Tag: trailrunning

Running in Foot Deep Powder

Today was a great day for a trail run. I went trailrunning this morning at -1F (according to the weather channel). Accuweather had it at -13.

Nothing like a little negative F to kick off the morning trail running
Nothing like a little negative F to kick off the morning trail running

I went out on the deck and it felt more like the weather channel had it at -1F so I dressed for that. It was snowing pretty hard and there was at least 8″ of new snow on the ground. I wore a minimum of clothing, in spite of the cold. It’s better to be slightly cold and dry, rather than dressed really warmly but sweat too much. That sweat will chill you if the wind hits it.

Dressed lightly for a winter trail run at -1F
Dressed lightly for a winter trail run at -1F

I wore my Pearl Izumi Trail N2 with Kahtoola microspikes. I’m glad I did. The trail was really bumpy with icy spots under the powder snow. You couldn’t see under the snow so it was good to have the extra spike aggressiveness. I had thought of wearing my Hoka Stinson with the screws in the bottom.

Winter Trailrunning Video on Vimeo:

[weaver_vimeo id=”111698274″]

I wore Salomon hybrid top and bottom. When I say hybrid I mean a thin athletic fleece with wind and water resistant panels. I wore the loose tights without a base layer. On top I had on an Arctyrex mid-weight base layer. That’s it for clothing. For socks I wore thick wool mountaineering socks. For gloves I had on bike commuter lobster mitts from REI for my hands. On my head I wore a buff, a mid-weight helmet liner, and a swag Salomon baseball cap I got at a race.

The snow was light and fluffy and dry so I didn’t really need to worry about my feet getting wet. When I turned around at the 2.5 mile mark the wind was pretty cold on my chest. I had a thin insulated vest in the UD Pack, but in a few minutes I was warm again so it was worth waiting before I got it out. It ended up I didn’t need it.

Winter Trailrunning GPS Track:

[sgpx gpx=”/wp-content/uploads/gpx/11-12-2014-KeystoneGulch.gpx”]

Trailrunning Week in Photos

On Monday I ran on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Utah along the foot of the Wasatch Mountains East of Utah Lake near Orem Utah. I did 7.92 miles and 250′ vertical after my 7+ hour drive from Colorado.

Bonneville Shoreline Trail overlooking Utah Lake. Local say BST.
Bonneville Shoreline Trail overlooking Utah Lake. Local say BST.
Movescount Stats for my BST Run on Monday
Movescount Stats for my BST Run on Monday

The next two days, Tuesday and Wednesday I did an Incline Treadmill workout and a couple Stairmaster Stepmill workouts. I forgot to bring my whiteboard home with my stats on it, but the Incline Treadmill was:

Time: 30:01
Distance: .548
Incline: 30%
Elevation Gain: 868.03′
Average MPH: 1.095
Average Pace: 54:46
Vertical/Hour: 1735′
Vertical/Minute: 28.92′
VAM: 528.9

Console Report from my Incline Treadmill workout on Tuesday
Console Report from my Incline Treadmill workout on Tuesday

If I remember correctly I got in over 2500′ on the Stepmill, and next time I’m in Utah I’ll get it updated here.

On Thursday I went up to the Saddle on Mount Olympus, the iconic peak prominent on the East side of the valley near the large REI store. I tried going up the gravel chute scramble to the summit, but was going two steps up and three steps back so decided that a trip to the Saddle was a good workout and returned down. I’m glad I did. That first half mile down was really hard on my knees. 5.89 miles and 3700′ of vertical.

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Movescount Stats from Mount Olympus in Salt Lake City
Movescount Stats from Mount Olympus in Salt Lake City

That same afternoon then I returned to Colorado in a thunderstorm with lightning bolts hitting the peaks around Avon and Vail.

