Tuesday, December 28, 2010
It was so cold and rainy/snowy at the top that I didn't waste any time heading back down. It was hilarious watching my dog skid uncontrollably around the switchbacks, not once going completely off trail. One thing that strikes me is how natural dogs are running through trails. I find myself watching her trying to mimic her light springy steps and fluid motion. So far, not much luck in that department.
While I enjoy running in the snow, I am really looking forward to hitting the trails on a nice, sunny, Pacific Northwest day. ....yes, it is true, we do get nice sunny days in the Northwest. I will post some pics this spring and summer to prove it.
Monday, December 27, 2010
We went for about 4 miles today and I am feeling like I am getting my legs back after running the New York City Marathon. I will start training officially for the Eugene Marathon on January 4th. That will give me about 17 weeks of training to try for a Boston Qualifier. I plan on running 3:15 in Eugene. That would be a PR by about 7 minutes or so....think positive!
I highly recommend the Hansville Greenway for trail running, especially if the hills tend to scare you away...the hills are gentle for the most part starting out at Buck Lake, with beautiful views of the water from several different spots. Hansville is about ten minutes north of Kingston, WA.
Hope to do some snow running within the next week or so...plan on running up Mt Walker and back down on the fire road with the snow shoes....good for about 2000 feet of elevation gain on the way up...hope to blog about the run within a few days. Happy Trails!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
The training leading up to the marathon was going quite well for me and I was on pace in my training to give 3:20 a shot, which is a Boston Qualifier time for my age. Unfortunately a problem I have been having with my IT band didn't allow me to run over 18 miles in my preparation. Two of my longer runs ended up with me having to walk the last few miles home. Needless to say, I adjusted my goal for the race.
On race day I decided that 3:30 was within reason. I went out in 1:44 for the first half and finished in 3:34:58. While this was 13 minutes or so off of my best time, it was one of my proudest efforts. My body felt creaky the entire time and I felt like I was plodding along the whole way. I took the opportunity to really see and take in the vibe of the 2.5 million spectators lining the city streets. I found myself relaxed and enjoying myself more than I ever have in a race. I am wondering how I can bottle that feeling and uncork it when I am going for a personal best.
|Times Square two nights before the marathon|
|Staten Island around 5:45 a.m., waiting for a 9:40 a.m. start in 38 degree weather!|
|Participants attempting to stay warm in one of the several tents set up in the waiting area|
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I am off soon to test that theory. I am hoping to hit 20 miles on the road this morning. I am sitting here drinking coffee and blogging instead of running because I don't feel like running in the dark today. Also, I am a bit hesitant to hit 20 miles on the road...in looking at my log I noticed over my last 60 runs, only three of them have been on the road. Since I am running the New York City Marathon in a few weeks, I think it is probably a good idea to get some time on the pavement today.
Check out this interesting article: The Myth of the 20 Mile Long Run I have read similar articles before. It asks you to consider the cost benefit of running 20 miles long runs if your weekly mileage is less than 50 miles per week. I have found that even running 40 mile weeks, I benefit psychologically from running a few 20 milers before a marathon. However, the article has its merit...I just haven't found the time or energy to get my miles up to 70 miles per week, yet I still have the desire to hit a few 20 milers in my marathon prep.
Okay, time to get hydrated and hit the road for a solo 20....
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I enjoyed most of the race, especially the last 7 miles or so. The first half was a bit painful, as I was having some stomach distress. The last 6 were great. Lots of downhill running, which I happen to love to do. The best part of the series for me is the fact that it gets the old competitive juices flowing. With about 5 miles to go, I caught another guy that I recognized in the 40-49 year old age group and I was assuming he and I would be duking it out for third place honors. I was correct...we chatted for awhile and with about a mile to go I decided to pick up the pace for about 200 yards to see if he would come with me. I realized after about 201 yards that this may have been a mistake as I was starting to feel concrete filling my legs. Thankfully I had just enough to continue for a strong finish and a placing in my age group.
This brings me to my next thought...as this blog entry is turning into a veritable, rambling mess. Sometimes in road races, trail races, and other racing events I settle into a pace and may even start having a brief chat with someone. This has happened to me in my last several races. Each time, in my mind, there comes a point where you can keep talking or start racing. Is it rude to stop talking and surge? I know I never feel bad if someone takes off, sometimes I am actually relieved if I am having trouble talking and staying up with the person at the same time. However, I know that everyone joins events for different reasons. Some are content with running, relaxing, and enjoying the surroundings, without really thinking about racing. I tend to vacillate between racing or relaxing. I need to make the transition to racing AND relaxing. It shouldn't be "either" or "or", it should be the genius of "and"! Anyhow, enough rambling. I will just go with the notion that people are really out there just doing there own thing for the most part and that is okay with me! Can you tell I have had one too many cups of coffee this morning...okay off for a long run!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
|View of the Yakima River from the top of Red Mountain|
We ran up the mountain twice in two days. I also walked to the top with my son, Sloan and our new dog, Dose Wallips. Dose sprinted up to the top while turning around periodically with a silly look on her face. She seemed to be telling us to hurry up, but we were going as fast as we could.
We have done many cool things this summer, but spending that 60 minutes or so with my son was certainly a highlight. Sometimes it is the simplest things that can have the biggest impact. Looking forward to many more hikes and runs with Michelle and our kids. I hope they continue to see the wonders in nature as I do each and every day.
|Something tells me Dose likes to run.|
|Dose after trying to dig up a beetle with her snout.|
|Sloan trying to stay up with Dose up the trail.|
|The sun setting on our way down.|
|My son and our dog contemplating the jaunt back down the mountain.|
|Looking forward to many more trail runs and hikes together.|
|Dose ready for a long nap after the mountain run.|
The following was taken from the Brooks ID web site:
Brooks I.D. Program
Brooks I.D. stands for Inspire Daily. These two simple words guide the principles of the program. Brooks I.D. is made up of over 800 members who are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand. They are runners who are winners in their own right: Winning their age divisions, accomplishing their personal goals, pushing their own limits, and, by extension, encouraging others to do the same. They are coaches, mentors, and leaders.
