For those of you that don't have any idea what "Guardsman" is, it is the road that goes from the Heber Valley up into Brighton, or Park City. It is also the final legs of runners 9 and 10 in the Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay. Leg 34 (the one I will be running) is 4 miles up Guardsman Pass. It's brutal.
How do I know this?
Well, besides the fact that I've driven it and run parts of it a number of times, I also have a husband that works in the surveyor's office in Wasatch County. He has had the opportunity to take shots on Guardsman's Pass and he has told me about how it is an 18% grade. That is not a typo. One-Eight-Percent. There are parts of this road that are so steep that they had to be paved because you can't have a gravel road that grade because it is unsafe. Unsafe, people!
And I will be running this most likely in the heat of the afternoon, after I have been up all night, and having previously run 2 other legs.
Ah, the beauty of a Ragnar Relay.
Without further adieu, here it is.
Mindy and Holly are two of my running buddies that live by me- they are crazy enough to run this "for fun". Mindy is runner #9 on my Wasatch Back team and will be tackling the first part of Guardsman in the race. Holly is on another team and is training to run her way up Old Snow Basin Road (which is also a steep bugger).
It was gorgeous yesterday! Guardsman's Pass is right in the middle of these two mountains heading up towards the snowy peak in the middle.
So it begins- the sign at the beginning of the pass.
Pictures don't do it justice for how steep it is. Running up the thing you know it is steep because your calves and quads never stop burning, but it's when you are running down that you realize how crazy it is.
In case you didn't realize it during the first mile and a quarter...
The only thing that is worse than running Guardsman, is running a snow covered Guardsman.
"You've got to be kidding me." I made it up 1.8 miles from the gate. Only 2.2 more miles and I will have run the distance of my last leg! It's going to be nutso.
This was the view headed down. Can you believe I live in this valley? It's going to be even more gorgeous in a few weeks when the leaves actually start coming on the trees. It's almost spriiiing! I stopped a lot and walked a few times when I ran it this time. My right knee has been bothering me a little bit so I didn't want to push myself too hard. The good news is that it hasn't bothered me at all today!
In the 2.8 miles I ran total, starting at the state park, I gained 1,150 feet (1,015 ft in the last 1.8 miles)! My average pace was 11:09/mile. Obviously I stopped a lot to take pictures so it isn't that accurate. We'll have to see how it goes next week!