Sunday, January 24, 2016

NW 53rd Nasty + Saltzman

Susan and I have unofficially started to train for the CCC, the little sister race (101k) of the UTMB. (I only say unofficially, because Susan hasn't completed her registration yet.) The last two weeks we have increased our mileage from 20 miles to 27 for our long runs and we have also tried to add in more elevation gain/loss, which can be a challenge in Forest Park. This time of year most of the trails in the Gorge and around Mt. Hood are covered in snow so there aren't a lot of other options for trail running besides Forest Park, which is means we will be getting creative with trying to increase our elevation gain as we increase our milage.


One of 4 trails that touch NW 53rd 

This week I decided to focus on all the trails that touch NW 53rd and zig zag up and down them and add a climb all the way up Saltzman. When we started the run my legs were already tired, I ran 50 miles the week before, which is probably 15-20 more miles than I have done in awhile. I mentioned to Susan it was ok if we power hiked up the hills, which normally I would never say. Going up several of the hills it is inevitable that you are going to hike, but Saltzman, which was the last hill is so runnable we ran it , but I really wanted to stop and walk.


Susan and her crazy pants heading back down Saltzman

The last 8.5 miles was straight back on Wildwood, which was nice and easy. I think the next time we do this route I will add a few more up and downs between Wildwood and Leif on the way back. Overall it was a pretty fun route to ease back into more serious training.



Route:
wildwood - aspen : .43
aspen - aspen rd : .23
aspen rd - thurman th : .50
leif - wild cherry : .26
wild cherry - 53rd : .87
53rd / dogwood - leif : 1
leif - fl 1 : 2.11
fl 1- hwy 30 : 1.43
fl1 - 53rd : 2.21 
fl 1 - 22 : .25
ww - koeing : 2.79 
keoing - maple : .27
maple - fl 4 : .59
fl 4 -saltzman : .34
salzman - skyline : 2.95
salzman - ww : 1.12
ww - birch : 8.5
birch - 53rd : .23
total : 26.81

Sunday, January 10, 2016

On the road (and trail) again - Running in Austin

Navigating the creeks in Austin


We flew in and out of Austin for my sister Gretchen's first 50k (Bandera), and after the event on Saturday we spent the night in the city. I hadn't been to Austin in 15 years, and Susan had never been there, so first on our agenda was exploring some of the trails downtown. I knew that I wanted to go to the big waterfront trail along the Colorado River, so I looked at Google Maps and found the Shoal Creek trail not far from the house we rented.


It was cold (30 degrees) and we crossed the street to find the trail right away, only to be disappointed when it suddenly ended in a neighborhood. We stopped to navigate our way back to it, and enjoyed its strange meandering along the creek, under bridges, connecting parks. At one point we took a left at a fork and the path just stopped in a dirt bike park. We went back and followed the trail the other way for a short time before it ended with the pavement cut away in a sudden drop-off. Luckily, large rocks dotted the water right there, so we hopped across the creek. A little farther, the path ended again in a downhill of gravel, which we used to cross back, run up a concrete ramp, and hop over some construction barricades.

paying homage to Willie 


Under a bridge on the waterfront 
From there we ran the downtown streets to the river, and were greeted by the sight of so many runners of all types enjoying the wide, mostly dirt path. It was beautiful to run along the river with the sun low and rising, illuminating the city as the residents awoke. We ran out to a good little climb, then turned around and mostly retraced our steps, this time confident of our route. It was a nice little shakeout and we got back before everyone else, so we got to take our time with nice, hot showers.


Artwork we saw on our run

We spent the rest of our time in Austin listening to Willie Nelson, eating Texas influenced vegan food and trying Austin's mircobrews. We will be back.

Awesome poster at Austin Beerworks
“I enjoy running around Austin. I enjoy going downtown and running on the rivers and lakes down there, and you see just loads and loads of people doing it every single day. There’s not a more beautiful place to run and Austin has so many great roads and trails.” – Willie Nelson, courtesy of Still is Still Moving.



Thursday, January 7, 2016

A snowy start to 2016

Susan trying not to fall, again

I had planned a 20.16 route for our first long run of 2016, but the weather had different ideas for us. We woke up to it snowing in Portland and Forest Park and it not looking to let up as we started our run. We started to run our planned route, which started with 10 miles on Wildwood, but after Susan slipping and busting her butt a few times it became apparent we needed to revise our plans. 



After completing the original 10 miles on Wildwood we decided to just do an out and back, that way we would know where the icy spots were. Normally I would hate doing an out and back, but the park looks different covered in snow, it felt like an entirely different trail going back. 
a snowy Wildwood

I was very happy to have hand warmers with us and a nice warm bath when I got home. I love running in the snow a couple times a year but I am happy we don't have to do it all winter. 


Coyote tracks

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015 Runner's Highs

Only some of my 2015 trail shoes

I wasn't sure we would be able to top all our running adventures and achievements in 2014 but somehow 2015 was even more amazing than the previous year. We ran farther (100k), circumnavigated 3 mountains, did our first multi-day run, and had a lot of support and involvement from our families. 

One thing that became more apparent this year is we really prefer doing our own self-supported adventure runs versus racing. Races are great for new distances or for getting to run in areas that would be hard for us to do on our own. I love planning routes but more than that we just love spending the day together running in the Cascades

Also after years of trying to get girlsgonewildwood.com we finally got it! 
My favorite picture of us from 2015






Selfie with Mt. Rainier



Celebrating after we crossed Eliot 

  • Favorite shoes: Brooks PureGrit 3
  • Best support crew: Gretchen and John. We would never have been able to do Miwok without Gretchen, and Mt. Rainier would of been impossible without John.

Finishing Peterson Ridge Rumble




Michigan selfie




First van exchange with first-timer family/team members: Erik, Gretchen and Noel


Previous year recaps:
2014
2013
2012