Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trampoline Workout!

Here are some fun pictures that I took with a self timer; it is pretty much hit or miss, but they are pretty funny.  I do a trampoline workout about 3x a week.  It ends up being a good strength, cardio, and balance enhancing workout for the entire body!  This trampoline is dug into the ground so that you can easily jump on and off and try tricks that might be a lot more dangerous otherwise.

coming in for landing
the girls got a real kick out of this, it looks like I'm sitting on the wire

Cle Elum 50K, Finished the Ultra Series

Post race
What an interesting weekend... Cle Elum 50K marked the end of the Washington Ultra Series and the birth of my new running goals, of which I will elaborate on later in this post.  Cle Elum 50K is directed by James Varner of Rainshadow Running.  Visit his website for challenging, fun trail races, plus the new Winthrop Road Marathon which debuts this coming weekend, September 26th. 

The weekend began with a bit of a crash....
Oops... my car was fine though.  A little collision backing up in Seattle.
On another note, I got a nice camping spot by the river the night before the race...
This particular area near the Taneum junction Campground had some not so scenic views as well
some carnage
evidence as to what may have happened to the cow
Cle Elum 50K starts and ends at Taneum Junction Campground, a haven for ORV's.  The trails were pretty rutted, muddy and sometimes rocky with plenty of puddles and river crossings and the occasional thunder of ORVs.  Elevation gain is 7,000 feet, with two major climbs and lots of little ups and downs, especially in the last 12 miles. 
My Cle Elum Race gear
This race marked my first initiation to getting off course, a problem I have not encountered until now.  Just before the Aid station at mile 24 I took a wrong turn and climbed up a road for 3 miles, finally realizing that I was off course.  By the time I made it back to the trail I had run 6 bonus miles.  It was a humbling experience and I decided to be thankful for the extra mileage (that's why I'm running after all) instead of dwelling on what could have been.  In the end I went 37 miles instead of the usual 31 and still finished in the middle of the pack, despite waning motivation and losing a good hour off course.  Oh, and I want to show you my blisters, a result of new shoes and a wet, technical course, not for the squeamish:
As far as the Washington ultra series goes, I am excited that I placed first for women and third overall.  The series scores your top four races.  I also did all the races in the series.  It was a great way to initiate myself into trail running.  Alex Henry finished first for men.  He is also new to trail racing.
The finish, Race director James on the left
icing in the river the day after the race
 I said I'd get back to my goals for the end of 2010 and the new year, 2011.  Here they are:
*up my running mileage to 80 miles a week
*weekly tempo run of about 10-15 miles
*50K weekend run, preferably in the mountains, which brings me to:
*get in more elevation running
*do the ultra series in 2011 and a few new races
*volunteer for more races in 2011
*do my first 100 mile trail race next summer
Some pictures from my drive...

Mt. Baker Weekend Fun

It's a bit of a summer tradition in my family to rent cabins at Baker and do some hiking.  This summer I was pretty excited to head out early in the morning and get in a few long mountain runs.  As it turned out, the Baker weekend was very rainy and I went over to Bellingham's Chuckanut mountain and ran the Chuckanut trail systems instead of the Hannegan Pass run I had all mapped out.  A bit disappointing considering how close I was to Baker, but a good choice due to the questionable weather.  It rained almost the entire 4.5 hour run, and it was nice to be under some tree cover for the majority of my run. 
Fairhaven Park, start of the Chuckanut 50k in March
Here's a look at the weather for my Sunday run at Chuckanut, this was 7 AM
A brief section of Chuckanut with a light drizzle, the rain really started to come down after this shot and I had to stow my camera/phone away for the rest of the run
I did some hiking as well on Saturday, which turned out to be the only mostly rain-free time on the entire trip. 
Hiking trails at Baker, rocky section
Lucy and Rose take the mountain goat route
Natural rock wall
Hiking in the snow, avec Stella
Skiing down the snow was my personal favorite
Icing my legs after chuckanut trail run

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cle Elum 50K, last race in the WA Ultra Series!

