Saturday, August 9, 2014

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.


  1. Sounds like you've signed up for a fun race! I'm glad your foot got better quickly. Injury scares are the worst. Beautiful photos, as always. Good luck with this week's training!

  2. Silver Falls looks pretty to me. I'm a sucker for big waterfalls, I guess.

    1. Yeah, I don't know what's wrong with me; I love the IDEA of waterfalls and think they're cool enough when I see them, but they're not worth all those trees! But there is very obviously something wrong with me.

  3. Sometimes I'm secretly relieved that I'm training for something, because it gives me more to write about haha. You are such a trail snob, and I mean that in the nicest way :) Trees, waterfalls, blah blah. I like trees and waterfalls, though, so I think I would really enjoy running at Silver Falls. When you say "Midwesterners" do you mean anyone who doesn't live in Alaska??

    1. Aha no, I mean that the two friends I sent the pictures to are actually from the Midwest and so are easily impressed. We'd be more likely to call you folks Lower 48-ers ;).

      Trail snob for life! You've got some great views near you, you probably know what I mean!