23 December 2008

Winter and Snow and Stuff

Winter came fast this year, even if the snow was late. I've been taking a self-inflicted break from blogging the past couple months. Life has been happening. I'm on a semi-running-break, too. I'm still running 4 times a week, at least, but I haven't been on any long (more than 12 miles) since late-October. Life's been hectic and I'm trying to sort some things out.

Also, for those of you who know my dad please keep him in your thoughts - he had quadruple bypass heart surgery last week. He was on a run with his school's cross-country team last Monday and passed out mid-run. They took him to he hospital and ran some tests and saw some clogged arteries that needed fixing. The doctor said because of his running his heart is very strong and there was no heart damage. And if his heart wasn't so strong it might have been worse than just passing out. He'll be back running stronger than ever in a few months. Be careful out there everyone. Here's a photo of me and my dad after the White River 50 in July:

We've been hit hard with snow the past couple weeks and expect to see more this week and the next. There's a paved trail in town that gets plowed for a mile stretch so that's where Sadie and I have been running.

I've canceled my trip to Texas next month to run the Bandera 100k. Too much is going on. I may keep my eyes open for the WSU 100k in April. But right now I'm just trying to get things on track and hopefully I'll be back in blogland regularly very soon.

Keep running!


30 October 2008

Desert Solitude

Went to the desert to be by myself for awhile. Did some running while I was there.

Edit: The trip was to Moab, UT.

14 October 2008

Spokane Marathon Race Report

I'm all signed up for the Autumn Leaves 50m and Bandera 100k. So I thought it was about time I stopped being lazy and went for a little run. Hey, what do you know, the Spokane Marathon was on Sunday. Perfect timing.

I've been running the last two months, but with no runs on tap I considered it my break for the season and wasn't logging high miles. So, although I feel like I'm in great shape I didn't know what to expect from my legs on a hilly road marathon.

We were in Spokane the day before to watch a show so I thought it would be nice to stay there overnight so I wouldn't have to make the 70+ mile drive at 5am. It was a good decision. I got some sleep (kind of...the Red Sox/Rays game went into extra innings) and felt good in the morning.

But it was cold at the start. Very cold. 25 degrees kind of cold.

This is what it looks like in Spokane when
it's sunny and 25 degrees before a marathon

This is what it looks like at the start of a
marathon when it's 25 degrees

As with all my races, my first goal was to not kill myself. I want to finish able to run another day. My only other marathon was Portland last year and I finished in around 3hr 51m. This course has more climbing than Portland so I thought a 4hr run would be wonderful. This course is also much more beautiful than the Portland course. Portland has the wonderful entertainment and energy, but if you're looking for a low-key, scenic run then do Spokane.

Leaving downtown around mile 2

Everyone's seen this guy, right?
The guy on the left running in the road.
You know, the one who just because
he has a race bib thinks that the road
is all his. Several cars nearly hit him
on this section. Notice everyone else
running on the nice running path...

Views of the Spokane River west of town.

Ominous aid station next to a cemetery...

The views were worth running on asphalt

Crossing the Spokane River

Aid stations in small races like this are usually pretty slim. This race was no different. Water and sport drink. I was carrying a bag of nuts with me (I don't do gels) just in case there was no food or snacks at the aid stations and I was glad I did. However, at around the mile 15 station they had some gummy bears and a box of maple bars. Yum. So I took a couple minute break to down a maple bar. It was nice and my stomach liked me. While running a marathon is the only time I don't feel guilty eating a doughnut. That's a lie, I never feel guilty. :)

80's themed aid station (I think)

More views

In a recent Runner's World they listed the top 10 toughest hills on American road races. #4 is the Doomsday Hill at the famous Bloomsday 12k in Spokane. So what's a marathon in Spokane without Doomsday, right? Same daunting hill, but at the 22-mile mark instead of the 4-mile mark. Though, I will say that a "tough, daunting hill" is much more relative after running the White River 50 this summer. Doomsday seems like a foot massage compared with climbs in these mountain ultras. (But don't say that to anyone in Spokane.)

Words of encouragement on the
approach to Doomsday Hill

At the bottom of Doomsday looking up

At the top of Doomsday looking
back down to the river

Maybe it was no coincidence that around mile 23 my legs decided they were finished for the day. I'm sure I looked like a running tin-man those last three miles. At this point I knew I had 4hrs in the bag and I hobbled the last couple miles before crossing the finish line in 3:49:12 - a two minute PR. Official results. I placed 47 out of 140 (including early starters.)

Near the finish

A Guinness is the perfect after race beverage

A successful marathon to begin my 100k training.

Keep running!


