Thursday, January 29, 2015

Spontaneous 20

Recently we had the unexpected pleasure of running 20 miles together, without a plan. We know the trails well enough, so Ann made wraps for both of us to eat during our break and we set out with only a vague idea of a route.

New signs
Old signs
We lucked out with a beautiful, sunny (!) day. It was on the chilly side, but it was thrilling to be out in the woods with nothing but time on our hands.

We've seen a few of these stick affirmations recently

We usually plan our routes in detail, so this was a refreshing change. And we ended the day by drinking beer in Ann's hot tub and eating dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. Who could ask for more?

Tiny pink fungus (trying my new iPhone lenses)

Route:
Wildwood, Leif, and Maple... who knows?!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ann is mean

"I am lazy and reused a route," stated Ann in her email. She went on to explain that when we originally ran this, it was the day after we had trained with our coach, so we might as well do it again.

Fresh, new shoes just waiting for some mud

What terrible logic! My legs started out shot, and the climb up to Pittock felt tough. The weather was nice and we had a gorgeous view (made particularly sweet by the break). Then another gratuitous downhill and back up, whereupon Sally broke off.

Closed Maple Trail stream crossing last week
Closed Maple Trail stream crossing this week
Ann and I continued, and took our break after the long slog up Saltzman. Thankfully, the rest of the run was nice and flat.  Next time she mentions the word "lazy," I will be wary!

Route:

holamn - ww .76
ww - pittock - 2.06
pittock - wild cherry - 4.01
wild cherry - leif - .56
leif - dogwood - .59
dogwood - ww - .34
ww - alder - .93
alder - leif - .84 
leif - maple - 2.33 
maple - saltzman - 1.45
saltzman - ww - 1.38
ww - birch - 8.5
birch - 53rd - .23 
total: 23.98

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Muddy Sunday with Bob

Mud, lots of it

Ann got back from a work trip to China on Saturday morning, so we ran on Sunday. Bob joined us with a 9 mile loop, after which we continued for another 14 miles. I tried out my new Hoka Stinsons for the first time, christening them in some good mud. They were great-- a very similar feel to my usual Brooks Pure Grit and not too squishy as I had feared.

Ann and Bob, glowing
It wasn't too rainy while we were running, but everything was sodden from hard rain the night before, and some of the creeks were higher than we could remember seeing them. It's always fascinating to see the trails we know so change with the seasons and weather.

Group selfie before Bob splits off
This was a nice loop-- nothing too mean after missing Ann for a long week!

High water on the closed part of Maple Trail
And here's how we crossed it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6eJKAGCFdQ


Start at Springville

Bob ~9 mile loop:
  • Springville to Trillium-- .13 mi
  • Trillium to WW (18.57)-- .25 mi (.38 total)
  • WW (18.57) to Waterline/Tolinda (ww 24)-- 5.25 mi (5.63 total)
  • Waterline (ww 24) to Leif (10.17)-- .35 mi (5.98 total)
  • Leif (10.17) to Ridge (le 8.47)-- 1.7 mi (7.68 total)
  • Ridge (le 8.47) to FL7-- .75 mi (8.43 total)
  • FL7 to Springville trailhead-- .32 mi (8.75 total)
Ann & Susan ~23 mile loop:
  • Springville to Trillium-- .13 mi
  • Trillium to WW (18.57)-- .25 mi (.38 total)
  • WW (18.57) to Waterline/Tolinda (ww 24)-- 5.25 mi (5.63 total)
  • Waterline (ww 24) to Leif (10.17)-- .35 mi (5.98 total)
  • Leif (10.17) to Ridge (le 8.47)-- 1.7 mi (7.68 total)
  • Ridge (le 8.47) to WW (20.99)-- .35 mi (8.03 total)
  • WW (20.99) to Maple (ww 12.84)-- 8.15 mi (16.18 total)
  • Maple (ww 12.84) to Leif (4.22)-- .95 mi (17.13 total)
  • Maple to Leif (6.44)-- 2.66 mi (19.79 total)
  • Leif (6.44) to Hardesty (le 9)-- 2.56 mi (22.35 total)
  • Hardesty (le 9) to FL7-- .48 mi (22.83 total)
  • FL7 to Springville trailhead-- .08 mi (22.91 total)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Running in China

I was lucky enough to visit Shanghai and Ningbo, China on a work trip. Unfortunately the air quality was pretty bad the whole time I was there and I was too chicken to run outside, so I ended up on the hotel's treadmill every day.

Park in Shanghai

I cannot even remember the last time I ran on a treadmill, I can't say it was an enjoyable experience but even 5 miles on a treadmill was a test in mental toughness. The first few days I started the treadmill with the goal of 30 minutes, I figured if I could run at least 30 minutes each day I would satisfy my daily need for some sort of exercise. After 30 minutes and realizing I had only ran 6km, I knew if I ran ~8km I would get at least 5 miles in. The second day on the treadmill, there were more people from work who were in Shanghai for the same meetings as me on the treadmills. I could only tell because they were covered head to toe in swooshes. I found myself upping the speed on my treadmill and running faster and harder, who knew I would be competitive even on a treadmill. 

In Ningbo the hotel had different treadmills with hill training, this being the last part of my trip I was getting sick of my running music and the treadmill. So having the option to pretend I was running up a mountain helped the treadmill insanity. 

