afterwards. Although my stomach was still weak I felt good heading into Ant Knolls. With a weak stomach yet feeling good (still limping on raw feet type of feeling's relative, you might not understand) I did possibly the dumbest thing I could. I stopped eating. I couldn't stomach gels and I was only moderately successful at eating some fruit at Ant Knolls mile 80. Shortly thereafter I went through an energy crisis. I just couldn't get my body going. I took a long break at Pole Line Pass (83.4) eating and drinking not nearly enough and after 20 minutes I resolved to keep going much too early. The next section was the hardest of the race. My stomach felt awful, I had no energy, my feet hurt worse than I could describe, and I was SO COLD! It took me 1hr 39min to go 4 miles! Several times I had to stop and sit next to the trail. Finally at Rock Springs with minimal supplies I took the rest I should have had at Pole Line. The volunteers were amazing. Thank You! They wrapped my shivering body into a sleeping bag and made me slowly sip some soup. I even fell asleep for about 10-15 minutes. After vomiting a couple more times, a nap, and some soup I finally started feeling better. After a long much needed 55 minutes I left with a resilient determination to get to the finish regardless of how many people passed me (which seemed quite popular over the last couple of hours). My pacer Danny, who I picked up at Brighton, and I came up with a brilliant plan to keep food inside my stomach. Every 20 minutes I would nibble 1 Clif shot blok. It's all my stomach could handle as the Plunge and the Dive tortured my tender feet. Finally I got into a rhythm as we approached Pot Bottom Pass. I was able to tape my blisters one last time and I ate quite heartily as my stomach had finally settled down. As I was doing all this, Derek Blaylock came into the aid station. I guess I didn't need to feel so terrible about my place after all! He came and left quickly and I wasn't about to sit there all day letting people pass me. I followed Derek as long as I could and although I couldn't quite keep up with him I passed 4-5 people myself as I cruised to the finish. Sadly I felt great that last seven miles. Where was this energy 3 hours ago? My pacer and I looked at our watches and calculated how far we had to go. It didn't take us long to realize that I would be close to breaking 30 hours. This motivated me to push as hard as I could regardless of the pain. Once we hit the pavement my pacer ran on ahead to notify my wife I was coming in. After 99 miles I was going to finish. It was an emotional experience. But soon I was angry....why would I put myself through so much pain and discomfort? I was sure this was the stupidest thing I had ever done in my life. Funny how my emotions were all over the place. I finished strong though. 53rd place in a time of 29:53.00. I was glad to be done.
Well, although it was stupid, I'd finished. Why I did it, who knows. What would have happened if I hadn't had blisters? When would the stomach problems have happened and what would my time have been? It's impossible to know exactly. But...we will see what happens in the future. Stupid, yes, crazy, definitely, incredible, absolutely! Maybe next year I'll do Leadville...or the Bear....or both! Happy trails everyone and here's to persevering! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Uintah Highline Trail Run

