29 December 2010

Because We Are Runners

BECAUSE WE ARE RUNNERS

We will go on a run today because we are runners.

We will run tomorrow, too. And we will run the next day. This is who we are.

Running is not a hobby.

Running is not a phase we are going through. We will not get it out of our system.

We will sign up for our second marathon the day after finishing our first marathon.

We will wake early every morning to feel the new sun on our legs. To feel fresh snow under our feet. To feel the wind against our backs. To hear birds and newspaper trucks and our favorite playlists. We will watch early-morning clouds move across mountains and we will taste salt on our lips.

We will run when we are at our smiling happiest. We will run when we are at our saddest sad. We will run when we are tired or sick or married or alone. We will run when we have kids and when loved ones pass away. We will run with souls full of heartache and compassion and trust and overflowing love.

We will run to share our love.

We will run to test our own limits, to prove to ourselves that we can do it.

We will run for our health. We will run if only to listen to our own hearts beating for miles. We will run to feel every muscle. We will run to sing as loud as we can in the middle of the woods.

We will run on dirt and sand and mud and concrete and asphalt and gravel and rock and grass and cinder and rubber.

We will run to see how far the trail will go. We will run to see what speeds the sidewalk can handle. We will run between buildings and canyons, and we will believe we are free.


We will run to feel the earth moving under our feet.

We will run to celebrate the life that is flowing through our bodies.



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27 December 2010

Winter Miles

The Atacama Desert Crossing adventure race is just over two months away.  

While I always run during the winter, this is the first winter that I've "trained."  I'm keeping up my weekly mileage in snow and wind and ice.  More importantly, I've been doing all my long runs (and many shorter runs) with my race pack.  It's good to get used to running with a pack on -- different form, foot-strike, cadence, etc.  Right now I have about 15 pounds of newspaper stuffed into it.  I haven't purchased all my gear for the race yet, but when I do I'll transition from newspaper weight to the actual gear I'll be carrying in Chile.  The race website says participants generally carry between 15-20 pounds of gear.  I aim to make it as light as I can.  

I definitely feel myself getting stronger.  It's a little weird training in snow and sub-freezing temperatures for a hot and dry desert race...but there's not a lot I can do about that.  My main goal for the next couple months is to make my legs stronger.  Not surprisingly, the snow is doing a good job toughening me up a bit.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.  Sadie and I had a wonderful weekend on the trails.  Here are a few photos from Saturday's 25-miler:







Keep running!

-Scott

20 December 2010

Pullman Winter 50k #2 - Race Report

Mother Nature made sure our first Pullman Winter 50k met all the proper winter requirements.

Warm temperatures the past two weeks melted 100% of the snow and ice that had covered the 7.75 mile loop course since November.  The course is a single loop through and around Pullman, WA. Participants have the option to run one, two, three, or four laps.

Seven runners and an ultrarunning dog lined up for a cold 8am start.  Within 15 seconds of the start, the first snowflake fell.  The rest of the morning was a battle against the winter storm that came in fast and hard.

Four of the runners opted for the single loop option, which was (besides not running at all) probably the smartest thing to do Saturday morning.  Three of us weren't so smart.  

The snow wasn't so bad...compared to the wind.  About 4 miles of each loop were straight into the constant snow gusts.  The kind of wintry wind that makes you wish you were had a pair of ski goggles.  And a cup of hot cocoa.  And a Florida address. 

Sadie helped power me through.  She has endless energy and excitement when it's snowing.  It's easier for me to keep running when Sadie loves it just as much (okay, probably more) than I do.  We fought through the wind and snow and finished in a 50k PR of 4:45:26.  Granted, this was my first non-mountain trail 50k, so I expected to PR -- but it was still hard earned.  I must note that the Brooks Utopia Soft Shell jacket is the best jacket I've ever run in.

Enjoy a few ultra-winter images.

Mile 3.5 of loop 1 -- wind and snow.

Mile 5 of loop 1 -- relentless wind.
[VIDEO] Conditions at mile 5 of the first loop. Wind!


By mile 6 of loop 1 there was this much snow on the ground.
With Sadie after the first loop.

Frozen face.

Sadie playing in the bushes.

A few inches of snow piled up fast.

"Look, Ma! I can't feel my toes!"

My Brooks Racer ST 4's after 50k.

After-race beers at Palouse Falls Brewing Co.

We have another Pullman Winter run on Jan. 15.  It probably won't be warm.

Keep running!

Scott

13 December 2010

Running the John Wayne Trail at Rock Lake

The Thanksgiving-week blizzard is history.  Warm(er) temperatures and rain have washed away most of the lower-elevation snow.  This is good for runners, but bad for skiers/snowboarders. 

I've been looking at the John Wayne Pioneer Trail for the past week.  This is the trail that I ended my Run Across Idaho on, and it crosses nearly 300 miles of abandoned railroad grade in Washington.  I'm brewing an idea that I might run the entire trail (plus some) during an upcoming summer. 

Anyway, while mapping out the route I noticed a section of the trail not too far from me (1 hour drive) that ran along a 7-mile stretch of a lake called Rock Lake.  Hadn't heard anything about this, but I'm always up for a new and interesting place to run.  And because the snow had melted dramatically over the past couple weeks, I thought it would be safe to give it a try. 

Day trip! 
Sadie leading the way along the abandoned railway grade
that's now the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.

The lake and trail are spectacular!
Unbelievable that I've never heard anyone say,
"Hey Scott, you should go run that trail above Rock Lake - it's spectacular!"

Crossing an old bridge.

There were two tunnels along the section I ran.

It gets darker before it gets lighter.
(Thanks iPhone Flashlight app!)
Sadie above Rock Lake.

Sadie giving me a mini heart-attack on the cliff's edge.

Running through heavy, wet, icy snow (video):







Another amazing view from an old bridge.
This bridge challenged my fear of heights.

A couple miles past rock lake is the picturesque Pine Creek.
This was at 10 miles and my turnaround point.

Running back along the lake and across a rickety old bridge (video):



It was a fantastic run.  Again, I can't believe I hadn't heard of Rock Lake before.  I would have gone farther than I did, but the snow was getting dramatically deeper the farther away from Rock Lake that I got.  I'll definitely return again.  It was worth the hour drive.

I'm doing my weekly long runs in my weighted Chile training pack (only 82 days to go!).  It's quite a new experience to run several hours with a 15 pound pack.  It takes an extra toll on the body.  

I'm putting on a small, local 50k this weekend called the Pullman Winter 50k.  If you're in eastern Washington or North Idaho, come by and join us on Saturday.  It's super low-key and no-fee (think of it as a glorified training run).

Keep running!

-Scott



11 December 2010

John Wayne Pioneer Trail Map

I've created an unofficial map of the entire John Wayne Pioneer Trail, not just the well-documented western half. This page is simply meant to be an informative tool for others seeking an overview of the entire route across the state.

Please contact Washington State Parks for up-to-date permit information (much of the trail east of the Columbia requires a permit to access) and trail conditions (including tunnel closures and bridge crossings).


1. Interactive version of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail done with MapMyRun.com.


2. jpg: