Thursday, April 17, 2014

Not Bored Yet, Volume #2 - San Juan Island, Vancouver's North Shore

I got to enjoy a leisurely bike ride around San Juan Island over the weekend. Didn't run any of the trails, as it was a recovery day. I may try a return trip this summer to run some of the trails, but it can be quite pricey to get over to San Juan, and then the trail systems are nothing too expansive. The weather was clear with high's in the upper 60's, and I was able to visit Roche Harbor, check out a cider distillery, visit Lime Kiln State Park, and then hung out in the harbor through sunset.

Next up was a trip to Vancouver, to check out the North Shore trails that Luke and Adam run frequently. This also served as a nice long training run in preparation for Miwok 100k. Can't thank Luke and his family enough, as they were more than gracious hosts for my visit. Lots of fun and looking forward to more adventures with these guys this summer. Luke's blog post with photos is here.

Pictures with descriptions below:

Starting out along a river.

I believe this is the view from Cleveland Dam.

Cleveland Dam view

Cleveland Dam

Climb straight up Grouse Mountain

View from top of Grouse

Stopped and turned around when we got to the ski lift.

I stopped the guys a lot to take pictures. This probably sucks for my training. 

We had a good amount of runnable miles on roads like this. Good Miwok training.

LOTS OF STAIRS. More good Miwok training.

I don't remember what this was, but it was pretty far down and looked cool.

They leave the water on ALL YEAR LONG around here. Unlike parks in WA, where they shut it off for the winter....

I dunno I found it pretty.

Approaching Roche Harbor

They have a cheap gas station out by Roche.

Friday Harbor at dusk, with ferry coming in.

View from above Lime Kiln Point State Park.

Lime Kiln Lighthouse with Canada in background.

Hotel De Haro in Friday Harbor, apparently Teddy Roosevelt stayed here, and you can see his signature inside.

Roche Harbor, with some pretty big boats.

View from Lime Kiln, could see Rainier and the Olympics from here. Perfect weather.

Lime Kiln's in Roche Harbor

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Not Bored Yet, Volume #1 - Orcas, Si, Yakima Canyon

A couple weeks ago, a dear friend of mine remarked that I would get bored not having a job.

Potentially, in time, that could be the case.

Running has taken me to some cool spots in the PNW. Orcas Island, Cougar Mountain, Mt Si, Little Si, parts of Teneriffe, Discovery Park, and the Yakima River Canyon. Future plans include a Zion Traverse, running some of Lake Tahoe, and a Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim. Epic bucket list stuff.

Luke and I often talk about the value in looking at training in 8 or 9 day periods, as opposed to the standard 7 day range. It gives you a slightly larger sample size to determine how your training is currently progressing.

Anyways, my 9 day range ended up being about 80 miles with 22,000 ft of gain, so I'm particularly happy about that. Took a couple easy days to let the body recover. Pics for your enjoyment.

Ferry to Orcas

San Juan Islands on way to Orcas

Campsite at Orcas, be aware, they've started variable pricing. This spot was $25 a night!

Orcas, not sure of the name, but they are the falls near Camp Moran.

One of the lakes.

View from Mt. Constitution.

Looking South.

Cloud cover along some lakes in the AM.

View from Eastsound, on Orcas.

Looking up at Mt. Constitution in the AM

'Powerline' climb up Orcas.

Radio Towers on Orcas.

More Orcas.

Cool clouds coming in as massive eagles were riding the wind, view from Mt. Constitution.


I liked the sign.

These switchbacks are much more fun going down, rather than up.

A hut.

Not sure which lake but found a cool cliff to chill at until I got cold.

Bye bye Orcas.

Mt Si view from Little Si.

Snow on the road up Tennerife, Kevin moving fast.


Si. Awesome forest trail I've never run before, off the Talus Loop. Thanks to Kevin.

Yakima Canyon. Free camping (no water or toilets) until May?

Yakima Canyon bridge.

