Sunday, July 20, 2014

July 14th to July 20th

Monday, 7/14--Off

Tuesday, 7/15--Shake Out on South Sentinel

3,039', 1:34

It took about 15 minutes for my calves to loosen up on the hill, but I feel so much better after this run.  A bit of rain, some distant thunder, and heavy clouds.  I also tested out my new running pack for the first time (AK Race Vest)--seems good, but I'll have to load it down and do a long run this weekend to really test it.

Wednesday, 7/16--South Sentinel, Sentinel Gulch

4,000', 2:12

My watch reported nearly 5,000', but I think sometimes it just goes a little crazy.  Legs felt better, but still stiff and sore.  I suppose it will just be easy runs until I recover enough, maybe a few more days.

Thursday, 7/17--Smokejumper Loop w/Matt Flaherty

2,000', 1:06

My watch added on another 1,000 ft. again, so 2,000 is a close guess.  The legs actually felt good!  And just in time to run with Salomon athlete and 5:33 50 miler, Matt Flaherty.  I'm looking forward to watching that guy race the White River 50 miler coming up.  After the run, the legs still felt a bit sore, but recovery is actually happening.

Friday, 7/18--Off

Saturday, 7/19--Lolo Peak

4,281', 2:44

Legs still felt a bit dead, but it was a good run overall.  I got off trail going down Lolo, and realized that I really need to brush up on rocky terrain--time to start training for the Rut!  Smoke wasn't too much of an issue, and I was able to see over the cloud of smoke below from the summit.  My first run in the Bitterroots.

Sunday, 7/20--Exploring Snowbowl

4,314', 2:14

Such a good outing!  I was really tempted to keep running further, after I spied another big 1,000'+ ft. slope to climb, but am still a little worried about compromising my recovery.  The climb up to Point Six was right at an hour taking a gulch up the a trail up to the road, which felt fast compared to the rest of this week, and I had a good run bombing down a slope at the bottom of TV Mountain.  This is definitely a place to return to, and it seems like proper training for The Rut 50k.

17,634', 9:50

A week on the shorter end of things, mainly focused on recovery.  Each day the legs have been feeling better, but I want to hold off from anything really big until I know it won't delay my recovery.  That being said, next Saturday will be a 50+ mile social run with some of Missoula's finest.  Once I'm recovered, I have a long line of things to go after, and hope to start getting in at least one 5+ hour run a week.

Matt Flaherty cruising down Sentinel

Carlton Lake


Point Six, National Weather Service Station

Town about 4,500' below

So many steep and grassy hills!

A song I've been hooked on--the guitar bits remind me of Dinosaur Jr., so good--

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 7th to July 13th

Monday, 6/7--University Mt. Tempo Run

2,687', 1:17

A huge confidence builder, since I nabbed the fastest known ascent at 41:26, beating Jason Schlarb's 41:43.  In Schlarb's short write-up, he wrote that he "kept the effort moderately hard," so I'm sure he could have broken 40 minutes.  Still, this was a good workout, and I hope someone posts a faster time soon because I know at least a few minutes can be knocked off.  Splits were right on 24 minutes to the saddle, and 17:26 to the summit.

Tuesday, 6/8--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

3 x 1 mile @ goal marathon pace (5:50), ~45 minutes w/warm up, rests, water breaks

I was able to match my goal pace to within 2 seconds on each mile, so it feels well ingrained.  The heat made it a little tougher than I hope it feels on Sunday, but I'll just start at 5:50 pace and see how things go.  I know I'll do really well on the short 200 ft. hill.

Wednesday, 6/9--South Sentinel/Evans St. Loop

1,851', 1:04

Up the hill, down to Evans, and back via pavement.  The pavement felt okay, but it's going to take a lot of work to get me through 26.2 miles of it on Sunday.  Motivation-wise, this will be my toughest run.  I'm sure I'm physically ready for it, but it's going to play with my mental side.

