Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aug. 11th to Aug. 17th

Monday, 8/11--Hills around Sentinel

6,043', 3:00

I ran from 9:30 to 12:30, and the heat (mid-80's) was difficult to deal with at the end.  This was a bit of a slow pace, but I feel that it's better training than some of the mountain slogging I did last week.  The time was about what I expected for 6k, because I'm still a little sore from all the running around on Saturday.

Tuesday, 8/12--Sentinel x 4 + a bit extra

7,638, 3:37

This felt better than yesterday, and my splits were very consistent (34 to the top, 18 down).  The times were a little slow, but I'm still a little fatigued and am trying to do more Long Slow Days.  The first time I ran Sentinel x 4 I was doing about 44 minute round trips, but that was in cooler weather and in an easier week.

Wednesday, 8/13--Snowbowl North Facing Hills

7,538', 3:35

Almost the same stats as yesterday.  Some pleasant early morning repeats up and down the Paradise ski slope, plus a bit of single track on the Centennial Trail and some scrambling up in the cliffs.  I didn't get sun until about 9, and was off the hill by 11, plus the higher altitude helped to keep the temps cool.  The legs are getting used to 3+ hour runs again (I'm worried those four days of no running threw my body a curveball).

Thursday, 8/14

AM--Mt. Ward

4,606', 2:31

An early run starting before sunrise up one of the Missoula area's biggest climbs.  Half an hour in, I was treated to some light showers, lasting maybe 30 minutes, but by the time I hit the summit the rain had passed.  I was thinking of running this twice, but thought it might go a little faster and decided to spend the extra time napping instead.  That's the best decision I've made this week.

PM--Pengelly Ridge, North Ridge South Sentinel

3,054', 1:28

A late night run in the dark, giving my headlamp a good test for the first time.  I may have run a little slower than during daytime, but not much, and could see well even on the steep descents.  Lightning played across the sky to the east, but not much more than a sprinkle and a few murmured thunderclaps came my way.

Friday, 8/15--Sentinel Repeats

5,146', 2:17

For ten minutes of this run, I was being pounded by small hail and heavy winds, but by the end of the run my shirt was dry and all the rocks were no longer slick.  This felt pretty good, and my repeat during the storm was about 45 minutes round trip--fairly good for being in an exhausted state.  Today felt easy, even though it was still nearly a mile of up.

Saturday, 8/16--Rut 50k Scouting

9,357', 5:57

A big day, just a few minutes shorter than my finishing time from last year.  I first headed up to the new ridge section, climbing beneath the Challenger Lift--I couldn't find anything that seemed like a good way down the other side (until I drove over to Moonlight Basin later this day), so went down a chute called "Parachute" to Tram Dock, then up Bonecrusher, down the 50k descent, back up, down and up Bonecrusher one more time, and then down, mostly, with some more up in the middle.  I ran this pretty slow, just trying to commit parts of the course to memory, especially the downhill sections.  The top of Bonecrusher is challenging to run down, but even that becomes more runnable the more I learn the terrain.

Sunday, 8/17--More Rut 50k Scouting

6,684', 4:06

Up Swiftcurrent and Bonecrusher, down the 50k descent off Lone Peak, back up, and then I repeated the last 1,000' of climbing up Lone Peak and back down to the bottom of Swiftcurrent.  On the way down I actually felt decent, and took about 40 minutes from summit back to base, running down faster than the Swiftcurrent Lift.  That being said, that's probably about what Kilian's ascent time will be a few weeks from now in the Vertical Kilometer.

50,066', 26:31

That number isn't a coincidence, and was my goal all week.  Biggest week of vertical for me, ever.  And I don't feel too bad.  Midweek I feel like I had a bit of a crash, but then I tried to eat a little more and a little more healthy, and bounced back.  I'm hoping to make a couple more outings to Lone Mountain before race day, but feel confident about getting sub-6 even with the limited scouting I did this week (just repeats up and down the mountain, really).  The altitude hit me a bit, but not too bad, and I think it was more just being tired from the previous big days this week.  I'm feeling good, and now begins the taper.

Ward Mt. Summit

The new ridge section

The "Parachute" gully I came down (not part of the race course)--loose!