Treadmill hill training

Despite not wanting to run outside while in China, I did get to spend some time walking around Shanghai and some of the parks around the area close to our hotel and found some beautiful places. As the saying goes if you look hard enough you can find beauty in anything, even a treadmill. 

Walking around Shanghai
Daily message left in my hotel room 
Ironic sign in the Shanghai subway

Walk way to the dreadmill
In a park in Shanghai

Shanghai
It wouldn't be an Ann trip unless I found a brewery. Boxing Cat IPA in Shanghai. 

From my hotel room in Ningbo


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Caleb's first end-to-end

On Wednesday (December 10) I got a text from Caleb: "What runs do you have coming up in the next several days? Thinking of doing all of wildwood this weekend." Ann and I had just run all of Wildwood (and then some) two weeks previous for our birthdays, but how could I resist?

One of the powerlines down on Newberry Rd

We planned to run from the north, Newberry end, with Ann & I ending up Birch (Wildwood mile marker 7 1/2) for a nice 23 miler. I picked up Caleb and his friend Billy at the log-lined parking lot next to the zoo, at the south end of Wildwood. We drove to Ann's house, where her husband drove and dropped us off at Newberry.

The other side of the downed powerline-- notice the rope tying it to the tree at top right

There had been strong winds the past few days, and we were awestruck by the damage there on Newberry-- huge downed tree limbs and power lines. It was time to start the journey. Caleb hadn't run the distance in a long time, and Billy's longest-ever run was 18 miles... and off we went.

Billy and Caleb at Wildwood start

We had never run with Billy before, but I know that Caleb is fast. I was worried about keeping up. He lead, with a bit faster pace than we usually run for the distance.

Caleb contemplating the crazy force of one tree smashing into and cleaving another

And it was great. We chatted the whole way, learned a lot, and had a great time. It's always interesting to see what gear, food and supplies other bring. When we got to Birch Trail, Billy decided to join us. He had already exceeded his farthest distance by 5 miles and didn't want to push it 7 more.

Selfie at Birch Trail-- where Ann, Billy and I ended

We took some photos, wished him luck, and with an extra caffeinated Clif Shot that Ann gave to Caleb, said our goodbyes. Billy, Ann and I ran back to Ann's house, and I drove Billy back to his car. Caleb texted me when he finished, a couple hours later. It was tough, but he pushed on and made it! He said that Ann's Clif Shot saved him. Maybe next time we'll coordinate and all go the whole way together.

Group portrait at Wildwood and Birch

Saturday, January 3, 2015

First long run of 2015

I only ran once in the six days I was away for the holidays, and Ann had spent the previous three days snowboarding. We knew it was going to be a tough run. I tried to pick a route with less climbing. 

Lots of icicles where water drips 
It was chilly, with some ice but mostly nicely solid ground from not much rain recently. And it turned out to be a pleasant start to our new year of running.

Found along Leif Erikson trail

Start at Wildwood/53rd

Wildwood/53rd (mm 9.18) to FL7/Gas Line (ww 19.96)-- 10.78 mi
FL7/Gas Line (ww 19.96) to LE (8.03)-- .28 mi (11.06 total)
LE (8.03) to Maple (le 6.44)-- 1.59 mi (12.65 total)
Maple to LE (4.22)-- 2.66 mi (15.31 total)
LE (4.22) to Dogwood (le .92)-- 3.3 mi (18.61 total)
Dogwood (le .92) to WW (8.47)-- .34 mi (18.95 total)
WW (8.47) to 53rd (ww 9.18)-- .71 mi (19.66 total)

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Superlatives

Looking back on 2014 we have nothing to complain about; it was simply an amazing year for us. Sometime in late 2013 we got the crazy idea to run an 85km in New Zealand, which we thought would be our A race. But when that got shortened to 47 miles due to Cyclone Lusi, we decided we had to find another 50 mile race. 

We started hearing interviews / podcasts with the legendary Ann Trason and in one of them she mentioned she was putting on a 50 mile race on the Western States course. Next thing we knew we were signed-up for it. In preparation we ran around the Three Sisters in Central Oregon, which was around 53 miles. 

We also had many self-supported adventures in the Columbia Gorge, Mt. St. Helens area and Mt. Hood National Forest. We dialed in our hydration and food more; I feel like we are eating less but better on our long runs. We had amazing training and support from Animal Athletics

Of course none of this would've been possible without support from our family and friends. I hope everyone had an amazing running year. We are looking forward to 2015 and running our first 100k and whatever other crazy adventures lay ahead. 



Some more of the highlights for the year:

Longest distance: 52.3

Rave run: Three Sisters loop

Race with the best stories and RD: Tarawera Ultra

Most difficult race (where we actually placed): Overlook Endurance

Favorite mid-run pick-me-up: Chocolate espresso Pocket Fuel & Nuun Energy (caffeinated!)

Best post-race party: Oregon Coast 50k

Best (new) Gear:


Favorite new shoes: Nike Kiger Trail Shoes 

Best and meanest coach: Willie McBride

Willie in the "there are no words for this panda outfit"


Favorite new podcast host: Sally McRea

Favorite trail nickname (given to us by Willie): Duo of Hell Fire (DOHF for short)

Previous year recaps:
2013
2012