Yesterday I tested the legs on a 7+ hour local jaunt. Kim Coupanas from Golite, sponsor of our adventure racing team back in the day, generously sent me a Rush pack. It’s received great reviews from ultra runners and was brilliant for yesterday’s training session.
I’d delayed for a day, hoping for less “spring-like” weather. After a lean winter in Utah, we are getting snow. Yesterday was rainier and colder than the day before. I went anyway. Feeling like it’s the flats and downhills that will prove my undoing, I headed up the Pipeline track. After an initial climb of about 1000 feet, it’s mostly flat/gradual climbing until Mt Aire. I trotted 10 miles from home to the top of Mt Aire (8620 feet) in rain and later, snow. From the top of Mt Aire, I rang Scottie who said he’d come for a run and bring me snacks. Heading back down the Pipeline, I came face-to-face with a moose. Like really face-to-face. I could smell her musty odor. Adrenaline pumping – because moose are unpredictable – I dashed up the slippery hillside, grabbing a tree as she cantered past within touching distance. A few minutes later, Scott came round the corner and I was back in civilization. Spirits lifted by seeing my husband, getting some more food and the easing of the rain, I headed up Grandeur peak (8300 feet). I made pretty good time and crested the summit in only a couple of feet of snow. The very familiar descent was enjoyable with Salt Lake City sprawled beneath like a carpet and the setting sun casting ‘Jesus rays’ over the mountains. Staggering a little by now, I cranked the volume on the ipod to drown out the freeway as I jogged the last two miles home. A hike as much as a run, I figure I did about 25 miles with about 6000 feet in elevation gain and loss (ie, Just over half of that of the Grand Canyon trip). Today my legs feel a bit worked but am really trying to focus on hydration. Tellingly, it’s not my quads that hurt now but my hamstrings – probably from the long flats.
Although I enjoyed my day out (and the night before – a night ascent of Olympus with ultra runners, Mindy and the other Nancy), I have no desire to compete in ultra running. In fact, I wish I’d run the Grand Canyon back in my fitter days.