Saturday, January 28, 2012

Existential Reminders

While winter trail running in SLC can be limiting in terms of possible routes, one nice consequence of  traveling the same set of trails on a daily basis is a growing sense of intimacy with the terrain and the ability to appreciate minute changes in trail conditions, lighting, weather, and wildlife.  There is a habituation that occurs to place and my presence in it.  I know each bend, each rise, the most efficient footstrike patterns to negotiate obstacles, what the temperature means for the snow conditions and expected traction.  The strange is made familiar: a state facilitated by the proximity of these trails to my workplace and the city at large, the expectation of being here in the minutes I squeeze out of a lunch break or the early morning hours, the folding of this activity into my routine.  At times this can promote a desultory, even complacent attitude towards the surroundings and the daily ritual of weaving to and fro amidst the foothills.  And yet there are moments where strangeness returns, where you are reminded in the clearest of terms where you are and what you are: in the natural order of things, an animal of bone and gristle running instinctually during the bright, brief window of time you are alive.  

Strangeness.  An odd term for what is the truest encapsulation of our existence.  It's been nice to have a few daily reminders of this. 

The following photos were all taken over the last 3 days in Dry Creek, only minutes from the University Hospital.  Mountain lions are alive and well in the foothills judging by the carnage and plentiful surrounding tracks.  

Day 1
Day 2

Day 3

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Gist

Helfer heading up Uncle.  
I've accumulated some decent vertical over the last 2 weeks (a little over 40,000ft of vertical gain), a good deal of it slogging uphill in snow.  This marks a stodgy commitment to my general training plan of running whenever the opportunity arises, doing none to very little fast running, lots of ups, and skimpy overall mileage totals.  While controversial and certainly not a plan destined to take one to the Olympic Trials, I justify this approach by fear of injury and facilitate it by not wearing any form of GPS tracking device- the latter allowing for not only gross overestimation of distance traveled but also convenient obscuration of one's true level of fitness.   While this would be unthinkable for a candy-assed, obsessive-compulsive, existentially-adrift triathlete, or even my former mileage-obsessed road marathoning self, it nicely fits the bill for me right now.
AM Grandeur, west face.

Slogging up Mt. Wire with the sunrise.

Jason, Mt. Wire.  Cold.

A bit of a treacherous descent.

Mom, Ada, and new snowfall.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Trail Running: East and West.

It's been a dry winter here in Salt Lake.  While this has made for consistently runnable lower elevation trails it has definitely limited other winter activities.   Luckily, running is a pretty great thing in and of itself.  Having done zero snowshoeing this winter I may forgo the 50k snowshoe race at the end of this month and simply focus on building strength for the upcoming spring racing season.  In that regard I've been able to accumulate some decent time on my feet over the past 3 weeks- both here as well as back in Maine visiting my folks.  I'm also finalizing my race schedule for the spring and summer which will likely look something like this:

March- Antelope Island 50 mile
April- Zane Grey 50 mile
May- Zion 100?  vs. June 2nd Pocatello 50
June- San Juan Solstice 50 mile
July- Speedgoat 50k
August- ? possibly Transrockies with Bethany
September- Wasatch 100, lottery pending.
Fall TBD.

Piano lessons with Mimi 

Icy trail up Saddleback (Maine)

A bit slick


Bethany scrambling up classic Maine trail.

Jason Berry on ridge between Mt. Aire and Grandeur.

Sunrise on Bonneville

Afternoon on Bonneville.
Bethany in the Maine woods.

Why we averaged 18min per mile on this long run.