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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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