Tetons Day 3: Death Canyon

Day three — time to start backpacking!  But only after an awesome breakfast at the B&B.   Again, to keep things simple, I’m just doing a single “tile mosaic” of all the images and will write at the top what we did, but will include videos here and there as well.

After breakfast, we headed into the park on Moose Wilson Road, a bit of a back door road into the park that passes by Teton Village, and then is 9 miles of tight and twisty road to the park.  Before the park, though, we hit the turn off for Death Canyon Trail head.   The 4×4 Jeep allowed us to drive the rough mile long road, through some major pot holes, to get all the way to the trail head.  We did pass a lot of cars parked much earlier, but in reality, we saw a minivan make it pretty far.  I personally would not have attempted that!

The trail to Death Canyon has a 1 mile lead in to a view of Phelps Lake, and then heads up the canyon.

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 13.30.24.png

The 1st part of the hike, we saw a fair number of day hikers, but after that, we saw a few runners and day hikers.  One of the runners was wearing the same Prana shorts that I run in — something I’ve not seen before!  He also had no GPS and said he wasn’t training for anything, just out running.

The hike along the “river” (all snow melt) in Death Canyon was stunning:

 

We reached the top, where it flattened out, and we hiked along the creek with stunning mountain peaks and snow and waterfalls on each side.  We saw a few moose, and very few people.  One was a runner, who was wearing Prana shorts – something I’ve only know myself to do!  He had no GPS and said he wasn’t training for anything, just out for a 12-13+ mile run in an incredibly beautiful place.

We crossed a few snow packs, and even had to cross an avalanche field with down trees and snow:

 

After that, it was another mile or so until we found the perfect camp site.  We were on a bit of a rock knoll — really a 3 sided cliff – with a small flat grassy spot on top.  We set up the tent and grabbed a quick lunch, just before we got hit by a huge hail storm!

 

After the hail, it did rain for quite a while, but we were lucky enough to get a short window where we could cook dinner without  rain.

Photo’s from the day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tetons days 1&2

Kelly and I celebrated 25 years of marriage by heading to one of our favorite places, Grand Teton National Park.  While we had wanted to backpack the Crest Trail, we were too early in the season.  The park ranges had told us we’d need to carry ice axes and know how to self-arrest!  We opted to do some canyon backpacking instead — in one canyon, then out to the next.   We still want to go back to do the entire Crest trail some day — but now know that needs to be mid to late July to (very) early September!

We flew in to Jackson Hole and had a couple nights at a fantastic Bed & Breakfast, Teton View B&B.   (When we landed in Jackso, the stewardess welcomed everyone there, but gave a special welcome to “Mr. and Mrs. Butler, celebrating 25 years…”)  The hosts of the B&B Franz and Carole were extremely welcoming and have a lovely set up.  They were especially helpful in finalizing our hiking and backpacking plans, which we would need to alter again based on input from the rangers as well, as to where snow was, etc.

I’ll just do a single photo mosaic below but walk you through what we did.  After arrival at the B&B, we headed to Teton Village and took the Bridger gondola to the top, which is free after 5 p.m.  We had a drink and a bite to eat, and then headed down to eat at the Mangy Moose.

The next day, we decided to day hike Amphitheater Lake.  We ended being turned back a little over 9000 feet, half mile short of the lakes, due to high snow.  We didn’t need to take any chances with Kelly’s knee before we started backpacking!   I did go one or two more switchbacks, but the trail wasn’t marked, and there was boot pack going in 2-3 different directions at each one, so decided it wasn’t worth it.

We headed back down and ended up at Trappers Grill at Signal Mountain Lodge, which has great deck seating and amazing views.  We ordered Reece’s favorite from last time — the huge plat of Nacho’s.

 

Here’s the Strava info for the Amphitheater Lake hike.

Boston 2018

Wow, it’s almost July and I never wrote anything about Boston 2018!   Well, better late than never.

Most of you know the story this year was the weather — cold, windy, and rainy.  I estimate we got at least 2″ of rain during the run and fought 20-30 mph head winds almost the entire way.   For most roadies, it was probably a downer.  For me, someone who doesn’t run road marathons more than once every couple years, it added to the adventure.  🙂   Also, as a mountain ultra runner, we are pretty used to conditions that can be quite bad for long periods of time.

