Where I’m at with my Pony Express 100 training

I just came off of a rough two-week span of time, wherein I came down with some brutal allergies, asthma, and, according to my doctor — pre-pneumonia. (What is pre-pneumonia, you ask?) I don’t know. Just whatever comes before pneumonia, I guess.

Suffice it to say that, for a week, I was in a really bad place. My running stopped. My nose ran constantly. I was basically just having an asthma attack at all times. I took breathing treatments and sucked on my inhaler to try to restore some semblance of breathing.

My Dr prescribed an Amoxicillin pill (which I am still taking) in order to knock this sickness out. It seems to be working, but now that I’m ready to pick up training again, a few fires have broken out on the west coast, of which smoke has settled into our Utah mountains.

I’m screwed.

I can’t run in this smoke. I’ll just get sick again. Because of my schedule, treadmills are not a viable option.

My progress, so far…

This excel chart sort of gives you an idea of how consistent my training has been going, before I got sick.

If I can finish up the rest of it in all yellow, I’ll probably be ok. If not, I’m looking at a rough, rough first 100 miler.

Viewing the 2017 solar eclipse from Iona, Idaho

I will be adding to this as I have more thoughts, but wanted to get this posted sooner than later…

I guess I’m just another witness to a total solar eclipse, who doesn’t know how to describe what he just saw. I’m not even sure I can really remember what I saw. I’ve been trying to watch my solar eclipse videos and look at pictures to job the memory of something happened only 24 hours ago.

We drove from Provo, Utah, up to Iona, Idaho to witness this solar eclipse and to celebrate my good friend Patrick’s 42nd birthday.

We arrived at Patrick’s old buddy’s home in Iona and quickly exchanged handshakes and hugs with everyone there, introducing ourselves and thanking our hosts for allowing us to be there.

Video of the eclipse, in 47 seconds

But there wasn’t much time before this solar event.

Frantically, I worked as quickly as I could to set up my iPad on the back of the homeowner’s truck, so that video would capture the scene as we watched the sequence of this eclipse. I couldn’t get it to sit horizontally, so reluctantly I settled on a very narrow vertical frame (it wouldn’t turn out to be bad, but I wish I could have captured more of what was outside of the video — kids running around, adults gasping, etc.)

As we watched with our eclipse sunglasses on, we knew that soon a moment would arrive when the moon would finally touch the side of the sun and begin to move in front of it, like a curtain over a little window.

When it finally did, voices excitedly rose and children started running around happily. The more and more the sun was closed in on by the moon, the cooler it got, the stranger it got, and then finally — darkness.

We all took our glasses off and witnessed what I know I won’t be able to describe in any of these paragraphs: In the middle of a summer’s day — a fall breeze. In the middle of day — night.

The Moon hung in the center of the sun, perfectly, presenting a picture which is unavailable to the world, except very few times. Most people will probably never experience a solar eclipse. Today is the first day of my life that I feel badly for these people.

As the edges of the moon caught fire, I couldn’t help but remain transfixed. I became antsy, knowing that this would only last a couple of minutes. Quickly, I interviewed my three daughters on video and asked them simple questions, like, “What do you think of this!?”

We also noticed a hawk, flying erratically and screeching in protest at this strange event.

I kissed my wife under the 2017 solar eclipse.

I noticed how happy my friends were around me. I resolved to never forget this moment.

And then, as soon as the sun started to slip past the edge of the moon, I realized that our two minutes of odd, quiet glory were up and that I was already starting to forget the details of what I’d just seen.

No wonder people chase this event all around the world.

All I knows is that the one feeling I was left with at the end of this whole thing, was…”unfulfilled”. One solar eclipse isn’t enough for me. I need more experiences to be able to capture what it is I’m trying to capture.

For now, suffice it to say, it was a feeling of belonging, of togetherness with friends and family. The experience was sacred.

Monday run with allergies (3 miles, miserable)

I told my friend/coach/running life partner that I get sick with allergies about twice a year. I told him this a few days ago. Wouldn’t you know it I’m hitting one of those seasons, now. Pollen counts have been ridiculously high, so on Saturday night, I felt that familiar tickle in my throat. I held out hope that this wouldn’t be anything, but it most certainly is.

Sunday was brutal, being the first real nasty day. Very sore throat, gallons upon gallons of running nose, and just overall feeling gross. Sunday night was worse, because it’s almost impossible to sleep in this situation. I went through 1.5 boxes of Kleenex in less than 12 hours and sleep was fleeting. I probably got about 3 good hours.

(And here’s where the run comes in.)

