Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm about a week into my Alaskan vacation and continue to have a great time. I really enjoy living in Oregon and in many respects prefer it to Alaska. However, all rational thought seems to leave my head when I'm looking at stuff like this:

All I can think is, "Oregon who?"

 I love the lighting in this one.

Fisherman 

These pictures were taken on Saturday on our way to Seward, a cute fishing town a couple of hours south of Anchorage. They also happen to capture the view I had on my Friday 7-miler. There's a great (pavement) trail that starts about 20 miles south of Anchorage which in the past seemed too far to drive to go for a run, but given that I regularly drive 1 - 2 hours to go hiking in Oregon, doesn't seem all that far these days!

Since my grandma's visiting, we took a lot of side trips on our way to Seward. First was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

Bear.

I've been hearing about this place for years but thought it sounded dumb. Why go see moose in a cage when Anchorage is crawling with them? But actually, we got to see a lot of cool animals one doesn't see often like lynxes, bison, and caribou. The Center is also located at a ridiculously scenic part of the highway so there's a lot to look at even if you're not interested in the animals.

The weather was really nice at first but got steadily worse as we got closer to Seward, which was a huge bummer. Seward is a gorgeous place when the mountains aren't totally obscured!

This is the best shot I got. Laaaame. 

A few more pictures from the trip:




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Yesterday Bailey and I went to Rabbit Lake. The weather was pretty shitty but since I'd spent all Saturday sitting in a car I wanted to get out, if only for a bit. I'm vehicularly challenged at the moment so we had only two hours before we had to be back at the trailhead to get picked up. I didn't think we'd have enough time to make it to the lake but was pleasantly surprised to find that a combination of running and hiking got us there and back in just enough time!


It's a spectacularly blue lake, crappy weather or no!

As I mentioned, the weather was pretty awful. Initially there was just a bit of rain, but once we got above tree line the valley turned into one big wind/rain tunnel. The lake was temptingly close, though, so we pushed on. I'm glad we did! 

Bailey needs to work on her posing.

In all, we covered a little over eight miles, approximately five running and three hiking. It was a nice little workout that didn't leave me too tired and allowed us to get outside before the weather got real shitty (as it did later that day).

Bailey was tired.

----

It's been a week since my last workout roundup, right? Let's do it again!

Monday, August 17: 5 miles (running) at the Lafayette Reservoir
Tuesday: rest (travel day)
Wednesday: 5 hours (hiking) on and around Flattop
Thursday: 4 miles (running) on Powerline
Friday: 7 miles (running) on Turnagain Arm
Saturday: rest (Seward)
Sunday: 8 miles (5 running, 3 hiking) to Rabbit Lake

----

It's a dreary day so I'll probably settle for a few easy miles on the treadmill, especially since I'm hiking to Lost Lake tomorrow with my dad. Weather permitting, we plan to stay the night. I spent the night there with a friend a few years ago and remember it being pretty spectacular, so it should be a good time!

Alaska > Oregon

I'm about a week into my Alaskan vacation and continue to have a great time. I really enjoy living in Oregon and in many respects prefer it to Alaska. However, all rational thought seems to leave my head when I'm looking at stuff like this:

All I can think is, "Oregon who?"

 I love the lighting in this one.

Fisherman 

These pictures were taken on Saturday on our way to Seward, a cute fishing town a couple of hours south of Anchorage. They also happen to capture the view I had on my Friday 7-miler. There's a great (pavement) trail that starts about 20 miles south of Anchorage which in the past seemed too far to drive to go for a run, but given that I regularly drive 1 - 2 hours to go hiking in Oregon, doesn't seem all that far these days!

Since my grandma's visiting, we took a lot of side trips on our way to Seward. First was the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.

Bear.

I've been hearing about this place for years but thought it sounded dumb. Why go see moose in a cage when Anchorage is crawling with them? But actually, we got to see a lot of cool animals one doesn't see often like lynxes, bison, and caribou. The Center is also located at a ridiculously scenic part of the highway so there's a lot to look at even if you're not interested in the animals.

The weather was really nice at first but got steadily worse as we got closer to Seward, which was a huge bummer. Seward is a gorgeous place when the mountains aren't totally obscured!

This is the best shot I got. Laaaame. 

A few more pictures from the trip:




----

Yesterday Bailey and I went to Rabbit Lake. The weather was pretty shitty but since I'd spent all Saturday sitting in a car I wanted to get out, if only for a bit. I'm vehicularly challenged at the moment so we had only two hours before we had to be back at the trailhead to get picked up. I didn't think we'd have enough time to make it to the lake but was pleasantly surprised to find that a combination of running and hiking got us there and back in just enough time!


It's a spectacularly blue lake, crappy weather or no!

As I mentioned, the weather was pretty awful. Initially there was just a bit of rain, but once we got above tree line the valley turned into one big wind/rain tunnel. The lake was temptingly close, though, so we pushed on. I'm glad we did! 

Bailey needs to work on her posing.

In all, we covered a little over eight miles, approximately five running and three hiking. It was a nice little workout that didn't leave me too tired and allowed us to get outside before the weather got real shitty (as it did later that day).

Bailey was tired.

----

It's been a week since my last workout roundup, right? Let's do it again!

Monday, August 17: 5 miles (running) at the Lafayette Reservoir
Tuesday: rest (travel day)
Wednesday: 5 hours (hiking) on and around Flattop
Thursday: 4 miles (running) on Powerline
Friday: 7 miles (running) on Turnagain Arm
Saturday: rest (Seward)
Sunday: 8 miles (5 running, 3 hiking) to Rabbit Lake

----

It's a dreary day so I'll probably settle for a few easy miles on the treadmill, especially since I'm hiking to Lost Lake tomorrow with my dad. Weather permitting, we plan to stay the night. I spent the night there with a friend a few years ago and remember it being pretty spectacular, so it should be a good time!

