Sunday, January 24, 2016

NW 53rd Nasty + Saltzman

Susan and I have unofficially started to train for the CCC, the little sister race (101k) of the UTMB. (I only say unofficially, because Susan hasn't completed her registration yet.) The last two weeks we have increased our mileage from 20 miles to 27 for our long runs and we have also tried to add in more elevation gain/loss, which can be a challenge in Forest Park. This time of year most of the trails in the Gorge and around Mt. Hood are covered in snow so there aren't a lot of other options for trail running besides Forest Park, which is means we will be getting creative with trying to increase our elevation gain as we increase our milage.

One of 4 trails that touch NW 53rd 

This week I decided to focus on all the trails that touch NW 53rd and zig zag up and down them and add a climb all the way up Saltzman. When we started the run my legs were already tired, I ran 50 miles the week before, which is probably 15-20 more miles than I have done in awhile. I mentioned to Susan it was ok if we power hiked up the hills, which normally I would never say. Going up several of the hills it is inevitable that you are going to hike, but Saltzman, which was the last hill is so runnable we ran it , but I really wanted to stop and walk.

Susan and her crazy pants heading back down Saltzman

The last 8.5 miles was straight back on Wildwood, which was nice and easy. I think the next time we do this route I will add a few more up and downs between Wildwood and Leif on the way back. Overall it was a pretty fun route to easy back into more serious training.



Route:
wildwood - aspen : .43
aspen - aspen rd : .23
aspen rd - thurman th : .50
leif - wild cherry : .26
wild cherry - 53rd : .87
53rd / dogwood - leif : 1
leif - fl 1 : 2.11
fl 1- hwy 30 : 1.43
fl1 - 53rd : 2.21 
fl 1 - 22 : .25
ww - koeing : 2.79 
keoing - maple : .27
maple - fl 4 : .59
fl 4 -saltzman : .34
salzman - skyline : 2.95
salzman - ww : 1.12
ww - birch : 8.5
birch - 53rd : .23
total : 26.81

Sunday, January 10, 2016

On the road (and trail) again - Running in Austin

Navigating the creeks in Austin


We flew in and out of Austin for my sister Gretchen's first 50k (Bandera), and after the event on Saturday we spent the night in the city. I hadn't been to Austin in 15 years, and Susan had never been there, so first on our agenda was exploring some of the trails downtown. I knew that I wanted to go to the big waterfront trail along the Colorado River, so I looked at Google Maps and found the Shoal Creek trail not far from the house we rented.


It was cold (30 degrees) and we crossed the street to find the trail right away, only to be disappointed when it suddenly ended in a neighborhood. We stopped to navigate our way back to it, and enjoyed its strange meandering along the creek, under bridges, connecting parks. At one point we took a left at a fork and the path just stopped in a dirt bike park. We went back and followed the trail the other way for a short time before it ended with the pavement cut away in a sudden drop-off. Luckily, large rocks dotted the water right there, so we hopped across the creek. A little farther, the path ended again in a downhill of gravel, which we used to cross back, run up a concrete ramp, and hop over some construction barricades.

paying homage to Willie 


Under a bridge on the waterfront 
From there we ran the downtown streets to the river, and were greeted by the sight of so many runners of all types enjoying the wide, mostly dirt path. It was beautiful to run along the river with the sun low and rising, illuminating the city as the residents awoke. We ran out to a good little climb, then turned around and mostly retraced our steps, this time confident of our route. It was a nice little shakeout and we got back before everyone else, so we got to take our time with nice, hot showers.


Artwork we saw on our run

We spent the rest of our time in Austin listening to Willie Nelson, eating Texas influenced vegan food and trying Austin's mircobrews. We will be back.

Awesome poster at Austin Beerworks
“I enjoy running around Austin. I enjoy going downtown and running on the rivers and lakes down there, and you see just loads and loads of people doing it every single day. There’s not a more beautiful place to run and Austin has so many great roads and trails.” – Willie Nelson, courtesy of Still is Still Moving.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

A snowy start to 2016

Susan trying not to fall, again

I had planned a 20.16 route for our first long run of 2016, but the weather had different ideas for us. We woke up to it snowing in Portland and Forest Park and it not looking to let up as we started our run. We started to run our planned route, which started with 10 miles on Wildwood, but after Susan slipping and busting her butt a few times it became apparent we needed to revise our plans. 