I.D. Member Benefits
All Brooks I.D. athletes enjoy 40% off purchases made at brooksrunning.com and are invited to connect with other members at Brooks-sponsored events nationwide. Members who exert an unusual level of influence in the running community also receive a complimentary product package. All I.D. members also receive a monthly newsletter highlighting new products and I.D. member achievements.
What We Look for
Brooks I.D. athletes members use their athletic talent to help carry out the Brooks mission: To inspire people to run and be active. We look for athletes who have a passion for Brooks, race and train in Brooks' shoes and apparel, and enthusiastically evangelize the brand.
(this is where my commentary kicks in...)
While it is tempting to apply, it is still nice to have the freedom to wear other brands. However, my track record shows that I go back to Brooks anyways! So I may go for it. If so, and if I am accepted, I will share something out to the blogosphere.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to this charity, please click the link below:
Team for Kids Donation
Your giving helps New York Road Runners Youth Programs to:
Serve over 85,000 children in more than 400 U.S. schools and community centers with FREE programs.
Reach children of all fitness levels - with a heightened focus on reaching out-of-shape and overweight kids with little or no athletic experience.
Help overweight or obese children make lifestyle changes today to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses that lead to health-care costs in excess of $100 billion annually.
Thanks for considering!
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Last weekend I rode in the STP for the first time. This 200-mile bicycle ride is the largest multi-day bicycle event in the Northwest, with up to 10,000 participants riding from Seattle to Portland in either one or two days. I rode it with my wife Michelle, my father-in-law Greg, and our friends Elisa and Shelley. We opted for the two day version.
Day one was awesome! It started out cloudy and ended up sunny and beautiful by the time we arrived at the halfway point in Centralia. Along the way we witnessed a few crashes and many flat tires; luckily none of them were people from our group. We had smooth sailing for the most part. However my father-in-law and I did have to make some creative pit stops along the way. It was fun pretending like we lost the peloton when we got back on the bikes and chased our group down. For the most part my body cooperated on day one. However, by the time we arrived in Centralia, my bum was thanking me profusely for getting off the bike seat.
We arrived at Centralia Community College to find Greg's wife Lynn (Thanks Lynn! You rock!) waiting for us with an awesome spot for our tents. We were all thankful to see her there with the chairs set up and cold beverages in the cooler.We were all starved by the time we rode the 100 miles to Centralia in spite of having quite a bit to munch along the way so we quickly showered and headed to dinner. Azteca is usually quick to serve, but not quick enough for our tired bodies. When we were finished with the third bowl of salsa , Michelle threatened to lick it clean and take a bite out of the bowl. Thankfully our food came, so no worries about porcelain splinters. After our walk back to the college, we headed for the tents for some rest before our 5:30 a.m. wake-up call. Unfortunately, we were next to the disco dance party tent. I awoke around midnight as Michelle was on her way out the tent to ask them to put the music to bed for the night.
Day 2 was mentally and physically tougher than day 1 for sure. It might have something to do with the fact that my training did not include any back to back rides! Anyhow, thankfully I had some GU's with me, as I hit a dizzy spell with around 30 miles to go...the last few miles through Portland was stop and go with many traffic lights, but it was really cool riding through the city. All in all we had an awesome time. I definitely wish to do this again in a few years. We had to choose between a shower or the beer garden when we were done, as our bus back to Seattle was set to leave at 7:00 pm. The choice was easy....we sat around and had a few beers to celebrate our two day ride.
On a side note, I continue being impressed with my father-in-law. He is in incredible shape. There is a picture of him in the dictionary next to the word work horse. I hope to be riding as strong as he is when I am his age. (Heck, I would even settle for riding like he is at my current age!)
Monday, July 12, 2010
The Timber Town 10K was the second race in the 3 race Roots Rock Trail Series. The first event was a trail 5k and the last event is trail half-marathon on August 8th. The race fee for the half-marathon is a reasonable $20 with a nice Adidas technical shirt for $10. The races are well done and worth the price of admission for sure!
The first part of the run started innocently enough in a grassy field and quickly entered some twisty single track in the forest. I wasn't paying attention at the start, so I was stuck behind quite a few people before I entered the forest. I settled in and decided starting slower than normal would be a good thing. Nothing wrong with conserving some early energy and passing people towards the end.
The 10K course is beautiful. It is a nice balance between single track and fire roads. The course is rolling with most of the uphill happening during the first half of the race. The last 1.8 miles or so are mostly downhill. Chris Hammett, owner of Poulsbo Running along with his wife Brooke, did an excellent job of marking the course as usual.
As for my hope of starting slower and gaining momentum as the race went.....worked out well for a change! It also helped that I love downhill running. I passed maybe 10-12 people over the second half of the race. Mentally, this is always a good thing. The competitive juices are flowing again for me as well. With about a mile to go there was a guy ahead of me that I keyed in on and was determined to pass before the end. I decided to pass him with confidence and hold the faster pace for a good 100 yards or so, with hopes he wouldn't bother trying to stay with me. I was relieved to find he stayed back because I didn't think my stomach could handle an all out kick at the end.
After the race, my wife and I stayed for the awards. There was a nice spread with Heed, bananas, bagels, cream cheese, and watermelon. Chris and Brooke are awesome race hosts. I always enjoy Brooke's sense of humor as she announces the awards and conducts the race drawings. Just about everyone walks away with something, as the raffle prizes are abundant and they usually have some schwag to throw in for those that hang around to the end.