29 September 2008

Aneroid Mountain Summit Run

I'm not sure what happened with my post on the 19th but for some reason all the text disappeared. Hmmm. I had a nice little write-up about what I've been doing and what I've been planning for the upcoming fall and winter seasons, etc etc. Here's a quick recap of what I think I had said:

-No Cle Elum
-No Portland Marathon
-Nice to rest my legs some
-Plan to do Rocky Raccoon (TX) 100-mile in Feb
-Or maybe the Bandera (TX) 100-k in Jan
-Maybe Autumn Leaves (OR) 50 in Nov
-Why I haven't been visiting blogs like I should
-Why I really like chocolate chip cookies
-Oct: training back into high-gear

Maybe I should just start writing my posts as bullet points. That was a lot faster.

This past weekend we went down to Wallowa Lake, Oregon for some R&R (and trail running). This has been one of our favorite places to go to since we moved to the Northwest. The last weekend in September is a music and food festival that's pretty fun. The mountains make it completely worth it. I've done a lot of hiking there but that was all before I was a trail runner.

One of my goals for the last few years has been to summit Aneroid Mountain. It's one of the higher peaks in Oregon at over 9,700 feet. One of my favorite trails to hike has a clear view of Aneroid's peak and it always seemed like a very doable, non-technical climb/scramble/hike but I've never been able to make a serious attempt because of time/scheduling. But now I'm a trail runner and when a guide book says "2 days roundtrip" for a hike I interpret that as meaning "great long run for a Saturday." So Sadie and I started out early in the morning for the summit.

The trailhead is around 4,600' and our cabin was a mile away and another couple hundred feet lower. The trail sees a lot of pack animal traffic and can sometimes be very beat up. But it must have seen a heavy rain recently because it was nice and packed on the non-rocky sections. The trail is about an 8 mile climb to around 8,500' - not counting the mile from the cabin. There are a few sections that are flat for a few hundred yards or so but for the most part it's entirely climbing. But I was feeling very good and I was able to run most (half) of the climb.

At around the 9-mile overall mark you just have to go off trail and scramble up to the peak. This last mile or so up took nearly an hour because for a lot of it I was on all fours climbing and scrambling. Very fun, though. Sadie was looking at me funny because (I'm assuming) she's not used to me running on all fours. She thought there was something wrong with me and kept coming over to see if I was okay but I kept telling her I was fine and to just look at how stinking steep it was and if it was so easy to be on two feet why wasn't she. There was a lot of climbing and then sliding back down a few feet and then climbing back up. Eventually, we made it to the top for some spectacular views on a spectacular day. We signed the registry (well, I signed for Sadie) and headed back down, running the entire way minus the time I had to stop to help the old lady who was barreled over by her pack donkey because we ran up on it around a corner and startled it. She was fine - I think.

Overall the run was just over 20 miles. The light all morning was great for photos. Hope you enjoy them.

Trailhead (4600')

Sun coming up over Wallowa Lake

The trail was nice and smooth

On our way up

Frosty meadow

Who wouldn't want
to run this trail?

Sadie looking back

Nearing 8000'

Aneroid Mt on the scramble up

Sadie the Mountain Dog

A couple hundred yards
below the summit - I'm not
doing much running at this point

View from the top with
Aneroid Lake below

Another amazing view
from the top --
look at that sun!

Top of Aneroid Mt. (9702')

If you have fun with Google Earth check out my run here.

Screen shot from Google Earth

Keep running!


25 August 2008

Me Running and Photos to Prove It (Allegedly)

Okay, so the photos don't prove anything. You can trust me, though. Right?

With the summer weather as amazing as it's been the past few weeks it's been really hard to be inside on the computer. We've been going camping, going to the river, going to parks, etc. But I have been putting in my mileage and I've been getting some amazing photos along the way.

Here are some photo highlights from the past two weeks:

Just before harvest

The roads through these wheat fields
are some of my favorite places to run

Sadie likes water

Golden wheat

Yesterday I went on a nice 19 mile road run. It was the longest run I've done on pavement since the Portland Marathon last October. We were meeting some friends down at the Snake River so I thought I'd get up early and meet everyone down there. Minus a couple stops for photos I ran the entire way at about an 8:55/mile pace. It felt good. No Sadie for the run, though, which was okay because she got some good exercise swimming in the river later.

Harvest bird

Some great views through the Palouse

Heading down to the Snake River Canyon

Near the park at the end of the run

I love the river in the summer

And jumping into it

I still haven't decided about the Cle Elum 50k in a few weeks. There's a few spots open but because of logistical reasons I'm leaning toward skipping it. But, there's still a few spots open...

When the weather starts turning I'll find myself on the computer more. And the Olympics are over, so there's not that "distraction." :)

Keep running!