30 May 2007

I Left My Quads in Colorado - - - New Mexico Wants Them Now

Hope everyone is running well. My trip has been wonderful and the runs have been fabulous. Santa Fe has lived up to its reputation. I've found a wonderful downtown cafe to hang out at for a bit. My body is feeling good here in New Mexico after some pretty tough runs in Colorado (the place my quads will remember forever...) This entire trip has been completely energizing. I stopped by a great running store (The Running Hub) a couple days ago and was able to physically look at and touch some of the specialty gear that isn't readily available back in Pullman. And I found a great hydration belt that works great.

Anyway, it may be a few more days before I can get to everyone's blog but I look forward to seeing how everyone is doing. I'll give you a quick pictorial rundown of my runs since last week's entry.
Wed. May 30
Arroyo North of Santa Fe (near our lodging)
5 miles

Near the river the arroyo is flat and wide

A couple miles out the landscape becomes more dramatic

Near my turn-around point I climbed up above for this shot

Tue May 29
Sangre de Cristo Mts, New Mexico
13 mile loop

Most of the 13 miles were along 3 different rivers

Some amazing rock formations

The last 3 miles of this loop was upriver next to dozens of waterfalls

Mon May 28
Ancho Rapids Run - Near White Rock, NM
6 miles

This run starts on top of a mesa

Coming to the edge of the mesa

Looking down from the edge to the river (Rio Grande) and Ancho Rapids

From the river looking back up. The mesa I came down from is the one on the right.

Sat May 26
Near La Veta, CO
4 miles

Got up early for a quick run before the drive to NM

I never get tired of the views of the Spanish Peaks

Fri May 26
Sangre de Cristo Mts, CO
12 miles
This has been the the most grueling run of my trip so far. The weather was moving so fast; I ran through two hail showers, one rain shower, a bunch of sunshine, and lots of quad pounding downhill.

West Spanish Peak in the top right

Sadie and some Aspens

West Spanish Peak in the background

Hope you enjoy. Keep running!


23 May 2007

Cafe on a Mountain -- with Wireless!

Here's a shout-out to wireless Internet! An afternoon rain storm has me down from the mountains (barely) and into the local cafe with some time to update everyone on the trip.

It has been great so far and I'm getting in some wonderful runs. We made it to my grandparents house Saturday afternoon. The have an amazing place about 30 miles south of Jackson, WY. I shook off 10 hours of driving with a 3 mile jog surrounded by 360 degrees of mountains. We spent Sunday wandering around Grand Teton National Park. If you've been there before you know there's nothing I can say here that can even come close to describing it. If you haven't...well, try not to wait as long as I did to visit. I have a few photos at the bottom. We took a ferry across Jenny Lake and went on a short hike. That hike was about enough for Grandma and Grandpa, so we spent the rest of the day driving around viewing wildlife. We had lunch at the famous Jackson Lake Lodge. The drive from the park south along the Snake River is almost as great as the park itself. The plan is to stop in Wyoming for a couple days on the way back and visit Yellowstone NP.

Monday was a long drive to southern Colorado. Long. But by then the dogs had a couple long days in the car so they slept most of the way knowing that there wasn't much fun to be had. So that was a nice surprise. Tuesday I took Sadie for a 5.5 mile run out of town. Absolutely beautiful. The valley sits at about 7,000ft and is dominated by the Spanish Peaks. The altitude was a little tough to deal with at first but after about 2 miles I felt great. The air may be thinner than I'm used to, but it seems to be so clean and crisp that it makes you want to take deeper breaths than usual anyway.

This morning Sadie and I went on a great (but very tough) 8-mile run on a trail called Indian Creek. The trail head is at 8,500ft. I ran/hiked to the 4-mile marker, which is just over 10,100ft. Yes, I'm wearing a watch now - a Suunto Observer, very cool. I think I'll have to work my way up to the ultra-cool Garmins that everyone else seems to have. :) The quad burning run down was nearly as tough as going up. There was also a lot of snow on a few parts of the trail that I had to scramble around because the drifts/patches were too steep and slick to cross (not for Sadie, though). And I'm officially scared of bears. For about a mile on the trail I was following bear tracks. I didn't see any on the run, though, but every time Sadie scared up a grouse, or any bird for that matter, I about had a heart attack. And when she stopped in her tracks ahead of me to look at something off the trail I about had a heart attack as well. So I'm not sure if it was the altitude or the heart attacks that made the run to cardiovascular. :)

I'll probably be off for a couple more days, but will continue running and taking photos. We'll be in Santa Fe next week. Can't wait!

