Monday, May 25, 2015

While you were away

Susan and her family went to Seattle for the long Memorial Day weekend, which left me contemplating how many solo miles I wanted to log over the weekend. For whatever reason 20+ miles solo is really mentally challenging for me, it is more getting myself out the door than anything else. Once I am running, I am fine but I seem to find all sorts of ridiclious things to keep me from reaching the trailhead. We call this 'fucking around on purpose' or FAOP for short. 

Thursday Susan told me that she would have time to run ~10 miles on Friday morning before they left for Seattle. I was elated, not only would I get to have some time on the trails with Susan, but I could shorten my solo run the next day since I was going to put in extra miles on Friday. 

I planned a route where we would run up to the Pittock Mansion first thing in the morning and hopefully get a good view of the city waking up. The weather didn't have the same plans, so instead we got an over cast view of Portland. 

Portland from Pittock
Friday route:
holman - ww : .76
ww - pittock : 2.25
ww (pittock) - aspen : 2.68
aspen - aspen ave : .23
aspen ave - leif : .50
leif - alder : 1.57
alder - ww : .84
ww - birch : 1.96
birch - 53rd : .23

total : 10.92
A very green Springville

Saturday, I perfected the art of FOAP! I think it took me 3 hours to get myself out the door to the trail. I wavered back and forth on what distance I should run. I finally decided to have my husband drop me off at the Springville trailhead and I would just figure out a route as I went and eventually make my way home. 

I ended up running 15 miles which was some variation of Springville - Ridge - Leif - Maple - Wildwood - home. I listed to Trail Runner Nation and Ultrarunner Podcast while I ran, which is always good company.

Saturday evening John and I met friends in Hood River for beers and to see another friend's band play at Double Mountain. This also gave us the opportunity to explore some new trails on the other side of the Gorge. 

Coffee in Hood River before hiking

Sunday we decided to go check out Observation Peak, outside of Carson, Washington in the Trapper Creek Wilderness. It was overcast the whole time, since we weren't going to get any views we decided to take the Sunshine trail, since there was a sign that said, "Primitive trail not maintained".  We had a fun time hopping over and going under trees and trying to find the trail. Overall the trail wasn't that bad for an "unmaintained trail", there were even little trail makers on the trees with sunshines carved into them. 

According to Strava we ended up doing ~11.4 miles. I was pretty happy with my milage for the weekend, with 2 runs and the hike. That was until I got in the car and got cell coverage.

Yes, please!

Trail maker for Dry Creek Trail

I got a text from #trailrunning (aka David) asking if I wanted to run 20 miles the next day. For a moment I thought that is dumb, I put in enough miles for the weekend, but that thought passed quickly and I responded with a yes. As soon as I got home I planned a 20 mile route for us. 

We actually ended up running ~22 miles, because David wanted his Strava to say 20 miles since it was off a bit. Mine was fairly accurate, but I was fine running an extra few miles, I was feeling great. The Trail Factor 50k  was going on while we were running, we kept getting mistaken for racers and getting told, "good job". Which is always nice to hear regardless if you are racing or not, we did info people that we were not racing but just out for a causal jog. 


Monday route:
Holman - ww: .76
ww - alder: 3.5
alder - leif: .84
leif - maple: 2.7
maple - leif : 2.73
leif - saltzman : .23
saltzman - ww: .50
ww - holman : 10
holman - 53rd : .76 

total: 22.02

Considering I thought I was going to be (mostly) solo running this weekend, it actually turned out to be a pretty social weekend. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My interpretation of recovery

It is 2 weeks post-Miwok and I am still struggling to motivate myself to write the race report, I promise I will get it up soon. Susan needs to finish her race report for Peterson Ridge as well. I wasn't going to write any blog post until I finished the Miwok race report, but then they just start piling up and the whole blog thing just feels daunting. 
Yoga is part of recovery! 

So let's start with the end of the Miwok story: recovery. 

Our normal recovery pattern has been to take a day or two off of running, post a long run/race and to ease back into running, but by the next weekend we are doing a long run (20+ miles). My body didn't feel that wrecked after Miwok, but I was pretty wiped out mentally. I felt like a zombie at work, so I figured I should actually try and recover "better" this time. A quick Google search later I came across "Recover Better: 10 Rules For Optimal Ultramarathon Recovery" on irunfar.com

Using the article as a guideline for my recovery, this is how I applied the 10 rules:

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Rule #1: Know the Rules!

