Saturday, June 30, 2012

Running with Friends

A few years ago when I started training for my first half marathon, I was doing all my training by myself. I finally asked Susan if she wanted to run with me at work. Susan was a seasoned runner; I was a yogi, cyclist and snowboarder but not a runner, though I was able to keep up with her on our 4 mile lunch runs.

Part of me was convinced that she was just running slower to humor me. She had been telling me that every weekend she ran with a great group of people and that I should join them. It took me several weeks (maybe a month) to finally agree to meet them for a run. I was convinced they were going to be super fast, and I would end up turning around and running back to my car.

The run was scheduled for a Sunday morning, and I spend way too much time on Saturday coming with weird scenarios in my head about these "super fast runners" and how they were going to leave me. I was proud of myself Sunday that I got into the car and drove across town to meet everyone. Well that was until I got there: on the corner where we were suppose to meet were all these super skinny runners in their little flappy shorts in the cold, with their compression socks on, doing all sorts of strange stretches and running in places. I sat in the car thinking, "What hell have I gotten myself into?" I was about to drive home, when all of a sudden I saw Susan across the street with some "normal" looking people. I was so relieved! Of course no one left me in their dust, and everyone was extremely nice and very encouraging.

Fast forward to today-- Susan and I aren't quite the people I saw on the corner that day, but we are the crazy trail runners with our hydration packs, gators and gear, running long distances for fun that most people only run if they were training for a marathon. Needless to say we aren't getting a lot of people asking if they can run with us on the weekends. So when Dana sent out an email to our running list asking if anyone wanted to run 8 miles this weekend, I was excited about the possibility of having more company on our weekend run. Susan I had planned on running 12-13, so it was pretty simple to come up with a route that worked for everyone.

I hope that as more people start their training for the fall marathons we will get to run with more of our running buddies.

I am not sure why Leif was closed at mile 5.22 today, but luckily we were only running to mile 3.5.

 
Susan at the Stone House. 


Mile 5 turn around point (Upper Macleay parking lot)


Route Starting at the Thurman - Leif Erikson Trail head:
Leif - Nature : 3.4
Nature - Firelane 1 : .93
FL 1 - wildwood : .07
WW - Wild Cherry : ~3.3 (longer run continues on)
Wild Cherry - Leif : .56
Leif to car : .26
total 8.52

total so far 7.7
WW (at Wild Cherry)  to Upper Macleay parking lot : 2.8
Upper Macleay p to Apsen : 1.36
Aspen to car : .75
total 12.61

Monday, June 25, 2012

Eagle Creek Trail 22 miler

I'll start by proclaiming that this was one of the best runs of my life.

It began with two strokes of genius. First, Ann and I took Monday off work to fit in a long run so that we could go out to the Gorge, try a new route, and not be rushed for time. Second, Ann planned the run on Eagle Creek trail (440)-- a scenic, well-graded path past breath-taking waterfalls, uphill for 11 miles (plus an additional 1/10 mile to a lovely waterfall) to our turnaround (about 3,100 ft of elevation gain), at which point it would be all downhill.  As I said, brilliant.

Eagle Creek trail map

The weather was perfect (mostly cloudy, mid-low 60s), company scintillating (Ann!), and I couldn't have asked for more. We had to walk several places where the path was rocky, narrow, wet and slick, and of course when I wanted to stop and take photos of the gorgeous scenery. I was pretty tired by 11.2 miles when we sat down to eat, but the delicious potatoes Ann made and the vegan brownie I brought really perked me up.

This was our first run over 16 miles or so without passing back by the car, so we were careful to start a list of things to bring in our packs and work to refine it. We can't wait to get back out into the wilderness for a long run on a day off!

Elevation map

Gear:
Nathan Intensity Race Vest
Nike Lady Tech Capri Running Tights
Smartwool PhD Running Light Micro Socks - Women's (Ann)
Brooks Women's Cascadia 7 Trail Running Shoe (Ann)
Injini crew socks (in rainbow, of course) (Susan)

Fuel:
Nuun Active Hydration (Ann)
Clif Shot Energy Gel (Ann)
Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews (Ann)
Luna Sport Moons energy chews-- no longer available (Susan)
Clif Shot Electrolyte Replacement Drink, Cran Razz (Susan)
Potato Chips
Salted Boiled Potatoes
Vegan Brownie
String Cheese (Ann)
Ann on High Bridge-- very high above Eagle Creek! (Around mile 3)

