Sunday, July 28, 2013

Running in pain




I knew there was a marathon taking place in Forest Park on Saturday, so I planned a route trying to avoid most of the marathon traffic. I was hoping for an uneventful, mellow 22 miles for our last long run before our Epic Lady Mountain Run (circumnavigating Mt. Hood). For the most part we did avoid most of the marathon, but uneventful it wasn't. 

Susan managed to roll her ankle (the stronger one, which is fine). She tripped on a root and started flapping her arms, which luckily helped her not land on her face. Around mile 18 Susan screamed and started waving her arms in the air like a crazy person, then I felt an intense pain in my left pinky. I looked around and realized we were surrounded by yellow jackets, and I yelled, "GO!". We ran fast and got the hell out of there. Susan got stung on her arm and I did on my pinky finger, the pain we felt from the bites for the rest of the run was worse than any pain I have ever felt running. I will have to remember this when we are running around Mt. Hood, since it will be further than we have ever run before and I am sure we will be in pain, but I will tell myself it isn't as bad as getting stung by a yellow jacket. 

Our "difficult" creek crossing
Maple Trail creek crossing
Route: 
Saltzman trailhead to WW (16.01)-- 1.12
WW (16.01) to Alder (ww 9.4)-- 6.61 (7.73 total)
Alder to Leif (1.49)-- .84 (8.57 total)
Leif to Maple (LE 4.22)-- 2.73 (11.3 total)
Maple to Saltzman-- 1.48 (12.78 total)
Saltzman to Leif (6.2)-- .83 (13.61 total)
Leif (6.2) to Ridge (8.5) -- 2.3
Ridge to WW  -- .34
WW (20.85) - Saltzman (WW 16.01) -- 4.84
WW (16.01) to Saltzman trailhead-- 1.12 (22.30 total)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Manzanita Beach

Manzanita Beach is known for being one of the longest beaches on the Oregon coast, at seven miles long. On a weekend visit to Manzanita, I decided to run part of the beach instead of my usual Cape Falcon route.

Usually I head south, where the bulk of the beach lies. This time, however, I ran north towards Neahkahnie Mountain and into the headwind, thinking that I'd have a nice tailwind on my way back.
Manzanita Beach at the base of Neahkahnie Mountain

I ran as far as possible to the north, which felt quite tough against the wind, then turned around and headed south. That part of the run felt good. I was speedy, not out of breath, and it was easy to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

Then I had to turn around again to head back to my starting point. The wind was so strong that I felt like I was standing still. My clothes and gear flapped, threatening to fly off me. I laughed, because the run was as flat as could be, but here was something approximating elevation gain: a strong headwind!

So I steeled myself and went for it. Progress was slow but steady, and I knew I was getting some good "mental toughness" training in. Not bad for a short run.

Michigan Family 18 Miler

Trail log at one of the North Country Trail trailheads 
My step brother Noel and I flew to Michigan this weekend to visit my dad, Gretchen and step mom Stephanee. Since we are a family of runners, I said I would come up for the weekend if they would run 18 miles with me, as part of my training for circumnavigating Mt. Hood. Of course without hesitation Dad and Noel agreed.

Noel and Me

Noel ready to leave the road for the trails

It had been a few years since I had seen Noel and since then he has become a pretty accomplished trail runner. I had a great time discussing running, races, gear and nutrition, we even talked about doing a fast packing trip in a few years.
Chasing dad down the boardwalk
self portrait 
Dad and Stephanee live on Gun Lake in Michigan which is surround by Yankee Springs Recreation Area, which has a lot of running and biking trails and also hooks up with the larger North Country Trail system. Dad had several ideas on routes but in the end we just went out and ran and played it by ear. All but about 2 miles of the trails were pretty runnable, we were fortunate that it rained the night before which caused a lot of the sandy trails to be a little less so. Neither Noel or Dad have been running the long distances that I have been running, but they still made it through the run and didn't hate me at the end of it. The things you do for family!

Gun Lake area

North Country Trail
                              

Lucky Mt Hood 26 miler

To get in a run at altitude, and for a change of scenery, Ann planned a day-off run for us up on Mt Hood. It was also a chance for us to try out gear for our circumnavigation of Mt Hood: a water pump, folding poles, and food.

Hot from the start

We started out near Riley Horse Camp, and ran a dry, sandy trail across the river and onto the Pacific Crest Trail, where the first of three major climbs began.