Thanks to Chris and Brooke for all they do for the Kitsap County running community! I truly appreciate their hard work and dedication to the sport.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thankfully my wife is very understanding; as this was an impulse buy on my part after wanting a dog for many years. We were vacationing in Lake Chelan and she happened to mention that "if" we ever got a dog, it would need to be a medium sized dog, preferably a Brittany Spaniel. The very next day we were home and I was researching various dogs noted for their endurance and stamina (including Brittany Spaniels). In my research, I found that there weren't many Brittany Spaniels in a desirable price range for us and many wouldn't be ready for taking home until September. On the other hand, there were two possbilities to buy a German Shorthair Pointer within about 2 hours of our house. My son and I jumped in the car, headed to the ferry, and were off to visit German Shorthaired Pointer breeders on the other side of the Puget Sound. Yes, I think some part of me actually realized my wife wasn't talking about purchasing a dog immediately, but some other part of my brain took over. I plead temporary insanity. Did I happen to mention that my wife is very understanding?
Dose (Wallips) is a beautiful 9 week old bundle of voracious energy. She spends half of the time running as fast as she can through our yard and house and the other half tuckered out sleeping like a baby. Luckily we live on almost 3 acres and there is plenty of room to roam. As I sipped my coffee this morning and watched her romp around our yard, I was imagining how fun it will be to take her for early morning runs once she gets a bit older. I am rather content watching her happily play in the yard for now. However, the stunning view of the Olympic Mountains this morning made me hunger for some mountain running...hopefully I will be blogging about a sweet run up Mt. Townsend within a week or so...(minus Dose, of course)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Today I only felt like running 3-4 miles or so. However, I also wanted to incorporate some Fartleks into my run through the woods. I think Fartlek (speed play with the emphasis on play) is the appropriate term for this kind of running; especially on the trails. I enjoyed flying through the woods with a reckless abandon. It felt great to revisit the increased stride turnover rate that has been missing from my running lately. I am hoping this will be a nice bridge into a bit of interval and speed training this summer. For the time being, I will be content with joyfully bounding through the trails like a carefree kid.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
The event will take place in the beautiful town of Poulsbo, WA, also know as "Little Norway" for its rich Norwegian heritage.
The marathon and half marathon will take place on October 17th, 2010. The race is still in the planning stages, but it is never to early to SAVE THE DATE!
Click here for more information: http://www.poulsbomarathon.embarqspace.com/
Sunday, June 6, 2010
We stayed at the historic Benson Hotel in the Pearl District. The Benson Hotel has been in operation since 1913 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The hotel is beautiful and the location is perfect. There are three restaurants within the hotel located conveniently on Broadway. The hotel is also within walking distance to one of my new favorite places to have a beer, the Deschutes Brewery. The staff of the Benson Hotel was very friendly and the concierge had great suggestions for our evening. I would highly recommend the Benson Hotel for the outstanding quality, location, and ambiance. Click here for a look at their beautiful guest rooms.
Much to our surprise the Portland Rose Festival was in full force during our weekend stay. We watched the annual Starlight Parade from our 10th floor window. Before the parade started 4000 people took part in a 5k race along the parade route. It looked more like a costume party than a race! Michelle and I looked enviously from our window, wishing we had known about this beforehand. The parade lasted until around midnight and we needed to be up by 5:30 to get ready for our races.
We woke up on Sunday morning to pouring rain...what happened to the sunshine?! Michelle took part in the Olympic Distance Triathlon (1500 meter swim, 40K Bike, 10K run), while I opted for the Olympic Distance Duathlon (5K run, 40K, Bike, 10K run). I was impressed and proud of Michelle...she is really becoming quite the swimmer. Her confidence in her swimming abilities is growing thanks to her unwavering perseverance and tenacity. She kicked butt in the swim and continued to do so in the bike and run. I really enjoyed the duathlon. I felt great in the first two legs of the event and hit the wall during the 10K run. All in all I was pleased with my effort, but looking forward to doing a few trail runs next week (more in my comfort zone). It didn't stop raining the entire 5 hours we were hanging out at Blue Lake Park, but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the participants.
Next event: Timber Town 10K Trail Race, Port Gamble, WA
Sunday, May 23, 2010
The Raptor is touted as an “aggressive, technical trail shoe” by La Sportiva. I didn’t know exactly what this meant until I took the shoes for a spin on one of my favorite trails near Port Gamble, WA. The shoes worked perfectly for the slick rock and muddy trails I encounter regularly on this trail. I was particularly impressed with the responsiveness of the shoe. Most of the trail shoes I have owned have had a little bit of “slop” in them. However, the Raptor really stayed tight even on the sharpest of muddy hairpin turns.
The Raptor also has impressive grip. The outsole of the Raptor is made out of something called Frixon XF. La Sportiva is known for climbing shoes and the Raptor’s outsole is just one category below what is used as an outsole for their climbers. This provides a ton of grip on wet, mossy rocks, and other slippery surfaces encountered on the trails of the Northwest.
I really hit a hard tempo run the other day on a seriously slick portion of single track. Trusting the Raptors I went barreling down the last section of technical trail at a rather reckless speed. I never lost my footing and will continue to use these shoes in wet conditions. For more information check out Lasportiva.com.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Quileute Oceanside Resort offers luxury cabins, regular cabins, the Whale/Thunderbird Motel, and an RV park. We stayed in one of the luxury cabins with a stunning view of the ocean. The luxury cabins have a small kitchen, Jacuzzi, and propane fireplace. They come in studio, one, and two bedroom units.
Upon arriving at the Quileute Oceanside Resort, the first thing I noticed was the powerful sound of waves crashing against the shore and the natural beauty surrounding the remote town of La Push. The exterior of the cabins themselves are simple, but the inside of the cabin was a wonderful surprise. The room was very clean with gorgeous views of the mighty Pacific Ocean.
