Strength and Happiness

Posted by piphunt on August 4, 2011 in Adventures of Pip, Fitness |

I feel strong! Not “I just PR’ed on my back squat strong” or “I kicked butt in the WOD” strong, but indomitably strong. I feel like everything is finally coming together; I know what food my body needs to thrive, what it can tolerate in small doses, and what food I need to run from. I know how much sleep I need, or how little I can get away with, and I know that I’m ready to run Jupiter Peak. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.



Over the 4th of July weekend, Jamon and I sat in my mum’s kitchen munching on breakfast leftovers debating about whether we were mountain biking or running for the afternoon. “You know you’re going to get your ass handed to you if you don’t start training right?” Jamon asked. Well, no actually, I didn’t think I was going to get my ass handed to me. Despite my allergy woes and constant fatigue, I rarely get a true ass kicking. Maybe that means I don’t push myself hard enough, or maybe it’s because I hate quitting. Seriously, quitting doesn’t get you anywhere.


Jamon’s comment had me thinking about quitting before I had even started. When was the last time I had truly failed in an event? I remember wishing I would get a flat at Regional Champs in Gunnison 2008. The 23 degree temps and 6 inches of fresh on the trails had me wishing I was inside with a hot cup of cocoa instead of racing a 33 mile course. Or the time a dawn patrol turned into an all day patrol and I ended up hangry at 3:30 with my inner two-year-old bursting out.  I think I scared the photographer.  But are those really failures?

Kind of stubborn


Instead of quitting, I started training. This may come as a surprise, but I don’t really “train”. Yeah I crossfit, ride bicycles, trail run, and ski, but I don’t think in terms of training.  I simply go out when I want to, run or ride as far as I feel like, and take rest days when I’m tried. There is no science or theory behind what I do. I just like to play. But this summer, that all changed. I enlisted the help of fellow SLC Crossfit trainer and trail runner Jason Moreland to help me figure out this whole “training” thing and he set me up with a loose program. Tuesday-Thursday crossfit, Saturday/Sunday hard, endurance days, rest Monday and Friday, plus one run midweek and one day of sprinting. Bam, schedule. It should be easy to follow right?


Not so much. I would get to lunch time on Mondays and be so antsy I would just go to the gym even though it was a rest day. Then, by the time Thursday rolled around, I was exhausted I struggled through my workouts. Fridays were a brutal slog through exhaustion and work. I would end up sleeping 9-10 hours every Friday night. It actually took me a full three weeks of struggling to figure out that even a recovery workout on Monday will have me paying by Thursday. It left me with just one week of “training” before taking 5 days to taper before the run. Oops.


Yet despite my failures (or lack of discipline) to really follow the training schedule. I feel awesome! This weekend I ran three hours on Saturday in Park City. I forgot my hydration pack (yeah, not recommended) I’m not sure how far I ran, all I know is that I  hurt by the end of it. But Sunday morning, I felt fine. No stiff muscles, creaky hips or stiff knees. I took the morning slow, made a fritatta and a loaf of banana bread, enjoyed my tea as I read at the kitchen table, and eventually made it out the door in the afternoon for a hike up Olympus.


Mt. Olympus is an iconic Salt Lake City mountain. It may not be the biggest in the Wastach, but it is easily the most looked at, hiked, or talked about. It’s also one of the easiest hikes to get to. The base of the trail starts right on the Cottonwood Heights/Holladay border, a mere 10 minute drive from my house. At just over 6 miles round trip and over 4,000 ft. vertical gain, it’s a butt buster. Angeli nicknamed it the stairmaster last year and it has rendered my quads immovable every time I’ve hiked it. Every time, that is, but this time! I ran the whole way down and felt AWESOME at the bottom, and it was my fastest time yet; 1 hour 52 minutes.  I think I’m ready for Jupiter Peak. I’m not saying I won’t be exhausted at the finish line, but that is because I’ll be running hard, not simply surviving.

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