Thursday, September 11, 2014

Well that was an unexpectedly long absence from blogging! I know you've been on pins and needles wondering whether I made it back from Lost Lake. In fact, I've been all over the place these last couples of weeks, from Alaska to California to the Cascades to Eugene. School doesn't start for another two and a half weeks (I KNOW, I'M THE LUCKIEST) so there's still plenty of time for fun adventures between now and then.

In general, I feel really fit right now. Multiple-hour outings most days will do that to you, I suppose. I'm still not running as many miles as I'd like, but I find that I'm able to recover from pretty hard efforts almost immediately, which is a great feeling. My endurance would probably max out around 15 miles right now, but I feel nearly as strong as I did before my marathon last year, likely due to all the steep terrain I've been hiking and running on.

It's taken me a few days to finish this post (adventures call!) so while I could dedicate single posts to many of these outings I'll have to make do with more of a workout calendar (which sounds way more interesting, amirite?). The pictures will hopefully make up for that.

Monday, September 25: 3 miles, treadmill


Tuesday/Wednesday: Lost Lake, 15 miles total (hiking), plus another 4 - 5 miles in side trips


Lost Lake was beautiful, although the weather wasn't terribly cooperative and we (or rather, I) chose to hike in from the decidedly less scenic trailhead which had us on very a wooded trail until about 5.5 miles in. That left us with only a couple of miles to enjoy the scenery. 


The trailhead was nice, though. That's the edge of Kenai Lake.

Once we finally got some views.

The weird coloring isn't actually a filter, my iPhone camera just does that when I shoot into the sun.

The lake really is that blue, but only when the sun's shining on it. Once that left it just looked like regular water.

We hurried to get camp set up before it started raining (which, amazingly, didn't actually happen until the following day) and then explored for a bit. My dad shot a photo of me running to a viewpoint, which was necessary because it was much farther than it appeared and it was getting dark out.

It's not the clearest shot but the mountains are cool!

I wanted to look down on Seward, which you can sort of see in the top left.

It rained all day the following day, which blew, but overall it was a nice trip and fun to spend it with my dad. I hadn't backpacked in a while so my hips were a bit sore but other than that I felt like I hadn't done much at all!

Thursday/Friday: rest

I didn't have car access, wanted to catch up with some friends, and wanted to rest up before Saturday's epic hike so I took it easy.

Saturday: Pioneer Peak, 9 hours

I've always wanted to climb Pioneer Peak (you should really click on that link, it's a beautiful picture that gives you a view we didn't get while hiking) and was overjoyed when my friend insisted on doing it despite not having done any hiking (or physical activity, really) in months. We've done difficult hikes with similar preparation before, though, and they turned out great so I figured we'd take it one step at a time and see what happened.

It was a perfect day for hiking.

Suck it, Oregon.

Unfortunately, this mountain bested me. I was thisclose to the top before I made the hard decision to turn around. The friend I was hiking with had already stopped while I sped on to (hopefully) summit, but I hit some pretty sketchy trail I was not comfortable traversing on my own so had to call it a day. I honestly don't know how people get up that (and plenty of them do!) because it was pure scree and the consequences of falling looked pretty dire. I definitely plan to attempt it again in the future, though.

Fortunately, my consolation prize was still pretty kickass.


Beautiful fall colors are starting to show. Too bad they only last for, like, a week.

In all, we hiked for nine hours. It can actually be done in much less time but we had to take pretty frequent breaks.

OKAY FINE, ONE MORE, IF YOU INSIST.

Sunday/Monday: rest (travel, first to California and then to the Bend area)

Good thing because my body was totally wrecked from Pioneer. My thighs were so sore from the descent.

Tuesday: hike up Waldo Mountain, 2.5 hours

Some friends and I camped with a pretty stellar view of South Sister and Broken Top Mountain before heading back to Eugene. On our way, we hiked Waldo Mountain. It was honestly a really boring hike (if that's the country the Waldo 100k is on you can count me OUT - although joke's on me because obviously I'm not remotely capable of even thinking about running that far at the moment) but the view at the top was decent.