The layouts of the cabins are situated to maximize the glorious views. The Jacuzzi tub in our cabin sat just above the cozy sitting area with a full picture window to admire the surroundings. The cabins are just a stone’s throw away from the ocean. Even with the doors and windows shut, the sounds of the waves were loud enough to provide a soothing lullaby when we crashed for the evening.
There are a myriad of trail running opportunities in La Push. We chose to take it relatively easy and ran the trails to Second and Third Beaches. Second Beach can be found by running or driving about a mile from the Quileute Oceanside Resort to the trailhead. Simply follow the trail approximately three-fourths of a mile down to the ocean. The beach and the views are simply stunning. You can run another two miles or so down the beach until you come to a headland. The headland blocks the way to Third Beach, so at that point you will just have to turn around and enjoy the views to the north and back to the trail! Third beach can be found just a bit further south of Second Beach. You will hit the beach after 1.2 miles of running through the forest. This too is an amazing beach; there are very little crowds year round due to the fact it is the furthest from the main road by foot. We had the beach to ourselves. It was an incredible reminder of how lucky we are in Western Washington to be so close to such beauty that can be admired in relative solitude.
We will definitely be visiting the Quileute Oceanside Resort again. Click here for more information about room rates, reservations, and general information about the Quileute Nation. You won’t be disappointed!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
This morning I rode a beautiful 17 mile loop. I started at our house and worked my way towards Suquamish, then Lemolo. The views of the mountains and the water were spectacular today. I also enjoyed the fact that there was very little traffic at 6:00 this morning. I finished the loop by heading up Big Valley Road and cutting over to Bond Road via Sawdust Hill. Sawdust Hill is steep, but worth the effort. The road works it's way up and around Christmas Tree farms and beautiful homes. Along the way I saw llamas, horses, ducks, a few random squirrels, and rhododendrons in bloom. I will enjoy the route again; this I am sure.
After the bike ride I completed the "brick" workout by running 3 miles. The best part of the run was stopping and playing with the rambunctious neighborhood golden retriever. It was nice not thinking about splits, time, or pace. I was just enjoying the sights, smell of freshly cut grass, and sounds of a yipping Yorkshire Terrier chasing me back up the hill. Okay, I didn't enjoy that, but you get the picture. Riding and running early this morning made me rethink the time of day I workout. I will be trying the a.m. for a change this week....
Life is GOOD!
Check out this clip from The Temper Trap. A great band that I have been listening to often as of late...
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This weekend I plan on running the Viking Fest Road Race. If you have never done this race, you need to come check it out. The course is five miles and the scenery is beautiful. The race has been around for over 40 years! Poulsbo's Viking Fest is a celebration of Norway's Constitution Day of May 17th (in Norwegian -"Syttende mai"), it is also referred to as Norway's national holiday. I have great memories of first running this race as a junior high student 27 years ago. It will be fun now that all 3 of my own kids will be running as well...
Enjoy the sunshine! Run on....
Saturday, May 8, 2010
My Dad passed peacefully surrounded by family. He was a wonderful man who taught me how to work hard, play hard, set goals, have high expectations, treat people well, and enjoy life. He was an inspiration. I will miss him immensely. However, this morning during a cycling workout I smiled when I thought about him rather than feeling like crying. I know he was with me on my ride today and he will continue to be with me in spirit.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
The Dosewallips River Trail is located in the Olympic National Park. It is one of many trails in a mountain system filled with trail running possibilities. The downside of the Dosewallips River Trail is that the road is washed out 5.5 miles from the Dose Ranger Station. We parked about 6 miles from the ranger station and ran along the forest service road the first part of our run.
The run to the ranger station is beautiful with many reminders of the stark ruggedness of the Olympic National Forest. At one point we ran through the remnants of the Lake Constance fire that was started by a lightning strike last July. As we neared the ranger station we started to run through a bit of snow, this was a harbinger of things to come.
Once we hit the main trailhead, we stayed on the main fork toward Gray Wolf Pass. We ran as far as we could until the snow was so deep that we couldn't call it trail running anymore. At that point we turned around, ran back to the fork, and checked out the west fork trail.
All in all we were on our feet about 4.5 hours or so. This was our last long run before the 50 mile trail race we are running together a week from now. I am fortunate I am running with Jens, as he has many ultra type endurance events under his belt.
CHECK OUT THIS MAP: Olympic Mountain Trail Map This will give you a great overview of the trails in Olympic National Park. I plan on checking them off one by one!
How to get to Dosewallips River Trail: Take Highway 101 South to Brinnon, WA. Take a right at milepost 306 and follow the road.
PICTURES POSTED ASAP...
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Our home is situated at about 500 ft. with a beautiful view of the Olympic Mountains. The run down to the main road is about a mile with the first half mile down a steep hill. Once I hit the main road this morning, I headed back up another mile long hill before I turned around for home.So basically, I ran a mile down, then a mile up, then a mile down, then a mile back up. I focussed on a healthy leg turnover rate and a steady pace. I have to admit, it felt good to mix it up today. It was a great reminder of the need to keep things varied in training.
One thing was apparent today on the road. The gait pattern of road running is certainly different than the trails. I usually run trails that have lots of twists and turns. I am used to subtly shifting my weight and changing directions. This engages different muscles in my core, legs, and feet. Road running engages the larger, primary muscles. While I believe a balanced approach to training is good, I am still a big believer that trail running will be healthier for my body and spirit in the long run.
Looking forward to a mountain run tomorrow with my friend Jens. We plan on hitting 20 miles or so in the Olympic Mountains. Back to the trails!
View of Olympic Mountains from our driveway:
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
White Tank Mountain Regional Park as described by the Maricopa County Parks Department: Nearly 30,000 acres makes this the largest regional park in Maricopa County. Most of the park is made up of the rugged and beautiful White Tank Mountains on the Valleys west side. The range, deeply serrated with ridges and canyons, rises sharply from its base to peak at over 4,000 feet. Infrequent heavy rains cause flash floodwaters to plunge through the canyons and pour onto the plain. These torrential flows, pouring down chutes and dropping off ledges, have scoured out a series of depressions, or tanks, in the white granite rock below, thus giving the mountains their name.