On Friday Morning I went out for a trip up Mount Royal, one of my favorite local steep ascents up the anvil-like prow overlooking Frisco Colorado Main Street. The trail was still under a lot of snow. It’s been a very cool wet spring here with lots of snow. An avalanche swept through the trees just left of the trail and covered an intersection and I ended up on the very steep avalanche debris and had to work hard to avoid postholing. When I neared the saddle I realized I was in the wrong drainage and tried to go over and through the trees but between the steep rough terrain and the deep snow between the pines I descended and then found the correct trail. I followed it up for a bit but then had to bail after postholing in steep wet slush like a snowcone. I did 3.34 miles and 1286′ vertical.

Avalanche debris on Mount Royal in Frisco CO
Avalanche debris on Mount Royal in Frisco CO
Snowy trail weaving through the trees on Mount Royal by Frisco CO
Snowy trail weaving through the trees on Mount Royal by Frisco CO
Knee deep post holing tracks on Mount Royal snowcone snow
Knee deep post holing tracks on Mount Royal snowcone snow
Movescount Stats for Mount Royal in Frisco CO
Movescount Stats for Mount Royal in Frisco CO

I kind of felt like that wasn’t quite workout enough, and was going to go for a cycle ride that Friday Evening but decided to go for a second run up the Keystone Gulch Road, one of my favorites. I wanted to go pretty fast overall, in spite of my cold (got a cold from a traveling relative that really packed up my lungs and sinus) and sore knees from Olympus (actually since a pavement run a few weeks ago my knees have been a bit troublesome). I ended up with 1.46 miles and 120′ vertical.

Keystone Gulch Road Fast Run on Friday Evening
Keystone Gulch Road Fast Run on Friday Evening

The next day, Saturday I set a goal of 10 miles and I was curious about the Aqueduct Trail going from a pond crossing about a half mile up the road around to The Ranches subdivision above the golf course and stables. That was a blast. After bushwhacking around some snow, I was on singletrack going very quickly for a while in the area before the houses. Eventually the track gently ascended a hill about where I thought you might cross over back on top of the ridge overlooking the Gulch but it was all under water. I skirted it slowly for a while but then decided it was going to go on forever and returned to the gulch road. I came across a couple of mountain bikers who reported seeing a bear along the singletrack on their way so I took out my earbuds and took off the sunglasses just in case. At the road I headed up to a little ways past the 2 mile marker, having to leap across a 2′ runnel of water crossing the road swiftly entering the creek. I returned to the crossroad trail head with 10.21 miles and 700′ vertical gain.

Keystone Gulch 10 mile run from Saturday via Movescount
Keystone Gulch 10 mile run from Saturday via Movescount
The Aqueduct pipe and trail along the cliffs heading toward the Stables at Keystone Resort
The Aqueduct pipe and trail along the cliffs heading toward the Stables at Keystone Resort
Singletrack trail near The Ranches overlooking the River Run Golf Course at Keystone Resort
Singletrack trail near The Ranches overlooking the River Run Golf Course at Keystone Resort

I ended up with 29.368 miles and 6824.03′ of vertical for this week. Add in at least 2500′ of ascent via Stairmaster and that’s over 9000′ of gain for the week. In spite of my achy knees and stuffed lungs and head. It was a great week.

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I normally only wear trail running microspikes, like the Kahtoola Microspikes while doing speed ascents on mountains, like Quandary or Grays, Colorado 14ers. The snow this year has been so soft, and the trails have been so slow, that I tried running in just plain lugged shoes, snowshoes [STORY HERE] and my spiked running shoes [STORY HERE]. A couple weeks ago the Spring Thaw finally arrived and after a couple of good damp snowfalls and a few days of sun the trails became more firm with a good surface for spiked running.

Trail Running Spiked Running Shoes in Winter

I was feeling really good on 19 February, so I took off up the trail with a target of something over 2.5 miles. I ended up with 2.6 miles on my spiked Hoka shoes. I was feeling so good that on the way down I did an interval of just cutting loose and came pretty close to a 5:00 pace. That felt awesome. If you love stats check these out, from Strava and Movescount.

One difference between Strava and Movescount is that Strava doesn’t count standing still in the final calculation, whereas Movescount goes from watch ON to watch OFF. It adds in the dead time when you first start the watch and then when you finally roll in to the bus stop and dig through layers of clothing to turn it off. Not a major deal though.