Eagle Creek Trail No 440 The next six miles of trail passes through an area burned by a forest fire in 1902. Young Douglas fir tress now replace the burned forest. (Around mile 5)

Entering the Hatfield Wilderness (Around mile 5)

Ann enters the tunnel behind Tunnel Falls (130ft drop) (Around mile 6)

Susan under the spray of Tunnel Falls

Twister Falls (Around mile 6 1/2)

An orchid near our turnaround (Around mile 10 1/2)

Turnaround point waterfall (Mile 11.1)

Taking a break at the turnaround (Around mile 11 1/2)

Another waterfall from the other direction

Ann enjoying the trail

Back near Tunnel Falls (Around mile 16)

A beacon in the distance-- just a mile and a half from the trailhead.

Ann's lost shirt!


Sights and mileages

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Girls' Beach Weekend

We spent the weekend in Manzanita for my sister Courtney's bachelorette getaway, and of course we took the opportunity to run on the beach. The weather was not that favorable, it was a constant down pour most of the time. Susan had to make the comment, "I don't think we could possibly get anymore wet", then the wind picked up and the rain started coming down sideways. Luckily we were only a few 100 yards from the trail head, so we sprinted back to the car.

We parked at Hug Point Beach and ran north 5 miles to almost the end of Cannon Beach and back. The tricky part about starting at Hug Point is you have to clamber up rocks to a barnacle path to reach the other side of the beach. Susan and I weren't very careful on our way back and slipped climbing up the rocks and scraped up our hands. If you are there during high tide it is nearly impossible to cross, so check the tide tables or park on the other side of Hug Point.

Susan doing her happy dance before our run.


Ann running towards the rocky cross over path.
Susan on the barnacle path.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's day

Some of our favorite runs have been with our dads! We love you!

Ann and her dad
Susan and her dad

Gear :: Gloves





A few years ago Susan made an impulse purchase that the Nike outlet store, she bought us both a pair of running gloves. The Nike convertible running mittens have become an essential part of my running gear.

They are light weight, breathable and thin, but still do an excellent job of keeping my hands warm on cold days. The best part of these gloves is the pull over flap which helps to keep your hands warm, but running in the Pacific Northwest I use it more to keep my hands dry. When you aren't using the mitten flap it tucks nicely into a little pocket on the front of the glove. They have also held up to almost weekly washings.

Susan lost her gloves on a run recently, I was happy to find that Nike still had them in stock online. I bought several pairs, so we should have happy hands for a few years.

Mitten flap

Glove without the mitten, the glove on the left has the mitten tucked into the pocket


Mt Hood Scramble and on-course ice baths

The Mt Hood Scramble is one of those races you overhear people talk about and think, Why would anyone do that? We had talked about doing it for years, but no one was ever quite crazy enough to register. Or if we tried, we were saved from our own craziness by the race already being full.

Well this year, our luck changed. Bob, Gretchen, Kevin, Ann and I-- and a few others who, unfortunately, didn't end up running-- registered early and formed Team Beer Pressure.

Our Team!


The race started and ended in the parking lot of White River Snopark, which also served as post-race party central. From there, the course climbed gritty, volcanic ridges and rocky riverbanks; crossed White River's crotch-deep, raging, frigid flow six or eight times; scaled two waterfalls; dipped through countless dry and wet streambeds; scurried across about a third of a mile of snowbanks; balanced across a number of fallen trees; and hurtled through dense forest undergrowth. Oh, and there were a few muddy spots.

Beer socks FTW!


At one point I rolled my ankle, but with the next river crossing-- or "on-course ice bath" as I liked to call it-- it was nicely numbed. Each time we crossed the river, and at other especially challenging spots on the course, I was impressed with how everyone helped each other. You could always count on the person in front of or behind you to lend a hand. That really made the race special.

View of Mt Hood from White River Snopark


Without a doubt, this was the craziest run I've ever done. During the race, we kept thinking that instead of the advertised 10k distance, we were running closer to 13 miles. That turned out to be because it took us nearly two hours. In fact, it was just under 10k-- the course was just so insane, so challenging, that we lost track of direction and sometimes could barely find the next flag marking the direction of the course.

After the run, we enjoyed a beer in the parking lot, then went to Ratskeller in Government Camp for burgers and another celebratory beer. We rehashed the highlights of our runs and caught up with each other. It was a great time and I, for one, am eager to do it again!

