Thursday, September 6, 2018

Night Run

Training for an ultra means practicing a little night-time running. And that's just what my friend, Ellen, and I did last weekend. She is training to attempt the first known time for the Columbia Plateau Trail (130 miles on an old railroad grade that has been converted to a trail). I'm not training for anything specific, yet. We arrived at Snoqualmie Pass and started on the Iron Horse Trail at about 8:15 pm and finished at 3:00 am. I arrived at home and showered just in time to slide into bed before the sun came up!

It was really cool to run on the Iron Horse Trail along Keechelus Lake. We could look across the lake and see the I-90 freeway. The sky was alive with stars, the Milky Way, and satellites.

I tried out my new running light, the Kogalla. I loved it! It is a strip of lights that I attached to my shirt with magnets. It has an external battery pack that I put in my running backpack. I never want to run with a headlamp again!

The run was relaxed-paced 30 miles, 15 mile out and 15 miles back. I didn't eat very much because we were going so slow that I didn't feel like I needed the calories. I also didn't eat when we finished because I went home and went to sleep. My recovery over the last few days has been slow and I'm sure it is because I didn't have a good recovery meal right away!

Running through an old train tunnel

Friday, July 20, 2018

Grey Rock 25K

Okay. So this déjà vu thing happened to me last weekend. I was registered for the Grey Rock 25K near Yakima, WA. It is about 150 miles away so I booked a room in a motel and drove over the night before the race. When I did my online search for a motel, I was looking for something close to the race and cheap but clean. I arrived at the motel. I parked. I saw the pool. And I instantly knew I had been there before. It was a family vacation when I was probably 5 years old (I did the math, it was probably 46 years ago). I am going to search my parents' house for pictures of that vacation because I know we have pictures of us kids swimming in that pool!

This pool looked the same almost a half a century ago.
Back to the race details. I got up race morning, made oatmeal in the microwave, and hopped in the car to start driving. The race was more than a half hour drive away and into the mountains at Tree Phones Campground. The sun was just coming up. I got a big surprise when I tried to back out of my parking space and figured out that I had a completely flat tire. I started taking the flat tire off to put on the spare (a full-sized spare, thankfully) when someone offered to help. I accepted, but I knew I wouldn't make it to the start of the race in time. So, I relaxed and resolved to just go with whatever the day would turn out to be.

I arrived at the race just minutes after the 50K folks had taken off. The 25K race was starting in a half hour. I talked to the race director, and checked in for the 25K. My plan was to go beyond the 25K turn around for as long as I could and still make it back before the cut-off time.

The course was amazing! It was an out-and-back. The first climb is to Whites Ridge. Then a huge descent to a river. And then it was uphill again to Foundation Ridge. The sun was shining and warm in the valleys, but the temps were very cool on the ridges. I saw Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier from the ridges. I didn't make it all of the way to the 50K turn around but I couldn't complain. My day turned out great!

Beginning of race. Heading up to Whites Ridge.

Out of the trees and getting close to Whites Ridge!

View of Mt. Rainier from Whites Ridge.

Whites Ridge.

360 degree view from Whites Ridge. The first mountain is Rainier and the second is Adams. They both look a lot alike to me!

Heading downhill to the valley.

My turn-around point on the way up to Foundation Ridge.

360 degree view from my turn-around spot.

Approaching Whites Ridge on my way back to the start.

The race was supported by a search and rescue team. They took their job very seriously. I don't think they appreciated me going beyond the 25K turn around. I checked in with every crew as I passed by and promised to return before the cut-off times for each station. This race was advertised as an excellent training run for the White River 50 miler. I agree whole-heartedly.

The search and rescue volunteers manning the aid station on Whites Ridge. These guys were in constant communication with each other on their radios. I felt like they knew where each and every runner was at all times.
After the race, I enjoyed some yummy barbeque and baked beans. Then, I headed to a tire shop to get my tire fixed. And there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. I think some kids that were staying at the motel had let the air out of the tire.

 I thought I had tan lines at the ankles.
I was wrong. It was just dirt.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sun Top Mt training run

I am in the final stretch for the White River 50 mile race. Last weekend, I did the training run on half of the race course. Along with other race entrants, I ran along Skookum Flats and up to the top of Sun Top Mountain. It was a nice day. I tried to push myself hard to get a good 23 mile training run.

Skookum Flats trail. This is a "tree overpass."

Bridge along Skookum Flats trail.

Northern view. I think the Corral Pass half of the race is over there.

I made a new friend, Christy, on the way up to Sun Top mountain.

Look-out tower at the top of Sun Top mountain.

The Mountain from Sun Top mountain!

I never get tired of seeing this old man.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tolt Pipeline Fat-Ass 13.1

My friend, Ellen, and her friend, Adam, set up the Tolt Pipeline Fat-Ass races and they are a great hill training tool. The course had 3 separate out-and-backs with 2 major hills. One hill was at about 0.5 miles and the other was at 6 miles. I missed the turn around for the first out-and-back and added about 2 miles on to my run. I had not run on the Tolt Pipline trail before. It is a great place for a training run!

First big hill at 0.5 miles

The top of a hill!

First turn-around that I missed. The sign had fallen down and twisted so that it was facing the side of the trail.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Millersylvania 50K

I am feeling committed to succeeding in my White River 50 mile race next month. To keep my distance running up, I signed up for the Millersylvania 50K. I'm so glad I chose to do this race. I hadn't been to Millersylvania State Park before, and it was a beautiful place to run!

The was a Rainshadow Running race. The course was five 10K loops, and one part of the trail was underwater. Just as my shoes felt dried out, I was back at the water and getting wet all over again. There was a lot of sand under that water and it made it's way into my shoes each time I ran through it. Water aside, the trail was really nice to run on. It was soft and wide.

The lake at the start of the race. I felt like I should have been getting ready for a triathlon!

Soft, smooth path

Fern meadow
More lovely trail

Monday, June 4, 2018

Teanaway Marathon

photo credit: Taryn Graham
Okay, I am refocusing from the 100 mile race search to training for the White River 50 Mile Endurance Run. I raced the Teanaway Marathon this weekend. It was a family camping affair. It's hard to believe it was just a week ago that I attempted the 100 miles at Pigtails.

I did this race in 2016 and it was hot. This year, I felt much better on the course.

We drove over to the Teanaway River the day before the race and set up our tent. We played in the river for the afternoon. On race day, I ran the marathon, my hubby ran the 10K, and our kids ran the 5K. The kids really rocked their race!

Hubby on the 10K course (Photo by Taryn Graham)
The kids rocking the 5K course (Photo by Taryn Graham)
The marathon course was 2 laps on a 13.1 loop, and it was truly beautiful. Here are some photos from the marathon.

Breakfast by the river before the race.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Unfinished Business

My DNF last week is nagging me. I can't not finish a 100 miler now. I keep reminding myself that 70+ miles is a respectable distance, and I wasn't really training for a 100 miles in the first place, but I feel strongly about needing to finish what I've started.

I am looking for a 100 mile race in 2018 to sign up. I don't mind traveling far. I would like it to be scenic. Elevation gain should probably not be more than 20,000 feet. Let me now if you have any suggestions!