I was going to do an early morning run, but when I saw the weather report called for ideal day-time weather for running, I decided to delay and do a long afternoon run. After a two-hour stake presidency meeting, I got the OK from my wife to go on a very long run. I invited her to drive way out, meet me for a lunch, but that idea didn't thrill here. My crazy run ended up being 35 miles. I ran from home all the way out to Fairfield, to Cedar Fort, to Cedar Pass, through the Ranches, and then back home. I took my sweet time, wanting some good time on my feet and to work my knee. My running time was 6:32.
It was great to be running outside again. By staying in the lowlands, I didn't have too much problem with mud, but when I went over the ridge between Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain, I hit some rather deep snow. I ran on the snow for about three miles, kind of slow going, but lots of fun. I saw plenty of foot prints of wildlife, dear, coyotes, and what looked like a big cat. I also saw some foot prints of another runner from earlier in the day. I rarely see prints or other runners in my private training area. It was good to know someone else is venturing out several miles from their home. It looked like the runner came from Eagle Mountain. That made me think about how many ultrarunners there are in Saratoga Springs. Out of a city of about 16,000 people, I can only count 6-7 runners who have run at least a 50k in the past few years. I'm the only one who has run a 100-miler. That is really a low ratio and shows what a nitch sport this still is.
I spilled out in the Cedar Valley. The sun peeked out and it became warmer. The sleeves rolled up. I reached mile 7.9 at 1:35 in Eagle Mountain city center. I hooked up with the Pony Express Trail road and really enjoyed the nice soft straight dirt road. I could see Fairfield off in the distance. After running another 20 minutes, Fairfield looked just as far away. It was an amazing illusion. It seemed to never come closer.
Finally I did arrive at Fairfield. I ran over to Camp Floyd, filled up my water bottle and took a very long bathroom break. Got to love the clean heated bathroom there. That was the 15.2 mile mark, and I had 2:55 running time.
On the way again, I now ran along the busy highway 73 toward Cedar Fort. It had a nice shoulder and I could jump to the side of it on some dirt that was nice. The litter along the way was very depressing to see. All the cigarette butts and beer cans were disgusting. Why do people have to throw stuff out of their car. I just can't understand it. I counted a beer can rate of 30 per mile on that side of the road. Clearly the beer of choice for these litterers is Bud Light.
I reached my first aid station, a convenient store at Cedar Fort at the 19.9 mile mark after running 3:47. I bought some goodies and Gatoraid. While I was sitting and eating, some bikers rode up. They looked very tired. I listened but didn't strike up a conversation. I thought it would sound stupid if I told them I was on mile 20. They were complaining that they still had 10 miles to go on their ride. I just smiled to myself.
On my way again, the bikers went by after I had run another mile. I was listening to the BYU-New Mexico basketball game, and I was bummed out that they lost. Running along the highway was getting old. I spent plenty of time on the dirt side-shoulder to stay far away from the cars and trucks going 70+ mph. I reached the 26.2 mile mark (Cedar Pass) after 4:49 running time. At mile 28, 5:12, I reached the Ranches Parkway and stopped at my second aid station, a Maverik store. I bought a nice big hot cup of hot chocolate and went outside to a picnic table and drank the entire cup.
As I ran along the Ranches Parkway (now away from the highway), I was passed by a woman pushing a baby cart. She also had a big dog on a leash. She was going fast, at least 7:30 miles. It was impressive to watch. There was no way I could keep up with her at the speed. I made the turn to head toward Saratoga Springs. There were sections of the Pony Express Parkway that had a no shoulder, so it was a bother dodging cars, but finally I reached Saratoga Springs. I tried to push the speed for the final three miles. The light was getting dim, but I was able to reach home right before dusk.
It was a great afternoon. My legs held up great. It was so good to be outdoors again and away from the treadmill. My training area still needs a few weeks for the snow and mud to go away, but I can see that spring is coming. That is four Saturdays in a row with at least 35 miles!
I noticed that I'm down to 170 pounds. Haven't been that low for a couple years and I didn't stay there long. That spare tire is almost gone.
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