My 2nd Longest Run Ever (Again) - Teton Circumnavigation Run FKT
Before I talk about the Teton run I want to discuss a most unholy marriage I put in place that has almost bred perfection. I’m talking the combo of Nathan and Ultimate Direction hydration products. I have both an Ultimate Direction and a Nathan single bottle waist belt that both occasionally eject a bottle on the trail while running (usually steep or very rocky descents). A Nathan bottle has a gate in its ring on the lid. The Ultimate Direction waist belt is more comfortable and has a little nylon loop. Gate meet loop; the worry free marriage.
Back to the Tetons. My wife and I camped on Shadow Mountain Thursday night. I arose early, saw frost on the windshield and promptly jumped back in the sack. Finally arriving at Lupine Meadows at 8:20am I realized my mistake. Fifteen minutes after hitting the trail around 8:30am I had removed my shirt and was really sweating soon after. I relished every bit of shade cruising up Cascade canyon as I needed to refill both hand held bottles only 1:40 into the run.
The plan for the day was to carry the unholy marriage empty until I hit the descent into Death Canyon as I knew water sources in the remaining ~14 miles are suspect after this point. I also planned to load up on the Nuun after my hard lesson of severe cramping at the Grand Teton 50 miler two weeks prior.
The south fork of Cascade Canyon was once again my favorite section of the run. Hitting Hurricane Pass in 2:04 I tried to take in the spectacular view (so sorry I don’t own a digital camera) and gag down a Carrot Cake Clif Bar (the Cool Mint Chocolate is so good how could Carrot Cake be so bad?). En route to Buck Pass I started to feel light headed and took a walk or two. At Static Pass I hit a gel and started thinking about my Rossi S7s and how awesome this descent would be in 25” of blower. As the ski dream faded I dropped into Death Canyon and I filled up all three bottles as planned and then descended to the Patrol cabin in 3:31. As my left calf had felt twinges of cramping I drank a bottle double Nuuned which did the trick.
The hill leading out of Phelps Lake was like the next three short climbs – a few short walks and cooking in the sun. I took the opportunity to have some fun and run through every stream as I headed across the lonely Valley Trail. At Taggart Lake I skipped the bridge and waded across. I thought about a nice long swim and then remembered my task. I ran out of water heading up towards Amphitheater Junction (2.5 miles to go) and really started to hurt. Feeling light headed again with a touch of weirdness in my vision I toughed it home to meet my wife in 5:34:31 and pound some serious fluids.
I was hoping for about 20 minutes faster, but I think the time is actually perfect as it is still within reach of many others, including Luke Nelson, my running companion from last year’s loop. The Tetons rarely disappoint in scenery or challenge and I had a great day.
The next day I jumped into the Horseshoe Challenge 20k in Driggs, ID as my wife was racing. My warm up was the 20 feet hobble to the start line. About two miles in my legs came alive and I begin to roll. The downhill portions were a blast with some crazy windy single track. I owe a shout out to Wray Landon for helping me run the correct route as a few markers were missing. Using completely different leg muscles than Friday I was able to pull off the win. In contrast to Friday’s solidarity, it was a great social event seeing old friends and meeting new ones.
Next up is miles 76 to 100 at the Bear 100 supporting Luke Nelson. I am hoping to follow that up with an Old Faithful to Bechler run in Yellowstone in early October that should include some sweet hot springs soak breaks, some river crossings, and maybe some wolves or bears. And if all goes well a rim to rim Grand Canyon run is brewing.