Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Utah, Camping, the ER... Twice, Food Poisioning and Running

The Youngest Hoka Fan

This last Saturday after a nice run up the 3 peaks of Chautauqua in 13 miles with about 4,500ft climbing with the great company of Joe Grant, GZ, JV, Dave Mackey and Homie, the Schlarb Family took off for a week of Utah fun.
Maggie and Felix at the Kokopelli Trail

Instead of making the big push all in one day, we stopped at the last exit in Colorado before Utah and made our way up the mesa overlooking the Colorado River.  After a steep and slightly technical climb up the 4x4 road, we found a perfect spot to set up camp.  Our camping spot was literally on the Kokopelli trail and had views down to the Colorado river.  At this point, things were wonderful, we were enjoying the evening, I was feeling totally recovered from my race 7 days before, we had a nice fire and Felix seemed to be getting over his cold and enjoying the camping thing.

Sunday morning, after a good night of sleep, I started my way down the Kokopelli trail.  Not a half mile down the trail, I saw two trail running guys coming my way.  I forget their names, but they were both PTs and worked together at the hospital in Grand Junction.  Both guys were doing a 20+ mile long run and were equipped with water, headlamps and of course, Hokas.  These guys were the nicest fellas you can meet and took the time and effort to lead me down the best parts of the Kokopelli trail.  I was very impressed with the trail quality, scenery and company.  For the most part, snow free trail running is available all year long around this area (Fruita CO).  I enjoyed all 13 miles of this wonderful run with maybe 1,250ft of total climbing.

After some wonderful bacon and eggs back at camp, we headed to Utah where things started to take a turn for the worse.  Maggie and I decided to go for the longer drive past the turn to Moab and down Hwy 24 to camp Sunday night before we made a go at the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park.  The Maze is by far my favorite canyon system in Utah.  With access so far away and challenging, coupled with the restrictive permitting and fees (only 50 allowed in the area at one time) and the "no trail" policy, the Maze, despite its splendor, stays wild, fun and relatively crowd free.
The Maze (Photo By Rob Jones)

Gas is a an issue getting to the Maze and carrying a camper with a well loaded truck doesn't help.  After 30+ miles of BLM sand/dirt road, I missed a turn and our chance to do the Maze slipped away, as I didn't have enough gas to get to where we needed and back to Green River.  Defeated, tired and upset we began looking for a place to camp for the evening.  It was late and tension was high by the time we found a suitable place to camp.  Once I started to ready our Aliner camper, I discovered one of the jacks was mangled from some of the off roading and furthermore, some of the interior of the camper was seriously damaged from the intese jostling.  Needless to say, not a good night after such a long drive, not to mention the drive was really a waste.

Monday The next morning we woke to a wind storm.  We later found out that the entire region was hit with some serious wind, but we were lucky enough to be camped on a sandy (there were dunes around), treeless mesa.  The wind and sand were so intense that the ultra fine sand was getting into the camper.  There was zero motivation to pack up and leave during the storm so we ate and took a nap.  After the nap we packed up the damaged, sandy camper and headed to Moab.

While I believe the Schlarb family is pretty "hard core", I decided we needed  a night in a hotel to get a good restart on our week long trip.  Before hitting the Hotel 6 we drove over for a hike and run up one of our favorite trails close to Moab, Negro Bill Canyon.  Negro Bill Canyon has a wonderful year around clear water spring fed creek .  Also, just over 2 miles up the canyon is a nice little Grotto with some water trickling down making for a very popular but awesome scene.
Negro Bill

I ran up past the Grotto until the trail became very difficult to follow and started to become more of an exploratory hike.  I decided to scramble out of the canyon for better runnable terrain.  Once out of the canyon I found what I was looking for and furthermore, I decided to take a risk and skip the canyon on the way back.  Running relatively fast across slick rock and mixed terrain was  very liberating and very different from my regular running... it felt fantastic, it was fun and I was literally shouting with joy like a kid.  While it was only 9 miles, I had a great run and workout with probably 1,000 ft climbing.
At Motel 6 we fully took advantage of the amenities.  We did stay somewhat "hard core" and cooked our quinoa dinner on the camp stove... in the room accompanied by some PBR.

Tuesday Felix's cold, congestion, coughing and wheezing took a turn for the worse Monday night and at 3:30AM we decided to get things checked out at the ER.  By 6:30AM at a very quite Moab ER, Felix was diagnosed with mild Pneumonia in one lung, via some chest x-rays.  We went back to Motel 6, took a nap and then got up to pick up some meds and a "Nebulizer" for Felix while I ran.  Maggie dropped me off at Slick Rock for a run and they picked up the drugs and crazy fog machine you breathe.
Photo RussellGrange.com

I was pretty exhausted and it was pretty hot out, but regardless, Slick Rock trail is quite an amazing run, bike or even hike.  I had biked Slick Rock once before, but was excited to do it as a run.  I ran from the BLM fee station to the trail head (paying to run is really upsetting), did the practice loop, main loop and then practice loop again for a total of 13 miles.  Despite the volume of amazing bikes and bikers, I was never passed (for more than a minute or so) by the bikers.  You combine group biking dynamics, frequent stops for the views, the fact that it is difficult to ride fast on the up and down technical terrain and the occasional bike adjustments and all the advantage of speed via a bike diminishes.  The views were awesome and it was a very special treat to run on this unique surface. Reunited with the family we were on the road for our 7hr drive home 4 days early.

