Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bonus Post - September Challenge

Mer over at We're Losing It has put out a Supreme September Super Duper challenge which is easy enough to do, but I think will have a big impact on your health if you are not already doing it.  Consider doing the following:

  • Minimum 30 minute workout 
  • 5-6 days a week
  • Cardio or strength training
  • Post daily about it on your blog.
I'm in.  I am going to tweet  (@brucegud) my daily workout (I guess tweeting is micro-blogging).  How about any of you?

Hang in there and I will too.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Getting Back Up

This posting is dedicated to Clyde and Alan who have been a constant source of inspiration and the ability to put a smile on my face.  I guess I can relate to both of them since we all came to a realization that we need to make some serious changes in our lives.  Clyde and Alan are having some struggles of their own right now and maybe a few of the rest of you are as well.  Let me share something with you.

Saturday I went on a hike.  If you have followed this blog at all, you know I enjoy getting out and hiking.  We have so many beautiful places to go and I enjoy the challenge of them all.  This hike was different however.
 Even though I saw sites as beautiful as this I soon lost my appreciation of the hike.
Early on in the hike
It could have been a number of things.  I was just finishing up a recovery week from my half marathon last Saturday.  I only got 5 hours sleep.   I ran a long run the day before.  It has been hotter than normal the past week.  And for this part of the country, it was muggy as well.  I haven't sweat that much in a long time and even though I had plenty to drink and enough to keep me fueled, I realized I wouldn't be making it to the Cascade Saddle as I had planned.  It wasn't because I didn't have time, I was because I was exhausted after four miles and a lot of climbing.  I felt like I did when I started out a couple of years ago.  The only difference was that I had gone four miles instead of a quarter of a mile.  Still I was defeated!  Those four miles back to the car took forever.

Even though I knew how far I had come, I felt like a failure when I climbed back into the car to go back home.  I haven't felt like this in a long time.  I had been knocked down for sure.  Maybe the stumble started when I didn't finish the half marathon in the time I had hoped.

So what to do.  Going home, getting something to eat and soaking my tired legs helped.  I took it easy the rest of the afternoon until it was time to go to a family reunion on my wife's side.  It always cheers me up to see them.  I got a few compliments since they haven't seen me in a while and several of them are runners as well.  It's funny how much I not only like to run, but also talk about it as well.  What a running nerd I've become!

A good night's sleep helped as well.  I realized as I got up, that I was a bit weary in the body, but I was recovering quickly.  No limping and no getting back into bed.  I was ready for the day.  I went to church and things were looking and feeling better.

This morning I got up and went out for a three miler.  I made sure this was the  recovery run it was meant to be.  I came home, stretched and got cleaned up, had a healthy breakfast and headed to work.

How am I feeling now?  Still a bit discouraged, but I got back up after the knock down and kept on going.  Do I always bounce back this quick?  No, but we all need to keep the perspective that our knock down times are not going to last forever.  We need to do what we can to get back up, be patient with ourselves and never, ever, give up.  Don't give up and turn back towards where you came from just because your having a rough time.  Catch your breath, get your bearings and get back up as quick as you can.  You have come further than you realize.   Keep moving forward!

Hang in there and I will too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hobble Creek Half Marathon - Lessons Learned

Training and running in a half marathon is one of the most physically, emotionally and mentally challenging things I have ever done.  Last year is the first year I even considered that I could do it.  Thanks to the encouragement of running a 10K and having running friends telling me I could do it, I took it seriously and trained in earnest for the Halloween Half Marathon last year.

This year, I knew I could do it and I wanted the challenge again so I signed up for the Hobble Creek Half Marathon.  It has a reputation locally of being one of the best courses, so I eagerly signed up in time.  It sold out in about 1 hour this year.