The first day at the park I ran on the Sonoran Loop Competitive Track. While my wife was out cycling, my sister-in-law Susan and I headed for the trails. The loop was mostly flat with a steep rise after about three miles. At that point there is a climb up and around a ridge and a drop into a small canyon. After climbing out of the canyon it is easy sailing back to the trail head. The run was approximately 7 miles with gorgeous spring desert views. It was a certainly a unique feeling running near cactus instead of towering pine, hemlock, fir and cedar trees. I think I could get used to running in the desert. However, I was thankful the temperatures were on the cool side for Arizona. It was fun catching up with Susan for sure. We were lost in conversation so the ride back to Sun City West took an extra 30 minutes due to the fact I missed the turn not once, but twice.
Day 2 Michelle and I ran down into Ford Canyon, which is also part of White Tank Mountain Regional Park. The run was approximately 9 miles. This trail has more elevation gain and loss than the Sonoran Loop. The path is really well developed and easier at the beginning, but becomes quite a scramble once you actually get into the canyon area. The canyon itself is filled with boulders, sand, and pools of water. At about three miles there is an old stone masonry dam, well worth the run just checking that out. The trail gets a bit murky as far as where to go at that point, but we just kept following the footprints and signs when we could. At one point we almost climbed down a treacherous segment thinking it was the trail. Thankfully I worked my way back up and found a more established path. We would probably still be working our way out of there had we not switched back! There are some spectacular views of the Phoenix Valley, the Superstition Mountains, and Four Peaks Mountain at several points on the trail.
If you are ever in the Phoenix area, I would highly recommend this park for some sweet desert trail running!
How to get to White Tank Mountains Regional Park: From central Phoenix, take I -10 west 18 miles to Hwy 303. North on Hwy 303 to Olive. West 4 miles on Olive to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park entrance.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Due to a lingering cold, the snot-rockets were flying on Saturday. I ran the Port Gamble Trails for 2.5 hours and around 15 miles. I am constantly finding single track that is not listed on the map. The single-track is one of the reasons I am so fond of running this area. There is always a surprise around the corner. Make sure you bring the map I referenced in the above link if you plan on running the trails for the first time. I still use a map after running the area for over a year!
I used Drymax Trail Running Socks for the first time Saturday. I must admit, I haven't given socks much thought before now. I do know that I usually get a few blisters if I run more than 8-9 miles on the trails at a time. Well, I was blister free after my run on Saturday! Not only that, I was really impressed with how comfortable the socks were...I hated to take them off after my run. I plan on wearing a pair of Drymax in a 50 mile trail race in April as well. That will be the true test.
I was planning on doing a long run this morning, but the knee pain that has been plaguing me for the last few weeks finally slowed me down. I plan on doing lots of icing over the next few days. I will try again on Wednesday.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
If you take the Wildcat Trail from the parking area all the way to the summit and back, you will have run a solid 9.5 miles. The summit is approximately 1600 feet. The climb is gradual, but still a bit of a quad burner toward the top. This run is incredible on a clear day. Beautiful views of Seattle, Mt. Baker, and the majestic Olympic Mountain range. Plan on doing the run early though. Off road vehicles are allowed on the trail unfortunately.
I ran the route early on Saturday and Sunday and only ran into a couple of mountain bikers. At one point in the run this morning, I heard some crashing through the woods to the east. I stopped, listened and couldn't hear anything. Right when I began running again, a deer jumped out onto the trail. I am quite sure we both screamed. Other than that, the run was uneventful.
After about an hour today I tried something other than Cliff Shots. I tried Peanut M & M's. I must admit they really hit the spot. I will try these on my 20 mile trail run on Tuesday.
I am starting to get really nervous for the 50 mile trail race I am doing in April! I need to get a long run in of around 30 miles or so before then. I am hoping to find a trail race of about that length within the next few weeks....
I am not feeling so motivated to blog right now. Off to research trail races!
Sunday, March 7, 2010
I awoke this morning with a slightly sore right knee from my run yesterday on the Duckabush River Trail. I threw caution to the wind and decided to run up Mt. Walker for the first time. Mt. Walker is 2800 feet at the summit and it is densely covered with beautiful 100 year old Douglas Firs. Click here for more information from the Washington Trails Association about Mt. Walker, directions, etc.
My goal this morning was to run the entire 2 miles up the mountain. I knew it would be a great fitness test and I haven't run up something this steep since Blanchard Mountain during our time in Burlington, WA.
I knew that I was in for a tough run when after the first 500 feet of climbing, I could hear my heart pounding in my head. You many not know what I am talking about, if not, try mountain running. I guarantee you will experience this sensation. I decided to push forward, knowing that in theory this would make me stronger. After the next 500 feet of climbing, my eyes were slits, and my breathing was labored. Only 1000 feet of climbing to go! I spent the last 1000 feet with my head down and my eyes half closed. I was thankful when I finally hit the top in around 43 minutes. I took in the view and ran another half mile to the South Viewpoint.
The view is phenomenal from the top. I experienced panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound, the Hood Canal, and Seattle. On a clear day you can see the majestic Mt. Rainer from the South Viewpoint.
The way down is a QUAD BURNER! I had a blast flying the 2 miles back to the car in around 19 minutes or so. Now that I have a baseline, I will be back in a few weeks to test my fitness level again. I plan on running it in 38 minutes next time...we shall see!
View of Mt. Constance from the summit of Mt. Walker:
Saturday, March 6, 2010
I woke up this morning at 5:00 ready to make the drive across the Hood Canal Bridge and South to the tiny town of Brinnon. Little did I know that what should have been a 70 minute drive to the Duckabush Rive Trail would turn into a 2.5 hour drive!I became a little turned around because the directions I brought with me were lacking in the information department. Check out the directions at the bottom of this post. These will help you find your way in record time.