Wednesday Late Tuesday night after the long drive home I couldn't sleep, for whatever reason this is not unusal for me after driving a long drive home.  At about 1 or 2 in the morning my stomach decided to dispose of everything immediately.  I believe I ate some turkey on the way home that had been out in the heat too long and I paid for it.  I was in bed, weak, destroyed and forced to take my first day off in a while. 

Thursday Most of the day Thursday I felt weak and the stomach was queasy.  By 6pm I decided to go for a run.  I ran from North Boulder Park to Eben G Fine park then up Panorama to Flagstaff, accross to Greenman up to Green.  I rather enjoyed the warm evening spring weather and rare evening run.  Just before Green Mtn, after scaring some ladies who didn't see me coming,  I had to turn on the head lamp.  The night views of Boulder were awesome on this warm cloudless evening.  The run back was tricky in the dark and I was weak and tired from my bout with food poisoning.  13 Miles total with 3,250 ft climbing. 

Friday I was happy to be feeling good and off of work with wonderful sunny weather with temps in the 70s.  I took the camper to be fixed up in Loveland then got on my bike to try a new workout.  I rode from my house 4.5 miles up to Boulder Canyon and then to the Bettasso link trail where I parked the bike and began running up the steep mile or so trail to the Bettasso trail system.  Once at Bettasso I began a faster effort run around the two beautiful smooth mountain trail loops at around 7,000 ft altitude.  The trails are smooth like classic California trail with only a relatively small amount of climbing making for a great place to run "faster".  I did 10 miles, which equates to two loops and and 3 miles of out and back at about a 7:30 average pace.  I was comfortable during the workout and was happy with a sub 56 minute  split for both loops at around mile 7.  I was still a bit off from my sickness and then my late night Green ascent the night before, but overall a good run.  I particularly enjoyed biking back home and hitting 4 miles of sub 4 and sub 3 minute miles... on a bike.  12.25 miles, 1,800ft climbing. 
S.Boulder Creek
Looking back down Eldo

Saturday I got a late start to my longest training run of the year on the hottest day of the year.  I believe  temps got to the mid 80s while I was running.  I ran from home to Gregory Canyon, over to Mesa and on to Old Mesa  I had never run Old Mesa, so I wasn't sure exactly where it was going to spit me out in the town of Eldorado.  Once in Eldorado, I totally forgot about the fees for entry.  I really dislike paying to run or be in the wilderness and today I was particularly upset as I planned on running up Eldorado Canyon trail.  I decided I would cut through the town Post Office's land and climb up to where I knew there was a trail entering the canyon on the south side.  The off trail running up to the trail into Eldo was a little exhausting and by the time I began the climb out of Eldo I was pretty tired.  I was pretty tired from my week of traveling, sickness, Green and then a 10 mile tempo the day before.  I continued on to Walker Ranch and enjoyed dipping my head in S. Boulder Creek.  I turned around and feeling exhausted I made my way back, proudly running through the fee shack at the Eldo and on home.  I did run into Kendrick and enjoyed talking with him... hope to catch a run with that guy soon.  I was toast when I arrived home.  28 Miles, 5,000ft climbing
South Boulder Creek @ Walker Ranch
Old Mesa Pasque Bloomings

 Sunday I was nervous about how my run would pan out this morning after feeling destroyed the day before.  I kept things flatter and ran wonderland to north boulder trails to Boulder Reservoir where I saw everyone getting ready for the half marathon, 10 mile and CO 5 mile championships.  I hoped to see Dave Mackey, but no luck.  He rocked out a 1:21 in the half for a top 5 finish on the dirt roads in the hot sun.  Ran 22 Miles with maybe 1,200ft of climbing.  Felt better than I expected on the run today.

While I got some great running in, this week was rough.  Glad I could get the running I did get in.
No doubles, with one day off, pretty happy with the ol' stats I guess.

97 Miles
13,250 Feet Climbing


  1. Jason,
    Thanks for the company during our run on the Kokopelli, Jon and I enjoyed the conversation! I've been reading some of your blog and am excited to explore some more trails in the Boulder area. If you ever get out this way for more trail running, or have any more P.T. school questions just holler!
    Jimmy Turner - jturnerpt@yahoo.com

  2. Jimmy! Now I remember your name. Well, if you are in Boulder before June, I would love to take you around on some of the great trails. If you come up later, still let me know as I know some great guys that would love to show a fellow runner the great trails here.
    Thanks again for the awesome tour. Stay in touch and I will let you know when we are coming through GJ next time!

  3. It is a great pictures with those huge shoes. Also Great Canyon is a great place to go. It would be a great destination for perhead costa rica community.