My friend and co-worker offered a place to stay in Hopkinton the night before, which I jumped at.  I also asked if my good NC friend David could crash too, and he was welcomed.   We jumped at the chance — the ability to skip the long bus lines in Boston and not have to hang in the athletes village for a few hours — especially in that weather, was incredible!   My family had come to Boston for the weekend, but Sunday night I left them after we had dinner with Matt and family, and headed to his place.  We were able to sleep in and have a leisurely morning before Matt drove us to the secondary shuttle spot in Hopkinton, which was then just a 10 minute bus ride from the village.

As we were getting off the bus in the village, I heard them calling my wave already!  So I shuffled through the village, which took a very long time as everyone was trying to stay on the pavement — the grass was a total mud pit.  Much of it must have been 4-6 inches of mud.  People had extra shoes or were wearing trash bags or grocery bags on their feet, but it was still a disaster.

I eventually got out of the village and was walking towards the start, but now time was a bit short and I had to skip the port-o-pot lines.  I got to corral 3 and was surprised to make it to the very front just 2-3 minutes before gun time.  I stripped off my throw away pants and trash bag top, and was ready to go.

Side note:  I was really amazed, however, by the clothes some people were wearing.   Singlets, sports bras, short shorts…  Wow!  For sub 30F feels like with the wind and the rain, I thought that was crazy.  I had on Ruhn compression shorts, and then a 200 weight ice breaker top, arm warmers, gloves, and a rain shell.  Also, a hat to keep the water out of my eyes and a buff.

Due to the weather, I have just one photo of me:

Screen Shot 2018-06-25 at 16.42.14.png

As for the run, I had really dropped all expectations.  I had been really inconsistent since Haiti — really more bad runs than good — but just went in with the intent of having some fun.  Especially with the added adventure of the weather!  (And the headwind meant that running a fast marathon was likely out anyway!)

There’s not much more to write.   I was never that cold (until after I finished and had to wait about 10 minutes for the family to bring my warm clothes — I had no clothes at the finish due to my Hopkinton start), and ran pretty steady.  I had one long mile split (8:34) when I hit the port-o-pot at mile 9.  This was the same spot Shalane was in and out of in something like 10s, while it took me considerably longer (but I had been holding it for a long time!)  I ran a 3:26 and change, which while 8 minutes slower than my qualifying time, I was pretty happy with considering the conditions and my running state heading in.

Here’s some strata data:

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 12.28.31 PM.png

And overall data from BAA:

Screen Shot 2018-04-18 at 12.38.35 PM.png

That min/mile at 25.2 has to be a mistake — I was moving the last couple of miles!

 

Run Across Haiti Day 8

So to recap yesterday:

  • Up at 4 am
  • Running by 5 am
  • 28 miles, felt really strong and had to hold back since I knew what today would bring
  • Trucked over to the Eucalyptus House, where we would be for 12-13 hours…
  • Lunch at arrival, Dinner at 6, “breakfast” at 11 p.m., in the trucks by mid-night to drive through the middle of Port Au Prince, then starting a 52 mile run to finish things out
  • Tried to rest as much as possible between lunch and dinner, dinner and “breakfast”

So this run we’d be in pods.  I was given the choice of pod 1 or pod 2, as I’ve been in a bit of “no man’s land” between those in pod 1 and pod 2.  In reality, I’ve run in to the 10k or 15k marks with runners in pod 2 most of the runs, but finished just a few minutes after runners in pod 1 on those same runs.  (I guess that makes me a slow starter — or maybe I’m just maintaining?  Would have to check Strava data, I guess.)

Anyway, I chose pod 1 so I’d be with Jase, Matt, and Dan.  They told me they’d be happy to run 9:00’s for the 1st 25k, so that’s what we did.  Well, the 1st couple were a touch fast, but the guys backed off for me.  But it soon became apparent that I was struggling at even 9:00’s.  Where did yesterday’s easy 8:45’s go?  And then I was struggling at 9:15’s.  I tried not to slow them down too much, but then my stomach started to turn.

I watched them quickly run off after 25k, which allowed me to do my own thing.  I soon had to make a pit stop to move the bowels, but immediately had hot chills for 5-10 minutes. Uh-oh!  The chills passed, and then my stomach turned nauseous.   At 30k I asked for a pepto tab, took one, and 20 minutes later when nothing had changed, took another.  I found the thought of taking in food at this point stomach turning.  I slowed some more, but kept working at it.