I was happy that my wife Michelle decided to run with me on this gloriously sunny March day. She is always up for any kind of adventure I suggest. I enjoy the woods even better when I have someone like Michelle with me who really appreciates nature's wonders as I do. Not to mention when I was struggling running up the switchbacks, it was nice chasing a beautiful woman up the trail!
I highly recommend running the Duckabush River Trail. The first mile or so climbs gently past the Brothers Wilderness boundary. Then it makes it way down to the roaring Duckabush River. After a short stretch along the river, we made our way towards Big Hump. The high point of Big Hump is at about 1700 feet. This is the steepest part of the run. Beyond Big Hump we followed the meandering trail through pristine virgin forest. This section of the trail is gently rolling and it gradually makes its way down to 5-mile campground. 5-mile campground sits along the impressive rapids of the Duckabush. We snapped some photos and decided it was time to start our reverse run back to Big Hump and down to the trail head. (Special note for motivated mountain runners: You can continue past 5-mile campground for 17 more miles all the way to O'Neil Pass, elevation 4950 feet.)
The picture below is of Michelle and I at the top of Big Hump.
I am looking forward to another 10 miles or so tomorrow. It will be tough to top today for sure.
Getting there -- On U.S. Route 101, about 15 miles south of Quilcene or 37 miles north of Shelton, turn at milepost 310 onto Duckabush River Road (Road 2510), signed Duckabush Recreation Area. Continue 6 miles (the first 3.5 miles are paved). Pass Collins Campground at 5 miles, pass a horse unloading area and then turn right on Road 2510-060 (This is a small sign on your right) to the trailhead and facilities, elevation about 440 feet.
Random pictures from Duckabush River Trail...this is why I love trail running!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Checked out a new place after work yesterday. It is called North Kitsap Heritage Park in Poulsbo, WA. The main entrance to the North Kitsap Heritage Park is located on the east side of Miller Bay Road about a mile north of Indianola Road. A kiosk with information including a map has been added at the entrance, and the network of trails has been marked and color-coded.
Make sure you grab a map at the entrance. If you follow the "yellow" trail all the way to the end you will have run about 6 miles out and back. If you add the "white" trail onto the yellow, then you will add another mile to your run. The "white" trail goes out the White Horse Golf Course. This is a beautiful neighborhood that is worth running through, even if it means hitting some pavement!
The trail is very well maintained. Expect mud in places and wear some trail shoes. I made the mistake of wearing my road shoes and was slipping all over the place. One problem I had was that I noticed I was wearing a Gel Kayano on my left foot and a Nike Pegasus on my right foot! They all look the same when muddy. I am stoked to give my new Brooks Cascadia 5's a try today at some point!
I am realizing with all of my trail running that I need to become an amateur tracker. Some of the strange animal tracks I see on a regular basis are beginning to make me paranoid! Although, if I find out the tracks are bear tracks, I will be even more freaked out...so better off not knowing...seeing the bear scat is enough.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
How many of you have ever followed a training plan that included intervals, tempo runs, or speed work of any kind? Most runners have and most end up doing track work. I don't have anything against track workouts, it's just that I don't have any interest in doing them anymore. I would rather continue to hit the trails. A wise man (or woman) once said, "Hills are just speedwork in disguise." Most of the trails around here have plenty of hills, so I should get plenty of "speedwork".
This morning I hit the Port Gamble Trail System again. I ran 5 miles or so looking for a nice single track loop to do some future mile repeats. I found a sweet loop of approximately 1.25 miles or so. The loop included beautiful rolling single track interspersed with a stretch of logging road. For those of you who live locally, start at Gate 3 and hit the single track between G-2100 and G-1800. If you are interested in repeat loops of any distance, you will have a blast. The photos on this post all come from the mile loop, the view is quite a bit better than what you will see at the track.
This evening I plan on exploring another section of single track up near G-1700 and G-1800. The single track isn't listed on the map, but I will try to describe it well enough for the locals to check it out! Click here for map of the area.
Looking for an article regarding a workout trilogy for a hectic schedule? Click here for a good article from Trail Runner Magazine.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
My legs were a bit tired because our family snowboarded/skiied somewhere around 15,000 vertical feet yesterday up at Stevens Pass. Blue skys, short lift lines, and GOOD TIMES! However, as I semi-hobbled down the stairs, I knew I better get some coffee and head out the door if I wanted to get my long run in before noon. You can see why I wanted to get outside this morning...Check out the shot of the Brothers peak up in the Olympic Mountains from our window below. The Brothers are a double peak that sit at about 6500 feet. Looking forward to climbing Brothers with my brother this summer. More on that in a later post...
This morning as I was getting ready I remembered a package that was sent to me by Clif Bar and Company. I brought the Clif Shot Cran-Razz Electrolyte drink on my run, to give it a try. I was hoping to find a not-to-sweet electrolyte replacement drink before my 50-miler in April. I think I may have found what I was looking for. More often than not I think an electrolyte drink is either too sweet or too bland. This one was just right...I didn't even have any gastrointestinal distress after drinking, as is usual the case with sports drinks for me...too much information? I also like the fact that it is made from more than 90% organic ingredients.
The trail run this morning was sublime. 15 miles of cruising through the mud, grass, dirt, and rocks that make up the Port Gamble Trail system. I planned on running from 12 to 15 miles. I ran on the high end of my plan due to the fact that I became temporarily disoriented on the trails this morning. I regretted not bringing my trail map, but all in all I was happy because it forced me to run further than I felt like today.