Enjoy the photos and keep running!


Wed. May 23
Indian Creek Trail, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, CO

Tues. May 22
Cuchara River Valley, CO

Spanish Peaks.
Left, East Peak - 12,683'. Right, West Peak - 13,625'.

Sun. May 20
Grand Teton National Park, WY

Pretty Jeanie!

View from inside Jackson Lake Lodge

18 May 2007

Road Trip!

We will be on the road for the next couple days. Stopping in Wyoming for a day or two (my grandparents) on the way to Colorado for a few days (Jeanie's parents) on the way to a few days in Santa Fe, New Mexico (really good food).

My running shoes are packed and I'm looking forward to posting some great photos of some great runs. It's going to be interesting how I do in the altitude. So, it may be a couple days until you hear from me, but that won't mean that I'm not running. (okay, it probably will mean that I'm not running...)

But for everyone else - keep running!


17 May 2007

Iron Lotus Thursday

Quick post this evening. We're gearing up for our big cross-country road trip beginning Saturday and have waited until the last few possible moments to get oil changes, snacks, toothpaste, dog baths blah blah blah(g). So I'm being heckled at this very moment to get off the computer and do my laundry. :)

I did get a quick 4 mile run in, though. At least it felt quicker than usual. I'm beginning to judge the intensity of my runs by how long Sadie lays under the kitchen table when we get home.

Here's the Sadie scale:

Easy run - skips the table and wrestles with Shasta.
Moderate run - drinks some water and then sniffs under the table before laying down for maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
Difficult run - skips the water and stays under the table for 45 minutes to an hour.
Extreme psycho run - goes straight for the bath tub and fills it up with cold water and jumps in.

So even though tonight I felt like I ran at a nice brisk pace it was an easy run on the Sadie scale.

But it felt good anyway. Keep running!


16 May 2007

Wet Dog Wednesday

It's funny when I cross paths with other runners and they noticeably speed up when they pass me. Like just in case I'm a running god giving away "Way to Go!" ribbons as I trot by. I suppose it's only natural to try to perform a little better when you know you're being watched. Thing is, I do just the opposite. When I see someone running toward me I purposefully slow down a notch, because the way I see it, who knows, maybe I'll meet that person in a future race and it will be between the two of us on the final sprint to break the ribbon and they'll underestimate me because they remembered how slow I was six years before. :-) Is that logically flawless or what?

Anyway, nice easy 4 mile run today. According to my new training advice guide I need to step back the weekly miles every few weeks - so that's this week. I've been increasing and increasing and this week I'm going to scale back a bit. Even took Shasta the Running Pomeranian today and she and Sadie found a nice semi-transparent creek to jump in. Ah, black wet dogs in the sun.

Keep running!


15 May 2007

Grizzly Tuesday

View of Pullman (and you thought it was paradise)

It was nice to have a couple days off because today I felt good. It's getting Pullman hot (anything over 75) and I absolutely love being in the sun. Give me hot sun over cold gray any day of the year. Let's see what I'm saying toward the beginning of August... :)

Sadie and I did a mostly asphalt loop that sent us by the university's Bear Research, Conservation, and Education Center. There were three grizzly cubs running around the pen. I took a photo with my cell phone but it didn't turn out. Then we ran by the Cattle Research Center where the most notible thing was the stench. Dinner anyone? Home and back: 7 miles.

A fellow blogger directed me to marathontraining.com. There seems to be pretty good information for first time marathoners. I think I may be getting to the point where I need to structure my training a little bit more instead of just running what I feel like when I feel like. I suppose I need more of a plan than just "Hey, I'm going to run a marathon in October. Yippee!"

Keep running!