I finally hit the turn up the mountain, and after 3-4 miles of mostly power hiking with a few seconds of running here and there, finally started to get some food down.  I eventually left the low places, but never felt as strong as I had in the runs earlier in the week.  I’m sure much of it had to do with the building fatigue of 150 miles in 7 days, and some of it had to do with Haitian food and beverages eventually catching up to me.  But I was able to maintain a good power hike/run combo to the top (which took forever), and then start to run down (which also took forever!).

Here are some shots:

There’s water down there – the finish!

 

I came up on this guy playing drums on the guard rail and stealthily took this video:

 

 

When I hit the 75k mark, with 9k to go, I was told Josh was catching me.  I decided to keep moving at my slow walk/run combo, as I thought waiting might allow stiffness to set in and make it difficult to keep moving.  When I reached town, with just a couple of miles to go, Jules was there and he let me know  I was to have a truck “lead” me through town as there were several turns.  We were making our way pretty good, and even saw some of the crew pointing in the direction to the finish, but at one point reached a place where the  driver wasn’t sure how to proceed.   He asked people on the side of the road where I was supposed to run, but no luck, and then called the crew, but we still weren’t sure.  Eventually Josh showed up, and he said just go straight.  But he was bonking hard!  Luckily, Peaches had some beef jerky that he threw down, and then we were able to run it in together.

The finish!  200+ miles across Haiti, coast to coast!

It was a beautiful site:

We walked about 500 steps up towards the hotel, and found the gate was locked.  We yelled a bit, but no one was coming, so we had to climb.  😦

 

More shots from the hotel level.

I got some food in, and headed back down to the finish to watch a few more runners come in.  I’ll have to write a follow-up post soon.

Run Across Haiti Day 7

Back at it on day 7. We were up early and running just after five, with today’s route taking us a little over 27 miles in to Port-au-Prince, a relatively flat section that would be busy with traffic.

I knew early the rest day had done a lot of good – I felt really good and had to hold back all day. Early on I thought about trying to hang With Jase, Dan, and Matt, but decided better of it. 28 miles is a long ways and we have a quick turn around. We will depart from The Eucalyptus Village by midnight and start the final 52 mile push shortly there after.

I didn’t takes as many photos today, but here are a few:

Sunrise over the mountains.

Burning trash – something we’ve seen a lot of!

Some government housing:

So after Jase, Matt, Dan and I finished, they put us four in a truck to head to The Eucalyptus House, which is a bit of an Oasis in Port-au-Prince. Sort of a dorm style retreat. We’ll be here until midnight or so and then take the buses and trucks a bit out of PaP before we start running.

Photos from Duy Nugyen:

Run Across Haiti Day 6 – rest day/trip to Menelas

Today’s been pretty emotional. After sleeping in until just before six :-/, we had a leisurely morning of good coffee and then breakfast. We soon piled into the bus and vans to Menelas, the community Work supports.

We actually started in the community of Truitier near (in?) the landfill near Menelas, where plastic bottles are recovered and turned into fabric by Threads, Works sister company.

Viv took some time to explain the history of work and some of the programs they offer.

Two thousand people live Truitier in/near the landfill. And this is Haiti’s only landfill, which explains why we’ve seen so much trash everywhere – there just aren’t any trash services.

Here are some of the recovered bottles. Besides Threads, HP buys the recycled plastic for ink cartridges.

These are some of the homes either on the landfill property or right next to it:

The community came out and knows why we are there and spent time with us:

Right across from the landfill, Work is helping to build this classroom to help support the community:

From there we drove the few minutes to Menelas, where we got to see the home of Giordani and meet his family. He took the time to explain how Work has helped him. He will graduate this year and become a tap tap driver. He used the money he earned on last year’s run to build a new foundation next to his current sheet metal home, which currently sleeps 11!

This shows the tight quarters:

This shows his home, bathroom, and the new foundation:

After that, we went to the local school, went to the roof, and were able to see the entire area, which gives a sense of the scale. Rather than look at the problem of poverty and say it’s just too big to solve, Work solves the problem one family at a time in the community they have chosen to support.

Before we left, each runner and crew was given a pin from someone Work supports, in the outline of Haiti, with our running route marked, and a heart over Menelas.

Tomorrow we start early for what looks to be a tough 28 – we drove all of it today on the way to Menalus. Then we’ll have about 12-13 hours at a guest house, before we take off on the final 52 at midnight.

Photos from Duy Nugyen: