Vanuatu, Squaw Peak 50, Tetons, and Half Marathons

It has been a while since I last posted anything on this blog. That’s partly because I have been doing what this blog is about….running trails. I have also been doing some traveling. So in an effort to catch up on blog posting I thought I would do a write up on what I’ve been up to during the last six months or so. In short list form I traveled to Vanuatu, ran a 50 miler (kind  of), summited the Grand Teton…the highest peak in the Tetons, and ran two half marathons.

Vanuatu

I lived in Vanuatu for two years as a Mormon missionary from 1996 to 1998. For the first time since I left Vanuatu, I was able to go back this last May. It was an awesome experience!! I was able to see so many people that I love and was able to reconnect with them. By far this was the number one highlight for me.

Vanuatu has some beautiful beaches, but I’m not much of a beach goer…so I didn’t spend much time laying on the beach. I did do some snorkeling in the ocean, swam in a blue hole, and visited a very active volcano. I documented my whole trip by taking photos and video. Below is a YouTube video I made of my trip to Vanuatu.

50 Miler (Squaw Peak 50)

One week after getting home from Vanuatu I toed the starting line of the Squaw Peak 50 Mile Endurance Run. I have to admit that I’ve been struggling with the ultramarathon distance as of late….like for the last four years or so. I had seven consecutive Squaw Peak 50 finishes but the last four years I’ve struggled to finish an ultra. This June was no different. I made it to mile 33 and DNFed (Did Not Finish). I was out of gas physically and mentally and could only go that far. Since then I’ve been training better and feel that I am in better shape than I have been in for a while. I plan on running Squaw Peak next June and with my training that I’ve been doing I should finish.

Tetons

At the end of August I headed up to the Tetons to climb to the highest peak which is named the Grand Teton. I hardly have any climbing experience so my friend I hired a guide to help us summit. It took us two days to do it. The first day was a hike up to what is called the Saddle where there was a hut for us to sleep in. The second day started at 3:30am as we began our summit attempt. Being a unexperienced climber I found climbing in the Tetons challenging and exciting. The challenging part came in two forms… the climbing which requires upper body strength and mental toughness. I don’t do much exercise

The Grand Teton: on top of the highest peak in the Tetons.

The Grand Teton: on top of the highest peak in the Tetons.

or activities that require upper body strength. This Teton trip helped me to realize that this is something I need to work on so I can round out my fitness. The mental part came because of my fear of some of the exposed cliffs I was on. It took a lot to focus on not being afraid and to just climb. The exciting part of climbing in the Tetons was overcoming my fears and just being up on a beautiful mountain. It was a great experience!!

Half Marathons

I’ve run two half marathons this year. One in October and one last weekend (November). The half marathon I ran in October was on Antelope Island…an island in the Great Salt Lake. It was a trail race called the Mountain View Half Marahon. It was a lot of fun! My goal was to run it in under two hours, but I took a 8 minute bathroom break and I ended up finishing in 2:05. The second half marathon I ran was called the Snow Canyon Half Marathon which is run in St. George, Utah. This race was a road race. This race was on the road and pretty much all down hill. I ran it in 1:46. I was happy with this time and felt strong at the finish.

It has been a good year so far. Beside everything that I’ve mention in this post. I’ve spent as much time as I could in the mountains running. Whenever I could on a Saturday I was up on Mount Timpanogos running. It was a lot of fun being on this particular mountain and especially to be able to explore parts of Timpanogos that I have never been to.

I plan on finishing off the year by doing as many Grandeur Peak summits as I can and I want to put in some long miles on the Provo Canyon Trail. Life is good…especially when I can be out running!!!

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