Friday, August 22, 2014

It's great to be home!

Yup. That's Alaska.

Bailey agrees. 

That tongue!

Where did I last leave off? Oh right, Briones. That feels like ages ago. Well, the day following that hike I was pretty beat from the 18 hilly miles I had covered over the previous two days, but I wanted to get outside for a recovery run because I would be traveling the next day. What started as a slow, flat run accidentally turned into a pretty quick 5-mile jaunt around the same reservoir I was bitching about the other day (the Lafayette Reservoir). Fortunately, it was a Monday so the crowds were greatly diminished.

The following day I was terribly sore so appreciated sitting on my ass all day as I traveled back to Anchorage with my grandma. The next day, though, I was excited to get out for a hike on my old stomping grounds. I'm at the mercy of my parents and various siblings for transportation while I'm here, so my dad dropped Bailey and me off at the Glen Alps trailhead before work and said he could pick me up "later." A solid plan!

I decided to ease myself back into Alaska hiking by summiting Flattop and, if time permitted, the two peaks right next to it (each of which only takes an additional 20 - 30 minutes). Time did, in fact, permit, so it was a three - peak day.


Looking at Flaketop, the third peak.

Such clouds.

The clouds were slightly annoying but cleared enough to get some nice views.

I really like the clouds in this picture even though Bailey looks like a dolt and it's a Snapchat screenshot.

I was dismayed to find that Bailey is, like, three times the dog she once was. She's huge! I mean, she gets around just fine and seems totally content with her life, but she has not been moving enough to justify all the table scraps she's obviously been eating. It took us nearly twice as long to get up Flattop as it used to, and we had to stop a fair amount so she could rest. I never thought I'd be in better shape than my dog! I gave my parents a very stern talking to when I got home, so hopefully they'll be shamed into exercising her more.

[sidenote: my parents are actually really good dog owners. It's just an unfortunate reality that they've got a lot on their plate at the moment and don't have the energy/fitness to take her on long outings like I do. But they do really need to stop giving her so much food!]

By the time my dad was able to pick us up, we had been hiking for five hours. I could definitely feel it! I slept like a rock that night.

Yesterday, we took my grandma around to see some sights,

Potter Marsh, you are boring but reasonably scenic. 


and then I jetted over to Powerline for a 4 - mile run. I was really sore from the previous day (that seems to be a theme this summer, huh?) but once I got going I felt fine. It was nice to be back!

I take back what I said about new Powerline. New Powerline isn't anywhere near as nice as this.

I'm heading to Seward with my family tomorrow (which means it will likely be an activity-free day) so am aiming to do a longer run today.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Back in Alaska!

It's great to be home!

Yup. That's Alaska.

Bailey agrees. 

That tongue!

Where did I last leave off? Oh right, Briones. That feels like ages ago. Well, the day following that hike I was pretty beat from the 18 hilly miles I had covered over the previous two days, but I wanted to get outside for a recovery run because I would be traveling the next day. What started as a slow, flat run accidentally turned into a pretty quick 5-mile jaunt around the same reservoir I was bitching about the other day (the Lafayette Reservoir). Fortunately, it was a Monday so the crowds were greatly diminished.

The following day I was terribly sore so appreciated sitting on my ass all day as I traveled back to Anchorage with my grandma. The next day, though, I was excited to get out for a hike on my old stomping grounds. I'm at the mercy of my parents and various siblings for transportation while I'm here, so my dad dropped Bailey and me off at the Glen Alps trailhead before work and said he could pick me up "later." A solid plan!

I decided to ease myself back into Alaska hiking by summiting Flattop and, if time permitted, the two peaks right next to it (each of which only takes an additional 20 - 30 minutes). Time did, in fact, permit, so it was a three - peak day.


Looking at Flaketop, the third peak.

Such clouds.

The clouds were slightly annoying but cleared enough to get some nice views.

I really like the clouds in this picture even though Bailey looks like a dolt and it's a Snapchat screenshot.

I was dismayed to find that Bailey is, like, three times the dog she once was. She's huge! I mean, she gets around just fine and seems totally content with her life, but she has not been moving enough to justify all the table scraps she's obviously been eating. It took us nearly twice as long to get up Flattop as it used to, and we had to stop a fair amount so she could rest. I never thought I'd be in better shape than my dog! I gave my parents a very stern talking to when I got home, so hopefully they'll be shamed into exercising her more.

[sidenote: my parents are actually really good dog owners. It's just an unfortunate reality that they've got a lot on their plate at the moment and don't have the energy/fitness to take her on long outings like I do. But they do really need to stop giving her so much food!]

By the time my dad was able to pick us up, we had been hiking for five hours. I could definitely feel it! I slept like a rock that night.

Yesterday, we took my grandma around to see some sights,

Potter Marsh, you are boring but reasonably scenic. 


and then I jetted over to Powerline for a 4 - mile run. I was really sore from the previous day (that seems to be a theme this summer, huh?) but once I got going I felt fine. It was nice to be back!

I take back what I said about new Powerline. New Powerline isn't anywhere near as nice as this.

I'm heading to Seward with my family tomorrow (which means it will likely be an activity-free day) so am aiming to do a longer run today.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

It's been a hectic week here at JJ-o! I'm currently in the middle of a very slow and roundabout journey north which has taken me from Oregon to the Bay Area and will spit me out in Anchorage on Tuesday. I don't have much of interest to talk about but I do have some pretty awesome pictures so I'll just throw those your way via a workout round-up.

Monday, August 11: rest

After last Sunday's Slug-n-Chug and subsequent drive back to Eugene, I was feeling pretty beat up and had to figure out my life before leaving for three weeks. Cleaning it was!

Tuesday: 3 slow miles on the Fern Ridge path

These were so, so, so terrible for so many reasons so let's forget they ever happened. Then it was off to the cabin!

Wednesday: ??

I have no idea what I did this day but it probably involved a lot of water sports.

Thursday: 5-mile redwood hike

On Thursday morning, I started my drive to California. I was fortunate that a friend was driving down at the same time so we were able to caravan. What's the point of caravanning, you ask? There is none, really, since you're not in the same car, but we were able to stop for a short hike midway.

The hike was redwoods, redwoods, redwoods, and then beach!

Beautiful, right? Unfortunately I have no idea what this place is called or even which park we were in because I'm a very smart and interesting person who totally cares about these kinds of things. It was a national park, though.


There were elk chilling out there, although you can't see them.


Friday: rest, finish the drive to Lafayette

I spent Thursday night in Santa Rosa at my friend's place (wine country!) and then continued on my merrily-wined way the following morning. I was dead from the previous week's activities so decided to play it easy and hang out with my grandma.


Saturday: 8-mile run on trails, plus 2 miles walking

One of my friends is diligently following some Hal Higdon plan for our half this November and the plan has him doing long runs on Saturdays. We've done the past few together so I decided to continue the tradition while I'm out of town (although I totally reserve the right to do it whenever I want once I'm back in Alaska and don't have easy access to a car). So yesterday (Saturday) I drove to Point Reyes to check out the Bear Valley Trail.

The vast majority of the run was terribly boring because it was in the woods on paths that were only slightly more interesting than pavement (and it was crawling with people!!), but there was a decent amount of elevation loss and gain and awesome views at my destination, Arch Rock.




I ran 4.3 miles to Arch Rock and planned to extend the outing by returning to the trailhead via something called the "Skyline Trail" (which, I imagine, follows a ridge and has awesome views), but the trail was pretty steep and I wanted to actually run the majority of my planned 8 miles so I turned around after a half mile or so.

Back to the woods!

All in all, it was a fun run. It was a pain in the ass to get there from Lafayette (California traffic, you really are as bad as everyone says!), but it was cool to see the ocean.

Sunday: 8-mile hike at Briones Regional Park

I'm pretty pissed it took me so long to discover this park. For years, my family has turned to the Lafayette Reservoir for all of our outdoors needs, and for years I've been kind of down on it. The Reservoir is a great asset for the community and the upper Rim Trail has some nice views, but the Reservoir is often teeming with people who are themselves teeming with diamonds, liposuction scars, and, like, golden powder... So in other words, it's kind of a nightmare.

After taking my grandma to the Lafayette Reservoir this morning, I attempted to flee the madness by going to the Briones Reservoir. The Briones Reservoir seems to be closed to common folk, though, so I ended up instead at Briones Regional Park, which was awesome!

Miles and miles of trails.


I did something called the "Briones Crest Trail," which led me to a ridge and kept me there for about six miles. The scenery is exactly what one would expect of California hiking (or, at least, what an out-of-stater would expect) and there was a nice breeze to counteract the warm temps.


Mt. Diablo, my grandma tells me.

It was a pretty strenuous hike, especially coming the day after a long-ish trail run, but I didn't finish feeling totally dead. So I guess my weekend was sort of a back-to-back, then? Let's go with that.

----

All in all, this week was lighter on running than I'd like because of cabin shenanigans and getting ready to leave town for a while, but I was able to get in some quality views which is always the main goal.

The next time you hear from me, I should be home in Alaska!

A Roundabout Journey North

It's been a hectic week here at JJ-o! I'm currently in the middle of a very slow and roundabout journey north which has taken me from Oregon to the Bay Area and will spit me out in Anchorage on Tuesday. I don't have much of interest to talk about but I do have some pretty awesome pictures so I'll just throw those your way via a workout round-up.

Monday, August 11: rest

After last Sunday's Slug-n-Chug and subsequent drive back to Eugene, I was feeling pretty beat up and had to figure out my life before leaving for three weeks. Cleaning it was!

Tuesday: 3 slow miles on the Fern Ridge path

These were so, so, so terrible for so many reasons so let's forget they ever happened. Then it was off to the cabin!

Wednesday: ??

I have no idea what I did this day but it probably involved a lot of water sports.

Thursday: 5-mile redwood hike

On Thursday morning, I started my drive to California. I was fortunate that a friend was driving down at the same time so we were able to caravan. What's the point of caravanning, you ask? There is none, really, since you're not in the same car, but we were able to stop for a short hike midway.

The hike was redwoods, redwoods, redwoods, and then beach!

Beautiful, right? Unfortunately I have no idea what this place is called or even which park we were in because I'm a very smart and interesting person who totally cares about these kinds of things. It was a national park, though.


There were elk chilling out there, although you can't see them.


Friday: rest, finish the drive to Lafayette

I spent Thursday night in Santa Rosa at my friend's place (wine country!) and then continued on my merrily-wined way the following morning. I was dead from the previous week's activities so decided to play it easy and hang out with my grandma.


Saturday: 8-mile run on trails, plus 2 miles walking

One of my friends is diligently following some Hal Higdon plan for our half this November and the plan has him doing long runs on Saturdays. We've done the past few together so I decided to continue the tradition while I'm out of town (although I totally reserve the right to do it whenever I want once I'm back in Alaska and don't have easy access to a car). So yesterday (Saturday) I drove to Point Reyes to check out the Bear Valley Trail.

