Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pretty pictures to make up for my long absence? Sure.

We'll start with a few to sum up the end of summer:

In Rainier National Park. I went hiking there for a weekend with some friends. Washington beats Oregon handily in the mountain department.

We spent the second day of hiking in the Tatoosh Range. It's a very small but very scenic range!

More Tatoosh. Very distinctive-looking.

Rainier, you looker, you.

An adorable kitten I had to throw in even though I don't like cats.

School started at the end of September and since then most activity has been restricted to 6:30 - 8:00 a.m. Yes, it's true, even the most committed afternoon runner can become a morning runner if circumstances require. It's actually been a surprisingly easy transition, even before Daylight Savings when the first hour outside was spent in darkness. Anyway, this is my explanation for why the nearly all of the following photos feature a sunrise.


Foggy morning at Spencer Butte. 


Sunday excursion to the beach, back when I had time for that shit.

Surfers

It was such a nice day.

Mounty Baldy. This hardly qualifies as a hill, let alone a mountain, but it's got some great views.

There is no filter on this photo. The sky was WACK that morning. It was so cool. Also Baldy.

Pisgah. I try to make it there at least one morning a week even though it's a 20-minute drive.

The fall colors have been pretty unbelievable. This does not remotely capture it.

More Pisgah.

Pisgah summit. I love it when the valley's fogged in.




This is from my ten-miler yesterday just before Baldy's "summit." It was SO COOL, all the trees were covered in ice so I spent the entire run with small ice chunks raining down on me. I was so pissed that my phone died just after taking this, it really was breathtaking.

Aaaaand, what you probably care about most given that this is a running blog: pictures from the Silver Falls Half Marathon!

You see me?! Purple shirt. See that guy in the tiny skirt and pink compression socks? I ran just behind him for, like, five miles. It was a sight to behold. I should have known that long-sleeve shirt was coming off in like five minutes.

Yes, this is a screen shot. Yes, I am poor. The leaves were really beautiful.

Race to the finish!

I'm not sure how the clock advanced nine seconds between the last picture and this one. This guy was not nice about our little race. The finish chute was incredibly muddy and I was sliding all over the place but having a great time and figured it was just friendly competition. Well, he beat me to the line by inches, which I was totally fine with, and when I turned to congratulate him he flat out ignored me and walked off. Nice job, bruh. Joke's on him, though, because they put me ahead of him in the results.

This race is my real reason for dragging myself back to this corner of the internet and posting. I talked about it back whenever that was and finally got around to running it on November 2. I was a bit hard on this race because I don't consider it to be a very scenic trail (mountains, please), but it really was so much fun. Trail races are the way to go.

I've been majorly slacking at blogging but not at running. I spent this summer building up a strong base through multiple-hour outings 4 - 5 times a week. Once school started, I obviously didn't have that kind of time anymore but I did commit to doing as much as I could. These days, I wake up at the ungodly hour of 6:15 on weekdays to run. I know, I know, that's sleeping in for a lot of you but for me it's pure madness. I spend as much time as I can on trails, which has been great for so many reasons. I mean, running by yourself on a trail when it's pitch black is kind of terrifying, but you get to see so many beautiful things once the sun rises (fortunately Daylight Savings gave me enough time back that I don't have to run in the dark anymore). And it's a great workout, obviously. It's so empowering to run up things I once thought unrunnable.

Anyway, I've been consistently running 30 - 35 miles per week on reasonably rugged terrain and it's definitely paying off. Going into the Silver Falls Half, my goal was to finish under 2:45. I wasn't even sure whether that was a reasonable goal since the route advertised a 1,500 - foot elevation gain, which seemed like a lot to me. I thought 2:30 might be attainable but didn't want to put any pressure on myself to run harder than I was capable. I've said before that I don't really like racing, largely because I don't like the pain that comes with it. I'm fine with some fatigue, but when you're nauseated and everything's burning, that's just not my idea of a good time. Which is probably-slash-definitely why I don't do any speed work (and in fact haven't done any since my marathon a year and a half ago - yikes!).

