This great run I did…

Location:
Miles: 1.4, 4.6
Time:  6:20 am
Pace:  0:9:00
Temp:  30º
Weather: Overcast, light snow
People I saw: Ran with Ryan
Pain/injuries: None.  Same ham stuff, really.

Notes: I ran 1.4, looking for streets that Strava hadn’t picked up on the heatmap, yet. Picked up Ryan and we ran another 4.6.  Wasn’t comfortable. Walked a bit, because I just wasn’t feeling it.

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Hail, snow, mud at Lambert Park

Location:  Lambert’s Park
Miles:  5
Time:  12:32 pm
Pace:  12:47
Temp:  50º
Weather:  Cloudy, snowy, hail
People I saw:  Just me
Pain/injuries:  Left knee weakness

Notes:  In the middle of my niece, Kaitlyn’s mission homecoming weekend, I took some time off to get a run in.  I try to bring my running bag wherever I go, just in case I can slip in a run.  So I asked my brother in law, Lynn, to drop me off at a trail he’d recommend, near Alpine, Utah.

He started talking about Lambert Park, which is sort of up against the mountain, east of Alpine.  He dropped me off and I let him know I’d give him a call when I wanted a pick up (I would have run back to his house, but was up against time constraints).  I started off at a slow pace, knowing that climbing the switchback I’d identified from the truck, would require a steady, slow pace for me.

As I climbed, snow fell.  Not a lot, but enough to be beautiful and interesting.

 

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Attacked by my imagination on the Provo River Trail (also I try 3:2 breathing)


Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  5
Time:  6:13 am
Pace:  0:8:12
Temp:  45 degrees F
Weather:  Sprinkling, some rain
People I saw:  Just a couple of walkers
Pain/injuries:  Left ham

When I run, it’s usually right before, or right after weather.  I suppose that this is ideal for most runners, but I really get a kick out of a change in conditions.  It’s fun to get myself out in different weather, because it almost feels like running in a new place.

In regard to the post’s title, at around the two mile section of trail, a sudden rustling in the leaves by my feel startled me (and, if I’m honest, sent me into a slightly faster pace.)

Almost as soon as I got home, it started to really rain.  Dang it.

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Running the icy, muddy and dirty Shoreline with friends

Location:  Bonneville Shoreline Trail, starting at Squaw Peak Road
Miles:  5
Time:  1:02:55
Pace:  0:11:32
Temp:  40 degrees F (approx)
Weather:  Slightly overcast
People I saw:  Just my running companions
Pain/injuries:  Left hamstring was a little sore, but held together over some rough and fast terrain

I picked up Ryan and Barry at 8:30 am, yesterday.  We drove up, as far as we could toward Squaw Peak Road, but there was a gate that forced us to park.  We then started jogging, slowly up a pretty steep asphalt road, until we finally came upon the BST and headed east along a dirty, muddy, icy trail.  It was quite fun.

Our shoes were laden by a lot of mud, which we all seemed to notice and comment on.  It’s not too often your shoes go through weight fluctuations on a run.  But I suppose this is the life of trailrunners.  You take it, you deal with it.

At one point, the three of us tried to decide whether or not to cross a pipe and continue on (I know, I know).  Barry advised against it, then promptly crossed it.  Ryan and I toyed with the idea, but eventually gave in to thoughts of medical premiums and backed off.

There was probably a miscommunication as to how far we were going, because at some point, I was running by myself.  At 2.5 miles, I stopped and waited for the rest of my group, but they never arrived, so I turned around and went back to find them.

Once we were back together, we headed back through the mud and ice, slogging along the way.  At the asphalt road, we picked up the pace.  At some point, I thought it would be fun to see what a 0:4:00 minute pace felt like (downhill, of course), so I gave it everything I had, just to come up short at a 0:4:30 pace.  But it was probably the first time I’d ever run that fast.  I held it for about a minute or so.  It was…liberating?  Is this was it would have felt like, had I gotten into running as a kid?

Who knows.

In a way, though, every time I run on the Shoreline, I feel like a kid, again.  It really is a blast.  Much, much more fun that the streets, or paved trails.

 

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I’m being stalked! Wait, no. Yes?

Location:  Lakeshore, Center Street
Miles:  4.4
Time:  6:16 am
Pace:  0:8:43
Temp:  30 degrees F
Weather:  Foggy, cloudy, beautiful
People I saw:  One person before crossed Lakeshore bridge
Pain/injuries:  Left hamstring was painful until about a mile in…settled down.

Sometimes it’s hard to know when you’re being followed, about to be attacked from behind.  But today it almost happened.

It was a little chilly, but beautiful and foggy.  Before I left 2770 West, I could already see two lights at the airport, flashing, lighting against the fog.  For a while I thought that one was at the airport and one was down by the lake.  It’s a pretty big airport by my standards.