14 May 2007

Funday Monday

I'm still sore from my 14 mile trek on Saturday so I took another running rest day. No need to overdue it (right?). There's still plenty of time before Oct 7 in Portland (right?). We took the dogs to the park - so I did get in a little leg muscle movement while jogging around with them chasing balls and frisbees. My temptation right now is to increase my weekly mileage every week because I'm having such a great time running and I've been on a kind of runner's high the last couple weeks that makes me feel like I can just run and run. But I think I will try to keep my weekly miles between 25 and 30ish until I'm a couple months out - maybe in July I'll start really working on increasing my mileage to build up for the big 26.2.

I'll see you tomorrow.

Oh, and thank you for all the suggestions on hydration options. I'm heading in the right direction now.

Keep running!


12 May 2007

Wheat Turning Green

What a great day to run.

The wheat fields are turning green with all the sunshine we're getting, a celebration of the new season. Temperatures are getting warmer. These spring and summers make eastern Washington winters almost bearable for a Texan like me. (almost)

I took extra water today (but need to search for something that holds more and is comfortable for running) and slowed my pace to try to get a nice long run in. I'm trying not to train too much because I still have a few months before the Portland Marathon and I'm still learning to read my body. But I have been feeling very good these last few weeks so I thought I could push it a little bit.

Once I get out of Pullman and onto the dirt roads rolling through the wheat fields I feel like I can run forever. Then I got to mile 7.... and realized I still had to go back. Taxi! But it was worth it. I took it nice and slow and overall felt real good until about the last mile. Also, today equaled my longest run ever. 14 miles. And my body liked this 14 miles much more than the other time. I'll see how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully not too bad.

Enjoy the photos and keep running!


Translation: "You have this road all to yourself."

No asphalt allowed

Sadie and the sky

11 May 2007

shout out to doing (almost) nothing

Running rest day. I'm learning quickly how rest days are as, or even more, important than the actually running days to my body. I needs it. Needs it bad.

However, today I'm beginning a new phase in my overall training: working muscle groups other than my legs. I've been reading a lot about how important and often overlooked the upper-body is with new runners (especially back and shoulders as key elements in the running motion) and some of my running blog friends already have wonderful all-body workouts fit into their schedules. So I'm giving it a go. I'll be doing sets of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, hicc-ups and probably even some shut-ups. Oh, and I've been challenged to do pilates. We'll see how that goes.

Anyway, I have a nice run lined up for tomorrow and I can't wait.

Keep resting!


10 May 2007

Comrades Marathon

Many of you seasoned runners may have heard about the Comrades Marathon before, but I hadn't until yesterday when I read this Runner's World article. I think I may have found what I've been looking for.

55 miles. Devastating hills. South Africa.

I've spent the past day researching this race and it is widely regarded as the world's greatest ultra marathon. (Ultra marathon is any race longer than the "normal" 26.2 miles - though some say it's not a real ultra unless it's over 50 miles.) The race began in the early 1920's by a group of men wanting to do something physically and mentally agonizing to honor their comrades who had fallen in the Great War. The history is inspiring and the race itself is inspiring. I've always been in awe at people who push themselves and challenge themselves to the very brink. Well, enough awe for me. I'm going to make this race my personal test. And it is in Africa! It's been way too long since I've used my passport.

This year's race is June 17. So forget about that. I won't be ready for that one - but I will be ready by next year. One year to train. One year to save $. No excuses. As of right now I'm considering myself on the clock for the June 2008 Comrades Marathon.

My father inspired me to start running this past year. He's recently got back into serious running and already has a couple mountain ultras under his belt. I'm in full recruitment mode to get him to come with me. I can't think of anyone else I'd rather run this race with.

So, that's it. Simply a new race on my "upcoming races" link. Now back to running.

Today - 8.5 miles through plowed wheat field dust and rolling dirt roads. I love this life.

Keep running!

09 May 2007

Running in Santa Fe?

Next weekend we're beginning a trip that involves nearly a week in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Thing is, I've never been there. So I am searching for awesome running routes in or near Santa Fe. In the hills, preferably, but a memorable city route would be nice also.

For anyone who has lived in / been to Santa Fe:

Any running/hiking recommendations?

And maybe more importantly - any eating recommendations?

08 May 2007

Sun Bleached May

I'm going to let my photos introduce today's run.