I read the rules and thought we don't race that much, so we are already doing: Racing must be limited.
Notice how I skipped over all the other rules, especially: No matter who you are, the rules still apply.

Rule #2: Don’t Run!

We already broke this one, we ran 2 days after our race, but only 4 miles. We thought of it as a "recovery run". But the article clearly states: running is runing... if one is looking to truly recover from running one must–at least for a time–not run. Ok, I could do that the rest of the week. 
Rule 2 also suggested one day off for every 10 miles raced, it also said something about more days off for heavy-vertical races, but I ignored that part. I ran a 62 mile race, so I only needed to take 6 days off. Great, I could do a longish run by Saturday. 

Rule #3: Commit!

No, problem! I had a plan, I wouldn't run until Saturday!

Rule #4: Refuel

What I remembered this rule saying was: Listen to your cravings. Satisfy the urges that naturally come and are well-earned after a hard race or long competitive season.

My body was craving beer, I didn't drink for 1 whole week before the race! I made sure to satisfy that urge. 

It took a few days for my appetite to come back, but when it did I ate what I wanted and didn't care for a few days. Then I started to worry I was going to gain weight. I am sure the article said something about gaining weight was a good thing, bah. 

Rule #5: Get Moving!

This rule was probably the easiest for me to follow. I have started going to yoga more than one day a week, which is all I was doing pre-race. 

Rule #6: Go to Bed!

Even if I tried to stay up late I don't think it would of happened. But no matter what time I went to bed I was still waking up at 5:30, though I was sleeping pretty hard. I felt tired in the mornings, but rested, if that is even possible. 

Rule #7: Get a Life (Outside Running!)

I went to lunch with friends at work instead of running or working out. I spent Mother's day weekend with my moms, but only after I went on a 12 mile run. The next weekend I spent with my sister, but that being 14 days after Miwok I did run 23 miles with Susan and Sally. 

All kidding aside it was really nice to reconnect with friends and family and not feel guilty about missing workouts or not running 20+ miles (well at least the first weekend post-Miwok). 

Rule #8: Turn It Off

This was a complete fail, 1 day post-Miwok I was already looking at 100 mile races for next year. 

Rule #9: Check Yourself

Now one day after running 23 miles 14 days after our race, I think it might of been a little too much. Yesterday morning I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, but I ignored it because desperately wanted to run. Of course I woke up today with it feeling worse, hopefully I am learning something here.... 

Rule #10: Start Over

And here I am, wondering am I done recovering? Should I take it easy this week? Probably going back to our normal workout routine last week wasn't the best idea. I think the next race we train for I will ask our coach to add a recovery plan into our training plan, then I feel more accountable. 

Obviously I didn't do an awesome job of following the rules, but I know what I can do better / different next time. 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last taper before Miwok

At the trailhead - which sums up how I feel about tapering
For our last taper run before the Miwok100k we had planned on running Larch Mountain. I had been exhausted all week, so being overly paranoid about getting sick and over doing it the week before our longest and possibly hardest run to date, I decided to stick to Forest Park for our taper run. 

I pulled out my Forest Park map and cobbled together a ~14 mile route, with a few hills to make it tough but not enough to over do it. 


my back of the napkin route
Overall the run felt great to me and it was over way too fast. That is one of the problems with tapering, the short distances feel great and you want to keep going, but if you are smart you don't. We were smart this time, I can't say that for all our "tapers". Since Miwok has what we consider a pretty aggressive cutoff time, we are trying to play it pretty smart during our taper, not that it is always easy. 



rerouted alder trail

my last beers until after Miwok
Taper Route: 
birch - ww : .22
ww - alder : 2
alder - leif : .84
leif - Fl1 : 1.54
FL1 - hw 30 : 1.41
fl1 - 53rd : 2.14
fl1 - ww : .25
ww - holman : 5.20
holman - 53 : .76
total 14.36

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Just teleport from Firelane 1 to Firelane 3

I tend to create routes late on Friday night before our long run Saturday morning. So it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that I messed one up. I wanted to put some good climbs in, but not make Sally have to do them during her 14 miles with us, since she hadn't run in a while.

So we started at Saltzman, down Firelane 5, along Maple, up Firelane 3, then out on Wildwood where Sally turned around. Ann and I continued up to Pittock where we had our break, and turned around. Ann's husband, John, had told us that something crazy had happened to the Alder trailhead on Wildwood, so I made sure to take that down to Leif.

