Thursday, July 25, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure ~

Do you remember reading those books when you were a kid, where you could "Choose your own adventure" and make up a different story each time you read the book?  Depending on the decisions you made during the book, the story would turn out different each time.

Sometimes I feel that way when I am on a long trail run.  I come to an intersection and I think, "If I go to the right, I'll see a, b, and c... but if I go to the left, I'll see x, y, and z!"  Honestly, I feel like I can't really go wrong either way.  And I love retracing my steps at the end of the day through maps and pictures.

Last week, I made up my own set of adventures.  I challenged myself to complete 100 miles in 5 days, mostly on trail.  After getting asked to work the first half of the day on what would be my first day of running, I had a bit of a rough start with hot temperatures, cramping legs, and running out of water because of my late start.  By day two, I laid in bed in the morning, not convinced that I was capable of pulling off my goal because I had quite a lot of foot pain (in my foot that was injured from the Bighorn 100 a month ago).  But I motivated and got out of the house on day two, first for 5 miles with the dogs and then nearly 13 more miles by myself.

We had a lot of afternoon rain a couple of weeks ago before the hot temperatures, and the wildflowers were crazy huge and over my head.  The colors were magnificent and I can't say that I've ever seen them quite so intense.

After day 3, which was my biggest day with the challenges of very hot temperatures and lots of elevation gain, I got some inspiration from friendly mountain bikers in the last 5 miles who helped me choose a route that was not only in the shade but went by some lovely water sources so that I could splash about a bit and cool myself off.  Indeed on day 3, I realized that by tucking my running skirt into my hot-pants that it was not only cooler, but created a lovely distraction for mountain bikers whereby they were quite willing to stop to the side and yield right of way to me, allowing me to pass safely on many a narrow section of trail.

Just at the end of day 3, two mountain bikers passed me and said head's up, that there was a third biker coming along the trail.  I looked up just in time to see that he had looked up, lost his concentration (due to the hot-pants?) and crashed off the side of the trail.  His arm was a bloody mess, but he insisted that he was alright and I was certain that I was the cause of his mishap.

By day 4 I was "over the hump" and had a lovely but hot run with less elevation gain than the prior  three days.  It was a Saturday which is typically very busy with people recreating, but my choice of trails was a wise one and got out early to avoid the crowds.

Day 5 I was joined by my friend Ann, who paced me last fall at the Bear 100 and after 5 delightfully cool miles on the trail through stands of large fir trees, she had to turn around and go in to work (she was on-call) and I continued on by myself.  Nearing the end of the day I found my mind wandering and my pace slowing in order to take everything in.  I had such a good time with my daily routine of wake, run, eat, sleep for five days in a row that I honestly didn't want it to end.

I feel a bit stronger after my 100 miles in 5 days and am definitely contemplating another 100-mile event later this summer or early fall.  It's a bit hard for me to commit to going somewhere else for an event because the Wasatch Mountains are just so beautiful and full of good trails and good people.  I thoroughly enjoyed my self-imposed challenge in the hills near my home.

27hrs 41min
100 miles
17,900 ft elevation gain

Now for the photos:

Day One:  The "Little Rogue" ~ Jeremy Ranch Road, Moose Hollow to Parley's Summit, Great Western Trail to Big Mountain, Mormon Pioneer Trail to trailhead.  4h 46m/ 19.05mi/ 3,171 ft elevation gain

Day Two:  after 4.9 miles and 1,000 ft of gain in Summit Park (semi-secret trails), I hit Butler East Fork to Dog Lake, Little Water Trail down to trailhead, Big Water Trail up, Desolation Trail West to the beginning of Mill A Basin, then the West Fork of Butler back down to the car.  3h 54m/ 12.4mi/ 3,379 ft elevation gain

Day Three:  Start at the Guard Road (pass, not the hairpin), Crest Trail to the base of Murdock Peak (Canyons east boundary) Mid-mountain trail to Park City Mountain Resort, Pipeline Trail up to Shadow Lake, Scott's Peak trail back to Crest Trail and the car.  6h 54m/ 24.3mi/ 3,683 ft elevation gain

Day Four:  24/7 Trail from end of Jeremy Ranch Road, Glenwild Stealth Trail, Cobblestone Trail (backside of Glenwild), Flying Dog, back to 24/7 trail.  4h 48m/ 19.35mi/ 2,610 ft elevation gain

Day Five:  Pinebrook Lower to Upper Meeks, Jekyl & Hyde Trail, Mid-mountain Trail to the Canyons, Crest Connector to Red Pine Road (just east of SquareTop), resort roads past Red Pine Lake to Red Pine Lodge, Mid-mountain Trail back to Pinebrook.  5h 52min/ 20mi/ 4,058 ft elevation gain


  1. Love it!! Especially love all the wonderful pictures!

  2. What a totally AWESOME adventure! No wonder you didn't run on pie-n-beer day! ;) Cracking up at the tucked running skirt! that is *totally* something I'd do! lol

  3. Haha! I didn't know what you were talking about with the skirt until I saw the photo. Brilliant! Great challenge and you look so beautiful and alive in all your photos!