Lake Mountain has become a favorite training run for that distance between 30 and 40 miles. It offers great views of the Wasatch, fast dirt road running, and a complete circumnavigation around a prominent peak, something that isn’t easy to do in the Wasatch. We chose this route today as a back-up to running on Antelope Island as there was just too much snow reportedly out there. Four of us headed out to the south end of the island to begin our run; Matt VH, Scott W, and Josh G.
We arrived at 7:30am to a beautiful sunrise and temps in the mid-teens. We knew it would be a chilly run to start and dressed appropriately, hoping it would heat up once the sun was over the mountains. We set off at a very casual pace and made our way west towards Soldier Pass. The two other times I’ve done this course I started on the northwest side of the peak, getting the rocky hills out of the way early, but then having to deal with the flat, long, straightaway finish on tired legs. Today we would start with the easy stuff and put the difficult parts later into the run. It turned out to be the perfect decision.
As we crested Soldier Pass the sun crept over the top of the Wasatch and immediately warmed us up. However, as we dropped down into Cedar Valley and saw the thick fog holding the cold air down we knew it was going to get cold again. And cold it got. Bitter cold. We reckoned it to be down to the single digits and remain like that for another hour as we pressed on through thick fog, waiting for the sun to burn it off.
Josh running strong in the frigid air
Scott in some seriously low visibility
Once we hit Eagle Mountain the fog had burned off, the sun was full at our backs, and we were plenty warm. We knew from then on it was going to be a very pleasant run. Just as we made the turn east all of us but Matt had to take a quick break. Shortly thereafter we were winding our way around the LDS Church farms and headed toward the east side of the mountain. The rolling hills, many of which I would walk in the past (even on very fresh legs) we were running with ease. We came around to Lot Canyon Rd on the east side at mile 19.4 in 3.5 hours. It wasn’t going to be a fast day, but we sure were having fun. We stopped for nearly 15 minutes enjoying potato chips, Pepsi, and other treats before heading off along the power line ATV roads all the way to Enoch Pass.
Circumnavigating the farms
Scott cresting the last hill before descending down to our aid stop
While we had stayed together the whole way to that point we now started to spread out over the long rolling hills. Most of these hills are quite steep with loose rocks. In the past I’ve always walked them. However, this time I ran them all with ease. This is a significant jump in fitness for me since I was now 25 miles in and was cruising casually up some big climbs. I was determined and very happy to have run all of the hills leading the whole way up to Enoch Pass, a total climb of a thousand feet. Josh showed up a couple of minutes later, followed by Scott and Matt about 10 minutes after that. We only had six miles to go, all downhill (well, mostly all downhill).
Matt coming to the summit of Enoch Pass
Me heading down. Our stop was all the way down near the lake.
Matt and I pulled ahead of Josh as he had to make a couple of impromptu stops. We pushed a nice pace in the low to mid 8s all the way back to the car, beating Josh and Scott by about 12 minutes. The weather turned out to be nearly perfect, the company was absolutely perfect, and we had an awesome day. I felt strong at the finish and knew I had several more miles in my legs. It was a great start to the year.
Thanks to Altra for making the greatest trail shoe ever.
Thanks to my friends who managed to endure my stupid comments.
Thanks Utah for being the best place to run on earth.