For those who don't know what the Highline Trail is, it is a 70 mile stretch of designated wilderness in the High Uintah Mtns of North Eastern Utah. It has some of the most remote primitive and unknown mountains in America. Having wanted to do this trail for years, I concocted a plan this summer to fastpack it. Including my sleeping bag, water, food, and clothing, my total pack was 15 lbs! (For a full list of items I took on this ludicrous journey e-mail me). My excursion took place on the 16th-17th of August 2007. With the record on this trail being just under 30 hours I hoped to possible even set a new record. Getting to the trailhead was more of a journey than I thought as my 8:16 am start shows or my dad will tell you. Once at the trailhead I quickly started my journey. The first section of trail went by easily. I felt great and the trail was comparibly smooth. In fact the whole day was like that. It was one of the best running/hiking days of my life. My pace was little more than a power walk but I knew I had a long way to go. The only problem I had all day was going up Anderson Pass when I started feeling a little dizzy, probably due to the rapid gain of elevation which had quickly risen to over 12,000 ft, so I laid down for 30 minutes. My favorite section of trail was in the late afternoon. From Tunsten Pass over Porupine Pass was incredible. With the sun setting I quickened the pace in attempts to cover as much ground as possible while it was still light and I felt amazing. Once it was dark my pace slowed down drastically. The trail became increasingly difficult to follow and I even got lost for about 20-25 minutes. At one point in a meadow full of willows I spooked a pair of moose that must have been 20-30 ft from me. They luckily ran quickly in the opposite direction as my heart rate SLOWLY came down. Luckily the trail was pretty good and with my trusty headlamp I kept trudging along. I knew that if I had any chance of setting the record I would have to continue though most of the night. Sadly, after running for over two hours in the dark and approaching Red Nob Pass the trail became extremely difficult to follow and I was at tree line. Up to this time it had only sprinkled on me for 10 minutes earlier in the day but with lightening in the distance, hardly a trail to follow, with few trees up ahead, and a serious pass to get over I made the cautious choice by stopping and waiting until it got light. At 2:00 am the storm hit with full force put I was tucked under a pine tree wrapped in my sleeping bag and tarp. My watch alarm was set for 4:45 am since it started to get light around 5:15 am. Unfortunately I didn't hear it and at 5:30 am I awoke suddenly, looked at my watch, and scampered up to get going. The day didn't continue much better. It was raining as it would for most of the day and I had a long way to go. Red Knob Pass and Dead Horse Pass were incredible beautiful and I made pretty good time through that section but heading through Rock Creek Drainage with 12-15 miles to go my feet got angry. The miles added up especially those past few hours in the rain. I powered on but the weather had different ideas. Nearing Rocky Sea Pass a sudden lightening storm hit. With lightening striking all around me I huddled under a small grove of pine trees. At this point with the length of the night stop, the weather and my feet the speed record was gone but during a pause in the storm I hurried over the last major pass. From here is was merely 9 miles to the finish. With heavy legs and sore feet I kept moving...that is until the next lightening storm hit me. This one was something fierce. It was one of the most incredible displays of lightening I had ever seen. Unfortunately, I was too wet, tired, and scared to enjoy it. It wasn't all that scary until, when in lightening position huddled under a pine tree, lightening struck merely 30-40 yds away. I literally was knocked to the ground immediately and with one painfully ringing ear I sat for another 20 minutes. By this point the trail was all puddles and mud. With 4 miles left my blisters had experienced enough and ripped open. With some help from my friends moleskin and athletic tape I arrived to the trailhead tired and in pain. I'd acquired some mean blisters and a multiple personality but we did it! It took me 31 hours and 59 minutes but I was done. My wife was there to greet me and take me to get a burger. Will I ever do this again? Maybe...maybe not. Maybe in 6 days. Yes, that sounds much more enjoyable. However, if I were to go for the record it would have to be like the current record holders; in one fell swoop with a GPS. If I hadn't stopped for 6 hours at night or spent over an hour huddled under trees during lighting storms I very easily believe that I could have set the record. Now racing this, and going all out some ultra runner might even be able to break 24 hours! It would be very difficult though. Below are my splits for all of you aspiring record holders and/or if you are just interested. Happy trails!

Start/Chepeta Lake: 0:00.00 8:16 AM
Kidney Lake 3:59.38 12:15 PM
Anderson Pass 8:48.55 5:04 PM
Tungsten Pass 10:35.59 6:51 PM
Porcupine Pass 11:43.35 7:58 PM
Camp/Upper Lake Fork River 14:59.44 11:14 PM
Red Rob Pass 21:34.52 5:51 AM
Dead Horse Pass 24:19.19 8:35AM
Rocky Sea Pass 28:38.53 12:54PM
Hayden Pass/Finish 31:59:02 4:15PM

Monday, August 13, 2007

Outdoor Retailer Show

My most recent adventure led me to the amazing outdoor retailer show at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake. Although most of what I did there was business, I felt like a kid in a candy store. I met with tons of retail companies including Brooks, New Balance, Wrightsocks, Smartwool, Golite, Gu, and that was just the start. A few highlights that might interest all you Ultra/Adventure people out there: Golite Shoes new low profile carbon fiber trail running shoe. It's amazing, and for $160 it better be amazing. Golite sleeping bags that are male and female specific that also zip together. Lots of companies do similar things but these were super light, looked great, totally functional, and surprisingly affordable. Smartwools new PhD line of running specific socks. Wow! Everything you'd expect from Smartwool plus the most amazing advertising..."my socks are smarter than your honor student." Montrail's new shoe called the Streak. Light weight and looks great. I believe it will be a hit and Montrail really needed something like it in their line. Gu has a new flavor, mint chocolate. It's the best tasting chocolate gel I've ever had. It is a limited item that will only carry through Christmas 2007. Timex is coming out with a new Sleek 50 that also controls your Ipod. It's incredible! Those few items are something to look forward to and there were tons of other great new products on the market. Let's just say the outdoor market is heading in the right direction!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Katcina Mosa 100K 2007

Wow! Why I run this brutal 62.24 mile race I will never know. To date it is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. With over 16,000 ft of elevation gain(12,000 by mile 30), rocky and rough trail conditions, ridiculous heat, and...well 62 miles of it, it's hard. This year my goals were simple: 1st-run with Wasatch 100 in mind for learning and training. 2nd-run faster than last year. And 3rd-WIN.
This year Dave Hunt needed a place to stay before the race since he lived in Salt Lake and wanted to stay closer to the race...I offered my house. We prepared the night before the race and set a schedule to be to the start at 2:40 am. (The race starts at 3:00am) Needless to say, we screwed up big time. We left the house 15 minutes later than we had planned, we got lost in Springville due to the road construction, and we pulled in as the runners we leaving at 3:00 am. We both frantically put all our things together, dropped our drop bags and off we went 5 minutes behind the rest of the field. A minute up the road I realized I had the wrong insoles in my shoes and Dave had forgotten his gloves, water, and he had to go to the bathroom. We decided NOT to turn back. A minute later the topic of turning back came up again. This time we decided to go back. We dropped out water packs and went back to the start to take care of business. When all said and done we started a little over 13 minutes behind the rest of the field!! We're idiots, we know.
From there the race went well. Dave and I ran together and after an hour or so we started passing the back of the pack runners. I was quite flustered and annoyed from the whole experience of getting to the start late and turning back but Dave didn't even seem fazed. I tried not to let it bother me. By aid station #3, mile 16.5, we had passed over 20 people with only 2 3:00 am starters in front of us.(There was a few runners who opted to start at 1:00 am) We were heading up Lightening Ridge the most beautiful section of the course and one of the most amazing trails I've ever run. Near the top I started picking up the pace knowing that I was a better downhill runner than Dave and knowing that he was in much MUCH better shape this year than last, so I wanted to put some distance on him on the long downhills coming off Lightening Ridge and Windy Pass. I felt comfortable and heading down into Big Springs aid station mile 23.5 I had taken over the lead and put 4-5 minutes on Dave. Danny and Derick Moody were there to greet me and also help pace me up to Windy pass. It was much nicer this year having pacers, running longer with Dave, and passing nearly everyone in the race. Last year I didn't even see a single runner from mile 16 to the finish. After having now caught even the 1:00 am starters and nearing the top of Windy Pass my legs started feeling a little tired but I'd gone nearly 30 miles with 12,000 ft of elev gain. I felt better at this point than I did last year. 5 min out of Windy Pass I thought I heard shouting as if another runner had come in. I couldn't be certain but somehow I felt that Dave was not messing around this year and it just might have been him. I wanted to put some distance over him during the out-n-back section. If he saw that I had 10-15 minutes on him and looked good it might demoralize him and then I'd have the race in the bag. Coming off of Windy at one point I looked back. I don't know why but I did. Sure enough 5 minutes back was Dave. I decided to pore the heat on. I cruised down into Little Valley and quickly headed up to the out-n-back. On my way down I was shocked...4 minutes back was Dave. Back at the aid station I decided to change shoes and loaded with fuel I was off, determined to bury Dave and win the race. During long openings I would look back to see where Dave was. I didn't see him but I kept pushing knowing he couldn't be too far. Several sections of the course weren't marked all that well and like I promised John Bozung the race director, I would stop and tie flagging for the rest of the runner's. It didn't take much time but at mile 49 as I was tying a flag when I saw Dave, roughly 3 1/2 minutes behind me. Screw the flagging it wasn't my problem any more I was off. I was tired. Really tired and my legs were killing me. He caught me at mile 51.5. I'd pushed and pushed but Dave broke me. At this point Dave was so chipper and moving like a gazelle that I knew it wouldn't even be worth trying to go in together like we had mentioned at the beginning. Dave was very courteous and ran with me for 1/2 mile making sure I didn't need any water, gu, or pills. Finally I told him to go win the race and leave me. He reluctantly did and there the race ended for me. I had given it my all and was spent. Coming into aid station #8 mile 53.5 I was only 3 minutes behind Dave but I was dead. I sat down, leaned over to a crew man and said "make me leave in 3 minutes." In that time I managed to drink a red bull and two huge slices of water melon. I was amazed at how much better I felt! My stomach was still upset but with a quick look at the watch I realized that I could still break 13 hrs! I didn't want to push too hard but I ran solid those 3.7 miles to the final aid station. I should have taken more time there but I really wanted to break 13 hrs. With 5.8 miles left, all of which on asphalt, I changed into some road shoes and off I went. Needless to say, 2 miles down the road and I was dead. I hit my final bonk from whence there was no return. Mentally and physically I had been beaten. I walked more of that road than I want to even imagine. My finishing time was 13 hrs and 4 minutes. Surprisingly if you minus those 13 minutes at the start you would get 12:51:00. I had run merely two minutesf faster than I had run last year!! Quite ironic. I would settle for second place with my good friend and icon Dave Hunt winning out. That long break at aid station #8 taught me a valuable lesson. on these long runs I don't need to rush through the aid stations like I tend to do. It's ok to stop for 3-4 minutes and replenish. I would have run a much faster race if I would have slowed down through the aid stations and eaten more solid foods. I needed more salt as well. What a brutal experience! With Wasatch 100 coming up it is somewhat frightening yet I think I am going to run Wasatch much more casually and not so competitive. I keep learning about ultra's though and although this one broke me I ran well. Thanks to all the aid station crew members! We can't do it without you. Also congrats to female winner Marcee Christian for an awesome race and to all other Katcina runners. What a brutal race. Happy trails everyone.

Katcina Mosa 100K Home Page:

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Uintah Backpacking Trip

My recent adventure involved me taking my father-in-law, the ever famous Professor Richard Nietzel Holzapfel, backpacking in the Uintah Mountains. Since he nor his son Zac had ever been camping before I got all their gear prep'd early and planned an awesome trip with great food. We left just after lunch on Friday and off we went up the Mirror Lake Highway. Passing through the tiny town of Samak was way too entertaining but once at the Crystal Lake trail head, it didn't take long to hit the trail. We were only going two miles in but the trail was steep and we took our time. Can you even imagine Prof. Holzapfel with a 25 lb backpack heading up a trail? For those who know this Deseret Book superstar you can understand how adventuresome this trip was! We picked a great Leave No Trace campsite away from the noisy Boy Scout's up on the base of Mt Watson. Zanna made us a dinner consisting of couscous and salmon which was a hit. Once dinner was over we went off to the main Zac quickly got hooked on the fly and bubble technique and spent the rest of the trip fishing every spare second. Richard even caught several fish and then quickly became fascinated by my "uncanny ability to catch fish." Yes it is true; I love fishing and seem to be fairly skilled at catching fish. The area produced lots of small Brook trout and we all had a great time with plenty of fishing success. It was fun being in the mountains with people who were experiencing the smells, sounds(or lack thereof), and views for the first time. They kept commenting on the views and the wildflowers. It was great and exciting for me to see them enjoying themselves. Everyone even seemed to sleep quite well and grew a little closer to the outdoors. We went home happy Saturday afternoon from a small yet fun adventure. Happy adventures to us and hopefully to everyone else!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Fourth of July --Bagging Cascade

Once done with my NOLS course I was eager to get back to trail running. When approached by Golden and Danny to run Cascade Peak I said "sure" having no idea what I was getting myself into. The first several miles were great especially since it is on the Katcina Mosa course (my next race) but after Lightening Ridge the trail ended and it got nasty. Running turned to scrambling and on it went. The scree and bouldering got tiring and annoying but on we went. Nearly five hours later back stumbled 3 tired souls eager for a Jamba Juice. Cascade Mtn is NOT recommended for running. Not by myself or anyone sane person that I know of. Having done it, I have no intention of ever doing it again! It did create some classic moments. Like Danny respectfully wearing his American flag shorts, it being the 4th of July and all. Cascade Mtn is a 10,908 ft mountain that rises to the east above Orem/Provo.

