I wanted to do my track workout at sea level. Tuesday I was completely spoiled by my friends Kris and Steve. They both came to join me for my final speed workout at sea level. After last weekends runs I had very low expectations for this track session. It is normally scheduled for Wednesday but I bumped the workout up a day so I could drive to Utah on Wednesday. The schedule called for 1X800,1X1000 and 4X1200. Kris likes to do 400 and 800 meters and since Steve hasn't been to the track for years he wasn't sure what he would do. While I was warming up I felt sluggish in the legs. I still had some residual tightness from Sunday's run. For the speed session Kris said she would run the first 400 meters of each interval and Steve said he would do the last 400 meters. That gave me no opportunity for slacking. The first 800 meters was right on schedule. It felt clumsy but I made my time. The next 5 intervals were amazing. All of them were faster than any other track session in my history except for once I did a 1200 in under 4:48. I was on fire and shocked. My legs just found their groove and went for it. I was pumped and Kris and Steve made it incredibly fun. At the end Kris felt like this picture was appropriate when the real truth is they kicked my butt! I left that track with an incredible high that lasted all day!
With the car loaded to the rim Alex and I left our house at 5:30 a.m. to pick up Steve for the 12 hour drive. We grabbed Starbucks and hit the road. We weren't two minutes on the freeway before Steve starts commenting on how fast I drive. I do drive a bit fast at times. It wasn't 3 hours into the drive before I got a ticket! I was speeding so I didn't even try to get out of it. Alex is sitting in the back seat with a huge grin texting Bill to tell on me...kids! It was cruise control from that point on.
We arrived in Park City around 6:30 and prepared for our 2+ hour run with Deborah and Herb. Deborah knew I needed to do hill repeats 3X55 minutes on Friday so she took Steve and I to the perfect venue, Bert and Ernie. This is a 4 mile 2,900 foot climb to 9,250 feet. We met them at 9 on Thursday and had a great climb up the trail. The weather wasn't great so no views but today was a different story. We woke up to clear skies as far as the eye could see. Heading to the trail in the morning with a great hill repeat plan.
We started heading up the hill and I felt surprisingly good. I was able to run almost all of it making it all the way to the saddle just before the grunt climb. I turned and began the descent feeling pretty about myself. It was very rocky and much steeper from the downhill angle. I got back down and Steve was just heading out for his second trip. This time we were going to run as far as we could then start the power hike session to the summit. If that wasn't enough time we planned to summit Bald Mountain as well to make up the 55 minutes. The second ascent was brutal on me. I got a bit nauseous! I think I went up to fast on the first one. Steve was sure to remind me that speeding does not pay! I even tried to channel Micheal and Cheri who were at home crushing the PCT trail for their hill repeats but it didn't help my system uptake air any faster. Climbing up to 8,500 feet so fast was hard on my sea level lungs and legs. I was 6 minutes slower on the second one! That is just wrong! Both Steve and I struggled but had a great sense of humor about the whole thing. The grunt climb to the summit was just brutal. I stopped to cough and almost puked but got it all under control. Steve felt it appropriate to snap pictures of me during my dizzy pathetic moment. When we got to the summit we were treated with amazing views of Mt. Timpenogas, Jupiter Peak and others. We got so excited by the terrain I left my bottle sitting on the summit post. Of course I didn't find this out until we all the way back down. For a brief moment we thought I should just leave it but I couldn't. Despite how hard the grunt climb was it was short and I knew I would get home and kick myself so off we went for number 2. Needless to say we had done plenty of climb but chose to climb Bald Mountain anyway. We were both a wreck, tired and ready to be done. 4.5 hours of hard running at altitude wiped us out. We made out way back home descending another 3,000 feet, ouch.
Tomorrow is 7.5 hours on the Wasatch course plus a couple of side summits. We are going to climb Mt. Aire and Jupiter Peak on our way to Scott's Pass from Lamb's. I love this section and am excited about the wildflowers and a possible moose sighting.