Saturday, May 26, 2012

Heaven on Earth-Draper Trails 15 Mile Run

I just have to start this write-up with saying I felt like I had died and gone to heaven running this race. This was by far the most beautiful run I have ever been on and I want to move to Draper so that these trails can be right in my back yard! I came home and told that to Mark and he said he would live in Draper but it's too expensive. Boo:(
Josh, me, Jenn, Julia (I'm the oddball because my name didn't start with J)

All three of these cute people I have met through the blogging, running world.  I'm old enough to be Josh's and Julia's mom and Jenn's big sister, and it was such a blast to spend my day with all of them.  
I was so excited to run this race but I went into it again not knowing much about the course, only that we would be running 15 miles on a trail in the Draper hills, but that's fine with me because I have fallen in love with trail running recently.

I slept super good last night, in fact the best night's rest I've ever had before a race.  I think it's because I wasn't worried about trying to run a fast race and I was just going to get to be out in the mountains, and I would be with people I knew.  Going to races alone is seriously no fun.

Julia and I rode together and headed out about 7:10am.  We got to Draper pretty quick and had about 45 minutes to meander and visit and warm-up.  We got to know Josh for the first time and chatted a lot with him. Since he was running the 15 mile loop we encouraged him to hang with us.

There were three different lengths of races to run:  4, 7, 10, and 15 miles.  Me, Julia, and Josh were going for the 15 and Jenn was doing the 7.
The orange line is the 15 mile course.
We started right on time and started climbing into the hills.  I couldn't find elevation charts anywhere but thanks to Julia she provided one after the race.  It's seriously insane.  We climbed about 2300 feet through the whole run and descended about the same.

The trails were absolutely gorgeous!! So feet friendly with so much lush vegetation everywhere. I could have run here forever. (well, almost)
About two miles into the run we took a little side trail that the race director told us about to go see the "Ghost Falls".  It was a nice little rest break and the falls were pretty.
While climbing one of the many hills we would take walk breaks and at this particular time we noticed the valley for the first time.  We were in awe at how far we had come already.
Yes, we runners do take a lot of self-photos. 
Continuing on our journey a little while later we could see the Draper temple for the first time in plain sight.  Magnificent!! In the middle on the right side you can see the trail we came from.
Further down the trail and around a mountain we see the temple again.
This is a zoomed in shot of it.  I didn't run down this close to it.
I love this photo because once again as we were admiring the scenery we stopped and observed where we had run and was looking at all the trails down in the canyon.  I turned and looked up the hill and noticed the peaks of Mount Timpanogos over in Utah county.  That is my favorite mountain in the whole world. 
A zoomed in view of Mount Timpanogos.  On the left of the photo you can also see one of the water stations we had just come from.
In the middle of this photo it shows the ONE and ONLY bathroom on the whole 15 mile run.  I will say it's a good thing there were so many trees when nature was calling.  The shortage of bathrooms was the one and only negative thing I experienced on this whole great adventure. But getting honey buckets in the mountains would have been tricky I'm sure.

Jenn just ran the Ogden Marathon last Saturday and has had some injury set backs last year.  I'm glad to see she's doing so well now.  She decided not to push it too much and ran the 7 mile loop.  It was at this point that our paths parted and we were definitely sad to see her go.  She is a good runner and I am very inspired by her strength.
Here we all are waving good-bye to Jenn. 

Julia is a strong runner too and as we continued our journey I could tell I was going to have difficulty keeping up.  I told Julia that she needed to just run her own race and do her thing.  She will be doing a 50 mile ultra trail run in September this year and wanted to run this race as a training run. So we then told her good-bye and to be safe and keep an eye out for the yellow flags.  She was a little bit worried about getting lost. (Yellow flags were what marked the course for us). One great thing about this run was the trail marking were superb!  I never worried about being lost because the race director did such a good job marking the way for us.
There's no question we were going the right way.  I'm not quite sure how I got my face so close to that sign with tender quads.
This sign was in the most random spot on the trail. It was around mile 11 so we knew we were making progress.  We knew it was coming up and so when we got there we took a quick photo and turned around.  Josh felt like we needed to have a special thought and devotional at that precise moment. All he could come up with was the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.  I remembered when I was a sophomore in high school I had to memorize that poem.  Too bad I couldn't recall it anymore except the last three lines.  It seemed somewhat fitting for the occasion.
Pretty awesome tunnel we got to run through, maybe around mile 12?
Not as cheery of a smile for this one.  We were definitely getting tired.
See the temple waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over there?  We still needed to get beyond that to get to the finish line.  We were seriously all over this mountain.
Still loving this trail.  Oh and the weather was absolutely gorgeous! It was cool and cloudy the whole time.  I think we saw the sun peek out once the whole day for about 30 seconds. We started getting rain and a little bit of wind in the final few miles but I didn't mind.  A lot of the final miles we were running under the trees.
Out of all the people that signed up for this race, maybe about 200 or less, there were only 15 people who ran the 15 mile course.  By the time Josh and I came in the party was over.  The race people were packed up and sitting in their cars waiting for us to finish.  I'm so glad Julia was there to tell them to wait for us.  She finished so strong with a time of 3:22:00.  I felt bad she had to wait so long for us because she was freezing out in the rain and my car was locked.  The race people were nice and let her sit in their car.

What an absolutely perfect day and I honestly can't wait to get back up on that mountain and tackle it again. Thanks so much Julia, Jenn, and Josh for running with me and providing great company.
My cool green race shirt
My official ticket they printed out for me at the end


Julia said...

I still can't get over yesterday!!! Absolutely one of the best experiences of my life! Thanks for everything...def can't wait to get out there again! See you tomorrow!

Cory Reese said...

Um, wow. You are basically amazing.

I loved every second of this race report! You captured everything about trail running so perfectly. I love how the "races" aren't at all about speed. They are about enjoying your surroundings and having fun. That trail looks incredible.

I am so, so happy for you! I wish I could have been there. You have bigger and better things on your horizon.

Josh said...

I had so much fun! It was a great challenge. I now feel even more determined to memorize Robert Frost's poem!

Jen said...

I LOVED every minute of running that trail with you guys! It was beautiful, perfect weather, and perfect running companions! I too wish I lived with in walking distance of those trails. Those Draper peeps are lucky!

wendy said...

YOU ROCK!!!! I am so in "awe of you" and your walks and runs.
Holy lazy butt....I need to get moving.
Draper truly is beautiful..and as your hubby said "expensive"
My son (the one who died) lived just on the "other side of that mtn. area you Alpine area. Beautiful there as well.
I can't imagine the visual, and all the sensual stimulation you received from this event.

Jess's Journey to the Land Of Skinny said...

What a fun trail run! Just like you I am really getting into trail running. I wish I lived up by you so I would have a buddy to run with! You and Julia come down here and run a trail run with Cory and I! That would be so much fun. Anyways great run!