It was great to average 12:14 after averaging in the 15:00-17:00 range for the last 8 weeks. Did I mention that the snow had been deep and soft up to now? It was inspiring and I decided that I’d rest up a day then try again with trail running microspikes on over my non-spiked Hoka running shoes. Say what you want, but I do enjoy the recovery speed in these shoes.

Trail Running Microspikes in Winter

I went back to the trail then on 21 February after a day of rest and for some odd reason I set my target as a fast 10k trail run on the snow in the trail running microspikes from Kahtoola. Like I said before, I had worn them several times on the mountain trails on my ascents. I just had never tried for a less steep speed run in them.

Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes
Trail running microspikes by Kahtoola on my Hoka One One Stinson EVO shoes

Putting on Trail Running Microspikes – the video

For fun I decided to share this little video of putting on the trail running microspikes. I’m in a bus shelter near the trail head, just for convenience for shooting the video.

I got onto the trail and began running. And I just kept on running. And running. It felt good. I enjoyed the traction and the extra few ounces on my feet from the trail running microspikes was almost negligible. I felt like I was going pretty quickly and that inspired me to just keep going to the turn-around point of the run near the bottom of the Santiago Express lift at Keystone Resort. This road is used by the ski patrol and maintenance crew for the Outback area of the ski resort. That’s why the surface texture varies quite a bit. When the snow is soft it’s shin deep snowmobile chop. When the snow is firm and packed it’s the corduroy snowcat tracks. Like that day.

I felt good at the lifts so I took a chug of water and then took off back down. My goal on the way downhill was to let gravity help me to achieve a smooth even speed at about my maximum endurance level. I hung on hard for the whole downhill and it felt great. I don’t know for sure if the extra traction of the trail running microspikes helped, but I’m very happy with the 6.7 miles I ended up with. At a 12:19 pace. Here are the stats for you that are interested:

The most fascinating thing to me is that in the 2.6 miles I was in Zone 6 (anaerobic pace zone via Strava) for 1:45. In the 6.7 miles I stayed in that zone for 9:30. Freaking amazing to me. In trail running microspikes in the snow. To go 2.5 times (two and a half times) as far and only lose 4 seconds per mile (12:14 vs. 12:19) proves that something I’m doing in my training is working. Gives me a lot to think about, for sure.

Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run
Trail Running Microspikes by Kahtoola, Hoka running shoes, and UA gloves, drying out after my run

Trail Running Microspikes in Action – the video

Here I am holding a camera out away and trying for different angles without breaking my 8:30-ish pace or falling down and breaking me. I love the shadows on the corduroy snow the best. Then the trees blowing by. Enjoy…

So, how do I feel about the trail running microspikes, now that I’ve had a chance to use them? For one thing I can feel them, even through the thick sole of these shoes. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When I picked up the pace I was moving fast enough to ignore them. I loved the traction. The weight is obviously irrelevant. I’m going to experiment with what’s left of the Winter going back and forth between the trail running microspikes and the spiked running shoes to see if I can refine my opinion. If you want to be alerted when I write more articles like this, please subscribe to the blog for updates. Thanks.

Training Log: Bonneville Shoreline Trail 12 Nov 2013

Last night I went to bed with a crazy idea. To do a 5K PR on the BST, or Bonneville Shoreline Trail. Along the Wasatch Front of Utah we just call it the BST for simplicity. Everyone who runs or bikes knows it. Here in Utah County it’s pretty dry and barren for the most part. It’s made up of various jeep roads along the base of Mount Timpanogos here in the Northern part of the County. Further South it has a few more trees on it, down by Rock Canyon.

Just after completing my 5K PR on the BST
Just after completing my 5K PR on the BST

I parked at a church near the Cedar Hills Golf Club, since they don’t mind much and the paved rec path is there to access the dirt road. I walked about a quarter mile to warm up, then hit the button on Strava [results] and my Watch. I monitored my progress closely, with the Pace View on the watch to make sure I stayed below a 10:00 pace, with a target of 32:00 minutes for my PR.