Somewhere around mile 7 I turned off my music and enjoyed the sounds of the morning. Normally my ragged breathing becomes somewhat of an annoyance, but it invigorated me this morning. It reminded me of the fact that each day I hit the trails I get stronger both mentally and physically. I also felt an immense sense of connectedness with nature as I listened to the soft sounds each foot strike made upon impact with the pine needles and fallen leaves. As I see people running the roads around here, I cannot believe they aren't taking the opportunity to run the trails.
If you are a fan of Bob Marley, you probably love the song, "Redemption Song". There is a great line that starts like this: "Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind...". For me, running the trails helps free myself from all of the mental chatter I tend to experience on a regular basis. When trail running alone, most of the time my mind is quiet and my body is feeling that sense of connection to nature. I am sure Bob Marley wasn't talking about trail running, but the song speaks to me nonetheless!
Well, getting ready to take advantage of the sunshine. We are thinking about hiking up Mt. Walker or Green Mountain as a family this afternoon. Next week I hope to hit my first 20 miler in a long time.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
The good people from Poulsbo Running put on a great run Sunday, February 14th. This race was the fourth edition. One of the best parts about the race is that it is FREE! All participants had to do was bring a canned food donation for North Kitsap Fishline. Fishline is a local foodbank that provides confidential help for those in need in the community.
I ran the 25K after having not run more than 6 miles at a time since October. The course was rolling and consisted of both single track and logging road. Those runners looking for an added challenge did the 25K loop twice. The race started at Gate 4 off of Stottlemeyer Road in the Port Gamble Trail System (Pope Resources Land).
I have to say I really enjoy the vibe at trail races vs. road and track races. Not to say that people aren't cool at all races its just that trail runners have such a relaxed attitude. How many times have you seen someone pulling over for a bathroom break on the track or roads...not very often. The trails are a totally different story. Not that I wish to focus on that aspect of trail running here...maybe another time.
Last year the Fishline trail race was very interesting in that some of the course was covered in 5-6 inches of snow. This year there was mud and lots of it. The course is absolutely beautiful with miles of pristine single track. By pristine, I mean lots of mud, roller coasters, and uneven terrain. Simply awesome...
I decided to take it easy the first 5-7 miles or so. I was thinking if I relaxed the first part of the run, I could pass people at the end. This is much more motivating than getting passed by others. At about mile 3 or 4 I met a really interesting guy who has started 12 different 100-mile races and finished 8 of them! We were chatting and all of a sudden he told me he was going to pull an "ultra" move. By that he meant he was going to conserve some energy up a steep incline and walk. I turned around and realized his "ultra walk" was just as fast as my run. Anyhow, he was running the entire 50K and I am sure he did well.
I was feeling a bit tired through some single track around mile 6. All of sudden the Smashing Pumpkins came blaring through my IPOD. The song was "rat in a cage". I don't know about you, but sometimes life can make one feel like a rat in a cage. Back-to-back meetings and pushing paper in the office can give one that feeling. However,out in the woods, it is impossbile to feel this way. This inspired me to pick up the pace. I was not going to be a stinking rat in a cage! I was tranformed into a deer nimbly making my way through the forest. What a rush...
About a mile and a half later after a steep climb Ray Lamontagne and the song "Trouble" began speaking to me through the IPOD. I realized my little speed burst may have gotten me into some trouble. Legs were heavy, breathing labored, Ray Lamontagne crooning that he had been "saved by a woman". Could it be? Could I too be saved by a woman at this point? I had visions of trail fairies flying through the trees to provide some assistance...it didn't happen.
Thankfully the race was really well marked with flour and pink ribbons on the trees. The volunteers did an excellent job for sure. However, at around mile 9 I came to a point where you could either go straight, right, or left. I looked right, looked left and didn't know which way to go. To my relief a guy came running up behind me and I asked him which way to run. He must of been a volunteer for the race because he said, "We really should have marked this better". He pointed straight ahead. This guy was really being kind because I didn't think to look straight ahead. In the trees there were two bright pink ribbons marking the way. Like I said, trail runners are laid back!
Somewhere around mile 10 or so the course weaves into more winding single track. To me, this is the best that trail running has to offer. I began flying through the trees and began running with a reckless abandon, as tree branches began brushing my face. Right about then, Matisyahu was singing a song that had lyrics about "water for the soul". I think he must of been singing about the trails, because my thirsty soul was getting hydrated by the single track.
At around mile 11, I was feeling good! I saw a pack of 5-6 runners up ahead of me. Within about half a mile or so I passed the group and we exchanged pleasantries. (Did I mention trail runners are fairly laid back?)My plan was working out... start slower, finish stronger! I felt great at this point and started to really cruise. I was actually shocked because I really hadn't run this far for months.
At mile 13 I as visited by my old nemesis, "lactic acid" and his henchman the "blister brothers". All of a sudden I was doing the ultra shuffle and I was only running 25K. At mile 14 I was passed by a pack of 5-6 runners...so much for my plan. I finished fairly strong and was happy with my overall effort.
Chris Hammett from Poulsbo Running was at the finish congratulating runners. I am so impressed with Chris and his wife Brooke. They clearly have a passion for running and share it with all. I cannot imagine all of the hours they put into making trail running a more prominent activity in Poulsbo. Thanks Chris and Brooke!
Well, only 2 and a half months until I run my first 50 mile trail race...what was I thinking? I am looking forward to getting more "water for my soul". I can't wait!
Friday, February 12, 2010
Today I ran one of my favorite loops in the Port Gamble Trails. Click here for a map of the trails. This run starts at Gate 4 (G-2100). Head up the logging road a ways until you come to a single-track trail on the right. Follow the trail until you hit a fork and take the right fork. This will put you on G-1810. Follow G-1810 all the way until it intersects with G-1800. I don't believe there is a sign here, just take a right down the hill. The logging road continues down hill a ways until it interesects with G-2000. Take a left on 2000...let the climbing begin! The road winds uphill about a half-mile or so. Follow G-2000 all the way until you get near Gate 2. Take a left on G-1000 and follow that until you hit G-1910. Take a left at G-1910. You will basically follow G-1910 all the way until it turns into G-1900. This is really a nice climb. I would guess you climb a steady incline of around a mile or so. Once you get to G-1900 you will come to a single track trail on your left. Follow the trail all the way until it ends at G-1800. There is a point on the trail where you can take a right or left...either way will get you to G-1800. Once you hit G-1800, take a left. Follow 1800 for about quarter mile or so and you will see another line of single track to your right. Follow the single track all the way until you come to G-2100...take a left and cruise down the hill about a half-mile to your car!
