Sunday, March 21, 2010

Port Gamble Snot Rockets

After years of outdoor sports activities, I still haven't perfected the snot-rocket (called a "farmer's snort" in the mid-west). Inevitably, I end up with snot on my face. Ideally, a good rocket will send a snot projectile 3 feet or so. How do I know this? My wife Michelle, in all her grace and beauty, has perfected this essential trail-running task. Click here for excellent snot-rocket instructions.

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

Green Mountain, Via Wildcat Lake Trailhead

I decided to run the same trail on both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. I ran Green Mountain in Bremerton, WA. Click here for a map of the area.

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

Mt. Walker - 2000 Vertical Ft in 2 miles

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

Duckabush River Trail

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

North Kitsap Heritage Park

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 better off not knowing...seeing the bear scat is enough.