But as I was running down Lakeshore, toward the lake, I kept hearing footsteps behind me and, occasionally, breathing.  I’d look back to see if anyone was there, but it was so dark that it was just hard to tell.  So I’d keep running.  This happened about three separate times.  Really weird.  At one point I even thought I saw somebody behind me.  Once I went by the lake and started up Center, I couldn’t hear or see anything, anymore.

This is the excitement of running in the foggy dark.

The bummer about this run is that because I sort of did a larger loop, I had the sense that I’d run around 5.5 miles.  But when I stopped my Suunto and looked, when I got home, I realized that I was more than an hour off.  I’m not very good at “feeling” distance, apparently.

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This pic is from about 45 minutes after I finished my run, but it was so pretty that it deserves honorable mention. One of these days I’m going to coincide my run with the sunrise.

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Signed up for the Salt Air 1/2 Marathon, on April 4, 2014

I’m watching a Sharks/Ducks game, but at second intermission, I got an email with a discount code for the Salt Air 1/2 marathon in April.  It was for 1/2 off.  Had to do it.  So now I’m registered for it, for only $24.47.

I think that’s the only race I have for 2015, so far.

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From Ogden Frontrunner Station: A run along the Ogden River Trail with Patrick Ward

Location:  Ogden River Trail, Ogden, Utah
Miles:  6
Time:  10:04 am
Pace:  0:7:58
Temp:  55 degrees F
Weather:  Beautiful, sunny, shaded by much of the trail
People I saw:  Several walkers, almost all with dogs, one or two runners
Pain/injuries:  Left hamstring, some right hip action

Yesterday I received permission from work, to work remotely.  I took the opportunity to ride the Frontrunner up to Ogden, working during the morning.  I hopped off in Ogden with my friend Patrick and started looking for a place to put my bag while I went for a run (Patrick would be biking alongside me.)

We talked to a bus driver for UTA, who was kind enough to let me drop my bag off in his bus.  He would be making his rounds and meet us back in an hour, where I could pick my bag back up.  It wasn’t my favorite option, but it was really all I had.  The guy had chops and massive mustache.  He claimed to be a runner, who had done several 5ks.  As far as trustworthiness goes, that’s good enough for me.  I asked him if he could tell us where the nearest trail was.  He simply pointed northward and said, “Up there.  North end of the parking lot.”

Sure enough, at the north end of the parking lot, there was a trail, which headed north.  It mostly ran along the railroad tracks, but then veered east, toward Ogden Canyon.  This was a beautiful run.  I admit that there are probably times you don’t want to be running alone on it, but most of what I saw on my three mile stretch (all I had time for; this was technically my lunch break) was beautiful and interesting.

Along the Ogden River, this trail continues eastward, going through old neighborhoods, crosses over the river several times, via short bridges.  It can probably become easy to get lost if you don’t pay attention, because several other paths shoot off of it.  I didn’t have time to figure out where they all went, so I felt safe to stay along the river for the most part.

Strewn along the path were shopping carts, giving us the impression that the local homeless might gather at certain points.  But there were other places that seemed more welcoming and safer for would-be trail users.

This aside, I kept saying out loud, “Wow, this is great.”  It’s not my favorite trail in the world.  It’s asphalt, has no real elevation change to keep things interesting.  But that wasn’t the scope of this task.  My goal is to find decent places to run from Frontrunner.

This trail is literally next to the tracks, easily accessible and fairly safe in the daytime.  I didn’t see any drinking fountains, so you’d probably want to have water with you, if you plan to go for any considerable distance (or if you were to get lost.)

I picked up the pace for the return trip and still felt the same about my initial impressions on my way out- that this is a place I’d come to run, again.  When we got back, Patrick biked over to where he saw our bus waiting for us.  He hopped on, grabbed my backpack (and was told that the driver had to wait an extra minute for us- oops!) and brought it over to me.  When then boarded the southbound Frontrunner with five minutes to spare.

Next time, though, I’d like to have more time to head into Ogden Canyon.

On a scale of 1-10 for paved trails, I’d give it a ‘7’.  Not bad for Frontrunner accessibility.

Special thanks to Frontrunner- for being my daily trans., Patrick- for supporting this run with great pics, and Bus Driver Guy- for being the kind of guy who would take my bag for a ride in Ogden and then return it, after waiting for me.

 

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Ryan and Nathan miss Barry (and I try to wax eloquent over running)

Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  4.5
Time:  6:35 am
Pace:  0:8:13
Temp:  25 degrees F
Weather:  Slightly overcast
People I saw:  Ryan, that guy in black again, two women, cows (the cows are starting to take on personalities to me)
Pain/injuries:  Slight hamstring, less than yesterday

Ryan and I tend to run a little bit in place, when we’re waiting for each other to arrive for a run.  I’ve started trotting the short jaunt to his house, only because it keeps me warm until it’s time to start our run.