The vast majority of the run was terribly boring because it was in the woods on paths that were only slightly more interesting than pavement (and it was crawling with people!!), but there was a decent amount of elevation loss and gain and awesome views at my destination, Arch Rock.




I ran 4.3 miles to Arch Rock and planned to extend the outing by returning to the trailhead via something called the "Skyline Trail" (which, I imagine, follows a ridge and has awesome views), but the trail was pretty steep and I wanted to actually run the majority of my planned 8 miles so I turned around after a half mile or so.

Back to the woods!

All in all, it was a fun run. It was a pain in the ass to get there from Lafayette (California traffic, you really are as bad as everyone says!), but it was cool to see the ocean.

Sunday: 8-mile hike at Briones Regional Park

I'm pretty pissed it took me so long to discover this park. For years, my family has turned to the Lafayette Reservoir for all of our outdoors needs, and for years I've been kind of down on it. The Reservoir is a great asset for the community and the upper Rim Trail has some nice views, but the Reservoir is often teeming with people who are themselves teeming with diamonds, liposuction scars, and, like, golden powder... So in other words, it's kind of a nightmare.

After taking my grandma to the Lafayette Reservoir this morning, I attempted to flee the madness by going to the Briones Reservoir. The Briones Reservoir seems to be closed to common folk, though, so I ended up instead at Briones Regional Park, which was awesome!

Miles and miles of trails.


I did something called the "Briones Crest Trail," which led me to a ridge and kept me there for about six miles. The scenery is exactly what one would expect of California hiking (or, at least, what an out-of-stater would expect) and there was a nice breeze to counteract the warm temps.


Mt. Diablo, my grandma tells me.

It was a pretty strenuous hike, especially coming the day after a long-ish trail run, but I didn't finish feeling totally dead. So I guess my weekend was sort of a back-to-back, then? Let's go with that.

----

All in all, this week was lighter on running than I'd like because of cabin shenanigans and getting ready to leave town for a while, but I was able to get in some quality views which is always the main goal.

The next time you hear from me, I should be home in Alaska!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

After my run on Saturday, I jetted off to a cabin on a lake for the night (yes, I really have been there three times in as many weeks and yes, I know how lucky I am). The following day, I finally got to do something I've wanted to do since I first heard about it: the Slug-n-Chug!

The Slug-n-Chug is a 4 1/2 - mile loop that starts on the lake and heads through town and back to the cabin. The "chug" comes from the fact that the first couple of miles are on a train track. I have no idea what the "slug" refers to.

You can just barely make out the train tracks on the left right above the water.

So on Sunday, a few of us were boated over to the train tracks and dropped off to do our very own Slug-n-Chug.

The train tracks were really cool, if a pain in the ass. These particular tracks haven't been used in a long time so we didn't have to worry about being run over (and if a train did happen to come, there was space to move out of the way), plus we got to run through two awesome tunnels. However, because the ties and the rocks between ties weren't level I had to land directly on each tie, and when you're moving (relatively) quickly they all start to blend together. I had to slow way down to make sure I was landing where I needed to.



After a couple of miles, we hit town and a vicious 2 - mile hill. This hill was unrelenting and, coming the day after another hilly run, killed my glutes. I was able to run nearly all of it, though, which I was proud of.

Forty-five minutes after I started, I finished the Slug-n-Chug by jumping in the lake. I was terribly overheated and hadn't brought any water with me, so that felt great. I also ran a good deal faster than I had planned because I got just a bit competitive with the other people I was running with. All in all, it was a great time!

----

I've got an exciting few weeks coming up. First, I'm heading back to the cabin for a couple of days (I KNOW) and then driving down to the Bay Area to hang with my grandma. Then, she and I are both flying home to Alaska!! I'll spend two weeks there before flying back to California and driving to Eugene. I'm excited for adventures.

Slug-n-Chug

After my run on Saturday, I jetted off to a cabin on a lake for the night (yes, I really have been there three times in as many weeks and yes, I know how lucky I am). The following day, I finally got to do something I've wanted to do since I first heard about it: the Slug-n-Chug!

The Slug-n-Chug is a 4 1/2 - mile loop that starts on the lake and heads through town and back to the cabin. The "chug" comes from the fact that the first couple of miles are on a train track. I have no idea what the "slug" refers to.

You can just barely make out the train tracks on the left right above the water.

So on Sunday, a few of us were boated over to the train tracks and dropped off to do our very own Slug-n-Chug.

The train tracks were really cool, if a pain in the ass. These particular tracks haven't been used in a long time so we didn't have to worry about being run over (and if a train did happen to come, there was space to move out of the way), plus we got to run through two awesome tunnels. However, because the ties and the rocks between ties weren't level I had to land directly on each tie, and when you're moving (relatively) quickly they all start to blend together. I had to slow way down to make sure I was landing where I needed to.



After a couple of miles, we hit town and a vicious 2 - mile hill. This hill was unrelenting and, coming the day after another hilly run, killed my glutes. I was able to run nearly all of it, though, which I was proud of.

Forty-five minutes after I started, I finished the Slug-n-Chug by jumping in the lake. I was terribly overheated and hadn't brought any water with me, so that felt great. I also ran a good deal faster than I had planned because I got just a bit competitive with the other people I was running with. All in all, it was a great time!

----

I've got an exciting few weeks coming up. First, I'm heading back to the cabin for a couple of days (I KNOW) and then driving down to the Bay Area to hang with my grandma. Then, she and I are both flying home to Alaska!! I'll spend two weeks there before flying back to California and driving to Eugene. I'm excited for adventures.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Let's talk about the race I signed up for because running blogs are useless if their author isn't training for something, right?