Cle Elum Course Elevation Profile, 50K

This is what I'm up to this weekend!  The course is a 50K, measuring just short of 31 miles, with about 7,000 feet elevation gain.  Looks like quite a nice climb all the way to mile 18.  This race is particularly exciting as it marks the end of the 2010 Washington Ultra Series.  I've managed to do all the races in the series, and I'm set to finish the last one on Saturday.  Despite keeping up some good training these past few weeks--Dodger Peak 50K and part of Chuckanut 50K as training/fun runs-- my body is feeling great!  No nagging pain.  For the last few races I've had a few minor aches even before the race, so it's a nice break. 

Race is located just south of Cle Elum in the Wenatchee National Forest and starts at the Taneum Junction Campground.  The course follows the South Cle Elum Ridge (#1326) and the North Fork Taneum Creek (#1377) trails. If it's not raining too hard I'll bring my camera and take some shots along the way...maybe...

map of the course, 50K in red, 25K in yellow
Race report coming next week...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Dodger Peak 50K....Solo

There is a great need in me to be in the mountains running.  I am considering doing a 50K distance at least once a week for as long as I feel the need. It's in the works.  I may not be doing it in the mountains every week, but I'd like to make it to the real mountain trails at least 1-2 times a month.   Meaning I am putting  it out there and letting everything fall into place.  It will mean getting a little less sleep once a week to get up before the crack of dawn and run.  I'm at the point where this is a very exciting idea.

Last weekend I made it to the Olympic Peninsula to do a solo 30 +/- mile roundtrip run up to Dodger Point, 5,700 feet elevation.  The run began at Whiskey Bend near the Elwa River.  The Elwa River access is a little west of Port Angeles on Route 101.   I wondered how a solo run 15 miles out on a remote single track trail woud go...anything could happen out there. 

I wore my nathan Hydration pack filled with gatorade (I usually use Nuun but didn't plan ahead).  The pack carries 70 oz of water.  I also carried two hand bottles with regular water.  I had to carry enough water for the entire run, as I did not know whether there would be any out on the trail. Then I packed some energy gels, two bananas, and a peanut butter Clif bar.

As it turned out there were a few little streams, but I did not need to refill my water bottles.  I only needed 1 gel, 1 Clif Blocks energy chews, 2 bananas, and the Clif bar. I am trying to use as few gels as possible.  I really prefer real food like bananas, although they are bulkier. 

The run took me 6 hours, which included stopping to take photos all along the way, and a few stretching stops.  Couldn't resist photographing the trail and this happened to be the first time I brought my Blackberry on a run with me.  I am guessing that the overall elevation gain would be between 5,000 and 6,000 feet.  The trail begins rather innocently for the first 3 miles, rolling up and down with views of the Elwa River and treed hills.  It is beautiful! 

After you cross the bridge over the Elwa the trail begins to climb and doesn't stop until you reach the top of Dodger Peak.  There are a number of flat-ish parts, but the trail just keeps gradually going up~ up~ up.  There are no downhill parts, none, after the bridge.  Let me explain: the grade is mellow enough that you don't feel like you can use it as an excuse to walk, but if you look behind you the trail slants down considerably.  Do this for 12 miles and you will want to--Ahhhh! It's a playful scream.  I do enjoy running uphill, but I really looked forward to the run back!

The run back turned out to be a blast!  I cruised quickly down the mountain jumping trees, dodging branches, dancing through rocky stretches, and spinning through the corners.  There is a long section of switchbacks that is a lot of fun. 

Here are some pictures from the trail:
driving form Port Townsend to the Trail, about 1.5 to 2 hours from PT, picture taken in Port Angeles during sun rise.
Almost there....
the 'before', about to head out on the trail
About 1 mile down the trail, getting too warm already, time to ditch the long sleeves
first view of the Elwa River
Bridge marks the spot: the trail starts going up from here
I've been running uphill for a while now, looks like I'm getting higher baby!
trees are looking a little gnarly

And higher, baby!
definitely looking more alpine
okay I arrived in heaven
At this point I was about 1 mile from Dodger Point
Cabin marks the spot, the top!
Some snow at the top
View from the top
Another view from the top
Me at the top
Post Run Chicken Tortilla Soup, Thanks Jake!!! Yum! And beer of course.