Friday, December 30, 2011

Chuckanut 50K Trail Race

Yesterday I was running some trails and decided to take the plunge and sign up for the Chuckanut 50K Trail Race in March. Although I have only run sporadically since running the Eugene Marathon last May, I am hoping I have just enough stored fitness to not kill myself on the steep inclines of Chuckanut Mountain. The race sells out within 2 hours and registration begins on January 8th. Check out the site for more information.

Over the next week, I am hoping to track at least 4000 feet of elevation gain on my new/used Garmin 405 cx. I am hoping that means a run up Mt. Walker, which gains 2000 feet in 2 miles. YEE_HA!!!!. My dog, Dose is staring at me as I type. I think that means this post is over...time for a run.  Below, she is pictured waiting for me on our run yesterday.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blogging Again

Well, I took some time off from blogging. However, that doesn't mean I stopped trail running. Still been running, but haven't been racing much at all. Just enjoying the woods with my dog and my newest running partner, my 14 year old daughter!

My daughter, Mikhaela, had a very successful freshman cross-country season. This was her first foray back into athletics after spinal fusion surgery last March. I couldn't have been prouder of her as she continued to build her strength all season. She started the year on junior varsity and finished the year as the only freshman on varsity. At the state meet she was the fourth finisher for her team. Her team finished 8th overall in the state.

Looking forward to writing about some of our running exploits in the future. I am glad she prefers running the trails, as I do! Will spend some time looking for a race to hit in January together.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0 - Port Gamble Trails

A few weeks ago my brother and I  did our last run longer than an hour before the Eugene Marathon. We decided to hit the trails in the Port Gamble Trail System. This is my favorite place to run and is only 10 minutes from my house. It was one of those rare days where we both felt awesome and totally prepared for Eugene. We ran 8 effortless miles or so which included dense forest, clearcut areas, mountain views, and single track switchbacks. The time went faster than usual and we both wanted to continue the run...but knew we had better save ourselves for the upcoming marathon.

I was looking forward to putting on my new "mountain running" shoes the La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0. I have to tell you, I wasn't so sure about the shoes as I first slipped them on. They felt really minimal and I am used to heavier shoes for mud, dirt, snow, rocks, etc. It was a comparable feeling to putting on road racing flats for the first time after wearing trainers. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, as the name is "Crosslite" after all.  You can check out a photo of the shoes at the La Sportiva website link above. (I will add some photos later, the blog is rejecting photos at the moment)

I knew I liked the shoes from the moment we started running on the rocky trail. The first set of single track had the potential for dirt, debris, and mud getting into the shoe, but the shoe uses a flexible fabric that covers up to the top two lacing holes. There is no way anything was getting in and it is made of mesh to allow for breathability. The best part of the shoe is that they are fairly narrow. Most of my trail shoes are boxy which allow for side to side movement. These shoes are truly form fitting and as close to "minimalist" shoes as I have ever worn. The responsive was excellent as I hit tight corners and made cuts around trees, etc.

Like some of the other La Sportiva Mountain Running shoes, the Crosslite has the "impact braking system". This technology absorbs impact, helps during traction, and hold while braking. In other words, flying down dirty, dusty, single track you can be assured that your feet won't rip out of your shoes if you have to stop suddenly for a bear. Also, it means for a lightweight shoe, you will have a comfortable ride! All in all, I was pleasantly surprised and haven't run on the trails without them since they arrived. I am looking forward to trying them in the ice and snow of the Olympic Mountains soon. My understanding is that they are almost as good as Yaktrax without having to strap anything on...I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Eugene Marathon

About a week and a half ago I ran the Eugene Marathon. Now I sit here typing away with sore knees and a nasty chest cold. I am guessing I would have neither had I not run the race. Was it worth it?! Absolutely! I highly recommend running this pancake flat race in Track Town USA. The scenery was gorgeous, the course is well supported, and the spectators are awesome. They even opened up some of the buildings on the University of Oregon campus for runners to stay warm before the 7:00 a.m. start.

My brother and I were both attempting to break 3:20 and qualify for the Boston Marathon under the last year of the current qualifying standards (check the new standards out here). Leading up to the race we did most of our long runs together (which was very cool to connect and hang with my bro) and followed the FIRST plan. This three quality days a week training plan is perfect for a hectic schedule. Basically it entails one track workout, one tempo workout, and a long run. The idea is to cross train on the off days, but I rarely got much of that in. However, I still ran a personal best in my fifth marathon.

My brother was meticulous in his planning and came prepared with a tape laminated card showing what splits he wanted to run for each mile. He planned on being able to slow down by about five minutes in the second half of the race and still make his goal time. Once the race started, it was clear to me immediately that he was going to start out much faster than I planned. At that point, I decided to run my own pace. As I have experienced in other marathons, all was well until about mile 21. I ran a few slow miles and didn't pick it back up until mile 25. I ended up with a decent final 1.2 miles and ran 3:23 and change. My brother ran a perfect race and ran 3:19! He will be going to Boston without me...however, I still plan on qualifying at some point in the near future.

On a side note, a buddy of ours left Seattle at midnight and met us at the starting line in Eugene just before the start of the race. He also ran Boston 2 weeks earlier. He finished with a PR by 6 minutes and finished in 3:15. Hmmmmmm. I better talk to him about his training plan....obviously he did something right and I am quite sure it wasn't driving all night, drinking mountain dew, and going ninety miles per hour down I-5.

After the race we enjoyed the post-race atmosphere at Hayward Field for a while and then headed north to Portland for the night. We stayed at the Hotel Lucia within easy walking distance of four breweries and the Pearl District. We lucked out with sunshine...and the local (well-deserved) beer was incredible. The hotel was definitely impressive. It had a modern, comfortable feel with friendly staff. One of the best parts of the stay was enjoying many of the 680 David Kennerly photographs on display throughout the hotel. David Kennerly is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer and Portland, Oregon native. Apparently, Kennerly served as personal photographer to President Gerald R. Ford and his work has appeared in LIFE, TIME, GEORGE and NEWSWEEK magazines. Judging from the people he photographed, he hung out with some amazing people! My brother and I plan on surprising our wives with a trip to Portland soon. The vibe in Portland is fantastic and we will be staying at the Hotel Lucia again.

I have run once since the marathon and hope to get a few miles in this weekend. Trails, trails, and more trails until the legs start feeling better...looking forward to it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Green Mountain, Beaver Pond

My brother Steve and I ran up at Green Mountain today. Click here for a map of the area. Green Mountain is a "working forest". The good news is that the area is surrounded by over 6000 acres of state forest. It is a trail runners paradise pacific northwest style. Even though motorized vehicles are allowed on the trails, I haven't seen or heard motorcycles on the trails for a few years. Maybe I am just lucky.

Usually we stay on Wildcat Trail, but this time we took a turn on Beaver Pond Trail. Good choice for sure. We didn't see a soul and enjoyed the bridges over small creeks, beaver ponds, and the solitude and peace one can find in the woods. Dose my German Shorthaired Pointer was with us and we only saw her when she ran back to "check" on us....always wondering why we couldn't stay up with her.

While we didn't go on a sunny day, check out the view one can have from the top of Green Mountain, East to Seattle.

Today was awesome. All told we ran for 3 hours in preparation for the Eugene Marathon in 3 weeks. Hopefully we will be enjoying the fruits of our labor today!

Going north on Hwy 3, past Bremerton and before Silverdale, take the Newberry Hill Road (Silverdale) exit and turn left/west. Follow Newberry Hill road for about 3 miles then turn left onto Seabeck Hwy. Follow Seabeck Hwy for about 2 miles and turn right onto Holly Road. Follow Holly about 2 miles to the Wildcat Lake trailhead. There is a green sign 500 ft from the double entrance.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I am at the hospital with my wife and daughter as she recovers from spinal fusion surgery to correct severe scoliosis. She will be here for approximately five days and will be out of commission for many weeks/months. Contact sports such as soccer are out of the question for a year. It is times like these that remind me to enjoy the simple things in life. It is silly that it takes something like this to find that perspective.

While my daughter loves soccer, she found much confidence during her first season of track last spring. She ran the 1600 meters and was bound and determined to break 6 minutes by the end of her 8th grade year. She pulled it off during her last meet with an inspiring last 200 meters in the league championships. The pain etched in her face told met that she found out how to run through the pain when the going got tough.

As I look at her now recovering, I know that her short time as a distance runner will help her recovery period. Distance runners constantly push the limits and learn how to push through rough patches. I am glad she has proven to herself that she can withstand pain and on the other side of pain is comfort.

I am looking forward to taking a run with her this spring/summer as she recovers and I will be sure to enjoy the simple things.