Gorgeous spring weather

Indeed, the top of the trail had been utterly altered. Large branches stuck jaggedly vertical, making it impassable. A tenth or two of a mile down Wildwood, there are now two new, beautifully graded trailheads that although unmarked, meet up with Alder. It's quite extensive, well-done work.

When we got to Firelane 1, I had an inkling that we should go up to Wildwood, but we would have had lots more miles on WW than I had written down. So we continued on to Firelane 3, which was additional miles on Leif. As we ran, we did the math and realized the extent of my mistake. We would still have too many additional miles for a taper, unless we continued on Leif to Saltzman.

While it wasn't the route we would have chosen (too many miles on rocky Leif), it's a great feeling to know the trails so well that we can calculate on the fly. Too bad the route didn't work for the distance we needed; well, it would if we could have teleported from Firelane 1 on Leif to Firelane 3 on Leif. Maybe in the (distant) future...

The top of the old Alder trail-- very much closed
First part:
  • Start at Saltzman trailhead
  • FL 5 to Leif (6.58)-- 1.1 miles
  • Leif (6.58) to Maple (le 6.44)-- .14 miles (1.24 total)
  • Maple to Leif (4.22)-- 2.66 miles (3.9 total)
  • FL 3 to WW (13.64)-- .31 miles (4.21 total)
Sally's end (14):
  • Sally turns around at WW (10.50)-- 3.14 miles (7.35 total)
  • WW (10.50) to Saltzman (ww 16.01)-- 5.51 miles (12.86 total)
  • Saltzman (ww 16.01) to car-- 1.12 miles (13.98 total) 

Original end (flawed):
  • WW (13.64) to Pittock (ww 3.84)-- 9.8 miles (14.01 total)
  • Pittock (ww 3.84) to Adler (ww 9.40)-- 5.56 miles (19.57 total)
  • Alder(ww 9.40) to Leif (1.49)-- .84 miles (20.41 total)
  • Leif (1.49) to FL 3 (le 3.03)-- 1.54 miles (21.95 total)
  • FL 3 (le 3.03) to WW (13.64)-- .31 miles (22.26 total)
  • WW (13.64) to Saltzman (ww 16.01)-- 2.37 miles (24.63 total)
  • Saltzman (ww 16.01)  to car-- 1.12 miles (25.75 total)

Revised end:
  • WW (13.64) to Pittock (ww 3.84)-- 9.8 miles (14.01 total)
  • Pittock (ww 3.84) to Adler (ww 9.40)-- 5.56 miles (19.57 total)
  • Alder(ww 9.40) to Leif (1.49)-- .84 miles (20.41 total)
  • Leif (1.49) to Saltzman (le 6.2)-- 4.71 miles (24.63 total)
  • Saltzman (le 6.2)  to car-- 1.62 miles (26.74 total)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Another 30 in Forest Park

According to our Miwok training plan Susan and I needed 35 miles for the weekend. Susan had early afternoon commitments, so we decided on 30 miles on Saturday starting earlier than normal. I figured I could add on miles on Sunday. I picked a route that wasn't too hilly so we could run quicker and Susan could get home. As a result we didn't take any pictures, but I did want to document our route. But here is a link to my Strava results. 


Route: 
birch - ww : .22
ww - maple : 5.25
maple - leif : 3.55 (9.02 total)
leif - waterline (mm 10.2) : 3.8
waterline - ww : .35
ww - birch : 16.5
birch - 53rd .22
total : 29.89

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Shetha's longest

After taking Friday off for a long run in the Gorge, we knew we wanted to do a "shorter" long run on Sunday. We teamed up with Shetha for her longest run to date: 17 miles. I picked up Shetha and we drove out to the Newberry Rd end of Wildwood, where John and Ann picked us up and dropped us off at the top of Firelane 3, off of NW Thunder Crest Dr.

Use of this trailhead is clearly not encouraged

The gate at Thunder Crest had lots of signs about cameras, no parking, no drop-offs, etc. They clearly do not want people using this trailhead, and unsurprisingly, none of us had been to it before. 

Odd little "welcome" sign halfway down FL 3
It was a lovely downhill on FL 3 to Wildwood at mile 13.64. I was delighted to feel pep in my legs, despite our rough ~32-ish miler in the Gorge two days earlier. From there we headed north on Wildwood, all the way to the end (and my car).
Shetha's four-leaf trillium

We had a discussion about four (and more) leaf clovers and Shetha remembered seeing something even more rare: a four-leaf trillium! Even better, she remembered where it was and pointed it out to us.