I had planned to do a road marathon this fall, but once my summer finally started I began hiking pretty obsessively and the idea of spending the rest of the summer running in Eugene made me sad. I figured it was as good a time as any to venture into the world of trail running and scoured the internet for a cool race. I was hoping to find something marathon distance or longer but couldn't find anything (near Eugene) late enough in the year to allow me enough time to train properly. Then a friend mentioned that he was going to do the Silver Falls half so I decided to look into it.

Silver Falls State Park is 20 or so miles east of Salem, Oregon, so it's incredibly convenient for me. It also offers races of varying distances, from 7 miles to 50k. Even better, a couple of my other friends are signed up for the half (people to run with, what? It's been ages).

Initially I planned to run the 50k (which is the day before the half), but then I ran some of the course and was not impressed.



Basically, it's tree, tree, tree, waterfall, tree, tree, snake, waterfall, repeat indefinitely. After 10 miles I felt like gouging my eyes out. If I'm going to put in the effort to train for an ultra, it damn well better be pretty. Of course, when I sent these pictures to my friends telling them I was dropping to the half because the course was boring, they were flabbergasted. Midwesterners are easily impressed.

Boringness aside, I do think this will make for a good first trail race. It's pretty tame, elevation-wise (1,500 feet for the half), near Eugene, and short enough that I can play pretty fast and loose with my training. Also, trails!

Since I'm not following a training plan (for now), I'd like to keep a record on the blog of what I'm up to so I can make sure I'm getting in enough miles and spacing out harder efforts sufficiently (you guys should nag me if you think I'm failing to do either of these things). So here's my past week:

Saturday, August 2: 6 miles on the Powerline trails I discovered recently

I ran this with a couple of friends and had a great time. Amazingly, we all run at roughly the same pace so I didn't have to worry about slowing them down or pushing too hard. It was great to have company!

Sunday/Monday: rest (injury scare!)

I'm not obsessed with tubing anymore. In fact, I'm scared of tubing. Tubing is dangerous. I learned this the hard way when I woke up on Sunday and couldn't put any weight on my left foot. I was really upset, convinced my summer was over, but amazingly once the swelling went down my foot was totally fine. I had to bail on a trip up Mount Adams, which was a huge bummer, but it could have been much, much worse.

Tuesday: tested my foot with a walk up Skinner Butte. There were a couple of twinges, but overall it felt almost normal.

That tiny bump across the way is Spencer Butte.

Wednesday: 2 hour run/hike to Eagle's Rest

I went horseback riding on some of these trails last week and wanted to go back for a trail run. I spent the entire run in the forest but the views from the Rest were nice.


My Garmin was out of batteries so I don't have the exact stats for this run. I ran as much as I could but took a number of walk breaks near the top (which I'm cool with - taking walk breaks means I don't tire as quickly so I can stay out longer). After my run, I cooled off by taking a glorious dip in the lake (river? tributary? who even knows) next to the trailhead. It smelled like fish but felt great.


Thursday: 3 easy recovery miles

Uneventful. Boring.

Friday: Pisgah hike

I went out too hard on Thursday night and felt like a gross slob all day Friday so I forced myself outside for a hike later in the day. I started at an unfamiliar trailhead, which was way better than the one I've been using, but I got pretty lost on my way up and had to backtrack a couple of times (I assume all the trails in the area eventually lead to the summit but convinced myself otherwise). Consequently, it was longer than planned and sort of turned into a sunset hike.




Saturday: 6 miles on trails around Spencer Butte

My friend chose this route despite my protests. I've hiked Spencer from this trailhead a number of times and remember it being pretty steep, but he assured me that he'd done his research and it was only a few hundred feet. I think he was right about the first two miles, but he hadn't bothered looking into the last mile, which was a real bitch. We actually did pretty well considering our lack of hill training. 1,200 feet over six miles, 840 of which was one direction. We definitely got our asses kicked by the hordes of old ladies we encountered. My leg muscles felt totally fine, but my glutes were dying. I'm looking forward to the serious case of DOMS I'm bound to have tomorrow.

----

Aaaand I'm off to a cabin for the rest of the weekend. Have a good one, y'all.

Silver Falls

Let's talk about the race I signed up for because running blogs are useless if their author isn't training for something, right?

I had planned to do a road marathon this fall, but once my summer finally started I began hiking pretty obsessively and the idea of spending the rest of the summer running in Eugene made me sad. I figured it was as good a time as any to venture into the world of trail running and scoured the internet for a cool race. I was hoping to find something marathon distance or longer but couldn't find anything (near Eugene) late enough in the year to allow me enough time to train properly. Then a friend mentioned that he was going to do the Silver Falls half so I decided to look into it.

Silver Falls State Park is 20 or so miles east of Salem, Oregon, so it's incredibly convenient for me. It also offers races of varying distances, from 7 miles to 50k. Even better, a couple of my other friends are signed up for the half (people to run with, what? It's been ages).

Initially I planned to run the 50k (which is the day before the half), but then I ran some of the course and was not impressed.



Basically, it's tree, tree, tree, waterfall, tree, tree, snake, waterfall, repeat indefinitely. After 10 miles I felt like gouging my eyes out. If I'm going to put in the effort to train for an ultra, it damn well better be pretty. Of course, when I sent these pictures to my friends telling them I was dropping to the half because the course was boring, they were flabbergasted. Midwesterners are easily impressed.

Boringness aside, I do think this will make for a good first trail race. It's pretty tame, elevation-wise (1,500 feet for the half), near Eugene, and short enough that I can play pretty fast and loose with my training. Also, trails!

