Sunday, October 28, 2012

Columbia Gorge 1/2 Marathon 2012

Columbia Gorge 1/2 Marathon 2010 


































This is the 4th year that Susan and I ran the Columbia Gorge 1/2 Marathon and 2nd that her dad ran it. This is a road race, but it has to be one of the most scenic road races around. I think it caps around 1000 people, so it relatively small race and never feels crowded.

I was happy that the race started at it's original start location, last year they bused us 2 miles from the original start so we could avoid a hill. Frankly I like the hill at the start, it gets your heart going, warms you up and makes the rest of the race seem pretty easy, though there are several more, shorter hills.

elevation profile


We were afraid that it was going to rain on us the whole time, and we spend quite a bit of time debating wearing rain jackets or not. Luckily the rain held out, and I was actually pretty warm in my long sleeve shirt. It ended up being a gorgeous fall day, we even got a few rainbows.

 Most of the run is on the historic Columbia River Highway, which is lined with trees changing colors and magnificent views of the Columbia River Gorge. The turn around point is just after passing through the Mosier Tunnel, the wind in the tunnel was amazingly still heading into the tunnel, but on the way back we got a bit of a head wind. The last 2 miles, I couldn't seem to catch my breath and was having a hard time keeping up with Susan. As we rounded the corner to the finish line some guy told us to speed up and pass all the people head of us. I didn't think there was anyway I could pass anyone, but somehow we ended up passing most of the people ahead of us. I seriously thought I was going to puke when we crossed the finish line. Susan told me we finished in 1:40, which explained why I was so winded, it was 16 minutes faster than the previous year. The first thing I did was text my dad about it, but he checked the timing site and we actually did 1:54:14. It is still a PR, but not the same as 1:40, it was nice thinking we were that fast for a few minutes.

We finished up with recovery beers and pizzas at my favorite place Double Mountain, which is the real reason I run the race every year.

We unfortunately didn't take any pictures this year, but The Hood River News got some good ones.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Double turn-arounds

After a two-week break (I was in Chicago last week) from big distance, we were up for the longest run since our 50k on September 1st. I decided to take it easy and have us stay on Wildwood to reduce the heavy elevation changes going between Leif Erickson and Wildwood Trails.

It was chilly at the start, with cold rain making us doubt we had enough gear on. After we warmed up, the rain came and went, with a bit of heavy downpour and even sun breaking through (a good time to get out the camera). Then, just at our final mile (including the only real uphill), the rain picked up to monsoon-level, hitting us with tiny, stinging beads of hail and thoroughly drenching us. Ugh! It took me an hour to warm up again, but we are so fortunate that it happened at the end of our run, rather than right at the beginning.
The sun briefly appears and lights up the trail, before disappearing FOREVER

Springville trailhead to Firelane 7-- .13mi
FL7 to Oil Line-- .47mi (.6 total)
Oil Line to WW(19.45)-- .35mi (.95 total)
WW(19.45) to WW(17.5*)-- 1.95mi (2.9 total)

For Dana:
WW (17.5*) to Springville (22.49)-- 4.99mi (7.89 total)
Springville Rd to parking-- .33mi cooldown

Another glorious patch of sunlight in the deep, green forest

For Ann & Susan:
WW(17.5*) to WW(28*)-- 10.5mi (13.4 total)
WW(28*) to Hardesty (WW 21.65)-- 6.35mi (19.75 total)
Hardesty to car-- .29mi (20.04 total)

*The marker at mile 17 1/2 was without a number, so we accidentally went to 17 1/4 to turn around. Because of the extra half mile, Dana turned up Hardesty instead of Springville, and Ann & I turned around at the 27 3/4 mile marker instead of 28.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Finding dirt in the Chicago suburbs

I went to Chicago for a long weekend to visit a friend, conveniently scheduling one of our "shorter" training runs while I was gone. Armed with a few Googled ideas for where to run, along with suggestions from my friend, I ran just over 14 miles in the Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.

Route 66 Trail sign and the lovely flat, winding crushed gravel path

The park surrounds Argonne National Laboratories and is infamous for having albino deer. Unfortunately, I didn't see any on my run.

One of the side trails

The main trail circles 9.5 miles through the park, so I looked for side trails to add extra mileage. Sure enough, there were two of about a mile each that allowed me to loop back and add about four additional miles. Overall (at least according to my Nike+) the route was 14.5 miles.

Autumn color and train tracks

The trail was very flat but meandered nicely, and the gravel was small enough that it kept a nice pack and didn't feel rocky at all. It was a bit chilly and tough to start, but as soon as I warmed up and the sun shone through, I really enjoyed the peaceful deciduous forest at its glorious, colorful peak.

Poverty Prairie and gorgeous little fluffy clouds

This was probably my best experience so far finding a longer trail run away from home. But now I'm ready to get back to my beloved rolling hills and MUD!

Glowing golden leaves

Sunday, October 14, 2012

podcasts

While traveling in Germany and Austria for 3 weeks I finally got a chance to finish "Born to Run", which I absolutely loved. After finishing the book I was craving more running stories, I starting googling the different runners in the book. That is when I ran across Ultra Runner Podcast, they had interviews with a lot of the people in the book, and even several with my running crush (who is not in the book).

I sent an email to Susan about my find, telling her she had to listen. She replied back with links to Trail Runner Nation podcasts. I was hooked, the whole flight home all I did was listen to podcast, even some non-running ones.

On one of the Trail Runner Nation podcast someone asked the question, "What is your longest training run when you are training for a 50 miler?" Their answer was, 2 50ks. What the what? We are already doing that this year, we might as well run a 50 miler. Susan listened to the same podcast and we both couldn't wait to tell each other the information we just found out. So we shall see what 2013 holds.


more than a runner


Yesterday I was suppose to run 14 miles, with Susan out of town I was too lazy to plan a route, so did my standard Thurman/Leif -> Maple -> Aspen loop with a little out an back to add a few extra miles. About an hour into the run the outside of left knee started to hurt, it did this the week before, but I figured it was because we were running longer than I had in 5 weeks, with 3 of those weeks without really running at all. It started to get so painful as I was running downhill on Wildwood to Aspen that I had to stop and walk a bit, and starting up again hurt so much that I didn't add on my extra few miles. I very rarely cut a run short. I was starting to get concerned, all sorts of (crazy) thoughts starting going though my head, what happens if I can't run? Would Susan still hang out with me? What if I could only run for an hour and not longer? What about the new house we just bought that backs up to Forest Park, that would be a big tease if I couldn't run. I told you crazy! I was feeling pretty depressed on my drive home. The outside of knee hasn't hurt any other time, so I really didn't know what was going on.

Once I got home I sent an email to the wellness center at work to make an appointment with a Sports Injury Doctor, one of the nice benefits of where I work. John walked in and asked how my run was, and whined about my knee. He asked if I had new shoes, and I said yes, but I didn't wear them because I didn't want to get them all muddy just yet (it was raining). He reminded me that every time I think my running days are behind me because my body is in pain, it is because my shoes are end of life.

new shoes are meant to be worn not kept in a box

This morning I ran 6 miles in my new shoes, I felt the outside of left knee some on the downhills, but that could be that it is still tender from yesterday. I am still going to see the doctor, and hope for the best with the new shoes. I know there is more to my life than running, and that Susan will still keep hanging out with me, but I am really looking forward to running a 50 miler next year.