25 December 2009

Holiday Running

Christmas Eve and Christmas runs.

Snow crunch

Winter sky

Late afternoon sun above Pullman

A road trip into the Snowless Valley.
Still freezing, but I almost felt like it wasn't winter.

Christmas on the trails.
Sadie doesn't care how cold it is as long as there's a trail.

Happy Holidays to all my friends!


15 December 2009

Off Season

Blowing snow and sub-zero temperatures and an empty race calendar. Easy miles the past couple weeks. Just nice and easy miles.

My brother is getting married in Houston in February. The Austin Marathon is the next day. We're going to try to make it a family affair.

December and January aren't my favorite training months. I don't think it's just the snow (though it does make it harder to put in long miles) - I think it is the low temperatures. I'm convinced that my left knee is allergic to anything below 20 degrees. So I'm expecting some tough miles for the next couple of months. And some photos, too.

Keep running!


29 November 2009

Thanksgiving Road Trip

Sadie and I took a week off to do some traveling. 2,500 miles, six states, five national parks, and a couple good runs.

We passed through Salt Lake City and hit the trails with my dad:

Then found trails away from the crowds at Zion National Park:

Then climbed Arizona's highest peak (Humphreys Peak - 12,600 ft):

And watched a sunset in the Grand Canyon:

And made friends with a coyote in Death Valley:

Then played catch under the Golden Gate Bridge:

And felt small in Redwood National Park:

Drove through a snowstorm at Crater Lake:

Enjoyed a great beer at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR:

It was a good trip. Keep running (and traveling)!


11 November 2009

Where Running Takes Me

I'm grateful that I can run.

I'm thankful for my health.

I feel blessed where running has taken me.

Keep running.


26 October 2009

Sadie and Her Moose Friends - More Beautiful Fall Running

We ran into Momma Moose and Baby Moose for the fourth time in the past 12 months. Momma Moose must be getting use to us because she wasn't as nervous as she's been before. In fact, it looks like her and Sadie must have come to an understanding. They're Best Friends Forever now. Check out the video:

It's been cold and wet and windy, but we've been hitting the trails like crazy. The changing colors and falling leaves mean snow is on the way, and snow means no trail running for a few months. Hopefully the trails will be clear enough to run for another month. Yesterday near the top of Moscow Mt. there was midday frost on parts of the trails.

"Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower."
-Albert Camus

Trail running at its best

Sadie in a Moscow Mt. meadow

Fallen leaves

Autumn path

Sadie under the setting sun

Keep running!


12 October 2009

29 September 2009

So I Run

The earth is turning brown and I'm turning white and the blue sky is old and no longer easily impressed. So I run.

The wind is getting cold and I'm getting older and everyone is getting older, too. New shoes, new shorts, worn trails, same changing seasons. Same changing seasons.

So I run.

It's a lonely car at 5:30 in the morning. After a long summer, even the sun is too tired to get up this early anymore. Sadie's head hangs out the window and I bundle up with an extra sweatshirt. There are lonely dirt roads at 5:53 in the morning.

The mountain is green from a distance but up close it's orange and yellow and red. Up close I am dark under the pine canopy. Up close my skin is creased and brown. Up close my fingers look no different than my grandfather's. So I run.

The earth turns brown and there is no one to impress. The seasons won't stop and the sun won't stop and the sky won't stop and the earth won't stop, so now I will run.

13 September 2009

Moscow Mountain Madness race report

So there's a killer 12 mile trail race on some of my favorite trails right up the road from me. I ran it for the first time yesterday. Sweet.

They call it Moscow Mountain Madness. No dogs allowed on the run, though. This is the reason I haven't run this race since I found out about it a few years ago. Part of the joy I get from running is to run with Sadie. But I decided to give it a shot this year. And to make it up to Sadie, I promised her some extra fetch and no bath for at least three more days.

Early morning registration

Getting my game face on

Sadie stretching with me
in hopes of getting to run too.