There were a few steep but short hills and a few longer gentler uphill grades, and I had to walk a few times. Then at 1.6 miles I turned around and gave it a little more speed. My legs and lungs were sore and I came in at the starting line, about 3.2 miles and then tapered to a walk to let my heart rate decrease. When I uploaded the run to Strava it did in fact meet my goal at 31:25 for the 5K PR.

Later I looked at my Polar results and my heart rate was over 160 for almost the entire return 1.6 miles. Awesome job, if I do say so myself. Below is the GPS track from Strava and then a gallery of some of my results graphs from Strava and Polar.

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Map and Splits
Map and Splits
Pace Overview - Elevation and Pace
Pace Overview – Elevation and Pace
Pace Analysis - Splits
Pace Analysis – Splits
Pace Analysis - Smoothed
Pace Analysis – Smoothed
Pace Distribution based on Tempo
Pace Distribution based on Tempo
Polar Heart Rate (in the red zone)
Polar Heart Rate (in the red zone)
Polar Heart Rate Zone Displayed
Polar Heart Rate Zone Displayed

Training Log: Squaw Peak 02 November 2013

I was going to be in Utah for family business and had contacted fellow Team Seven Summits Quest member Jen Hamilton to see if she could do a run on it. She was planning on starting around 7, and I couldn’t be there before 9, so I thought we could hook up on the trail.

Charles Miske and Jen Hamilton below Squaw Peak overlooking Provo Utah
Charles Miske and Jen Hamilton below Squaw Peak overlooking Provo Utah

I had two days of rest after my slow winter conditions run on Quandary, so I was hoping I could beat my last PR on Squaw. I took off from the parking lot and tried hard to run up the road, then gravel road, then narrow four wheel drive road up to the fork in the trail for Squaw, about 1.5 miles from the gate to the parking lot.

Squaw Peak map with Splits
Squaw Peak map with Splits

I ran about a 10:00 pace for the paved section of road, then settled into about a 15:00 uphill walk with a few steep sections of slower walking, trying hard not to drift below a 20:00 pace. I figured with a two hour head start I might be running into Jen somewhere up the fork, probably on her way down. I looked at my watch and saw that I was running a few minutes slower than I thought I needed to be for a PR.

About a half mile from the summit of Squaw Peak [photo by Jen Hamilton]
About a half mile from the summit of Squaw Peak [photo by Jen Hamilton]

The trail devolved into slimy mud over frozen hard dirt with some ice and snow in shady places. With the fallen leaves it was a bit slippery in places. I finally ran into Jen about a half mile from the summit as she was descending. We talked for a minute and I checked my watch. I felt like I was about four minutes off from a record, and after a couple minutes we decided to meet on my way down and I ran hard for the summit.

Squaw Peak Summit
Squaw Peak Summit

I checked my watch and was a bit fuzzy, since I had started it at the car, and there was a couple minute walk to the gate before the Strava Segment started. I hung out for a minute, took a couple of pictures, then headed back down. It was a bit more slippery going down, and I fell once, but no damage, so I kept on. Jen was moving pretty fast going down, and I ran into her about a quarter mile from the fork to the road and we went down that last steep narrow dirt trough together.

Frosty branches in the frozen mud
Frosty branches in the frozen mud

We continued on back to the car moving at a reasonably fast clip, but not running like I’d done on my last Squaw Peak training run. We discussed Elbrus Race 2014, possible gear selections and training methods, nutrition and her health and training goals.

It wasn’t until a while later, when I synced my Strava app that I discovered I’d achieved a handful of PR’s on this one. I was surprised, but quite pleased. One thing I’d like to add here is that I was not using trekking poles on this run, so I was using my arms to pump hard on the way up. Not sure if it helped or not though.

Strava Overview with PR's for Squaw Peak Run
Strava Overview with PR’s for Squaw Peak Run

I have been doing the Hoka Vertical Challenge on Strava too, which is one reason I’ve been doing a lot of vertical training this past week, instead of my usual runs on Keystone Gulch Road. I managed to top 4000 meters this week, which is a lot of vertical feet, especially considering that quite a bit of that was accomplished above 4000 meters on a Colorado Fourteener.