Thursday, 6/10--Golf Course/Pattee Rd. Loop

363', 25 minutes

A quick run to keep the legs active a little longer.  Easy pace, with mostly flat stuff and a good mile + of road.  I feel ready to conduct the marathon experiment.

Friday, 6/11--Off

Saturday, 6/12--Off

Sunday, 6/13--Missoula Marathon

Flattish, 2:46:55, 11th place

The perfect picture of the blow up, with a second half ten minutes slower than the first half (granted there's one small hill in the second half, but it's pretty negligible).  1:18:27 for the first half, 1:28:28 for the second.  2:40 was out the window by mile 17, and I was really struggling towards the end.  I guess this is what I get for training on hills--the running doesn't translate quite as well as I'd hoped, but 2:47 is a time I can live with.  It's more than a minute per mile faster than my previous PR, and with far less road running in my training.  2:47 is definitely okay, I'm just not sure if I'd want to still hunt for a sub 2:40 marathon.  It would likely mean adjusting my training, and I want to keep the hills in.  I love hills.  Road running takes a lot more motivation for me, so this race was good mental training at least--keeping motivated was difficult.

4,901', 6:18

An actual taper week.  Not too much to discuss here.  I'm mainly looking forward to the now snow free trails around here, and just bought $85 dollars worth of maps.  There's a lot of exploring to be done.

                              Lolo Peak, finally drying out
I ran with Gary Krugger for 10 or so miles, the guy's run a sub 3:00 marathon in every state

With my parents after the finish

Another great show to look forward to on Wednesday--Modest Mouse:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

June 30th to July 6th

Monday, 6/30--Backyard Loop

3,313', 2:13

I basically ran to Pattee Canyon via Crooked Canyon, up University, across to Sentinel, down to the "M", and back across on the Fire Road, making a big square, with only one big climb and a lot of flat fast stuff.  The legs are feeling good, with just a slightly tight right calf.  I'd like to do this loop again, maybe including another climb and descent in somewhere.

Tuesday, 7/1--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

2k, 1600, 1200, 800, 400 @ 10k pace w/a cool down run, ~1:15

This was the first really warm day Missoula's had, with temps in the high 80's during the workout, and a hose showering runners off in lane 2.  I hovered between 81 and 84 second quarters, except for the last 400 in 75 seconds.  My 2k split felt easy at 6:56 (5:32 mile pace), which was a good start to a confidence building workout.  And the heat wasn't too bad, but I went through a lot more water than usual.

Wednesday, 7/2--South Sentinel, Sentinel

5454', 2:22

My first good hill workout in awhile.  Also, first snake sighting of the year!  I was out running before 7 AM to avoid the heat, and it still felt hot by the end.  I can't wait to hit the hills everyday after I'm done with the marathon, but it's probably wise to take a few hill days off a week right now.

Thursday, 7/3--Pattee Canyon NRA (the other kind of NRA)

1,755', 1:07

A late evening outing exploring some new trails.  I didn't realize Pattee Canyon actually had some good sized hills!  I skirted off onto a minimally used trail heading up a ridge line towards Mitten Mt., but had to turn back before hitting the summit since it was getting late and I had no idea how far I had to go.  I'm realizing there are a lot of trails around here that aren't labeled on any map.  I was already overwhelmed looking at all the trails on the map.  Now I'll be trying to imagine where more surprise trails might exist.

Friday, 7/4--Stuart Peak

4,345', 3:10

The alpine is finally opening up, but the last mile to the summit still had a good bit of snow.  I'm excited to start doing some big runs in the Rattlesnake Wilderness now that snow isn't covering the trails.  I'd also like to do this run again, and see how far below 3 hours I can get it.

