Monday, April 29, 2013

Same route 3 times


John dropped me off at Saltzman and I ran home

I mention to Susan recently that we should try running the same route a few weekends in a row and see if we can get faster. The idea of running the same route bores me, but the challenge of getting faster spikes my curiosity. I thought I would give it a try this weekend while Susan was at the coast and I had some flexibility by working from home on Friday and Monday.

just in case I forgot

The route is pretty simple, Saltzman - Wildwood - Birch - home, which is ~10 miles. Each day I ran about an hour after I woke up. Friday was the first day I ran, and around mile 13 a mountain biker almost ran me over on Wildwood, which completely startled me since bikers are not suppose to be on Wildwood. I would of thought the adrenaline rush would of made me faster, but Friday was my slowest day, 1:42:5.

On Saturday I was able to shave a little off the time, but not much, 1:41. I took Sunday off and went to yoga. On Monday I ran a little bit earlier, since I had a 9:30am conference call. It rained Sunday night, so the trails were muddier than my previous runs, but still was able to run 1:41:32.

I listened to podcast each time I ran, I wonder if having fast paced music would speed me up. Ideally I would like to shave 10 minutes off my time, but I would be happy with 1:39.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Coastal ten miler

View south from Cape Falcon

A few weeks ago (it's May 13 as I write this, but I've back-dated the post to reflect the date I ran) I was at the coast for the weekend, so I did the spectacular Cape Falcon trail and continued north until I hit the very top of the hill, then turned around for about 10 miles out and back.
An inaccessible black beach

While the trail to Cape Falcon is gorgeous, north past the cape the trail gets even better. There are fewer people and more stunning views of tiny, empty crescent beaches, distant headlands and dense, craggy forests.
More craggy coastline

The trail is soft and narrow, passing over creeks and climbing up and down some good hills. With a high point of about 1,000 ft, I say the elevation gain of this route is somewhere around 1,500 ft.
Striking red rock and black sea arches

At one point I caught sight of the most massive tree I have ever seen outside of the Redwoods in northern California. It was so shockingly huge that I crashed through undergrowth and fallen branches to get up close, so I could feel with my own arms just how big the trunk was.
North to Arch Cape

This photo doesn't do it justice, but it was at least 12 ft in diameter. I was in awe. Visiting such an ancient tree is reason enough to go run the coast.
The biggest non-giant redwood tree I have ever seen

See this great Oswald West park map for more details and trail inspiration.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sally is crazy

Flowering currant
Sally joined us for a Sunday run. She had never run more than nine miles before... and stuck with us for a full 15! It was fun to take her out on a tour of our usual trails, seeing the beauty of springtime blossoming with fresh eyes. She also challenged our speed a few times. Great run!

Trillium past its prime

Birch - Wildwood:  .22
Wildwood (mile makers 7.5 - 12.75) - Maple: 5.25
Maple - Firelane 4: 1.79
Firelane 4 - Leif: .21
Leif to Koenig: .55
Koenig - Wildwood: .14
Wildwood (mile markers 14.20 - 7.50) - Birch: 6.7
Birch - 53rd: .22
Total : 15.08

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A run on the dry side of the Cascade Mountains

We spent the weekend in Sun River, near Bend, and scoped out the top trail for our weekend run.

Deschutes River Trail system map-- looks so simple

After a little bit of online research and looking through the William Sullivan (best hiking book author for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest!) book for the region, we started at the Meadow Picnic area.
River at the trailhead

Ideally we would've run to Benham Falls for an 18-mile out-and-back, but time being tight as always, we planned to run an hour out and then turn around.
Sign at the trailhead

Despite the simple trail map, we got lost pretty quickly after the slough. We lost sight of the river, turned left at some shotgun shells in the sparse, dry pine woods, and when we crossed a road we realized we were lost.
Ann's getaway car

When we finally made our way back to the trail we recognized, we saw the wooden stake with a stick-figure hiker; those, and signs that simply said "trail" were our clues.
Peaceful slough

I can't say the trail was well marked, but there were signs, and once we got going along the river we were pretty well set.
Raging rapids

The trail was gorgeous single track, dry and red, with short, rambling ups and downs that really whipped our lungs what with being at around 4,500ft elevation.
Flumes and snow in the distance

The river changed from calm and glassy, high up to grassy banks, to raging rapids hedged in by rocky cliffs-- always beautiful to run alongside.
Steep log-ladder steps

It was so much fun to run in such a different environment, and we have big dreams of running the whole trail.
Neverending steps

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Running through waterfalls

Seasonal waterfalls - soaking us on the trail 


After logging a lot of miles in Forest Park training for the Gorge Waterfall 50k, we decided to take a few weeks and run some other trails.  And as is typical for springtime in the Pacific Northwest, the weather is a little crazy. Two weeks ago we were running in hail and snow, a week ago we were in t-shirts and sun, this weekend it down poured while we were running and of course cleared up as soon as we were done. 

raging punch bowl falls

Our incredibly wet run took place on the Eagle Creek trail. I have hike Eagle Creek for years, but this is the first time I have been on it in the Winter / early Spring. I am normally too busy snowboarding to do any winter hikes, but thanks to my broken wrist I have become a more obsessed runner. I was surprised to see how high and raging Eagle Creek was, from all the early snow melt off. This also produced a lot of seasonal waterfalls and higher creek crossings. The Eagle Creek trail hugs tall balsalt cliffs which produced a lot of waterfalls directly onto the trail. The first few creek crossing we tried to tip toe across rocks and logs, but quickly gave up and just started running through the creeks.  
We had originally planned to turn around at Tunnel Falls, but I wanted to run 1/2 mile more so we would have a total of 13. That extra 1/2 miles (1 total) was probably the most technical and wettest part of the run. Susan named the the little waterfall we turned around at, "Ann's extra mile falls". 
"rope crossing"

I wish I had more pictures of the run, but unfortunately my phone got wet and the touch screen stopped responded. This had to of been the wettest run we have had in Oregon, but I was cleaner than I had ever been at the end of a trail run.   