I think we join the ridge at the left end of this picture--"Parachute" gully in the middle

Brilliant saxophonist!  Reminds me of Phillip Glass:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Aug. 4th to Aug. 10th

Monday, 8/4--NE Ridge Gray Wolf Peak

6,724', 6:39

Another day getting lost in the Mission Mountains.  I spent a considerable amount of time heading up the wrong ridge line (the south ridge) and getting cliffed out.  The route was less bushy and steep, though, than the trail to Lucifer Lake, and it was some really fun scrambling on the final ridge to the summit.  I was kind of exhausted, probably due to consecutive big days and not getting much sleep.

Tuesday-Friday (Off)

Saturday, 8/9

AM--Getting Lost

3,531', 2:24

I started out doing the Standhope 60+k, but got lost early on, and by the time I was back on the trail there was no one in sight and no flagging left.  Unsure of where to go and on my own, I ran back to the start of the race, only to find no one left there either.  I started running the roads to Copper Basin, and hitched a couple rides to get to the Fall Creek TH.  Kind of a disappointment to go out of contention, but I felt the responsible thing to do was to alert the RD that I'd gotten lost, rather than continue without any indication of where to go.  Unfortunately, I also led 4th and 5th place off route as well, though they turned around long before I did, and this led to a much less competitive race for the two guys who went out fast.  I should have been more cognizant of the lack of flagging, but I ran for quite a ways until the trail petered out because I'm used to low key mountains races having few flags, and I saw no alternative trail.  It seemed like the race had no sweep, because they were surprised to hear I hadn't made the first aid station cutoff when I finally informed them at Fall Creek.

Afternoon--Fall Creek TH to Starhope CG (Standhope 25++k)

5,104', 3:23

Back on the course, they let me run the shorter race, which comprises the end of the 60+k.  No longer eligible for prize money, I decided to just make this another run in the mountains.  I did fairly well on the climb up to Standhope Pass, catching the guy who finished 2nd (and had a 30+ minute lead on me before I left Fall Creek) near the top of the pass, but felt slow on the downhill.  I got lost three times on this section of the course, but was fortunate enough to get lost with other people each time.  The 25k seemed to have less climbing and a lot more distance (about 4 extra miles) than I was anticipating, as well as more downed trees than I would expect in what is supposed to be a competitive event.  It was an interesting run, and the RD allowed my time to count towards the shorter race, but it felt much more like a run in the woods than a race, since I was almost two hours late to the start of the shorter race.  The climb up to the pass was beautiful country, and more runnable than I'd thought it would be.  I'm glad I at least got to see the "meat" of the course, and glad that at least Kristina Pattison was able to represent Missoula well, winning the long course.  This is a fledgling race in need of more support if it's to become a staple in the running scene (more flagging, clearer directions to the campgrounds, more ready aid station volunteers), but the course is definitely deserving of a great race.  It's also deserving of beer at the end, of which there was none.  All I can say is, Thank God for The Runner's Edge.

Sunday, 8/10--North Ridge of South Sentinel Repeats

3,889', 1:48

I started this run in the heat of the day, at 5 o'clock, feeling exhausted, but I was able to meet my goal--start out moderate and run each repeat a little faster.  After running up from Evans St., I started at the gate, ran up to the Pengelly Rock and back, with the first round trip being about 29:50, and the second and third being 28:40 and 28:15, respectively.  Each uphill was a little bit slower, but I kept feeling better on the downhill, and ran the last descent in about 7 minutes, which is good for me since it's just over 1,000'.  I pulled the plug on this after 3 repeats because I was feeling really hungry, and felt that I couldn't run a fourth repeat in under 28:15.

19,248', 14:14

This was a shorter week than expected, but I may have needed the break anyway.  I had a very strange sort of a win and sort of a loss at the Standhope 25++k, clocking the fastest split on the second half of the course in time trial fashion by a good 13 minutes, even with getting lost.  This week was useful, however, in that I learned a couple things--race vests are too heavy for races under 8 hours, and I need to run at least 15 minutes a day early in the week of a race otherwise I go kind of crazy.

All pictures are from the Gray Wolf Peak outing

Back to more music:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

June 28th to Aug. 3rd

Monday, 7/28--Snowbowl Exploring

3,393', 2:00

A 90 degree run without much shade.  I stuck mostly to the slopes, starting in Sunrise Bowl and ending on Lower Paradise, with a few detours in between.  I tried to make it down to an unnamed lake in Grant Creek Basin, but turned back just because it was more bushy and steep than expected.  The legs felt okay, but it was mostly my mind that was tired.  Recovering from a 15 hour stint in the woods will take a little while.