Saturday, 7/5--Off

Sunday, 7/6--Sheep Mt. via Woods Gulch TH

5,014', 3:28

Another long day in the Rattlesnake!  I'm looking forward to getting really familiar with this area, but right now it's big enough and untraveled enough and still obscure enough in my mind that I still feel the need to have a plan and a route in mind before I head out.  This will be my last long run before the marathon, but I can't wait to do some really big runs in the Rattlesnake.

19,881', 13:35

A moderate week spent exploring some new trails, and getting some flatter running in.  I'm not sure if this was good preparation or not for the Missoula Marathon in a week, but I'd rather spend time exploring new terrain than run a few minutes faster on the road.  I feel pretty good about sub-2:40, and that's good enough for me.  The marathon is still kind of short and fast for me, but I need to work my weaknesses (flat road running).

New perspectives--University Mt. from Mt. Mitten ridge line

Upper Twin Lakes, below Stuart Peak

Mosquito Peak, something for the next trip

Town over 4,500' below

Rattlesnake Canyon (and Stuart Peak on the left)

St. Vincent's new album is my favorite yet (and my favorite of the year so far):

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 23rd to June 29th

Monday, 6/23--Table Top Mt., Lee Metcalf Wilderness

3,464', 2:04

The legs felt surprisingly good after a day off, so I took it easy up the mountain.  A good bit of snow blocked the trail by the summit, so I reverted to a goat trail for the last half mile.  The only rock glacier I know of is right below this mountain (a talus field that slowly moves, like an actual glacier).  The trail heading down from Lava Lake is a little rocky, and the legs felt responsive enough to breeze down this section.

Tuesday, 6/24--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

5 x 1k w/2 min. rests + a 200 meter sprint, then a 3 mile cool down w/Taylor & Eric, ~1:15

I started out a little slow, at about 3:35 (~5:40 pace), gauging how my legs were feeling.  I hung out around 3:30 until the second half of the last k, getting somewhere under 3:20 (~5:20 pace).  30 seconds for the 200 meter sprint.  This was an encouraging workout, since I haven't run flats for a while.  5:40 pace feels really sustainable right now.  Afterwards, I ran a slightly hilly cool down with some of the faster guys, but couldn't keep pace with them on the one steep hill.  Ugh, my legs are still a little dead on inclines.

Wednesday, 6/25--Sheep Mt. Wandering

3,476', 2:24

Ran up to 7,000', and then took a right turn onto a double track that ended up going the wrong way.  I followed the ridgeline for awhile until I finally got a good view of Sheep Mt., way to the north and on an entirely different ridgeline.  I doubled back and took the correct trail, but it was still under a couple feet of snow, which was now soft and mushy.  I decided to turn around, since I didn't want to compromise my recovery anymore than I already am.

Thursday, 6/26--Off (Al & Vic's, Sean Kelly's)

Friday, 6/27--Kim Williams Trail Progression Run

10 miles, 1:04

This went pretty well, but I had a bit of GI distress at the end, which kept me from really pushing the pace.  First 2 miles were at 7ish minute pace, then 3 at 6:30ish pace, and then 5 miles at 6ish pace.  I was hoping to get the last 2 miles at 5:40 pace, but that wasn't going to happen.  This was a bit of a sobering reminder for what 6 flats feel like on not fresh legs, but I'm also taking comfort in the fact that I was running on dirt and not paved trail at the end, and the first run after a late night out drinking is always a little crappy.

Saturday, 6/28--Blue Mt. Bushwacking

4,056', 5:16

I got so lost.  I cut over to the Hayes Creek trail from the Blue Mt. Trailhead, took that to the summit, and then mistakenly figured I'd be able to find my way down alright.  I went off a traveled road to an unused road winding beneath some powerlines, and this took me to a dead end after several miles.  Then I decided to travel cross country down a creek, which ended up being O'Brien Creek.  This took a really long time, despite being able to run short stretches of game trail, and I got really dehydrated (I had no water with me).  When I finally hit road, I laughed out loud at the first sign I saw--"Private Land Next 1/2 Mile, Please Stay On Road".  I was so glad to be on the road again.  I made it, and now I know what cross country travel here is like in the woods.  I also acquired quite the collection of burs, if anyone wants a few.