Since I'm not following a training plan (for now), I'd like to keep a record on the blog of what I'm up to so I can make sure I'm getting in enough miles and spacing out harder efforts sufficiently (you guys should nag me if you think I'm failing to do either of these things). So here's my past week:

Saturday, August 2: 6 miles on the Powerline trails I discovered recently

I ran this with a couple of friends and had a great time. Amazingly, we all run at roughly the same pace so I didn't have to worry about slowing them down or pushing too hard. It was great to have company!

Sunday/Monday: rest (injury scare!)

I'm not obsessed with tubing anymore. In fact, I'm scared of tubing. Tubing is dangerous. I learned this the hard way when I woke up on Sunday and couldn't put any weight on my left foot. I was really upset, convinced my summer was over, but amazingly once the swelling went down my foot was totally fine. I had to bail on a trip up Mount Adams, which was a huge bummer, but it could have been much, much worse.

Tuesday: tested my foot with a walk up Skinner Butte. There were a couple of twinges, but overall it felt almost normal.

That tiny bump across the way is Spencer Butte.

Wednesday: 2 hour run/hike to Eagle's Rest

I went horseback riding on some of these trails last week and wanted to go back for a trail run. I spent the entire run in the forest but the views from the Rest were nice.


My Garmin was out of batteries so I don't have the exact stats for this run. I ran as much as I could but took a number of walk breaks near the top (which I'm cool with - taking walk breaks means I don't tire as quickly so I can stay out longer). After my run, I cooled off by taking a glorious dip in the lake (river? tributary? who even knows) next to the trailhead. It smelled like fish but felt great.


Thursday: 3 easy recovery miles

Uneventful. Boring.

Friday: Pisgah hike

I went out too hard on Thursday night and felt like a gross slob all day Friday so I forced myself outside for a hike later in the day. I started at an unfamiliar trailhead, which was way better than the one I've been using, but I got pretty lost on my way up and had to backtrack a couple of times (I assume all the trails in the area eventually lead to the summit but convinced myself otherwise). Consequently, it was longer than planned and sort of turned into a sunset hike.




Saturday: 6 miles on trails around Spencer Butte

My friend chose this route despite my protests. I've hiked Spencer from this trailhead a number of times and remember it being pretty steep, but he assured me that he'd done his research and it was only a few hundred feet. I think he was right about the first two miles, but he hadn't bothered looking into the last mile, which was a real bitch. We actually did pretty well considering our lack of hill training. 1,200 feet over six miles, 840 of which was one direction. We definitely got our asses kicked by the hordes of old ladies we encountered. My leg muscles felt totally fine, but my glutes were dying. I'm looking forward to the serious case of DOMS I'm bound to have tomorrow.

----

Aaaand I'm off to a cabin for the rest of the weekend. Have a good one, y'all.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's been ages since I've talked specifically about my running and even longer since I've thought/talked about future running goals, so I thought I'd give you guys a rundown on that.

First, an overview of running this past year, broken up by academic quarter:

First Quarter: 

Let's not dwell on first quarter, which can be summed up with the following poem:

high mileage!
whoops, no time.
no mileage.
pizza and beer? yes please.
out of shape.
reality check.

Yeah, that was rough. While home for Christmas, I gave myself a talking to and vowed to be better going forward.

Second Quarter:

I ran and hiked pretty consistently while home in December so was in a good position to get back into running when I returned to Eugene. My first night back, however, I gallivanted a bit too hard and at some point must have done something to my foot. It hurt only slightly, but the type of pain was similar to a stress fracture. I panicked and pouted (a lot), terrified I was one careless step away from a broken bone, and ceased all running. For the next month or so, I erged, biked, and lifted weights, which was enormously dissatisfying but got the job done.

My foot felt better, but still off. To be clear, it never really hurt that much; it was the type of pain and not the level of pain that concerned me. I feared it would get worse if I ran on it. However, at that point I was dying to run and frustrated that my foot seemed stuck in limbo, largely pain-free but still "off," so I threw caution to the wind and went out for a short jog. Amazingly enough, running caused no pain whatsoever and although I could occasionally still feel "it" (which I hesitate to even call pain at this point; more like discomfort) while walking around, it never got worse. I decided to start running again but to keep it slow and flat.

Most importantly, during this quarter I worked out consistently, cleaned up my diet (by which I mean I ate pizza once a week instead of four), and generally got my act together.

Third Quarter:

Although things were busier at school and I was starting to freak out about my upcoming exams, I never let running fall by the wayside. It helped that my earliest class this quarter was at 10:00, which allowed me to run in the morning. My runs were longer, 6 - 7 miles at a time (often in Alton Baker Park because it's next to campus) but the number of days per week I worked out was slightly lower than the previous quarter. I was running between 20 - 30 miles per week and managed to get in a longer run most weekends. I finally reached double digits for the first time since my marathon! I also started incorporating hills into my runs, which was a real shock to my legs but hugely beneficial to my fitness level. I had very little time for hiking (which is often at least a half - day outing because you have to drive to get to anything worth hiking), but managed to get a few in.

Like Bohemia Mountain.

By the end of third quarter, I was finally where I wanted to be, running-wise. I had a solid base, felt great, and was starting to think about a fall marathon, for which I could spend all summer training (refusing to consider how hot it would be, obviously, because that was more than I could handle emotionally).

But then...

Exams:

After third quarter finals, we had five weeks to prepare for and take exams to determine whether we could continue in the program. Preparing for these was a real bitch, but I got it done. I also knew that I needed to get out for a run most days or risk going insane, so that's what I did. Often it was only three miles, but on weekends I would allow myself to go a bit longer. I limited myself to five or six short runs per week, but I could definitely have run more. I even managed to fit a race in there!

Although I likely lost some fitness during this time, it was a great way to ease back into running most days of the week. Ultimately, I'd like to run six days per week, but that likely won't happen until school starts again (there's too much hiking to accomplish this summer!).

Since exams ended three weeks ago, it's been go, go, go nearly every day. Running, hiking, water skiing, tubing, slacklining, horseback riding - you name it, I've probably done it. I've been in a constant state of soreness. Occasionally I get worried about needing a rest day, but then the boredom kicks in and I have to go out and do something. I've been really good about changing it up, though, which means that my body is likely overworked but not overstressed (if that makes sense). I haven't been running as often as I'd like, but I'm feeling very strong.

I also nixed the idea of a fall marathon/ultra (more on that next time, because I'm way over my nonexistent word limit), which I was feeling down about until I realized that not being tethered to a training plan will allow me to continue doing all the amazing things I've been able to do this summer.

I am signed up for a race this fall, though. The Silver Falls half marathon. But more on that later!

From an outing to Silver Falls last week. 10 miles, lots of boredom. This was nice, though.

Yes, I Still Run! An Update.

It's been ages since I've talked specifically about my running and even longer since I've thought/talked about future running goals, so I thought I'd give you guys a rundown on that.

First, an overview of running this past year, broken up by academic quarter:

First Quarter: 

Let's not dwell on first quarter, which can be summed up with the following poem:

high mileage!
whoops, no time.
no mileage.
pizza and beer? yes please.
out of shape.
reality check.

Yeah, that was rough. While home for Christmas, I gave myself a talking to and vowed to be better going forward.

Second Quarter:

I ran and hiked pretty consistently while home in December so was in a good position to get back into running when I returned to Eugene. My first night back, however, I gallivanted a bit too hard and at some point must have done something to my foot. It hurt only slightly, but the type of pain was similar to a stress fracture. I panicked and pouted (a lot), terrified I was one careless step away from a broken bone, and ceased all running. For the next month or so, I erged, biked, and lifted weights, which was enormously dissatisfying but got the job done.

My foot felt better, but still off. To be clear, it never really hurt that much; it was the type of pain and not the level of pain that concerned me. I feared it would get worse if I ran on it. However, at that point I was dying to run and frustrated that my foot seemed stuck in limbo, largely pain-free but still "off," so I threw caution to the wind and went out for a short jog. Amazingly enough, running caused no pain whatsoever and although I could occasionally still feel "it" (which I hesitate to even call pain at this point; more like discomfort) while walking around, it never got worse. I decided to start running again but to keep it slow and flat.

Most importantly, during this quarter I worked out consistently, cleaned up my diet (by which I mean I ate pizza once a week instead of four), and generally got my act together.

Third Quarter:

Although things were busier at school and I was starting to freak out about my upcoming exams, I never let running fall by the wayside. It helped that my earliest class this quarter was at 10:00, which allowed me to run in the morning. My runs were longer, 6 - 7 miles at a time (often in Alton Baker Park because it's next to campus) but the number of days per week I worked out was slightly lower than the previous quarter. I was running between 20 - 30 miles per week and managed to get in a longer run most weekends. I finally reached double digits for the first time since my marathon! I also started incorporating hills into my runs, which was a real shock to my legs but hugely beneficial to my fitness level. I had very little time for hiking (which is often at least a half - day outing because you have to drive to get to anything worth hiking), but managed to get a few in.

Like Bohemia Mountain.

By the end of third quarter, I was finally where I wanted to be, running-wise. I had a solid base, felt great, and was starting to think about a fall marathon, for which I could spend all summer training (refusing to consider how hot it would be, obviously, because that was more than I could handle emotionally).

But then...

Exams:

After third quarter finals, we had five weeks to prepare for and take exams to determine whether we could continue in the program. Preparing for these was a real bitch, but I got it done. I also knew that I needed to get out for a run most days or risk going insane, so that's what I did. Often it was only three miles, but on weekends I would allow myself to go a bit longer. I limited myself to five or six short runs per week, but I could definitely have run more. I even managed to fit a race in there!

Although I likely lost some fitness during this time, it was a great way to ease back into running most days of the week. Ultimately, I'd like to run six days per week, but that likely won't happen until school starts again (there's too much hiking to accomplish this summer!).

Since exams ended three weeks ago, it's been go, go, go nearly every day. Running, hiking, water skiing, tubing, slacklining, horseback riding - you name it, I've probably done it. I've been in a constant state of soreness. Occasionally I get worried about needing a rest day, but then the boredom kicks in and I have to go out and do something. I've been really good about changing it up, though, which means that my body is likely overworked but not overstressed (if that makes sense). I haven't been running as often as I'd like, but I'm feeling very strong.

I also nixed the idea of a fall marathon/ultra (more on that next time, because I'm way over my nonexistent word limit), which I was feeling down about until I realized that not being tethered to a training plan will allow me to continue doing all the amazing things I've been able to do this summer.

I am signed up for a race this fall, though. The Silver Falls half marathon. But more on that later!

From an outing to Silver Falls last week. 10 miles, lots of boredom. This was nice, though.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fact: at 10,358 feet, South Sister is the third tallest mountain in Oregon.
Fact: South Sister is a nontechnical hike.
Fact: everyone knows South Sister is a nontechnical hike.
Final fact (is this played out yet?): everyone climbs South Sister in July.

This was my experience this past weekend, at least. Nevertheless, this hike was a real stunner and the crowds did not detract at all from the experience.

Even this jaded Alaskan had nothing bad to say. In the background are (according to people who don't really know that much about Oregon) the other Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Jefferson, and Hood. 