NOLS-- OEC 6/7/2007 Absarokas

So 3 days after Squaw Peak 50 miler I was off on my next adventure, a 24 day course with the National Outdoor Leadership School. My course was an Outdoor Educators Course which is a course for outdoor professionals. Since I am an Outdoor Rec student at UVSC and having worked for Outdoor Education at UVSC guiding trips for the last year and a half, I definitely qualified. The group met up in Lander, WY on June 6th to prepare for the 17 day backpacking trip and the 5 day rock climbing camp that was to come. Our group immediately connected (Whoa OEC) and off we went into the amazing Absarokas Mountains in Wyoming. Needless to say I learned a lot about backpacking, rock climbing, expedition behavior, teaching styles, community values, and Canada. (Thanks Dai!) The group was amazing and I met some great people that I will never forget. If anyone is thinking about participating in a NOLS course, I highly recommend doing it. It is well worth the money and an unforgettable time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Squaw Peak 50

So the big race finally came. Last year I had the race of my life placing 10th with a time of 9hrs 20 min. It was also my first real ultra marathon. This year I had more experience and much better training. I was excited. The race started at 5am. I got there with plenty of time but at 4:55am nature called. It also called lots of other people because there was a big line for the toilet. Luckily at 4:59am my turn came. It only took 30sec and then I ran to the starting line and within 10sec of arriving the race started. Not having the best starting position I spent the first mile slowly picking my way through the crowd talking to those I knew. I found myself in seventh place by the dirt and there I stayed. Going up the Silvia trail the leaders pulled away but I kept a comfortable pace with Christian Johnson and Rich McDonald. Shortly after Hope Campground I decided to try and stay within 3-5 minutes of the front pack and I picked up the pace. I found myself in 5th place and there I stayed for a long time. Last year at AS#3 the lead group's time was 1hr 55min. I could see them in the distance every once in a while meaning I was 2-3 minutes behind them. Needless to say, I got to AS#3 in 1 hr 50 min!! Way too fast. I was exactly 2-3 min behind the front group in 5th place. I decided to take this next section a little easier and just let the front group go. It felt good to ease off going up and over Horse Mtn. As we neared Camel Pass Brad Mitchell caught up to me and we ran together for the next several miles. I got to Hobble Creek mile 22.7 feeling fine but by the time the road (3 miles) was over, I was hurting. My stomach was giving me serious problems and my feet were killing me. My time at mile 26.5 was exactly 9am, which was my desired split, so I realized that I just had to hold on. I didn't do a very good job. I'd moved into 4th going up Hobble Creek but at mile 28 Leland and Brad caught and passed me. Sadly I was forced to walk up much of Hobble Creek and Sheep Creek. I couldn't eat or drink anything and I was in pain. Around mile 31 Golden (my pacer) arrived I explained how the last 5 miles had been. Small talk followed for several minutes but then we topped off at Sheep Creek. I'm better and more confident on the down hill so that mile+ into Little Valley I made a push. I was feeling slightly better at this point in time and started making much better time. AS#8 came and went with me picking up steam and feeling better. I was able to eat and gu up finally so off we went with 16 miles to the finish. I knew that if I could get to the Windy Pass AS#9 my downhill abilities and familiarity with that section of the course would pay off. When I reached the AS after a long hard push I also found out I was back in 5th place again which gave me even more excitement. (Sadly Brad took a wrong turn...sorry Brad) Needless to say, I made it off of Windy Pass in 51 minutes! I hurt all the way to the finish but it felt great to finish a tough race 5th overall with a time of 9hrs and 13 min which was 7 minutes faster than last year. Sadly I lost 30 minutes from AS#6 to AS#8. My young and stupid mistakes probably cost me a 3rd place finish. I felt that I ate and drank way too much at the beginning of the race in fear of the record heat that took place which ended up giving me serious stomach problems. I tried a newer and much lighter weight shoe which gave me painful foot problems, I had trained way too hard the previous week and a half, and I went out much faster than I should at the beginning of the race. Though I made several crucial mistakes, I feel good about still finishing 5th with a good time and notching it up for experience. There's always next year! Happy Trails everyone!