Running ladies: Ann, Susan, Shetha
The run felt surprisingly good to me, and I was so impressed with Shetha's perseverance as she pushed through nausea and working on nutrition while extending her mileage. It was also her first visit to the far north of Wildwood trail-- a great addition when you're getting up in miles.

Plan B loop

Waterfall on the way to Larch Mountain


Susan and I had planned another day off of work training run, this time with our trainer Willie. We had our eye on the loop around Mt. St. Helens, since we knew a few people who had ran it in February and there had not been any new snowfall since then. But unfortunately due to a few scheduling mishaps and the possibility of bad weather we decided on Plan B and to do Mt. St. Helens in May or June. 




top of Larch Mountain
Plan B was something I cobbled together a few nights before our run, before we knew Plan B was going to become Plan A. Which really means that I didn't put as much research into the route as normal. I looked at my Columbia Gorge maps and linked several trails, which we had not run on or had not been on in awhile to nearly form a 40 mile loop. Normally I would look up the elevation gain and loss of each trail and read Oregon Hikers trail reports, but I didn't do that this time. 


Willie and Susan at the top of Larch Mountain
Mt Hood
I knew that I wanted to make Susan run up Larch Mountain, since she has a mental block on part of the trail and I hiked it a few weeks ago and told her it is a lot more runnable than Mt. Defiance. Well, naively I assumed the trail back down from Larch Mountain and all the connecting trails to Gorge 400 would be a nice gradual downhill. I should have of known better, I have been hiking in the Gorge for 15 years, but it goes to show you that even when you think you know something well you don't. Meaning that we did get a little downhill from Larch Mountain to Horsetail Creek, but Horsetail Creek to Nesmith Road was all uphill. Nesmith to Gorge 400 was not a gradual downhill, it is 4.5 miles of rocky downhill loosing ~4000 feet. 
Willie crossing a steam on Horetail Creek 
Susan making her way across
By the time we reached Gorge 400, it was close to 4pm and we still had 15.6 miles to go, which included a 2000+ foot climb up Oneonta to Franklin Ridge. Susan had left her headlamp in the car to make room in her bag for food for a 100 mile run (that is another blog post). So we decided when we got to the junction with Oneonta we would make a call on if we did that portion of the route or continue on Gorge 400 back to Multnomah Falls. Willie had plans that evening in Portland and had to take off, leaving us to make our own stupid decisions. 


Only part of the food Susan brought instead of a headlamp and other essential items

The food that was left over after the run. She might be faster if she didn't carry as much. ;) 

Since I didn't do my normal obsessive route planning, I didn't know that part of the Oneonta trail was closed due to a landslide. We walked up to the landslide and tried to go around it but after a few minutes we decided it would be wise to skip that part of the route. We headed back to Gorge 400 to complete the loop to Multnomah Falls. Even in my head I remember Gorge 400 being flatter than it seemed, it might have been that it was the end of the run and the slightest elevation gain on a rocky trail seemed hard.

We finally made it to the top of the unanticipated hill 


Views of the Gorge coming down Nesmith
 We did luck out with weather this time, the rain held off until we were in the car. Despite not being able to complete the full 38.1 mile route we did gain ~9600 feet according to Strava. Which is excellent training for Miwok. Sometimes it isn't always about the number of miles. 

The original route with the part we skipped strikethrough: 
Multnomah Falls Lodge - Larch Mountain 441 : 6.8
Larch Mountain 441 -  Multnomah Creek Way 444: 2 (8.8)
Multnomah Creek Way 444 - Mulnomah Creek Spur 446: .2 (9)
Multnomah Creek Spur 446 - Oneonta 424: .8 (9.8)
Oneonta 424 - Horsetail Creek 425: 2.2 (12)
Horsetail Creek 425 - Nesmith Rd: 5.6 (17.6)
Nesmith Rd - Nesmith Point 427: .4 (18)
Nesmith Point 427 - Gorge 400: 4.5 (22.5)
Gorge 400 - Oneonta 424: 5.8 (some road) (28.3)
Oneonta 424 - Franklin Ridge 427: 4.6 (32.9)
Franklin Ridge 427 - Larch Mountain 441: 2.2 (35.1)
Larch Mountain 441 - Multnomah Falls Lodge: 3 (total 38.1)


Strava map