Wednesday: 9 miles around Alton Baker Park

I didn't do a lot of running while home so wanted to see how the legs would hold up. They felt great!

Thursday: 4.5 miles up Skinner Butte

I was planning to run a flat route but was feeling good so decided to add the short (.5 mile one way) but steep Skinner segment on.

Friday: rest
Saturday: 9.75 miles around/over Mt. Pisgah

I ran this with a friend who assured me there's a trail around Pisgah. I believe him now, but we didn't find it. After seven miles or so, we came to a dead end and, having no idea where to go from there, decided to hike up and over Pisgah to get back to the parking lot. We had to hike probably a mile in total but still got a lot of solid running in. It was also quite pretty out.

The mountains had a sort of Smokey Mountain thing going on.

Sunday: 4.5 miles up Skinner Butte

I enjoyed the longer run - Skinner Butte combo so decided to do it again.

Monday: 3 easy, flat miles
Tuesday: hike up Spencer Butte

Wednesday: 10 miles on the Silver Falls half course, reasonably hilly

I'm running the Silver Falls half this November so decided to check out the course again. It was just as boring as the first time. Nay, more boring because now most of the waterfalls are dried up. I was able to run some of the early part of the course (although I got terribly lost and wasted about two miles running in and around a campground), which is significantly flatter than the latter portion. I was happy I was able to run all but .2 miles and to see that it didn't take much out of me.

Thursday: rest

I was considering going for a run because I'm driving to Washington tomorrow for a weekend of camping and hiking but decided it was safer to take it easy after a run-heavy week.

----


Now that I've gotten my beautiful mountain fix and am back in an area with (mountain snob alert!) fewer beautiful mountain opportunities, I plan to shift my focus more towards running. My goal is to run 4 - 5 times per week (with at least one longer trail run) and hike 1 - 2 times per week. We'll see how it goes!

A Glorified Workout Calendar

Well that was an unexpectedly long absence from blogging! I know you've been on pins and needles wondering whether I made it back from Lost Lake. In fact, I've been all over the place these last couples of weeks, from Alaska to California to the Cascades to Eugene. School doesn't start for another two and a half weeks (I KNOW, I'M THE LUCKIEST) so there's still plenty of time for fun adventures between now and then.

In general, I feel really fit right now. Multiple-hour outings most days will do that to you, I suppose. I'm still not running as many miles as I'd like, but I find that I'm able to recover from pretty hard efforts almost immediately, which is a great feeling. My endurance would probably max out around 15 miles right now, but I feel nearly as strong as I did before my marathon last year, likely due to all the steep terrain I've been hiking and running on.

It's taken me a few days to finish this post (adventures call!) so while I could dedicate single posts to many of these outings I'll have to make do with more of a workout calendar (which sounds way more interesting, amirite?). The pictures will hopefully make up for that.

Monday, September 25: 3 miles, treadmill


Tuesday/Wednesday: Lost Lake, 15 miles total (hiking), plus another 4 - 5 miles in side trips


Lost Lake was beautiful, although the weather wasn't terribly cooperative and we (or rather, I) chose to hike in from the decidedly less scenic trailhead which had us on very a wooded trail until about 5.5 miles in. That left us with only a couple of miles to enjoy the scenery. 


The trailhead was nice, though. That's the edge of Kenai Lake.

Once we finally got some views.

The weird coloring isn't actually a filter, my iPhone camera just does that when I shoot into the sun.

The lake really is that blue, but only when the sun's shining on it. Once that left it just looked like regular water.

We hurried to get camp set up before it started raining (which, amazingly, didn't actually happen until the following day) and then explored for a bit. My dad shot a photo of me running to a viewpoint, which was necessary because it was much farther than it appeared and it was getting dark out.

It's not the clearest shot but the mountains are cool!

I wanted to look down on Seward, which you can sort of see in the top left.