Beer socks and actual beer


Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday 10 Miler


We are heading to Mt. Hood for the weekend to run the Mt. Hood Scramble on Sunday, and won't be doing our normal long run on Saturday. Luckily my work schedule is a little more flexible on Fridays, since I work from home, so I decided to do a quick 10 miler in Forest Park this morning. I love being able to run in the park on Fridays, it is so peaceful and quite. There was hardly anyone at the Thurman trail head when I arrived, I actually got to park next to mile post 0. Normally on the weekends you don't even see it because there are so many runners hanging around it.  


The Thurman trailhead / Leif, up a connecter trail to Wildwood, is our default not-put-a-lot-of-effort-into-planning route. I decided to run Leif to Chestnut, which is right before mile post 3.5 and right after Nature trail. The trail sign is few yards up the trail, and this time of year it is hard to see. There is a picnic table which a good landmark. Chestnut is about 1/2 a mile long, and a nice steady climb to Wildwood. 
 
 Picnic Table on the Chestnut Trail

 Hidden Trail sign

I ran Wildwood to Apsen, back to car and then home to work. According to my Nike+ app the route is 10.3 miles. 

Nike+ Route



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yesterday was our first run of the year for which we've taken a day off work-- and we have about two more each month through the summer. Although yesterday was a standard Forest Park run for us (post upcoming!) I am so excited to plan some of our "vacation runs" farther afield: the Columbia Gorge, maybe Mackenzie River, towards the coast. We are so fortunate to have Forest Park nearby, and even more so to take time off together to get muddy!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Not BPA Free


Susan and I took Friday off of work to run our first 20+ miler since December 2011. It was her week to pick the route, which she sent to me at 11pm on Thursday night. I looked at it quickly and noticed the dreaded BPA road. We ran BPA a few months ago: it is a long grueling hill, and Susan said we would not have to do it again. So I was wondering what I had done to make her hate me, 20 miles and BPA??? (Ann)

Susan models her new hydration pack on the collapsed bridge at the very end of Wildwood Trail.
I have to admit I'm a last-minute route planner. So when I took out my maps, mileage charts and trail lists late Thursday night, I went straight to the Germantown-Newberry side of Wildwood, which we hadn't run recently. A beautiful little loop stared back at me from Wildwood to Firelane 15 to Firelane 12 to BPA and back to Wildwood. After our previous <strikethrough>insane</strikethrough> intense experience with BPA, I wasn't pleased to include that trail, but I was certain it wouldn't be as bad as the lower part down to Highway 30.

Overall I was very pleased with this route. It didn't feel like 20 miles at all, and our new hydration packs held more than enough water and snacks that we didn't need to stop by the car, although we both took the opportunity to change into dry tops. Next time-- especially if it's not raining--  we can shed the pit stop. (Susan)

The top trailhead of the dreaded BPA Road at Skyline Blvd.
12 mi
WW Germantown Road (mm 24.63) to WW Newberry Road TH (mm 30.16)-- 5.53 mi total
WW Newberry Road TH (mm 30.16) to Firelane 15 (mm 28.63)-- 1.53 mi
Firelane 15 to Firelane 12-- .37 mi
Firelane 12 to BPA-- .51 mi
BPA to Skyline-- .71 mi
Skyline back to WW (mm 27.45)-- .46 mi
WW (mm 27.45) to WW Germantown (mm 24.63)-- 2.82 mi
total-- 11.93 mi


8 mi
Germantown down to Cannon-- .1 mi
Leif Germantown (mm 11.17) to Gas Line Rd./FL 7A (mm 8.03)-- 3.14 mi
FL 7A to WW (mm 19.96)-- .28 mi
WW (mm 19.96) to WW (mm 24.63)-- 4.67 mi
total-- 8.19




Sunday, June 3, 2012

Trip :: Seattle

The last time I was in Seatlle on business I ran from my hotel downtown to South Lake Union and noticed a map showing a 10k route around Lake Union, I didn't have time to do the whole route then, but made a mental note to do it the next time I was in Seattle.


I went to Seattle over Memorial Day to visit Courtney and ran the route over the long weekend. The official name of the route is Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. Though it isn't on a trail, it is a really nice route in the middle of Seattle, and I really have a hard time complaining when I get to run around water. You run through Gasworks Park, along the Burke Gilman Trail, and over the University and Freemont bridges.  I highly recommend it if you are in Seattle.

 Gasworks Park

 South Lake Union Park

 The Space Needle

Other random running bits from my trip:

 Outside of the North Face store in downtown Seattle. Can we fit in one more 50k this year??? 

 
Vegan and Ultrarunner Soctt Jerek was going to be in town the day after I left.