Tuesday, 7/29--Trapper Peak via Trail 133

3,591', 1:58

A pleasant evening run up to high point of the Bitterroot Mountains, at 10,157'.  With the legs still a little leaden, I took it easy up, reaching the summit in 1:10, and hanging out for a couple minutes to snap pictures.  I didn't notice the altitude, but I also wasn't pushing it.  Once I hit treeline again, at 9,000' I started pushing a bit just to get in under 2 hours.

Wednesday, 7/30--North Trapper Peak via Olbu SE Face (Baker Lake TH)

7,444', 4:40

This run didn't start off too well.  I originally planned to make it back to Missoula in time for class at 11, but my watch switched to a different setting and my alarm didn't go off, putting me over two hours behind when I woke up!  I skipped breakfast, put on my running shoes and started hightailing it up the trail.  When I started repeatedly getting off route in the cross country section, I gave up hope of making it to class, and just tried to enjoy the scenery and be safe.  On the face, I kept getting cliffed out and having to turn around.  A lot.  If my watch is correct, then I added about 3,000' vertical of getting lost throughout this route, which doesn't surprise me.  The route is really simple, but I kept looking for a prominent black dike that's supposed to be traversed.  In the end, I just scampered up the slabs, not worrying about the black dike.  I also did some extra up and down in the couloir, mostly being indecisive if I should cross snow or find a route on the rock.  A good day in the mountains, though!  This route could go under 3 if a good runner stuck to the route.  A nice linkup might be doing Trapper and North Trapper both from Baker Lake, for an extra dose of ridgeline.

Thursday, 7/31--Off

Friday, 8/1--"Skyline Experience", GNP

7,745', 6:59

What a route!  It's about twenty miles, but almost all the climbing is in the middle ten.  The descent off Siyeh covered 3,000' of vert. in what looks like barely over a mile on the map!  I was lured into this route by the long ridgeline traverse, ending atop Mt. Siyeh, which had been emblazoned in my mind long ago by Kelly Cordes' Dirtbag Diaries podcast, and his one day ascent of Siyeh's 3,500'(!) north face.  The run went well, pretty simple routefinding, but the descent down the west couloir took longer than anticipated (almost two hours from summit back to trail).  3,000' of steep scree with broken cliffs makes for a rough time.  I spotted a griz near the summit, foraging through the rocks for moths or little critters to eat.  At the end, I popped out on a dirt road, and it took me awhile to get my bearings since I'd left in the dark.  After asking three different parties where I was, I finally found the trailhead again, barely getting in under seven hours.  A long, perfect, halcyon day!


Left trail, 37 minutes

Wynn Mt., 1:54

Point 9,190, 2:50

Siyeh Summit, 4:01

Piegan Pass Trail, 5:55

TH, 6:59 (phew!)

Saturday, 8/2--Marshall Mt. 10k Trail Run, 3rd

1,481', 46:44

This was an interesting experiment.  My legs held up better than I thought they would, but not well enough to stay ahead of Hoka Athlete Jeremy Wolf.  It was hot enough, at 6 PM, that I felt parched the whole run, and having coffee before a race, I learned, might not suit me.  I felt like I was breathing in coffee flavored air throughout the run, which is fine except when it's in the high 80s out.  The course was really fun, with few flattish sections and some short and steep climbing.  I could have been a little more patient the first lap (second lap was about 90 seconds slower), but I was surprised to do as well as I did on sore legs.  This is a great confidence builder for Standhope 60k next weekend, which I'm hoping to race patiently with a fast latter half.

Sunday, 8/3--Mission Mountains bushwacking/night walking

4,180', 4:57

A total shit show.  I left after work to go for a summit attempt on the West Face of Mountaineer Peak, and didn't start running until 6.  The trail heading past Mission Falls is pretty steep, bushy, scrambly and hard to follow at times, so that slowed me down quite a bit.  After skirting the shore of Lucifer Lake, I entered what I knew would be a bushwacking section, but I was wholly unprepared for the hour + of wandering through tall and thick bushes.  At one point, I was boulder hopping and bushwacking at the same time!  I turned back once I hit the second lake (which may have been the wrong lake), and tried to get back, at least to the official trail, before dark.  This didn't happen.  Also, I realized the headlamp I grabbed had no batteries in it (they'd been switched to my other headlamp, the one I should have grabbed).  Improvising, I used the screen on my camera as a low power flashlight to see the few feet in front of me, and had to walk the last hour back to the car.  The Mission Mountains kicked my butt.