Monday Morning I woke up tired, miserable and still draining. But I put my running clothes on and somehow made it out the door. As soon as I started running, I could feel the effects of the allergies. I was sluggish and miserable, but I was running.

Along the trail I found a nice knife, which I’m not sure how to get back to the original owner. I guess I’ll post something on Facebook, but if no one claims it, I guess it’s another knife.

I finished the run relatively strong and don’t feel that I’m any sicker for it.

Oh, forgot to mention that, for one reason or another, I’m down 5 pounds from two weeks ago. Excellent.

Saturday, running long (3+17+1)

Saturday morning was the 2nd annual Provo Parkway Stake 5k. I woke up early and ran down to the church pavilion to help set up. I wanted to get 3 miles in before I started my long run, so that I wouldn’t have to spend all day on the trail.

The race went fine. Roxie took first in her age group 17 and under and Reagan took 2nd place in the same age group. Wendy handled her 5k very well and may have PR’d for the distance. She seemed happy with her run.

Somehow I took third in mine. I really phoned it in, running about a 9 minute pace.

After the race, I let Wendy know I was leaving, then started out for what I hoped would be 15 miles. The first 8-9 went along just fine, but when I started getting into the double digits, I felt tired and very hot. I drank at every opportunity, but just could not settle in. In retrospect, it could be that my body was preparing to fight off some severe allergies, which would set in Saturday night.

I did eat a banana and some oranges, but not really any carbs, which I’m sure added to the stress of the run. At Will’s Pit Stop, on the way back, I bought a Gatorade and drank about half of it along the way, finally throwing the container away on University Avenue, at a bus stop garbage.

The rest of the run was tough, just trying to finish strong. I managed to keep my miles under 10’s, but just didn’t feel it that day.

All in all, though, it was good training. I think that with the distance I’m attempting, it might be a good idea to get used to uncomfortable miles. I forgot to mention what hurt: My hips. I really need to strengthen my hips. Slight shin splint tenderness, which has since disappeared, as expected (ran 3 on Monday, today, with no shin splint issues.)

I should admit that that night, my friend Matt Heil wanted to run, so I went one mile with him, because I wanted to give him a good send-off into his new running career. That’s how I ended up with one mile more than planned.

3 stiff miles along the flooded Provo River Trail

Location: Provo River Trail, west, to first gate
Miles: 3
Time: 30:16 minutes
Pace: 0:10:00
Temp:  50º
Air quality: PM 2.5, 0.4 µg/m3
Weather: Sunny, cool
People I saw: Dan! He said he’s just “getting back into it” after this winter.
Pain/injuries: Left hamstring, abates after a mile. Super stiff from Saturday
Weight: 188.5 lbs

Notes:
As soon as I started running from my driveway, I could feel how stiff my legs and back were from Saturday. Fortunately, within a mile or so I loosened up and started to feel a little more like myself.

The water level is up pretty high on the Provo River, due to the water they’re letting out of Deer Creek. Just like on Saturday, I spent way too much time photographing interesting water levels. 🙂

Long run, inhale bug


Yesterday began my first long run in a six month program which will hopefully lead up to my finishing the Pony Express 100. Up to this point, I’d only had a 10 mile run in the last two months, as far as long runs go, so I knew I was sort of pushing things, 10% Rule be damned.

The weather could not have been better for Spring (67 degrees), so I started off in a pretty chirpy mood, up the Provo River trail. I wanted to sort of scout it out, because for the first time in seven years we have flooding on the trail. Deer Creek is at 97% and we have quite the snowpack that needs to have a place to go.

The first few miles went well, as I kept a 0:9:30 pace for most of it. At the halfway point (8 mi.), I felt a little tired but not horrible. I had managed to keep finding water (the drinking fountains are all open again, after a long winter), but I also took a pit stop at the Riverwoods public bathroom.

Getting going again, I kept telling myself that the stopping and starting in training might do me well in simulating the stops and starts that are sure to come at Pony 100.

At mile 13, I inhaled a bug of some sort into my lungs and immediately started coughing. It took me about a mile to feel that the bug had “passed”, but I never really recovered after that. Miles 13-16 were uncomfortable (The last time I ran 16 miles was in October, during St George Marathon.)

This was a decent run.

No real pain. Some hip discomfort, which reminds me I need to be doing leg lifts at night. The usual left-hamstring pain, which abates after a few miles. The heat. It was only 67 degrees but it was hot to me. Need to keep drinking.

I had only eaten .75 of a bagel, so I know I could have eaten more. A banana wouldn’t have killed me.