It felt cooler than 25 degrees when we started, although I don’t have any mistrust for the thermometer that hangs on my back door window.  When we started, I noticed that we started off at a rather quick pace (for starting).  I think we were at an 0:8:15 for a couple of miles.  I felt good enough, though, to keep it up.

We talked about missing Barry for a moment, then we spent almost the duration of the time talking about running.  This is probably what annoys non-runners the most about us:  Sometimes, when we’re not talking you non-runners’ ears off about running, we’re talking to our runner friends, while running, about running.

Which brings up a good question:  For something so simple as running appears to be, why do many runners spend so much time talking about it?  Answer:  Because to some of us, running is not simple.  It is an amazing, wonderful thing, that continues to reward us for years, with health benefits and feelings that remind (some of us) of our youth.  But for me, the thing that I spend the most time obsessing about, is how I can become a better runner.  I wonder why I hurt one day, but not the next.  I wonder why I can work hard some days, with poor results, while other days a great run or race feels almost (almost) effortless.

Running is a complicated thing, for as simple as it appears to be.  It is the combined effort of brain, heart, blood, lungs, muscles, all working in concert.  Sometimes the results of this concert are a masterpiece; sometimes they come off as an elementary school band- out of sync, out of tune and downright dreadful.

Some days I feel out of breath.  Other days I feel like I’m so sore that that day’s effort is sure to result in supreme pain, later in the day.  Sometimes the weather cooperates and other days it’s a real struggle to just get out the door after you’ve seen that frigid thermometer reading from inside the comfort of your warm abode.

And this, I think, is what makes each run different:  The combination of weather, how you feel, traffic (or not), who you run with (or a solo run), how tired you feel through the run, trying out new clothing or gear, being chased by a dog, confronted by the kids who are waiting for a bus, how low the Provo River is, whether the lake has ice on it, etc.- these are the many combinations that give each run its own personality.  The same route can deliver a unique experience, many times over.

I dispute that the treadmill can do the same.

So yes, I may run the same route (for the most part) each day.  But no run is the same.  Each run is different and each run is (usually) worth it.  Even the bad ones.  I rarely get separated from my run by more than an hour before I start to really feel glad that I did it.  Sometimes I’ll sit on the train and see other runners on the Jordan River Trail, or anywhere, and immediately wish to be transported to that path, back in my running clothes, running along and experiencing whatever joy or struggle I see in that runner.

Maybe my dad is right.  Maybe I’m a little strange.

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Back to the snow

Location:  Provo River Trail
Miles:  5
Time:  6:20 am
Pace:  0:8:50
Temp:  30 degrees F
Weather:  Overcast, cloudy, light snow/hail
People I saw:  One other guy
Pain/injuries:  Back was ok, some light/sharp knee pain, left hamstring was pretty sore

Notes:  For some reason, inclement weather isn’t hard for me to get out into.  It probably has something to do with me trying to prove something, but no one can prove it.

My first mile was sort of interesting, in that it was the first time in months that I felt snow falling and hitting my face.  Nothing much, but enough to remind me what season is boss, here.  The light snow gave way to light hail and some would inadvertently make it’s way into my mouth.  It was refreshing and memories of last year and what is to come went through my mind- It’s going to get colder and it’s going to get snowier.

I was pleased to see no other footprints in the light dusting that covered the Provo River Trail, this morning, until I realized that there actually was another set of prints, that I had overlooked.  And then it occurred to me that each snow day is race day for me.  I always try to determine, from the sets of footprints, what place I’ve come in, in terms of who got out onto the path first.  Today I came in second.

At around mile 2 I smelled a skunk very strongly and wondered what they do during the winter.  Not too much farther past this point, I ran by some cows that were resting, right by the fence on the side of the trail.  They have a huge field to occupy, but for some reason, they really like congregating in this spot in the winter.  They like watching the runners go by?

I experimented with my stride, because my left hamstring was irritating me.  Maybe because I hadn’t run in a while (because of some pretty severe back pain, after carrying some heavy boxes- another story) so it’s possible that the problem was just having taken too many days off.  But I’m sure that the truth is that, in actuality, I need to take many more days off to let this hamstring heal.  But that’s a tall order for a guy who’s about to turn 40 and wants to lose more weight.

All in all, it wasn’t a horrible run.  I kept a decent pace for how I felt and enjoyed the weather.  By the time I arrived home, the snow had stopped and the roads were slick.  I didn’t slip, but I had the impression that it would take much for me to go down hard on the road.

I’ll try to do more strengthening and see if I can rehab my hamstring.

 

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