After completing the original 10 miles on Wildwood we decided to just do an out and back, that way we would know where the icy spots were. Normally I would hate doing an out and back, but the park looks different covered in snow, it felt like an entirely different trail going back. 
a snowy Wildwood

I was very happy to have hand warmers with us and a nice warm bath when I got home. I love running in the snow a couple times a year but I am happy we don't have to do it all winter. 


Coyote tracks

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 Runner's Highs

Only some of my 2015 trail shoes

I wasn't sure we would be able to top all our running adventures and achievements in 2014 but somehow 2015 was even more amazing than the previous year. We ran farther (100k), circumnavigated 3 mountains, did our first multi-day run, and had a lot of support and involvement from our families. 

One thing that became more apparent this year is we really prefer doing our own self-supported adventure runs versus racing. Races are great for new distances or for getting to run in areas that would be hard for us to do on our own. I love planning routes but more than that we just love spending the day together running in the Cascades

Also after years of trying to get girlsgonewildwood.com we finally got it! 
My favorite picture of us from 2015






Selfie with Mt. Rainier



Celebrating after we crossed Eliot 

  • Favorite shoes: Brooks PureGrit 3
  • Best support crew: Gretchen and John. We would never have been able to do Miwok without Gretchen, and Mt. Rainier would of been impossible without John.

Finishing Peterson Ridge Rumble




Michigan selfie




First van exchange with first-timer family/team members: Erik, Gretchen and Noel


Previous year recaps:
2014
2013
2012






Sunday, December 20, 2015

Doing the (North) Nasty and then some

uphill both ways
Yassine of Animal Athletics decided to do one last long training run in preparation for his 3rd HURT 100 and invited a lot of the Portland trail running community to join him. His route was 4 loops of the "North Nasty", which is ~11 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain. 


Look Susan does run uphill!
Last year Animal Athletics did several group runs they called the "Nasty Series", for one reason or another Susan and I weren't able to make any of the runs, well technically we tried to make one, but we were late. This time since Yassine was doing loops, we knew we could start any time and he would eventually catch up to (pass) us

We decided to do 1 loop of the North Nasty and add on an extra "easier" 9 miles to give us a good 20 miler. 


Found when we went down the wrong turn off on Skyline

We really enjoyed seeing so many people running the route and chatting with everyone, even if was just passing and saying, "are you doing the Nasty?". Yassine and several other fast runners eventually did catch up and pass us, but not before saying hi and asking how we were doing. We got to catch up with our friend Ben while walking up BPA, which I remember being an awful trail, but it wasn't too bad, probably because I wasn't trying to run up it. 


view from BPA

Doing a 11 miles in Forest Park and not spending a lot of time on Wildwood made it feel like we running somewhere else. It makes me curious what the other Nasty routes are. But once we did the ~9 mile loop on Wildwood and Leif, it felt like having your favorite comfort food. 


Shouldn't the water go through the drains?

North Nasty:
Park at Germantown / Leif Erikson - start across the street at FL 9
FL 9 - road : .64
L on street to steps, steps to hwy 30
L on sidewalk - Linton
L on Linton - FL 10 : .60
R on FL 10 - Newton parking lot : .78
Newton Road - BPA : 1.88
BPA - FL 12 : 1.27
R on FL 12 - FL 15 : .51
L on FL 15 - Skyline : 1.34
L on Skyline - BPA : ~.50
BPA - WW : .46
R on WW - FL 10 : 2.02
L FL 10 - car : 1.26
total : ~11.26

Kinder Loop:
Cannon - WW : .32
L on WW - FL 7A (mm 20) : 4.63
R on FL 7A - Leif : .25
L Leif - car : 3.25
total : 8.45

grand total 19.71

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Washed out Wildwood


Mud slide
It was a dark and stormy morning... day... week... month... This December has turned out to be a really wet month, even by Oregon standards. We have had quite a bit of flooding and road closures this week, so I shouldn't of been surprised to see so many parts of Wildwood flooded and washed out, but I was. 