This is actually a really excellent run. I like it because it is rolling and mixes single track with logging roads. The above directions may seem confusing, however, if you just print the map from this link, you will find the directions fairly uncomplicated!
Sunday morning I plan on running the Fishline 25K put on by Poulsbo Running. The race starts at Gate 4 and will be an excellent training run as I continue to get ready for the Capital Peaks Ultra 50 mile trail race. Should be a blast!
Monday, February 8, 2010
I knew I would enjoy eating ribs, drumsticks, and nachos on Super Bowl Sunday more if I went for trail run first. So, I called my brother and asked him to join me for a run up Green Mountain. Green Mountain is in Bremerton, WA, located near Wildcat Lake. Click here for a map of the mountain.
My brother, nephew, and I started the run at the Gold Creek parking area. We followed the Gold Creek trail all the way up to the Green Mountain Summit which is at about 1800 feet or so. The signs were clearly marked on the way up to the top (about 2.5 miles from the trailhead) and we enjoyed a stunning view of the fog. We will be back on a sunny day for sure...I know the view is awesome at the top on a clear day. From the top you can see a sweeping panorama of Puget sound, the Seattle skyline, plus Hood Canal, and views of the Olympic Mountains.
We took the Plummer trail (refer to map again here) on the way down to make it a loop of around 5.5 miles total.
The trail is single track for most of the way with plenty of room to run on either side of the path. We flew down Plummer trail on the way down and let gravity do all of the work. This was my nephews first trail run. I think he will be hooked for life!
On a side note, my brother was using a new Garmin GPS system. We had some moments of hilarity comparing my map with his GPS. I have to admit, the GPS actually helped us find our way back at one point. Without it a 6 mile run could have turned into a 10 mile run easy! (Which might have been good, as I am behind on my training for a 50 mile race in April)
On the way home my nephew Ryan mentioned how much he enjoyed the run. He talked about how positive and happy running made him feel. I am glad he has learned this lesson at such an early age. I am not surprised the trails inspired this kind of feeling!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Port Gamble, WA is most definintely what I would consider a "running destination. Not only is it a really cool place to visit, it is also bordered by a trail runner's paradise - 4000 acres of logging roads and single track trails! Click here for a map of the area.
There are many trails to check out. I will periodically post information about the trails and logging roads as I run them! Today I was tired, so I will post some information about a 4 mile jaunt through the woods! Refer to the map above for more specific information.
The run starts at Gate 7. Gate 7 is situated just past the coffee stand on the way out of town. Take a left across from the baseball fields. There is parking available right in front of the trailhead. This four mile run begins at the sign labeled "Port Gamble Trail".
Basically all you will be doing is following the logging road (G-1100) about a mile until you get to the first fork. At that point you hang a right at the sign that looks as if it has been chewed by a bear. (G-1000) Follow G-1000 all the way to the point where you can either take a left at G-1200 or contiue right on G-1000. If you turn around and run back, you will have run approximately 4 miles. The entire route is on logging road with a fairly steady incline in places. The way back is definitely easier!
As you can see, the road is wide with plenty of light for the most part. In a few days, I will add a lollipop loop to this run that will make it about 7.5 miles. This is the same route that Poulsbo Running Store uses for their Spooky 12K race each October. More to come....enjoy the trails!
PS I would encourage you to make a loop through town for a cool down of about a 3/4 mile or so. It is worth it!
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Well, still recovering from sinus surgery...I am staring out my window at the Olympic Mountain Range and see Mt Townsend beckoning. I cannot wait to get my trail shoes on and run to the top!
My wife and three kids hiked up last summer and my brother Steve and I ran/hiked to the top last September. It was just a few days after our brother Gary passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Steve and I most definitely felt Gary's presence as the wind whipped around the summit. It was a joyous, sad, and incredible experience. I hope to do many more trail runs with Steve over the years! We will always reflect on our time with our brother Gary on this earth.
The route we took was probably only 7 miles round trip with a 2300 foot elevation gain. I believe the top is at about 6300 feet or so. The views are absolutely incredible. You can see all of Puget Sound and gaze out at the Seattle skyline. You can also see Mt Rainer, Mt Baker and other snowy Cascadian peaks. To the north lie the Dungeness Spit, Discovery Bay, the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island. I would highly recommend this run!
Monday, January 18, 2010
I have sat and sat and sat....during this time I have thought much about goals for the year with fitness. Here we go:
- Do a 50-mile trail race in April http://www.capitolpeakultras.com/CP50mile.htm
- Do an Olympic Distance Triathlon in June
- Do the Seattle to Portland Bike Ride in July
- Run the New York City marathon in November
Now that it is written...it looks a bit scary....but I need to celebrate my life as a 40 year old in style!
The craziest part is probably the 50 mile race in April. This is not too far off and I haven't run past 10 miles in over a year. However, I am going to jump in anyway and do it with my friend Jens who recently did the Honolulu Marathon and JFK 50 mile! It will be a struggle, but it will force me to get out in the woods and run more, which is meditative and healthy for me. It think what put me over the top in the last week was reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and also reading trail running blogs by Scott Dunlap, Scott Jurek, Anton Krupicka, and Greg Crowther. Those guys are motivating!
Bummed out that the Dr. told me that I couldn't exercise for another week or so. No snowboarding or running next weekend!
More to come!