Sunday, 6/29--Off 

I wasn't planning on taking today off, but I need a break--I basically went right into work after yesterday's epic, and then had another shift this morning.  I'm actually putting running on the back burner today--it's a tough decision, but I want to not be dead when I go to the Fitz and the Tantrum's concert tonight.

10,996', 12:03

Not much vertical this week, but a fair amount of time.  It's a recovery week, and I'm getting into the flats a bit for the Missoula Marathon in two weeks.  This was a bit of a wonky week, with a few social activities, which were good and needed, but have definitely left me a little more mentally exhausted than usual.  I'm looking forward to getting back to the grindstone this next week.

On the way to Lava Lake

Lava Lake

The Spanish Peaks

Miller Creek from Blue Mt.

Lolo Peak

The path less traveled sometimes takes all day ...

And then there's a dead end ...

So you go cross country via game trails ...

And get burs on your hairy legs

Excited to see these guys tonight (their drummer, John Wicks, is a local trail runner):

Sunday, June 22, 2014

June 16th to June 22nd

Monday, 6/16--South Sentinel + Sentinel

4,105', 1:55

Light rain and mist and fog blanketed hills.  Summer here really isn't too bad.  The run today was an easy pace, but I was a little tired.  I'll need to make sure to get enough sleep the rest of this week.

Tuesday, 6/17--Sentinel via Evans St. Trailhead plus a bit extra up and down

3,063', 1:20

The rain stopped just as I had a break in my classes, so I took advantage of the lull to finally figure out how Evans St. connects with the Sentinel trail system.  There was a bit of snow up high, which impressed me (this was around 1 o'clock).  A good run at a moderate tempo

Wednesday, 6/18--South Sentinel Tempo Run

1,873', 42:35 (New PR--27:45 ascent, 14:50 descent)

A new PR on the Pengelly route from my apartment!  I feel really good about my ascent, but I had to fight to get the descent in under 15 minutes, barely breaking my old descent time (old times were 28:34, 15:04).  I suppose breaking 40 minutes on this will come in baby steps, but I feel like I'm maxing out on my downhill speed.  I think I could take at least another minute off the uphill, eventually.

Thursday, 6/19--Up to Glacial Lake Missoula Rock and back

988', 30 minutes

An easy run just to keep the legs moving.  I hung out at the rock for a minute or so, admiring the view for the last time until Tuesday.

Friday, 6/20--Course Scouting/shake out from 4 hr. drive

453', 23 minutes

An easy pace up from the trailhead to the first intersection on the course.  I'm glad I scouted this out, because I got a little lost and missed a creek crossing.  It's pretty gradual, but a little rocky on the first mile of the course.  Psyched to get up high in the mountains tomorrow!

Saturday, 6/21--Old Gabe 50k, 3rd place

10,572', 5:52

A great first tune up for The Rut in September!  I'm a little shocked that my time only earned me a 3rd, but also psyched that I help set the stage for Jim Walmsley setting the course record (we ran together for the first quarter of the race).  Looking back at past years races, I ran the 5th fastest time on the regular course, barely behind Jim Rucker's 5:51:35.  I definitely got dehydrated, racing with only one 20 oz. water bottle, but I feel that I ran a good, smart race and performed well.  On a perfect day, I might be able to shave 15 minutes off my time, which would have still landed me in the same placement.  1st and 2nd place just had better days.

Splits were


Middle Cottonwood--3:00



The second half felt a little slow, but that may just be because 1st and 2nd place ran incredible second halves (2nd place ran it in under 2:30).  My splits were spot on ten minutes slower for each half than Scott Creel's 5:31:40, and I feel that he usually runs pretty even races.  This might be the best mountain race I've had.  I'm just psyched that I got to run with Walmsley for over an hour--that guy is a legend in the making.