Hoka One One Demand More Vertical Challenge 4000 meter achievement
Hoka One One Demand More Vertical Challenge 4000 meter achievement

I’m heading back to Colorado now, and not quite sure what my vertical achievement goal will be for Monday after a rest day on Sunday. It will be exciting though to make this training goal. Here is a collection of images about my training from Strava Reports:

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Training Log: Torreys Peak via Kelso Ridge – 17 August 2013

I’ve been wanting to do this one for a couple years now but haven’t quite gotten around to it. This past week I’d done a couple more extreme trail runs. I did a 17.5 mile up Keystone Gulch to the Colorado Trail to the Aquaduct Trail for Breckenridge and back. I was lost.

I also did a double on Mount Royal overlooking Frisco Colorado. I was pretty wasted so I was looking for something that my friend, climbing partner, and Team Seven Summits Quest mate Todd Gilles and I could do together that was also extreme, but would allow us to go a bit slower than we have been in our training for Elbrus Race 2013.

Todd Gilles rock climbing on Kelso Ridge
Todd Gilles rock climbing on Kelso Ridge

We met in Keystone at about 6:50 and drove together in my higher clearance vehicle to the Grays Peak Trailhead up Stevens Gulch. The Grizzly Gulch Fork parking was completely overparked and as we went up the road through the private land area we ran into a long line of bumper to bumper cars parked along the side. We stopped to ask and no one knew for sure if there were spaces up at the trailhead. I decided to risk it, thinking there would be parking along the road to the mining area where I’d camped several years before.

Sure enough, there was parking for us and we took off up the trail. It was pretty obvious that many of these hundreds of people don’t get out much. They weren’t at all experienced with faster “hikers” on the same trail. We made it to the fork to Kelso Ridge in pretty good time in spite of that. We took off up the ridge and for the most part it was loose gravel and dirt with a few steep gullies of third class rock, with maybe one or two fifth class moves. I think if you were cautious you could find a way to make it easier.

We didn’t really push for speed and stayed behind a few people that we used as routefinders for a while until they stopped for lunch. Then we came to the Knife-edge. This was classic. It’s a steep point about 50′ long along the ridge top. The slabs drop a few hundred feet both directions and most people I have heard slide along on their crotch. Some more brave people just walk on it. I was not brave that day. Todd was a bit faster than me. I think his Merrel minimum trail runners had better stick than my Salomon XA-Pro. They felt like they were sliding off every little foothold.

Happy to be on top. Todd Gilles and Charles Miske after climbing Kelso Ridge on Torreys
Happy to be on top. Todd Gilles and Charles Miske after climbing Kelso Ridge on Torreys

The last bit was a scree slog sometimes on hands and knees. At the top we hung out and ate and drank and did pics and videos. On the way down we saw hundreds of people along the trail. Most coming up quite late, but some going down. We got behind some really slow people, even for the slow pace we were going at, so at a switchback with a fork I managed to run around everyone and we started booking it down the trail.

We passed everyone. Not a single other person, even those dressed as trail runners, passed us. I think it took only a little over an hour to descend back to the car. I know I had a lot of fun sliding and jumping and even falling once to avoid running into a dog in the middle of the trail that didn’t notice me approaching.

Torreys via Kelso Ridge – Strava Stats

Torreys via Kelso Ridge 17 AUG 2013 on Strava - overview
Torreys via Kelso Ridge 17 AUG 2013 on Strava – overview

When I uploaded my stats Strava associated our stats together, Todd’s and mine. Oddly we were 20 minutes apart though we hit the summit within a minute of each other. I think it was because whoever created the segment pinned the summit in a different spot. I just sat down at the cairn and Todd wandered around, so likely he passed through the pinned segment end before I did. In any case here are the Strava stats [CLICK HERE]

Torreys via Kelso Ridge Map

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