It rained all day the following day, which blew, but overall it was a nice trip and fun to spend it with my dad. I hadn't backpacked in a while so my hips were a bit sore but other than that I felt like I hadn't done much at all!

Thursday/Friday: rest

I didn't have car access, wanted to catch up with some friends, and wanted to rest up before Saturday's epic hike so I took it easy.

Saturday: Pioneer Peak, 9 hours

I've always wanted to climb Pioneer Peak (you should really click on that link, it's a beautiful picture that gives you a view we didn't get while hiking) and was overjoyed when my friend insisted on doing it despite not having done any hiking (or physical activity, really) in months. We've done difficult hikes with similar preparation before, though, and they turned out great so I figured we'd take it one step at a time and see what happened.

It was a perfect day for hiking.

Suck it, Oregon.

Unfortunately, this mountain bested me. I was thisclose to the top before I made the hard decision to turn around. The friend I was hiking with had already stopped while I sped on to (hopefully) summit, but I hit some pretty sketchy trail I was not comfortable traversing on my own so had to call it a day. I honestly don't know how people get up that (and plenty of them do!) because it was pure scree and the consequences of falling looked pretty dire. I definitely plan to attempt it again in the future, though.

Fortunately, my consolation prize was still pretty kickass.


Beautiful fall colors are starting to show. Too bad they only last for, like, a week.

In all, we hiked for nine hours. It can actually be done in much less time but we had to take pretty frequent breaks.

OKAY FINE, ONE MORE, IF YOU INSIST.

Sunday/Monday: rest (travel, first to California and then to the Bend area)

Good thing because my body was totally wrecked from Pioneer. My thighs were so sore from the descent.

Tuesday: hike up Waldo Mountain, 2.5 hours

Some friends and I camped with a pretty stellar view of South Sister and Broken Top Mountain before heading back to Eugene. On our way, we hiked Waldo Mountain. It was honestly a really boring hike (if that's the country the Waldo 100k is on you can count me OUT - although joke's on me because obviously I'm not remotely capable of even thinking about running that far at the moment) but the view at the top was decent.


Wednesday: 9 miles around Alton Baker Park

I didn't do a lot of running while home so wanted to see how the legs would hold up. They felt great!

Thursday: 4.5 miles up Skinner Butte

I was planning to run a flat route but was feeling good so decided to add the short (.5 mile one way) but steep Skinner segment on.

Friday: rest
Saturday: 9.75 miles around/over Mt. Pisgah

I ran this with a friend who assured me there's a trail around Pisgah. I believe him now, but we didn't find it. After seven miles or so, we came to a dead end and, having no idea where to go from there, decided to hike up and over Pisgah to get back to the parking lot. We had to hike probably a mile in total but still got a lot of solid running in. It was also quite pretty out.

The mountains had a sort of Smokey Mountain thing going on.

Sunday: 4.5 miles up Skinner Butte

I enjoyed the longer run - Skinner Butte combo so decided to do it again.

Monday: 3 easy, flat miles
Tuesday: hike up Spencer Butte

Wednesday: 10 miles on the Silver Falls half course, reasonably hilly

I'm running the Silver Falls half this November so decided to check out the course again. It was just as boring as the first time. Nay, more boring because now most of the waterfalls are dried up. I was able to run some of the early part of the course (although I got terribly lost and wasted about two miles running in and around a campground), which is significantly flatter than the latter portion. I was happy I was able to run all but .2 miles and to see that it didn't take much out of me.

Thursday: rest

I was considering going for a run because I'm driving to Washington tomorrow for a weekend of camping and hiking but decided it was safer to take it easy after a run-heavy week.

----


Now that I've gotten my beautiful mountain fix and am back in an area with (mountain snob alert!) fewer beautiful mountain opportunities, I plan to shift my focus more towards running. My goal is to run 4 - 5 times per week (with at least one longer trail run) and hike 1 - 2 times per week. We'll see how it goes!

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:




----

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.