Most of my trail runs are around 12:00 minute/mile pace, so imagine my surprise when I finished this race with a 9:29 average! I seriously couldn't believe it. My Garmin flipped out when I was in the canyons so I couldn't figure out what my pace was. A 10:40 average would pop up every once in a while so as I neared the finish I thought I might even be able to snag a 2:20 if I pushed it. Shortly after I crossed the finish line I remembered to turn around and check my time, which appeared to be 2:20:xx. Just short of 2:20 but still an amazing result. And then...

... I realized I was looking at the first wave time. See, when we signed up we had the option of running with those who planned to finish under 2:15 and those who planned to finish over 2:15. I obviously belonged to the latter group, right? My road half PR is 2:03:xx (I think? I need to look that up again) so I was surely going to be much, much slower. But no! I somehow managed to run a full 15 minutes faster than a time I didn't even think was attainable.

It really pisses me off when people claim they're training to race at a certain pace and then "accidentally" pull a much faster time out of their asses as if by magic when in fact that's been their goal all along. This is not that. I really, truly had no idea what to expect since I hadn't done a trail race before or bothered to run faster than an 10:30 pace in ages. But I have been running on much harder trails than what we ran on that day. In fact, I was amazed to find that much of the course was flat. There were three or four steep climbs but other than that it was very reasonable.

So yeah, that was a shock. I was actually kicking myself for not starting faster, though, which would have almost surely netted me a new PR. I'm a little too good at starting off slowly, which means I often finish with a lot of gas in the tank. This race was no exception. A few hours after the race ended, it was almost as though I hadn't run at all. I didn't experience any soreness and any fatigue was completely gone two days later. I suppose it's for the best because I'm more into training than racing (said only me, ever) and was happy to get right back to running. Nonetheless, I should probably start off a bit faster next time.

Anyway, grad school calls so I'll end this here. It may shock you to hear that I have been keeping up with all of your blogs (super big shoutout to Meagan for a great performance at the Marine Corps Marathon a few weeks ago!) but haven't commented on anything in ages. Sorry dudes. I can either spend all my time reading or comment; I choose the former.

Pretty Pictures To Make Up For A Long Absence

Pretty pictures to make up for my long absence? Sure.

We'll start with a few to sum up the end of summer:

In Rainier National Park. I went hiking there for a weekend with some friends. Washington beats Oregon handily in the mountain department.

We spent the second day of hiking in the Tatoosh Range. It's a very small but very scenic range!

More Tatoosh. Very distinctive-looking.

Rainier, you looker, you.

An adorable kitten I had to throw in even though I don't like cats.

School started at the end of September and since then most activity has been restricted to 6:30 - 8:00 a.m. Yes, it's true, even the most committed afternoon runner can become a morning runner if circumstances require. It's actually been a surprisingly easy transition, even before Daylight Savings when the first hour outside was spent in darkness. Anyway, this is my explanation for why the nearly all of the following photos feature a sunrise.


Foggy morning at Spencer Butte. 


Sunday excursion to the beach, back when I had time for that shit.

Surfers

It was such a nice day.

Mounty Baldy. This hardly qualifies as a hill, let alone a mountain, but it's got some great views.

There is no filter on this photo. The sky was WACK that morning. It was so cool. Also Baldy.

Pisgah. I try to make it there at least one morning a week even though it's a 20-minute drive.

The fall colors have been pretty unbelievable. This does not remotely capture it.

More Pisgah.

Pisgah summit. I love it when the valley's fogged in.




This is from my ten-miler yesterday just before Baldy's "summit." It was SO COOL, all the trees were covered in ice so I spent the entire run with small ice chunks raining down on me. I was so pissed that my phone died just after taking this, it really was breathtaking.

Aaaaand, what you probably care about most given that this is a running blog: pictures from the Silver Falls Half Marathon!

You see me?! Purple shirt. See that guy in the tiny skirt and pink compression socks? I ran just behind him for, like, five miles. It was a sight to behold. I should have known that long-sleeve shirt was coming off in like five minutes.

Yes, this is a screen shot. Yes, I am poor. The leaves were really beautiful.

Race to the finish!