There were two divisions of mountain bike races that started 10 minutes before the runners. Some of the trails were shared, but with their head start there wasn't much of an issue. Here you can see the runners starting:

(from race website)

I run these trails often, but I usually don't try to burn through them because I've never been faced with an ominous clock ticking at the finish line. You've seen my posts, I love to stop and take photos. I find vistas and enjoy the views. I love to find creeks for Sadie to swim in. So I was very curious to see how I could handle the trails with a little bit of speed incentive.

The run course was basically an out-and-back. (The advanced bikers got a lot of the sweet, looping single track for themselves.) Climb for five miles, then a couple miles of ups and downs, then descend to the finish.

Google Earth snapshot of the course

I felt pretty good the entire way. I've gotten used to walking up to conserve energy for ultra distances, but I pushed hard and basically ran the entire distance - minus a few water station stops and short burst hikes up the steeper terrain. It's a great feeling to see the training I've put in pay off in something more than the ability to eat more chocolate chip cookies then I should. I charged hard on the descent and it felt great. Wish Sadie could have run, though.

View on the climb near mile 4
(stock photo from my Moscow Mt. library)

Cruised to the finish line in about 1hr 41min (8:25 min/mile pace). The results haven't been officially posted yet, but the results board placed me 9th overall on this tough 12-mile course. I'll chalk the race up as a success.

I am a rock star
(in my own mind)

Keep running!


31 August 2009

Sadie and the Moose

Came around the corner fast, Sadie just ahead of me, and Momma Moose and Baby Moose were standing no more than 20 ft off the trail in a clearing. 20 ft is very close in wild moose proximity terms. Some moose don't like runners (read Karl Meltzer's moose encounter) and Momma Moose generally doesn't like runners when Baby Moose is around.

So after a mild heartbeat skip and a fast sprint by I got far enough away to feel comfortable to take a photo. Sadie's curiosity got the best of her and she went toward Momma Moose (Baby Moose had climbed up well behind her) and got to about 10 yards away before Momma Moose let out a deep growl/puff that sent Sadie scurrying back to me.

Momma Moose (zoom lens)

I've heard some bad Moose attack stories and it's always in the back of my mind when I'm running around blind corners or switchbacks. This was my closest encounter yet, and I feel lucky that Momma Moose wasn't in an ill mood.

Sadie blew off the encounter and when we reached the top of our run she reasserted her dominance over the mountain with a majestic pose:

Keep running!


Sadie says, "Hi."

02 August 2009

Family Half-Marathon - Columbia, South Carolina

My sister, Lisa, was getting married on Saturday (congratulations, Lisa!), so she wanted to run a half-marathon on Friday. It was supposed to be a bit bigger crowd than this, but my brother, Adam, and his wife, Jen, were in a bad car accident a few weeks ago that kept her in the hospital for too long and kept them from making the trip. Get well, Jen! We missed you both.

Me, Melanie, Lisa, Dad (7 months after his quadruple-bypass)

The humidity woke up before our 5:30 a.m. start. The air bath reminded me of all those good years growing up in Houston. There was some construction on part of the river trail, so instead of a single out-and-back we had to do a couple shorter out-and-backs to make up the distance.

It was great to see my dad pounding pavement so soon after his heart operation. He feels much better now, though he still has some lingering chest pain doing certain things - lifting, etc. He's so motivated to run and he's an inspiration to all of us. He's already looking for a fall 50 k or trail marathon.

It was great running with Melanie and Lisa for the first time, too. Lisa recently completed her first two marathons and Melanie is training for her first.

We had a great, sweaty time.

Morning blurs

Dad running through the rising sun

3 (of the seven!) Amigos

Keep running!


21 July 2009

Morning Shadows

There's dew on the grass and leaves and the sun rises through the branches early Sunday morning. Sadie chases chipmunk after chipmunk up trees and over logs and she bounces to and from the trail, through bushes and streams and spider webs, looking back at me only to make sure I'm as happy as she is.

The mountain trail is my yellow brick road.

It's the sound of my feet falling against the ground with the same beat as my heart. It's the overgrown brush against my knees and thighs. It's the squint of my eyes after a switchback into the white sky. It's the smell of green.

The three mile detour is always worth the view. Northern Idaho is always worth the view.

Just keep running and running and running.