My good friend, Patrick Phillips is coaching me for this season, for Pony Express, so these posts are also going to be for him, so that he can help me stay on track, goal-wise, as well as notice consistent problems that fall through the cracks for me.

Thanks, Pat!

Friday core

Pushups total: 200
Planking time: 12 minutes

11:00 am:
-30 pushups
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side
-20 pushups

1:00 pm:
-30 pushups
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side
-20 pushups

2:00 pm:
-30 pushups
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side
-20 pushups

11:15 pm:
-30 pushups
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side
-20 pushups

Ridiculously memorable trip up to Squaw Peak

I have no idea what caused this weird pointy-spike in my GPX, yesterday. Nothing like that happens on the trail.

Jeff and I planned to run Squaw peak a couple of days ago, but last night as I pulled into Provo on the Frontrunner train, I noticed that the clouds were hanging super-low. So I knew there was an opportunity to see some amazing things if we got going.

I texted Jeff and arranged to meet at Rock Canyon Trailhead at 5 pm, hurried to get my stuff together (headlamp was already charged!) and hit Arby’s on my way. I quickly ate a Jr Roast Beef Melt (seemed like a bad idea at the time, but seemed to work out on the trail) and drove to our meeting point. Jeff arrived shortly after.

We both admired the clouds that had gathered to cover about 3/5 of Squaw Peak and discussed climbing through the clouds and how great that might be.

The first mile or so wasn’t too bad, but it was a little wet. A few raindrops, plus the ground was soaked from a couple of day’s worth of rain.

Once we turned onto trail 060, things got wetter and muddier. I finally had to stabilize myself with my hands, which was the beginnings of me getting dirty. Jeff worked on a strategy to walk on the sides of the trail (bracing himself between the two sides with his feet), while I committed my shoes to a blanket of mud and just walked straight up the middle.

Soon we were walking through rivers of water that rushed down the trail (which I’d gotten a picture of that) and I mentioned to Jeff we needed to walk carefully and not disturb the trail by slipping and sliding. We did a decent job of this, but there were a couple of points where we both slipped in a spectacular manner. I fell once or twice.

Finally the trail turned to snow and hiking became easier. We talked about earlier trips we’d made to Squaw Peak and how this one was definitely the most difficult. We’d worked hard to follow the trail, but at some point, we lost footprints in the snow and it became necessary to track out our own path.

Jeff and I kept falling through a couple of feet of snow as we’d walk, at which point I told Jeff this was called “postholing”. He tried to remember the word, but kept asking me, “Hey is it called post…what is it, again?”

Postholing, Jeff. Postholing.

Soon Jeff became heavily familiar with postholing and we slowly trudged our way, higher into the clouds.

There came a point where we lost the trail and just sort of tried to gain elevation, knowing that Squaw Peak was only going to be higher up. This worked ok, but was inefficient. Neither Jeff nor I chose a great line, so a lot of work was done. Jeff reached the peak before me and I could hear him cheering ahead.

When I found him, we took in the sight and shot a few (tons) of pictures as keepsakes. The pictures never do justice. We ate some jerky that I’d smoked this week and decided to head back down (I was starting to get cold).

We followed our own footprints back down the mountain, taking care to try to use some of the steps that had already packed the snow down a bit. It didn’t take too long to get through the meadow, then to start down some of the steeper, muddier and rockier sections.

At one point, I lost my footing in a muddy section and fell hard on my back. I actually fell a few times, but on this particular fall, I had to actually take stock my body and gear. Nothing was seriously damaged, but I was now sore and extremely wet and dirty.

We continued down the sections of trail that were rivers. Jeff finally gave in and started to use the middle of the trail, even though his nice-looking shoes were now soiled and losing their luster.

We counted the five bridges backward and finally landed at the bottom of the trail. We headed over to the BYU Creamery, where we bought chocolate milk and I bought some ice cream for Wendy.

Taking stock:
The next day, my butt, back, neck are sore. I am beat up. I planned for a long run, tomorrow, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work. We’ll see.

 

Wednesday core and diet

11:00 am:
-45 pushups! (record)
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side

12:40 pm:
-30 pushups!
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side

Drank a DP 🙁

Drank another DP 🙁

5:00 pm:
-30 pushups!
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side

7:00 pm:
-30 pushups!
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side

Tuesday core

2:00 pm:
-40 pushups! (record)
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side

7:30 pm:
-30 pushups!
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side

8:30 pm:
-30 pushups!
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds front plank alt lift legs walk
-30 seconds front plank
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted)
-30 seconds side plank (additional 15 seconds leg lifted), opposite side