A race report to come.

Sunday, 6/22--Off

21,054', 10:43

A really good week.  I may have run a little too much leading up to my race, but tapering is always hard for me.  I did pretty well with pre-race nutrition, and had no stomach problems on race day (though I still need to fine tune my race food a bit).  For the most part, though, I'm going to continue replicating everything I did this week--it led to a successful race, even if it only landed me in 3rd.

Sentinel Sky Island

Snow!  In mid-June!

Rocky conditions on Old Gabe

The first of several creek crossings

The no passing lane--one of the few creek crossings with a bridge

Tailgate breakfast!

Sharon Van Etten's new album might end up being one of the best of the year:

Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 9th to June 15th

Monday, 6/9--South Sentinel

1,818', 50 minutes

So good to get back to the hills!  My legs were pretty fresh, so I made it to the summit in right over 30 minutes with a moderate effort, and then took my time on the way down, taking pictures of flowers.

Tuesday, 6/10--South Sentinel + Some North Pengelly

3,220', 1:28

This was a little slower than yesterday, and I think it may just be because I can't go fast right when I wake up.  I need at least a couple hours to get to speed.  Still, it was decent, and good to be getting hills in again.

Wednesday, 6/11--Up Pengelly, Down Sentinel and Back

4,095', 1:53

Another beautiful morning in Missoula.  On the way down the M, there was a horde of high schoolers making their way up the switchbacks.  It was nice to see, but it also felt too crowded.  It felt like I was suddenly on a Colorado Front Range 14er on a weekend morning.

Thursday, 6/12--Up Pengelly, Down North Pengelly, Up Sentinel Gulch, Down the North Ridge a bit and back

5,068', 2:15

The legs were feeling good today, and I think I even sped up a bit near the end of the run (no rush, just for the joy of going fast).  This run was a confidence booster for Old Gabe, which seems incredibly close, especially since I haven't done an ultra since October.

Friday, 6/13--University Mt. + Sentinel + North Pengelly

6,450', 2:59

Some rain the night before made for a foggy run through and over and in between the clouds.  This mixed with the brilliant flowers on University created a beautiful clash of colors--grey, blue, red yellow.  God I love running in the clouds!  I hit the summit of University in just under 59 minutes, fairly good for me, especially on a long run.

Saturday, 6/14--Off

Sunday, 6/15--Stuart Peak Attempt

3,685', 3:00

The trail was almost entirely snow free right up to the wilderness boundary, and then, as if to emphasize that I wasn't just in the woods--I was in wilderness--nearly all snow after the boundary.  And fog--the layer of fog came right about at the wilderness boundary, too.  Not totally aware of where I was, I got as far as I could trying to follow signs of a trail, but turned around once I lost track and wasn't sure which way to go--it was pretty flat and unclear which way was up.  I realize now, looking at the map, that I was about half a mile from the summit as the crow flies.  This will have to wait for another week.

24,336', 12:25

A solid week.  I'm feeling ready for Old Gabe 50k on Saturday.  With my recent excursion to the alpine, I'm a little curious to see how the course is.  I know there will be some snow and a lot of mud, I'm just unsure how much of the course will be snow covered.  It looks like I'll have some competition coming from Zack Strong (who holds the 3rd fastest time at Old Gabe, at 5:38) and Peder Anderson (5th at 2013 Bridger Ridge Run), but the field is less than 40 runners in the 50k, so it might just be the three of us actually racing.  Breaking 6 hours seems unlikely with the conditions, but I'm excited to see how well I can do, and maybe get my first win in an ultra.

Jumbo and the North Hills

Pattee Canyon

Cloud running on University

The last sign of trail on Stuart Peak before turning around

Stuart Peak weather station?

Snowline at the Wilderness Boundary, 7,000'

Town a kilometer below

Summer tune (even though summer is still to come in Montana):