Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Hills in City Creek Canyon

This morning I got up at the crack of dawn (really!) to do hills in City Creek Canyon. I had a hard time dragging myself out of bed, and I was dreading the workout a bit. But I was out the door by 5:35; I took Copper with me in the back of the Rav4. She was so excited to go for a ride! We arrived at the canyon mouth at 5:50 and started up the hill.

The schedule said 7 miles (11.25km) of hills, and City Creek is nothing if not hilly. It is pretty much UP, UP, UP for 6 miles to the top. However, dogs are only allowed up the first 2.9 miles (4.7 km) from the gate (because of the watershed), so I turned around at mile 2.9, headed back down 0.6 miles (1 km) to mile 3.5 on my Garmin, then back up to the watershed signs, and finally down all the way to the bottom.

[Side note - I remember the first time I went up this canyon - it was on a bike, about 7-8 years ago, with Sarah and Bryan and Loren. I was SO slow and out of shape, but everyone was very patient with me. I wonder how long it took? I have the feeling that I racewalked it today faster than I biked it years ago! WOW! What a cool thought!]

The weather was gorgeous this morning. It was 55 and clear, and in the canyon it was probably 5 degrees cooler (50F or 10C). My hands actually got quite cold in the first 1-1.5 miles, and I wished I had gloves! Even my legs were a bit cold. Hmmm, maybe it was only 45? Perfect weather for a hard workout, though, as the chill makes it so much nicer when you start sweating.

It was a hard climb for the first 2.9 miles, but not as bad as I was imagining last night when I was thinking about this workout. I tried to do it moderately hard, and that was a good decision, as it felt great. I did the first mile in 10:54, and the second mile in 10:53. Not too shabby for the incline, and ave HR was 143 for the first mile and 153 for the second mile. After that I didn't really do splits for each mile, though my split through halfway (3.5 miles) was 36:45 for 10:30/mile (6:31/km).

I was still feeling pretty good when I got to the watershed signs the second time. All the same, it was great to be headed back DOWN the hills to the car. I did pick up the pace quite a bit and finished in 1:09:26 for 9:54/mile (6:10/km) with an average HR of 150 for the whole workout. Wow, that is really very fast for the incline! From 0.0 to 2.9 miles the elevation increased from 4700 feet to 5260 feet, or 560 feet (171m). I'm not sure how much I went back down from mile 2.9 to 3.5; it looks like about 100 feet (30m) or so. Of course, then I went back UP that part, so I probably climbed something like 660 feet (201m) through mile 4.1.

That's not as much as the 900-1000 ft I have to climb in my hilly leg of Portland-to-Coast, and it's about 80% as steep. Holly (our team captain for PTC) has me down for 11:15/mile on my leg. I think I'll be ready. Yes, the hill is steeper and longer than what I did today, and some of it is gravel road, but I was a lot faster than 11:15/mile, and I could have pushed harder had it been a race situation. I'm getting excited - less than 7 weeks to race day (Aug 28)!

And yes, I did stop (very briefly) a few times on the way down to get some pictures. Here are the other photos.

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