I'm not sure how the clock advanced nine seconds between the last picture and this one. This guy was not nice about our little race. The finish chute was incredibly muddy and I was sliding all over the place but having a great time and figured it was just friendly competition. Well, he beat me to the line by inches, which I was totally fine with, and when I turned to congratulate him he flat out ignored me and walked off. Nice job, bruh. Joke's on him, though, because they put me ahead of him in the results.

This race is my real reason for dragging myself back to this corner of the internet and posting. I talked about it back whenever that was and finally got around to running it on November 2. I was a bit hard on this race because I don't consider it to be a very scenic trail (mountains, please), but it really was so much fun. Trail races are the way to go.

I've been majorly slacking at blogging but not at running. I spent this summer building up a strong base through multiple-hour outings 4 - 5 times a week. Once school started, I obviously didn't have that kind of time anymore but I did commit to doing as much as I could. These days, I wake up at the ungodly hour of 6:15 on weekdays to run. I know, I know, that's sleeping in for a lot of you but for me it's pure madness. I spend as much time as I can on trails, which has been great for so many reasons. I mean, running by yourself on a trail when it's pitch black is kind of terrifying, but you get to see so many beautiful things once the sun rises (fortunately Daylight Savings gave me enough time back that I don't have to run in the dark anymore). And it's a great workout, obviously. It's so empowering to run up things I once thought unrunnable.

Anyway, I've been consistently running 30 - 35 miles per week on reasonably rugged terrain and it's definitely paying off. Going into the Silver Falls Half, my goal was to finish under 2:45. I wasn't even sure whether that was a reasonable goal since the route advertised a 1,500 - foot elevation gain, which seemed like a lot to me. I thought 2:30 might be attainable but didn't want to put any pressure on myself to run harder than I was capable. I've said before that I don't really like racing, largely because I don't like the pain that comes with it. I'm fine with some fatigue, but when you're nauseated and everything's burning, that's just not my idea of a good time. Which is probably-slash-definitely why I don't do any speed work (and in fact haven't done any since my marathon a year and a half ago - yikes!).

Most of my trail runs are around 12:00 minute/mile pace, so imagine my surprise when I finished this race with a 9:29 average! I seriously couldn't believe it. My Garmin flipped out when I was in the canyons so I couldn't figure out what my pace was. A 10:40 average would pop up every once in a while so as I neared the finish I thought I might even be able to snag a 2:20 if I pushed it. Shortly after I crossed the finish line I remembered to turn around and check my time, which appeared to be 2:20:xx. Just short of 2:20 but still an amazing result. And then...

... I realized I was looking at the first wave time. See, when we signed up we had the option of running with those who planned to finish under 2:15 and those who planned to finish over 2:15. I obviously belonged to the latter group, right? My road half PR is 2:03:xx (I think? I need to look that up again) so I was surely going to be much, much slower. But no! I somehow managed to run a full 15 minutes faster than a time I didn't even think was attainable.

It really pisses me off when people claim they're training to race at a certain pace and then "accidentally" pull a much faster time out of their asses as if by magic when in fact that's been their goal all along. This is not that. I really, truly had no idea what to expect since I hadn't done a trail race before or bothered to run faster than an 10:30 pace in ages. But I have been running on much harder trails than what we ran on that day. In fact, I was amazed to find that much of the course was flat. There were three or four steep climbs but other than that it was very reasonable.

So yeah, that was a shock. I was actually kicking myself for not starting faster, though, which would have almost surely netted me a new PR. I'm a little too good at starting off slowly, which means I often finish with a lot of gas in the tank. This race was no exception. A few hours after the race ended, it was almost as though I hadn't run at all. I didn't experience any soreness and any fatigue was completely gone two days later. I suppose it's for the best because I'm more into training than racing (said only me, ever) and was happy to get right back to running. Nonetheless, I should probably start off a bit faster next time.

Anyway, grad school calls so I'll end this here. It may shock you to hear that I have been keeping up with all of your blogs (super big shoutout to Meagan for a great performance at the Marine Corps Marathon a few weeks ago!) but haven't commented on anything in ages. Sorry dudes. I can either spend all my time reading or comment; I choose the former.

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!