I ran about 18 miles and every 2 miles or so there was either a wash out, mud slide, or over flowing streams. I can't ever remember seeing so much damage on the trail at one time. I had to stop taking pictures because I was so wet and cold, my fingers just wouldn't function. I don't think I have been that wet running since the The North Face 50k in California in 2012, which I am pretty sure was the last time it rained that hard in Northern California. Luckily Wildwood isn't as much of a disaster as the trails during The North Face 50k, but they are not far off if the rain doesn't let up some. 

The pictures below are between Springville and Birch on Wildwood. They aren't the best pictures because everything was wet and I had nothing to clean the lens of my iPhone with.    
Over flowing creek, washing out the trail
The trail is quickly falling away
The water isn't quite over the bridge yet, but it is close
Another part of Wildwood that is almost gone 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hawaii Four-O


sunsest from our airbnb

Seven months ago I decided I didn't want to spend my 40th birthday at home, I wanted to go somewhere with just John (my husband) and relax. As much as we travel it had been a few years since just the 2 of us had taken a vacation together. I looked at how many airline miles I had and based on that and wanting to go somewhere that wasn't cold and rainy, I picked Hawaii (the Big Island). Added bonus, we hadn't been to the Big Island before, so I was excited to be able to go somewhere new. 


end to end rainbow over a lava field 

What I didn't know at the time was, shortly after booking that trip, I would spend the next 6 months interviewing / looking for a different job. I had a co-worker who took another job at a different company, who wasn't really looking but responded to an inquiry on LinkedIn and ended up with an awesome job working from home. I really didn't have any intention on looking for another job, yet alone leaving the company I had worked for for 12+ years. But one day after coming home from a frustrating day at work I responded to recruiter on LinkedIn. One thing led to another and I found myself interviewing at different companies, which almost became a full time job itself. Preparing for technical interviews is almost like cramming for final exams, it's fun but exhausting. I had several offers, but for one reason or another they weren't a perfect fit. Then what I thought was the perfect job came around, but they didn't think I was a perfect fit, which affected me more than it should of. 


walking out to the green sand beach


Just when I was about to give up, another opportunity came up via one of my best friends, which led to another job offer. Deciding to take the offer and leave the company (Nike) I loved and had worked for most of my career was one of the hardest decision I had to made in a long time. I flipped flopped on it a lot and probably drove a lot of people up the wall, because I wouldn't make up my mind or talk about anything else for a few weeks.  I met some of my best friends, including Susan at Nike, which made it even harder to leave. My last day at Nike was 2 days before leaving for Hawaii, which timing wise couldn't of been more perfect. 


kayaking with John and the spinner dolphins


The first few days in Hawaii, I was in a funk because I felt like I had lost a big part of my life and still wasn't sure I had made the right decision. (Yes, I know poor me, I am in Hawaii and sad. The irony wasn't lost on me) I thought I really needed to go on a run to clear my head. Well finding a trail run on the Kona side of the Big Island was a little more challenging than I expected, so much of it is covered in lava rocks, which doesn't make for very runnable trails. 


My 1 trail run

A friend of mine suggested the Ala Kahakai Trail which is actually a 175 mile trail along the coast line, the trick is finding where the trail connects.  The closest trailhead to where we were staying was at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park. The first 1/2 mile of the trail was runnable, then I reached a long stretch of sandy beach. Just when I was about to turn around and give up on running on the "trail" I came upon a turtle. There was something really magical about being the only person on the beach with the turtle. The beach eventually ended and the trail continued on lava "paved" trail back to the trailhead. I covered a lot of Hawaii's terrain in 4 something miles- beach, lava trail and dirt trail. 


The turtle I shared my run with

The rest of the trip I gave up trying to trail run and just enjoyed all the other things the island had to offer: kayaking and snorkeling with spinner dolphins, stand-up paddling, hiking on an active volcano, drinking mai tais, watching amazing sunsets and just relaxing by the ocean. Hawaii was exactly what I needed to unwind, relax, enjoy my birthday, and realize sometimes it is ok to take a break from running.  

Ahu
place of refuge

Walking in a crater

Ahu = Cairn

View from one of our hikes



Arch over the oecan