Sunday, May 23, 2010

La Sportiva Raptor Review

I became interested in the La Sportiva running shoe company after happening upon their mountain running website. It is a very informative website filled with information about all things mountain running. After following their website for a few months, I decided to give a pair of their shoes a try. I have been doing all of my trail runs the last few weeks in the La Sportiva Raptor.

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

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Quileute Oceanside Resort – A Trail Running Destination

My wife Michelle and I just got back from a night at the Quileute Oceanside Resort. If you enjoy the ocean, beaches, trails, and tranquil surroundings, you will love this resort. Whether you are interested in a romantic getaway or a family vacation, there is something for everyone at this hidden gem located in La Push, WA, within the Quileute Nation. The resort sits on First Beach on a rugged and beautiful stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

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

Vikings and Bricks

Yesterday was the local Viking Fest 5-mile road race. I enjoyed the atmosphere, people, and weather; however, the race itself left something to be desired from my perspective. I am the type of person who generally sets goals the week before a race without taking past training into consideration. This is the perfect recipe for a letdown. I ran the race in 34:05 and felt like a slug stuck in mud. In retrospect, it is actually a decent time given my recent training....onward and upward!

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

Blue Lake Duathlon/Viking Fest Road Race

I am looking forward to doing the Blue Lake Olympic Distance Duathlon on June 6th. When I decided to do this event, I thought it would be relatively easy. I mean, c'mon...I was comfortably running 15-20 mile trail runs in the mountains. (Okay, not comfortably, but still...not necessarily 15 miles, but still...) The Olympic Distance Duathlon consists of a 5K run (3.1 miles), a 40K bike (24.8 miles), and 10K run (6.2 miles). Last night I rode my bike 12 miles then ran 2 miles. My legs felt a bit like jello. No problem, I still have 3 weeks to get my legs used to a change of pace. Thankfully, I am an eternal optimist.

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

Back in the Saddle

It has been a while since I posted anything on my blog. My Dad passed away after a tough battle with asbestosis two weeks ago. It happened to be the night before I was to run a 50 mile trail race I had been training and planning for since January. With my Dad hospitalized the last few days before his passing, the race was the furthest thing from my mind. Needless to say, I did not end up running the race.

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.