Woke up. Read for a couple hours. Watched the couple that owned the RV argue for about 30 minutes and use every curse word in the book while trying to hook up the camper to their truck. All before noon.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Wicklow Way 50K Race Report

We pulled into the parking lot outside Johnnie Foxes about an hour early, right as the early starters were getting on their way. The weather was windy, with some sleet and rain, as we tried to stay warm in the car. After deciding to put on a pair of leggings under my shorts, we were off around 9:30 am. As the weather was nice, with forecasts for a rainy afternoon, I decided I would take most of my pictures the first half of the race.


Start on the roads. Lots of Buff's in Europe, FYI.

First climb as you get onto the Wicklow Way
The run started out on road for about a mile, and then began a climb up onto the Wicklow Way. The sun had crept out from the clouds and offered ideal views of the countryside. The first sustained climb was all run-able, and eventually got onto some sandy 'forest road' that flattened out for bit at the top. 

The first descent started with some uneven rocks, that provided some technical terrain and slowed me down. (Ever since my sprain at Cascade, I've kept it slow and easy when navigating technical terrain). Then you hit nice wide trail that was a constant descent into the first aid station. From there the trail went down along a stream that had some muddy patches. But most of the trail was wide and very run-able.

Start of first descent.

About this time I had some of my first encounters with some friendly runners and aid station volunteers. I ran with one guy and introduced myself. He mentioned he was running this race for the first time, but it took me a couple of 'excuse mes' to figure out what he was saying. Some of the local accents were so strong, I couldn't make out what was being said.

I then got the the aid station at a parking lot (7-11 miles in, not sure exactly), and made a quick stop for some water and to see what was at the table (I had a full pack and all my calories with me, so no aid would be necessary). Mars bars were plentiful, and then a plate of some sugar colored candies. I grabbed a couple of the candies and the following conversation began with a pretty vibrant aid station volunteer.

"What are these?"
"Gummy Babies"
"What are that those?"
"Did you just ask what are Gummy Babies?"
"Yes...sorry, I'm not from here"
"Oh, why its sugar, darlin'!"

Verdict on Gummy Babies: candies that are basically soft jelly that are covered in a powered sugar and shaped like babies. Don't know if I would do them again. They kinda melt in your mouth, if you dig that.

Pretty cool view of a falls about mile 12 or so?
After that aid station began the final climb of the out and back. The sun was out, and as we head up the mountain, a lot of the footing was extremely thick mud. My shoes quickly became covered in it and at times literally were like ice skates. Then about halfway up the climb, I experienced the strongest winds ever during the a race.

I began to power hike the climb, as when I ran up, the wind actually blew back and up. I made more progress keeping my feet low and on the ground. I built up a fairly efficient power hike, and actually hiked by a runner who was running the climb. At the top of the climb, the run leveled out onto structure that was essentially two boards put together, with wire and 'staples' to allow for traction. Beside this 'boardwalk' were bogs. Some of the bogs were just uneven ground, some was shin deep pools of water. The wind was incredibly intense on the top of the ridge the boardwalk went over. I was blown off twice into some bogs, completely soaking me to the shins. I had to literally lean completely into the wind to maintain balance and I felt like my Patagonia Houdini was going to be ripped off my body.

Wind just started as you got up this climb.
Climb, wind pending.
Coming off the ridge, mom and pops in background
After getting off this boardwalk, we were treated to beautiful views of a lake below. At this point I also got to see my parents and girlfriend as they had made their way to this ridge. The run then took a left down some forest road and as I approached the turn around, the 25K runners had just started. I stayed to the outside as this massive pack took off up the road, knowing I would catch the back of the packers on the boardwalk.

Great view at the end of the ridge/near turnaround point.
After the halfway point I stopped taking pictures and went into 'race mode'. Running the ups as much as possible and maintaining a steady pace on the downs. The wind was just as bad up on the ridges, but after that everything was comfortable. I encountered some rain, and some sideways sleet for periods on the way back, but nothing that was too bad. Ran the last climb, and then the run finished on the road leading back to the pub.

Route back, passing some 25K runners.
On way back, had some sideways sleet shortly after this pic.
5:18 for 19th place. My Suunto came out with about 32 miles and 7,400 ft of gain. Really cool, handmade, finisher's mug given to all at the finish.

Finishers Mug