Moscow Mountain (ID)

on the way to the trail head

on the trail

on the trail

on the trail

on the way home

Who wouldn't want 5.5 miles of these photos? I'm looking for a very small digital camera that I can fit into my water bottle pouch, but so far I'm not having much luck (within my price range). So, I've been carrying my camera phone, which is just big enough not to fit in the pouch. It's probably smart to have the phone anyway, especially when I'm running alone on the mountain, and even more especially since I've already had a couple run-ins with the Moscow Mt. wildlife (moose and a possible large cat/killer raccoon). Maybe I should get a homing beacon implanted into my head.

It is so great to be running.

Keep running!


07 May 2007

Back to Earth

Return to the Palouse. Surrounded not by tens of thousands of runners, but by thousands of rolling wheat field tops turned green. And the smells...

I couldn't not run today. Not after the running high from this weekend. I couldn't not get out of the house and onto the trail. I couldn't even not use a double negative in this post - multiple times. Also, I'm getting tired of starting the weeks out with a big zero in the mileage column. All my previous Mondays have been rest days. No more!

If yesterday's energy was provided by thousands of spectators and live music, today's energy was provided by quietness and open space. Jeanie and the pups came along also, which is always nice. We did some telephone poles (run to one, walk to the next one, run to the next one) with a generally easy rhythm, and then I took off for a bit to stretch my legs out and burn off some of the adrenaline I still had from yesterday. The sun is so high when I get off work that it is hard to believe that just a couple months ago it was dark by 4:30pm. I think I want to run forever.

Jeanie took this photo of me running along a "path" next to a seldom used railroad track just north of Pullman. From home (out and back) - 4 miles. Isn't this fun?

Keep running!


06 May 2007

Bloomsday Run 2007

One race down. Many more to go...

I'm an official Bloomsday 2007 finisher. 12 kilometers (7.46 miles) of sunshine. It was a fun event. I don't think I'd want to run with a moving human mass every weekend, but it was so organized that 50,000 people only felt like about 46,000. Seriously, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the entire day went. Since I enjoy runs alone (with Sadie) on mountain trails I was thinking I may be turned off by a huge race like this. But I really enjoyed it. It was a wonderful atmosphere and everyone seemed so happy to be running.

We got there when it was cold and early and took a few photos (Jeanie came with me for inspiration and gear lugging). I also took my camera phone with me and snapped a few photos during the race. The photos on the course are a bit distorted from being shot while I was running (it seems I was running too fast for 21st century camera technology!)

As for the race itself - I felt good. I started out nice and easy and tried not to get caught up in the first mile adreniline sprint racing. Live music blared on dozens of corners and turns. People lined the streets and yards to cheer the runners on. That may have surprised me the most about the race. I didn't imagine there would be so many spectators pushing us on from the sidelines. And I think it worked. There was a lot of energy on the course.

I almost never run with a watch so I'm never quite sure what kind of pace I'm running. And I didn't run with a watch at this race. My goal at the start was to finish in less than 1-hour 10-minutes. For a 12k, that's about a 9:15 minute per mile. I thought that sounded doable, even never having seen this course before. And the main thing I've heard about the course was Doomsday Hill - a big climb between miles 4 and 5.

My official results are in (as reported on the Bloomsday webpage):

-Finish Time: 0:59:08
-Overall Place: 2,004 out of 39,382
-Ran with a pace of 7:55 per mile
-Placed 53rd among people the same age
-Placed 25th among people from Pullman, WA
-Placed 1,439th among people from the State of Washington
-Placed 1st among people with the same last name (YAHOOO! I WON!)
-Placed 1,646th among males

Click here to see an audio slideshow of Bloomsday 2007 (courtesy of spokesmanreview.com).

Here are some of our photos (click to enlarge):

runner statues - Riverfront Park, Spokane

warming up with a "winner"

runner statues

shirt toss tradition

some random sexy sexy guy near the start

there were so many people that it took me nearly 10 min just to reach the starting line after the first group started

views from the race - "The Good" (live bands)

views from the race - "The Bad" (uh, not sure exactly...)

happy feet (not so happy later in the race)

the bottom of the (in)famous Doomsday Hill can be seen in the background

this was a vulture waiting at the top of Doomsday Hill

view from the course

there's that sexy sexy guy again after the race ended