© Sojourners Running Club. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Last year, I was happy to be able to finish.  This year, I had hopes of finishing around 2:30.  My training runs had given me the confidence to think it was doable.  When I finished though, I was disappointed with my finish time of 2:43:10.  Training right leads to a good race, but it doesn't guarantee it.  Here are some things that I just couldn't train for:

  1. The buses that drove us to the start line were late and there were not enough buses.  This lead to a late race start and got us down to the bottom of the canyon as the day was getting warmer.  I really started to tank when I got out in the sun.  
  2. I have been training getting my nutrition down, but I didn't train on carrying my Gu's pinned on the inside of my running shorts.  I ended up having one of the Gu's leak and run down my leg.  I knew I was having a problem with this as we went up in the buses, but it didn't become an issue until I used the porta-potty and when I came out, the Gu (chocolate no less) started oozing out more.  Looked like I had a bad accident.   This lead to getting yelled at and threatened.  We were starting at a campground which they blocked access to the runners going down into the camp area.  I asked the host if there was a water spigot near by that I could rinse the Gu off.  They were more than helpful in letting me use a nearby tap.  An ornery lady was camped near the spigot and kept yelling at me to get out of the area.  Even though I told her that the campground host said it was ok, she kept yelling at me.  She stood up with her German Shepherd and asked if I wanted her to sic her dog on me.  By this time, I had had enough and told her to go ahead.  She said, "Are you sure?"  I said, "I didn't care."  I think that surprised her.  One of my running buddies came by about that time, I finished cleaning up and left without incident.  I told the campground host about her.  He said to his partner, "She's the one I was telling you about that I would like to kick out of here.  She's the camper from *$%%!"
  3. I finished in 1013 place!
  4. I finished last in my age group!
  5. I finished 13 minutes later than my goal time. 

Recreation of the killer German Shepherd!
Uncredited photo.

It took me a while to get out of my funk, but I started thinking about some positives from the race.

  1. I cut 10 seconds a mile off from last years run.
  2. I set a PR for my half-marathon pace.
  3. Walked only once besides the water breaks.  Even jogged up the hills.
  4. I wan't last.  About 80 people finished after I did.
  5. I rode up with two running friends from the neighborhood.  Matt who finished in 213 place and Todd who finished in 46th place!  They were both very encouraging and patient with me in finishing long after the did.
  6. Even though I was a bit sore in the calves today, I still was able to go out and run 3 miles.  Last year, I wasn't able to run more that a mile for about 6 months due to getting hurt during and after the race.

Things I learned

  1. Losing the weight I talked about last week will make a big difference.
  2. The heat is a killer for me.  I need to do some of my training in the heat to get used to it.
  3. Something is always going to be different than you expect. 
  4. Don't do something new that you haven't trained for.  The Gu didn't work out well.  Should have tried it first.

Funny stuff 
I have had many funny things happen while running.  This race was no exception.  During the latter part of the race, we went through a sub-division.  There were three young girls and one house with a toy drum, a tambourine and water sprinkler.  As I passed, the first girl half-heartedly shook the tambourine, the the little drummer girl did a tap-tap.  Even though I was pretty tired at this point, I waved and smiled.  They both just stared straight ahead.  I guess after a thousand runners had gone by, they were tired themselves.  The last girl was still enjoying herself as she pointed the water sprinkler out to the street for us to cool ourselves off with.  I was appreciative for a small break from the heat.

I am grateful for the lessons learned while training and running this race.  Even though I was disappointed in my time, there were a lot of positives from the race and I am going to stick with my plan to lose the weight and get ready for the Ogden Marathon next year.  Thanks for all the encouragement you have given me through all of this.  It really makes a difference!  Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Taper Week and New Goals

I didn't get much of a chance to rest from my King's Peak trip.  I have the Hobble Creek Half Marathon this weekend.  This last week of training included my last long run.

I did a 12 miler on Saturday.  It was really a different type of long run for me.  The first few miles were rough.  It could have been due to many factors including, 5 hours of sleep, not the best meal the night before, and being a little wore out.  But I made it!  It helps being dropped off 12 miles away from home and the only way to get back is to put the miles in. :) The middle part of the run went well.  Even though the last few were a little rough as well, I was getting close to home and knew I could make it.  I have found that these long runs are not just important to build up mileage, but also to train how to do nutrition and hydration as well.

This week is a taper week.  It came at a good time.  I need to back off a bit anyway.  The weeks of training and a ton of other stuff going on has wore me down a bit.  I felt pretty good on my four miler today.  I tried not to push too hard and just kept it at a pace that was comfortable.  As a result I was able to finish strong which is always a good feeling.

Now on to another important subject.  Now that I have completed my Three Peak Challenge, I need to have a new goal.  I have given this much thought.  I have toyed with the idea of doing a marathon.  But with training for two half-marathons, I realize that I am pushing myself running longer distances at the weight that I am at now.  If I want to complete a marathon, I need to get down to my goal weight.  So here is my next challenge and the steps I need to take to get there.