27,834', 21:21

My first week of real mountain running this year, and I've a lot to work on if I want to hit some of the more difficult summits around here.  This might not be the best training, but it's pretty damn fun.  Glacier was a highlight, and I may try to take another trip up there, but only if I find another high quality route without crowds.  The Mission Mountains seem like a good playing ground, mostly because they're undeveloped enough and unmaintained enough that it's a real challenge.  I was psyched to podium in the middle of this week, after a 7 hour day, so hopefully that's a sign that I'll do well at the 60k next weekend, especially with a good bout of rest.

Cairns by Point Six

North Trapper Peak

On the SE Face

Huge hunks of granite north of North Trapper

This is the best way down, squeezing between the snowfield and the wall

Craggy North Trapper

Swiftcurrent Lake

The Siyeh cirque catching the first rays of sun

Follow this ridge line for a good day

I saw more mountain goats than people on this route

Approaching Point 9,190

Clouds flowing over Cracker Peak

4,200' of vertical between summit and lake

The long descent

The route went down this slope, left of the snow couloir in this picture

Another shot.  The descent was steep, and it took a long time.

An image pulled from the web of the descent route--steep, loose and sustained!

Hidden Falls

The griz

Mission Falls

Unnamed peaks in the Mission Mountains, Lucifer Lake

A video a couple guys made of the "Skyline Experience," which helped lure me into choosing that route--it seems like they got seriously off route going up Wynn Mt., and didn't always take the least technical line along the ridge, or the most solid talus on the descent (it doesn't have to be as difficult as these guys made it appear).  Still, it's good beta if interested.

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 21st to July 27th

Monday, 7/21--Backyard Loop

4,868', 2:28

Up South Sentinel, down North Pengelly, up Sentinel, up University, down to Pattee Canyon and back.  Foggy conditions below 5,000'.  I love this loop.  I might look into extending it with a detour over to the other side of Pattee Canyon, to get a more comprehensive tour of the Sapphires.  Legs felt good.

Tuesday, 7/22--South Sentinel, North Pengelly, Sentinel

5,032', 2:20

I went out just shooting to get a fast 5k of vertical in.  The legs are definitely feeling good, and they felt really responsive on the downhills.  I know I'm not totally recovered (and probably won't be with my frequency of racing until late fall), but I feel good enough to start pushing it every now and then.

Wednesday, 7/23--Sheep Mt.

4,855', 2:58:02

This was a good effort, and I'm happy to have gotten it in under 3 hours, but I pushed myself a little too hard considering this was in the heat of the day (2:30-5:30).  I coaxed myself into going for a sub three hour attempt after reading Brian Story's account of his run.  I ran without water, and took one GU at the summit, but felt very faint afterwards.  Probably a bad idea to ingest pure carbs without water when I'm already dehydrated.  After chugging a bunch of water back at my truck, the drive home seemed to take forever, and I threw up nothing but water when I got back.  Ugh.  I need to realize my limits in the heat.

Splits were about 1:39:30 to the summit, and 1:18:30 back.  Going back felt a lot slower.

Thursday, 7/24--Off

Friday, 7/25--South Sentinel + Sentinel

3,931', 1:54

A moderately easy pace, and a little shorter than usual.  I had to get back to make sure and pack for the big run tomorrow!

Saturday, 7/26--RatBob! (Run Across The "Bob" Marshall Wilderness)

7,372', 14:58

A wonderful day in the wilderness, with intermittent running, a lot of bad jokes, and friends made.  There were 21 of us in all, but most of the time we were in smaller groups, going at different paces.  I'm still kind of processing this whole run.  Midway through, I was the furthest from civilization I've ever been (26 trail miles and 30 miles on a dirt road).  This is the kind of run that makes me want to quit my job, quit everything, and just go explore.  There's so much I'll never see.

After the run, around the campfire, Ken Ellis recited a poem by heart--The Men Who Don't Fit In, by Robert Service.  The first stanza is still going through my mind:

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

26,058', 24:38

Over a day on my feet this restless week.  Usually, I run out of a desire to know the land and myself.  But to cover 50 some miles of new land, and run it with such a large group of friends--that's something rare.  I feel luckier than ever to be in Missoula, and RATBob has spurred me on to try to take this next month before fall semester starts, and use it to the fullest.  I want to be restless.

Fog line at 5,500'

Crepuscular rays over Clark Fork

The Chinese Wall

Mt. Bunghole

Fording Spotted Bear River

A high end production from last year's RATBob:

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--