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Vacation day long run

Sometimes, for the really long runs, it pays to take a day off work and make it an event. That's what we did on March 22, just eight days before the Gorge Waterfalls 50k, for our longest training run. We were supposed to do it on a Monday a week and a half earlier, but with Ann's awfully torqued back it wasn't in the cards.

Brand new shoes in a painful, screamingly bright color way
Even though it was soon before the race, since we're not the speediest runners anyways, I didn't notice any ill effects. Instead, we had a great time spending the day running in an accumulation of hail, ending with a soak in Ann's hot tub and delicious salt bagels. Sounds like a vacation to me!

Sign post at the start: Newberry Road
John dropped us off at Newberry Road, the far north end of Forest Park. From there we ran to Springville Road, down to Leif, and back up on Waterline to Wildwood. After that, it was a straight shot to Birch and back to Ann's house, for a grand total of 26 miles.

Hail begins; Ann demonstrates for effect
The weather forecast showed a chance of snow before 9am, and I was shocked that some flurries fell in Beaverton as I drove to Ann's house. I txted Ann that it was snowing, but she seemed to think I was joking...

Icy close-up
Until just after our first break, about nine miles in, when it suddenly started hailing small, round pellets. It hailed for about nine miles, making our second break not very fun, but tapered off soon after that. By a certain point there was so much hail on the trail that it looked like snow-- and we had first tracks!

Hail in action at a trail crossing
Headed south on Wildwood, the hail accumulation slowly tapered off, which I assumed was due to melting. Then we realized there was no hail at all on the ground, and it almost looked dry. But the sky was darkening. As soon as the words "Hey, I don't think it even hailed here" left my mouth, I knew I made a mistake. It started hailing, and followed us for our last mile and a half.

Hail accumulation on trail-- fresh tracks
It's funny that just a week after running in these wintery conditions we'd be in tshirts and capris, running in the sun.

Hideous bright shoes not dimmed after 26 miles in hail

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gorge Waterfall 50k

Showing off our Trail Runner Nation performance enhancing Kokopellis at Elowah Falls 

Last Saturday Susan and I had the pleasure of running the Gorge Waterfall 50k. There is something magical about running in the Columbia Gorge, the lush green moss covered rocks, old growth trees and all the amazing waterfalls. I have no idea how many waterfalls we passed but just to name a few: Wahkenna, Fairy, Ocola, Weisendanger, Multnomah, Oneonta, Ponytail and Elowah. Since it was an out and back we got to pass all the waterfalls twice, and you definitely see things on the way back that you didn't see the first time. At one point on the way back, Susan thought we had gone the wrong way because things looked so different. 

Getting ready to start the race!

We couldn't of asked for better weather, it started out cool and sunny and when we finished it was around 70°F. After our very, very wet North Face 50k, we were ready for a race with good weather. 

The race started at Benson State Park, we ran out of the park on a grass path to the trailhead to Wahkeena Falls. This is where our 2 mile, 1600 foot climb started. It was hard to get a consistent pace since the race hadn't thinned out yet and we were on single track. We ended up walking a lot of it, but we also didn't want to burn ourselves out in the first few miles. 




Susan running under Ponytail Falls

Once we reached the top we headed east on the Wahkeena Trail, which we were very familiar with from our epic-26-mile-run-out-of-water-run last summer. We had a nice 2 miles downhill, and then we were on rolling, rocky, single track. It felt good to let our legs stretch and run for awhile, but we did stop and take photos at almost every waterfall. Around mile 12 the trail ended and we ran on the road for around 2 miles, I don't think either of us expected to be on the road for that long, it felt much longer than 2 miles, especially when we turned around and headed back. At the end of the road was an aid station and my car (John was hiking). From the aid station we headed uphill for about a mile to the final waterfall, Elowah Falls and our turn around point. We grabbed our poker chip and headed back.

turn around point

We changed our shirts and left our stinky shirts and running sleeves on the car for John to deal with when he returned from his hike. (I'm not sure why he puts up with me.)  We hung out at the aid station for a bit and headed back. 

Ponytails fall on the way back with our "clean" shirts

Once we got to Multnomah Falls, we headed up the paved path of never ending switch backs. There were a lot of hikers and tourist,  I thought they were going to be annoyed with all the runners, but a lot of them were cheering us on. Once the paved path ended we were on the trail that leads up to Larch Mountain, where Susan bonked last year. Luckily that didn't happen this time, but I did run ahead of her, since I really do like trying to run the uphills. She caught up with me and kicked my ass on the downhill back to Benson State park. 

Susan heading up her 2012 bonk trail



We crossed the finish line happy and ready for beer! The post race party included pizza baked in a portable pizza oven. They were happy to make a vegan and vegetarian pizzas for both of us. Also standing next to the pizza crew was Hal Koerner, but I was too much a wimp to go ask him to take a picture with me, instead I took a stalker photo. 

"stalker photo" of Hal


After we inhaled our pizzas we headed to Double Mountain for more pizza and beers with John, Erik and Leif. 

More of our pictures.

Some of our Waterfall Self Portraits 





Should I just run to Hood River?


Ann getting chased by Wild Bill


Ann trying to run downhill

Portable Pizza Oven