Goal - Complete the Ogden Marathon on May 19th, 2011.

Steps I need to take to make it happen.

  1. Get to 175 lbs by December 31st.  If I am not, I cannot run in the marathon.
  2. Sign up for the Marathon.  If I am on track on November 1st weight wise, I will sign up.  If not, I can't sign up until I am on track.
  3. Start 18 week training on January 16th.
  4. Track everything that I eat from September - December.  This has worked every time I have done it in the past.  It's a bit of a pain, but it works.
  5. Stay accountable on this blog.  I will post my weight and progress each week until I hit by weight goal and am signed up for the marathon.
It seems funny to me that I am preventing myself from running or signing up for the marathon unless I am where I need to be.  Almost like a punishment!  But I really would like to try.  If I am not on track, it will be a miserable experience for me and I don't want that to happen.

Getting this written out, has gotten me even more excited about my plan.  I am going to do this!

Hang in there and I will too!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kings Peak and the Three Peak Challenge!

Kings Peak stands tall at 13,528' above sea level.  It is the 7th highest place in the United States.  But more importantly for me, it was the last peak for me to climb from my Three Peak Challenge.  Big Baldy was climbed in April 2010.  I hiked Mount Timpanogos twice during the summer of 2010.  Kings Peak was the last of the three I challenged myself to hike.

I was really beginning to wonder if we (my brother Gordon and his nephew-in-law, Evan, from his wife's side of the family), were going to be able to hike it this year.  When we went up Timp a little over a week ago, the unusual amounts of snow still in the mountains turned us back.  But after a few calls to the Forest Service and online trip reports of groups making it to the top of Kings, we decided to go.

There are several ways to hike into Kings Peak, but the most common is to approach it from the north side of the Uintas at the Henry's Lake trail head.  This is the most direct approach.  We took off last Wednesday night and stayed at Gordon's sister-in-laws house.  We really appreciated the hospitality in letting us stay the night and sending us off in the morning with a great breakfast!

We got up early on Thursday and drove for about an hour to get to the trail head.  The lot was full of cars so we knew we would have company.  We spent the most of the day backpacking through beautiful country. 
We didn't run into any snow along the way, but we did have to navigate around patches of mud here and there.  We talked to many who had already made it to the summit and were headed back out so we were optimistic about our chances of being able to make it to the top.

Our first glimpse of Kings.  Pointed mountain in the distance.
We had planned on camping at Dollar Lake, which is a little over 8 miles up the trail, but we missed the turnoff to it and hiked about a mile further up the trail before we realized we had gone too far.  But it turned out to be a blessing.  We found a decent campsite that was being vacated and they accommodated us setting up early while they waited for the rest of their party to return from the summit and head out on horseback.  We were pretty much by ourselves and there weren't any Scout troops around for miles.  Being a scoutmaster myself, I enjoy scouts, but only when they are my scouts. :) It was nice and peaceful where we set up.

After hiking with heavy back packs a better part of the day, we were all ready to relax.  It was about mid-afternoon by the time we had set up camp.  We were all ready for a short nap.  After we woke up, I was low on water that I had packed in with me, so we filtered water for our dinner and the next day as well.   Dinner consisted of freeze-dried meals for all of us.  After a day of hard hiking, my lasagna tasted good even though a few of the noodles were still crunchy.  After a cup of cocoa and talking about the day and the day ahead of us tomorrow, we were ready to get a good night's sleep.
Nice little place to camp.
The view from our campsite.  Note the waterfall in the distance.

It rained quite a bit through the night, but the forecast for Friday was clear weather.  I shared a tent with Gordon and after talking for a bit, the conversation slowed as we drifted in and out.  My body was ready for sleep, but I was thinking a lot about how unreal it seemed that we were actually this close to Kings Peak and I was within reach of this last peak to climb.  I pulled out the iPod, put on some music that meant a lot to me and just tried to take it all in.  I had come so far physically and emotionally to reach this point that I am not too ashamed to admit that the tears came rather effortlessly.  This was more than hiking a challenging mountain, I was also meeting a challenge within that had started over two years ago.

