Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Private Lands Trail

Another beautiful run on Moscow Mountain. I'll let the photos express the beauty and solitude that can be found in the mountains during the winter months.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

First Snow

When people talk of their favorite time of year, my mind wanders to the mountains, to that first snow fall when the trails undergo a metamorphosis. Lost beneath a heavy blanket of fresh snow the trails take on a new beauty. The woods become quieter and there is a stillness in the air. It's as if the mountains go into hibernation. Waiting until spring for warmer temperatures to melt the snow and bring life back to their slopes.

It is this time of year, this first snow, that I anxiously await. As summer slowly turns to fall and leaves finally start to disappear from the branches of the trees, I know we are close. When the temperature starts to drop towards freezing I find myself waking early each morning and looking towards Moscow Mountain, waiting to see is grandeur hidden by falling snow. 

And when those first flakes do start to fall, I'm ready. Ready to run the trails. To be apart of the magical metamorphosis that is occurring. To say goodbye to the mountain until it awakes again in the spring and welcome the peace and serenity that winter brings to the mountains.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Running in the Redwoods: Photo Essay

While Michelle and I were visiting family in Arcata, CA this past week I took the opportunity to hit the trails in the Redwood Community Forest.  Stats: 11 hours of running for 62 miles and 19,000 ft of climbing. I think we also had 8-10 hours of stroller time with our nephew :-)

Here is a photo essay of my runs:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oak Mountain Trail Marathon: Race Report

When one of my clients was selected to represent Team USA at the ITU Cross World Championships in Pelham, Alabama, I was honored to fly out and support him at the event. Coincidentally, the day after the race, they were holding a trail marathon at the same venue. With the support of my good friend and client I jumped at the opportunity to enter.

I spent the day before the marathon out in the elements cheering for the ITU athletes as they battled a tough course under an unrelenting sun. I carried my water bottle, stayed well-hydrated and sat in the shade when the opportunity presented itself. I'm sure many of the other runners were resting indoors with their feet up. However, I strongly believe that being out and about in the heat and humidity really helped with my acclimation to a much more temperate environment (especially in comparison to northern Idaho)!

I went into the race with a substantial amount of volume on my legs and with no taper. Two weeks prior I had logged a solid 24-mile run with 5,000 feet of climbing and the weekend before I had logged a 30-miler with 7,000 of climbing. Of course, there was the additional 14,000 feet of climbing that I logged on the other training days, but who's counting :-)

I got a decent night of sleep prior to race morning, and this carried over to the morning going smoothly. I had a banana and some eggs at the hotel about 3 hrs prior to race start, spent a solid hour going through all my mobility exercise and then we were off to the race. We arrived at the venue with plenty of time for me to get in an easy mile and a half and a half dozen striders before they called us to the line.

The race itself went off fast as the lead group of 10 runners paced through the first mile at 6:05. While I knew this pace would cost me a little at the end, I also knew the value of separating myself from the group. "Out of site, out of mind" can be a very valuable race tactic in trail running.

As I settled into a comfortable pace, I found myself with a small group of three locals until about mile 9.  Two of the guys had done a mix of trail and road marathons and indicated a sub 4-hour showing at Oak Mountain was equivalent to a 3-hour marathon. Not having their experience or local knowledge, I took their word for it.

When of the runners told me he was a 2:42 marathoner and the other a 2:45, I had a split second of hesitation that I was running beyond my ability. Thankfully, as quickly as the doubt appeared it was gone. Leaving me with only a sense of pure excitement. Here I was in the sweltering South leading a group of 2:40 marathoners in my first trail marathon.

As we transitioned into a hilly 3-mile section, I broke away from the group and ran solo for the rest of the race. In the last 5 miles I could really feel the fatigue in my legs from the previous couple weeks, but I just focused on being present in the run and pushing through the fatigue. I managed to pass four runners in the last 5 miles coming away with a finish time of 3:42. Good enough for 7th place overall and 2nd in my age group. Despite being exhausted and in desperate need of water and shade, I was elated with my performance!