Unfortunately, this also means that I'm ruined; I'm 99% certain that nothing else in Oregon can live up to South Sister, and I'm already mad about it. But hey, better to have experienced than blah blah blah, right?

Let's rewind to Friday. We didn't leave Eugene until 5:00 p.m. because of various work commitments (work commitments and responsibilities? What's that?) and, because climbing a mountain isn't adventure enough, without a campsite! We very nearly paid dearly for that mistake. Which, I'd like to add, wasn't my doing. I was all for reserving a campsite but was told that campgrounds abound in the area and there was no possibility of us not finding something. Well, I suppose that turned out to be true, but only because we slept at a horse camp.

Have you ever heard of a horse camp? I hadn't. It's just a campground with corrals at each site for (duh) horses. I'm not sure what horse camp etiquette is but apparently it's not camping without horses. According to the camp host, we were the most hated group there. Sorry, horse folk, that we didn't come equipped with loud, smelly animals [side note: I'm cool with horses but come on, they're definitely louder and smellier than no horse, right?]. The camp host was fine with it, though, no one else showed up needing the spot, and we couldn't stomach driving to yet another campground at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night. Horse camp it was, then!

I had a pretty miserable night, puking up my Manley's clam chowder and shivering throughout the surprisingly cold night (you're welcome for that visual). Fortunately, I felt slightly better the next morning at 7:30 when we drove to the Devil's Lake trailhead.

The first mile takes you through woods, but once you emerge from that boringness, you're treated to some pretty awesome views for the rest of the hike (that's ten miles of views!).



Mt. Bachelor, or something.

 Cairns, my favorite!

And, of course, the summit.

I swear to you there is no filter on this, even though it looks like there is and even though I refuse to use that hashtag that proves there isn't.

It took us roughly 4 hours to summit hiking at a pretty leisurely pace, and once there we took the time to enjoy it. This is something I often forget to do; I'll hoof it to the top, spend 3-5 minutes there, and turn right back around. This time, though, we were there for nearly an hour. There may or may not have been whiskey and cigars involved (don't try it at home, kids!).

The way down was a bit of a slog (turned death march once the blister on my foot burst open and I had nothing to put on it), but we were back at the campsite by 5:00, where we spent another fun night.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend! I give this hike a billion thumbs up. It is, in my book, the most worthwhile thing in Oregon (that I've seen).  A distinguished award, indeed!

----

Up next: that time I checked out the site of a fall race to see whether it might make for a good first (mini-) ultra. Verdict: ugh.

South Sister Weekend Excursion

Fact: at 10,358 feet, South Sister is the third tallest mountain in Oregon.
Fact: South Sister is a nontechnical hike.
Fact: everyone knows South Sister is a nontechnical hike.
Final fact (is this played out yet?): everyone climbs South Sister in July.

This was my experience this past weekend, at least. Nevertheless, this hike was a real stunner and the crowds did not detract at all from the experience.

Even this jaded Alaskan had nothing bad to say. In the background are (according to people who don't really know that much about Oregon) the other Sisters, Three Fingered Jack, Jefferson, and Hood. 

Unfortunately, this also means that I'm ruined; I'm 99% certain that nothing else in Oregon can live up to South Sister, and I'm already mad about it. But hey, better to have experienced than blah blah blah, right?

Let's rewind to Friday. We didn't leave Eugene until 5:00 p.m. because of various work commitments (work commitments and responsibilities? What's that?) and, because climbing a mountain isn't adventure enough, without a campsite! We very nearly paid dearly for that mistake. Which, I'd like to add, wasn't my doing. I was all for reserving a campsite but was told that campgrounds abound in the area and there was no possibility of us not finding something. Well, I suppose that turned out to be true, but only because we slept at a horse camp.

Have you ever heard of a horse camp? I hadn't. It's just a campground with corrals at each site for (duh) horses. I'm not sure what horse camp etiquette is but apparently it's not camping without horses. According to the camp host, we were the most hated group there. Sorry, horse folk, that we didn't come equipped with loud, smelly animals [side note: I'm cool with horses but come on, they're definitely louder and smellier than no horse, right?]. The camp host was fine with it, though, no one else showed up needing the spot, and we couldn't stomach driving to yet another campground at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night. Horse camp it was, then!

I had a pretty miserable night, puking up my Manley's clam chowder and shivering throughout the surprisingly cold night (you're welcome for that visual). Fortunately, I felt slightly better the next morning at 7:30 when we drove to the Devil's Lake trailhead.

The first mile takes you through woods, but once you emerge from that boringness, you're treated to some pretty awesome views for the rest of the hike (that's ten miles of views!).



Mt. Bachelor, or something.

 Cairns, my favorite!

And, of course, the summit.

I swear to you there is no filter on this, even though it looks like there is and even though I refuse to use that hashtag that proves there isn't.

It took us roughly 4 hours to summit hiking at a pretty leisurely pace, and once there we took the time to enjoy it. This is something I often forget to do; I'll hoof it to the top, spend 3-5 minutes there, and turn right back around. This time, though, we were there for nearly an hour. There may or may not have been whiskey and cigars involved (don't try it at home, kids!).

The way down was a bit of a slog (turned death march once the blister on my foot burst open and I had nothing to put on it), but we were back at the campsite by 5:00, where we spent another fun night.

All in all, it was a fantastic weekend! I give this hike a billion thumbs up. It is, in my book, the most worthwhile thing in Oregon (that I've seen).  A distinguished award, indeed!

----

Up next: that time I checked out the site of a fall race to see whether it might make for a good first (mini-) ultra. Verdict: ugh.