We got up early on Friday, eager to get an early start.  Even with a clear forecast, it is not unusual for afternoon thunderstorms in these mountains.  Kings Peak is not a place you want to be on if the weather is bad.  The skies were clear and the air was crisp as we headed out with our day packs.  We climbed up to Gunsight Pass fairly quickly and had the decision to make of dropping down from the pass and take a well established trail that dropped down and then back up as it wound over to Anderson Pass or take a short-cut across a rock field that would save time and distance.  The rock slide is fairly steep so you need to be careful even under ideal conditions, but this time around, there was a snow field across part of the short cut.  We all decided to take the shortcut, but I chose to drop down below the snow field and then hike back up to the short cut.  It took a bit more effort on my part, but I felt more confident taking that route.  We all made it across in good shape and as soon as we got on top of the ridge, we could see Anderson Pass.  We worked our way across a meadow and rock field and got to Anderson Pass in good shape.

Shortcut with the snowfield.

The final climb to the top of Kings starts at Anderson Pass.  The top of Kings is a bunch of huge boulders that you need to scramble up and over to get to the top.  I had heard how hard this last part was, but we just worked our way up amongst the boulders and other hikers and kept a steady pace.
Anderson Pass.  Just before heading up Kings Peak.
Evan made it up a bit before us.  His twenty year youth advantage paid off on this part of the hike.  It didn't take us too much longer though before we saw him waving at us from the top.  There it was!  Before we knew it, we were taking pictures, giving each other high fives and just enjoying the view.  We saw numerous lakes and many beautiful mountains that surrounded us.  But most of all, just reaching the summit filled our souls with happiness that is hard to express.
Pretty darn happy!

Evan's summit pose.
That's my brother!

The Three Mountaineers!

One thing that got us off the mountain a bit quicker than we might have normally was the wind that was constantly blowing.  I estimated between 30 and 40 mph when we first got there.  We found a place out of the wind for a snack and I wanted to go back up top and look around and the wind was blowing even harder.  I couldn't stay there for very long as I tried to take it all in one last time.

We made it back to camp the way we came.  We had put close to another 9 miles behind us on the round trip.  We were happily exhausted by the time we got back to camp.  After the pumping water and dinner routine was over, we were ready for another good night's sleep.

We woke up early again, broke camp and headed out.  We made great time coming back out.  It was such a great trip and we were all happy campers at the end of the trip.

If you read this far, thanks for sticking with me, not only on this entry, but all the support many of you have given me both in person and through the blog.  I count you all as great friends and a great help in me making my Three Peak Challenge!

What's up next?  I am still training for the Hobble Creek Half Marathon coming up on the 20th.  After that?  Probably a good subject for next week!  Hang in there and I will too!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Another Hike (Timp) and July Totals

On a few other blogs, I noticed that others post their monthly totals.  It got me curious on what I have done in July.

July Totals
Running - 92 Miles
Hiking - 26.5 miles

Not too bad!  I have been putting in some long runs the past few weeks as I am training for a half marathon on August 20th.  On my long run Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised by how many of my neighbors I saw that were out running and biking.  Todd, Matt, Wayne, Nevin and Kevin to name a few. This was at a place on the trail that was pretty far out so I know they were all doing some serious miles.  Always fun to see someone you know!  I also saw David out this morning as well.

Timp Hike

My brother Gordon invited me to hike Timp with him last Thursday.  I have previously written about how much snow we got over the spring and it is still affecting hiking in any of the high altitudes.  Timp is no exception.  I hiked it twice last year and there wasn't any snow at all.  This year, we started running into snow three miles up and got stopped at 5.  We weren't overly surprised since we looked around online and also made a call to the ranger station.  They said not to many people were making it up too Emerald Lake.  A picture online showed that a rather large emergency shelter was still half buried in snow as of mid-July.  I remember eating my lunch there last year the first time I went up.

Still we were not disappointed.  The snow melt that is still going on made the waterfalls plentiful and beautiful!  The hike was absolutely gorgeous!
Plenty of water

Scout Falls

This is where we decided to turn back.  We had already crossed several snow fields.  This one was steep and dropped down several hundred feet.  We weren't equipped to get across.  Gordon started over but said it was pretty shaky.

Another view of the falls.  Beautiful!  Worth the hike just to see all the waterfalls!

Another snow field.  This is on July 28th!
We slid down one of the snowfields on the way back down.  It was pretty fun to do it on purpose.

Heading out to King's Peak this week.  Still a little questionable, but there have been reports that people have gone and made it to the top.  I told Gordon that even if we don't make it this year, it will be a good practice run for next year.  If we do make it, that will complete my Three Peak Challenge.

Hang in there and I will too!