29 November 2010

Snowy Thanksgiving Road Trip

Winter is here.

I try not to travel much during the holidays.  The weather and roads can get a bit dangerous.  And it's tough to fly during the holidays because my dog-sitters are usually out-of-town and I don't like to board Sadie.  Well, all the 10-day weather forecasts I looked at for the week of Thanksgiving looked good, so I thought I'd give it a chance.  I planned to drive down to Salt Lake City for a couple of days to visit my dad, and then we planned to drive up to Alpine, WY to visit my grandparents and brother on Thanksgiving Day.

The drive to Salt Lake was fine.  Roads were clear and safe.  Too easy, right?  Well, sure enough, a blizzard snuck up on us in the Northwest and made its way down through Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah. Driving up to Wyoming and then back to Washington was slow going.  Cars were overturned in snow banks, tow trucks were stuck in ditches, freeways were reduced to 10 MPH, etc.  It took a couple days to get home, but I made it safe. 

Yep, that's why I don't like to travel during the holidays.

Anyway, I did some running too.  Went on a few good runs with Dad near SLC, then had a very cold run in Alpine on Thanksgiving morning.  And then I finally made it back home with enough time to squeeze in a long run, which turned out to be one of the hardest, most tiring non-ultra length runs I've ever been on.  I picked up the backpack that I'm taking with me to Chile so I can start getting used to running with all my gear.  I don't have all my gear yet, so I stuffed the pack with about 12 lbs of newspaper.  I'll increase the weight as my trip gets closer.

My long run was 23 miles, with my weighted pack, in mid-20 degree temps.  What made it so hard was that about 14 of the miles were in at least 6 inches of snow, with some places as deep as my knee.  Very tiring.  The rest of it was on packed snow or ice.  It took me 4h11m to make it home.  Very tiring.

Here's a photo recap of the week:

Above the clouds on White Bird Pass, Idaho

Sadie enjoying a pre-blizzard view of the Salt Lake Valley

[video] Running with Sadie up a snowy Potato Hill above the Salt Lake Valley

[video] Running with Dad above the Salt Lake Valley

Dad on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail above the Salt Lake Valley

Minus-10(F) on my Thanksgiving morning run in Alpine, WY
(It's too cold to smile)

Back in Pullman/Moscow for a 23 mile run through snow

The few miles of plowed path felt like a little piece of heaven

Keep running!


15 November 2010

A Few More Photos of the Changing Season

Thursday - Mt. Spokane
View below the clouds on Mt. Spokane

Ice on the trees when I climbed into the clouds.

Saturday - Moscow Mt.
A few inches of snow on Moscow Mt.
Still very runnable - so winter hasn't won yet! (Sadie LOVES snow.)

Saturday - Moscow Mt.

Snow will push me off the mountain soon enough - but until then, I'm still taking to the trails.

Keep running!


08 November 2010

Running with Trees

It's dark when I get off work now (and it will be for a few months), so weekend runs under the cold, dull sun will be more of an extra little treat than usual.

Winter keeps knocking, but so far it hasn't stepped through the door completely.  The mountain trails are still clear of snow, and the flora are in their final, most colorful stages of the season.

With no events lined up for this past weekend, Sadie and I headed for the hills.  I've had a fun year racing and participating in a lot of events (and I'll probably add a few more races before the year's out), but it's always so nice to get out on the trails with just me and Sadie and the trees.

Near trailhead at bottom of Moscow Mt.

Gold evergreens

This is a LOT of non-snow for November.
No complaints. :)

Keep running!


04 November 2010

Countdown to Chile!

I'm four months away from taking on one of the biggest challenges of my life.

The Atacama Crossing in Chile.

  • 250 km (155 miles) in 6 stages
  • Self supported (participants carry everything but tent and water resupply)
  • The driest desert on the planet

I've put together a four month training plan that I began this week.  To successfully challenge the Atacama Desert, I'll need to be in better shape than I've ever been in.  By February I hope to be in the 80-100 miles per week range.  (A big, white winter that's been forecast for the Inland NW is going to make training that much more difficult.)  Part of me is hoping for a lot of snow -- the harder the training, the better prepared I'll be physically and mentally.

I'm very excited to get out and run.

Keep running!