Tiny wildflowers

Bald Mountain was our first summit, which we ran last August. Of course Ann also ran it much more recently.
Crossing the Sandy-- a rare bridge

I remembered that climb well, so I wasn't surprised when the two and a half miles seemed to really stretch out. At the top of Bald Mountain, the sweeping view of Mt Hood and alpine meadows makes the memory of the climb melt away.
One of three total bridges

Then there are the river crossings, which were much easier with the poles. Of course, the Mt Hood Scramble last year gave us lots of experience crossing snow-melt rivers, but having a pole handy means you don't have to hunt down a stick.
Lots of orchids in bloom

Our next climb was up to Paradise Park, which really kicked my butt. I walked most of it. Near the top, parts of it were sandy and wide open, which felt really tough. At the top we saw some snow-- even ran through a bit across the trail-- and had our second picnic. I really needed it, and we were tired enough to be giddy.
New this year: a rope to make crossing easier

After a refreshing stretch of downhill, we came to our third and final climb: East Zigzag Mountain. Knowing it was the final uphill, I was able to pull a bit more out, but the altitude really got to me. When we got to the top and enjoyed the spectacular view, I was ready for the final descent to the car.
A sign of what's to come on the trail up Bald Mountain

And it was worth it! Although it felt like quite a bit longer than we thought it would, it was nice to run again. We kept going down, down, down, and looking downhill all we could see were more trees and downhill. Then suddenly, we hit some sand and knew we were close.
Ann at the top of Bald Mountain

We expected to come to a road and have a bit to run to get to the car, but there were no trail signs and the road was gravel-- not what we expected. With the shadows getting long, we stopped to look at the paper and phone maps, picked our direction, and started running again. It was painful at the end to run on road, but as soon as we saw the car we knew we had made it. We celebrated with a stash of orange juice and other goodies and headed home. It was a spectacular way to spend a day off!
Crossing the Muddy Fork


  • start at sandy river trail head (near riley horse camp)
  • east on Sandy River Trail / Trail 770 - 3.4 miles
  • left on PCT - 2.4 miles
  • right on Timberline trail / Trail 600 - 10.9 miles
  • (add on Continue on Timberline to Hidden lake trail / trail 779 and turn around - 4.6 miles)
  • right on Paradise Park Trail / Trail 778 - .2 miles
  • right on Zigzag Mt Trail / Trail 775 - 3.9 miles
  • right on Cast Creek Trail / Trail 773 - 4.2 miles
Susan enjoying a snack after our 2nd Muddy Fork crossing
Frog!
The top of our 2nd climb to the  Paradise Park Trail 
Snow at 6000 feet
Running up to Paradise Park
The top of East Zigzag mountain our 3rd and final ascent.

Alpine meadow views




Thursday, July 4, 2013

Solo Bald Mountain

Mt Hood from the top of Bald Mountain 

The 13+ mile Bald Mountain - Ramon Falls loop has to be one of favorite (to date) runs close to Portland, Susan and I first did this run last August. You get a little bit of everything: a good hill climb, spectacular views of Mt. Hood, alpine meadows, intense glacial river crossing and a 120 foot waterfall.

I was a little nervous doing the run solo, knowing that the Muddy Fork river was going to be raging with all the snow melt off and you have to cross it twice! I also knew this was a good chance to run with my new poles and to get a little bit of training on the Timberline trail in preparation for our run around Mt. Hood in August. It took me a bit of time at each of the river crossing to find a good place to cross, the water was up to my knees, but I would not of been able to do it without my poles. I came across a group of backpackers after the 2nd crossing and they asked me how the crossings were, and I replied that I was glad I had my poles.

Trying to secure my poles to my little pack.

Second crossing of the Muddy Fork River

Other than the river crossing and some scratched legs from over grown berry bushes, it was an awesome run. I think that Susan and I need to come back in a few weeks and do this route with a few extra miles on the Timberline trail as another training run.

Seasonal bridge over the Sandy River

Mt Hood



A rope has been added to help the crossing on the tree!



I was trying to get a picture of me and Mt. Hood.

Ramona Falls

Monday, July 1, 2013

Does this run make me look hot?


Saturday was one of the hottest days of year so far in Portland and we decided to run 20 miles (12 for Dana). Luckily the shade of the tress helped keep us a little cooler, as did running next to Balch Creek.

Sign post at the Macleay parking area

We broke the run into 2 parts, the first part was 12 miles for Dana and the second part was 8 miles, so we could get our 20 miles in.  We started at the Macleay parking lot off NW Cornell and headed down Wildwood to Aspen, and looped around on Leif Erickson to Firelane 1 and back to Wildwood. The 2nd part of the run was a “simple” out and back on Wildwood between mile makers 5 and 1. Simple if you like running hills, which I do. That 4-mile stretch is probably the hilliest part of Wildwood, you run up to the Pittock and back down and then up to Washington Park and the Zoo, and then we had to turn around and do it again. We don’t run this section of Wildwood very much; it was nice to see everything in bloom at the Pittock and to have a bit of a scenery change. Even with the heat this 20 mile run felt a ton better than the jet lagged 23 miler the previous week. Every time the heat started to get to me I just thought, at least I am not running Western States in almost record setting temperatures.


Pittock Mansion

cute scooter at the Pittock


Archery at Washington Park

New shoes, time to get them dirty!

Run that hill!


Route:
wildwood (mm 5) - aspen: 1.43
aspen - leif : .75
leif - fl1: 3.10
fl1 - ww: .53
ww (11.20-5) car : 6.20
total: 12.01 (Dana)

then 

an out and back on ww 5-1 total 8 - for 20 total.