The course was 90% single track with around 3,000 ft of climbing.  In some sections it was buffed out and fast, but the majority was rocky and rooty. A technical trail, for sure, but I love technical terrain. Despite the challenges of the course, the beauty and tranquility of the area caused the miles to click by.

A big congrats to Rodney Mall on his stellar race at the ITU Cross Worlds and thank you for coming out to cheer for me during my race!! We had a great trip and I am hoping to make it back there to race in 2013.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Asotin Creek Adventures

Starting the climb up to the ridge line.

This past Saturday Scott, Knut and I headed down to Asotin Creek for another trail running adventure. After logging a solid 24 mile effort on Moscow Mountain the previous weekend we decided to bump the mileage up to 30 to allow for a little more exploration of this beautiful area.

The run was amazing. We ran through miles of wildflowers as we ascended the ridge line, dropped down an over grown trail into Asotin Creek and then made our way towards Mt. Misery. Unfortunately, the NF trail had long since fallen victim to mother nature so instead we chose to take the unknown and slightly overgrown S. Pinkham trail back up onto the ridge line.

The trail was steep. And in just under 2 miles we had gained the 3,000 ft we had descended just 4 miles previously. The views were breathtaking and we were excited to see that the ridge continued for as far as the eye could see. (up next...the Asotin Creek 50 miler?!)

After enjoying the views we doubled back to the S. Pinkham trail and dropped back down to Asotin Creek and enjoyed a mellow 10 mile run back out to the car. All in all we netted 30 miles with close to 7,000 ft of climbing and a little over 6 hrs of moving time.

Below is a photo essay of our run :-)

Tracks through the meadow
Taking advantage of a long forgotten trail
Running through miles of wildflowers
Knut leading the way down to Asotin Creek
Scott descending from the ridge to Asotin Creek
Posing for a quick photo
S. Pinkham...a new trail!
Beautiful groves of Ponderosa Pines
Climbing the S. Pinkham trail back to the ridge line
View along the ridge line after ascending the S. Pinkham trail
Descending the S. Pinkham trail back to Asotin Creek

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Riverside 20 miler

With spring finally arriving in the Pacific North West we took the opportunity to get out and enjoy the now snow-free trails of Riverside State Park in Spokane, WA. In addition to Scott, Tyler, Aaron and myself, who were out for a 20 miler, a small crew of TRIFORMANCE athletes came out to the park to put in some time on the MTB and do a little trail running.

It was in the mid 40's when we started around 9:30 and by 11 we were into the 60's. Simply put, it was a beautiful day! We kept the pace conversational and enjoyed good conversation through out the run. We stopped a couple times to take a couple pictures and enjoy the views of unusually turbulent Spokane River.

This was my first 20 miler since last April and my longest since surgery and for the first time after a long run, my shoulder didn't even ache! By the time we hit about the 17 mile mark I could start to feel the fatigue in my legs, but in a good way :-)

The pictures below are from my run at Riverside 3 days earlier. If you live in the area and haven't run at this park you need to check it out. There are over 70 miles of single track to enjoy!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Back on the Bandwagon!

Unfortunately, after the Hagg Lake 25k on February 19th I got sick...really sick. After two weeks the infection had spread to my chest and it took two rounds of antibiotics to get it to clear. One of the benefits of having had pneumonia is that it is much easier to get infections that spread to the chest and lungs. Yay!

After taking 5 weeks completely off, I jumped back on the band wagon with a 5 1/2 hour epic run above Asotin Creek with my friends Scott and Aaron. The body is bouncing back nicely and I should end up with a little over 60 miles on the trails this week.

Tomorrow will be a 15-25 miler at Riverside State Park. I did 15 there on Thursday morning. The three photos in this post were taken during my run at Riverside. If you're ever in the Spokane area you should check it out. There's over 75 miles of single track trails to enjoy :-)