Sunday, December 4, 2011

Forgotten Photos

Here are three pictures that I have had on my desktop that I planned to put in my next running blog and never got around to it. Enjoy!

On Moscow Mountain

Thanks for sending me this photo, Amy :)

Pullman at Sunset

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Snow's Here

It is cold on the Palouse, and my runs on Moscow Mountain this year are numbered. This is what my Sunday long run looked like:

Slow 5.4 miles

Moose Tracks

Looking forward to the spring already.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Trot 2011

On November 19, I went down to Lewiston for the Seaport Striders Turkey Trot. I wasn't planning to participate in the event, but multiple Beer Chasers were headed down, so I did too.

The event started at 10 AM. By 9:55 I had decided that I was going to run it. Standing on the sidelines in 30-degree temperatures didn't sound like fun. But I had a problem: I was wearing jeans.

"Oh well. It isn't like I was planning on breaking any records today," I thought, as I emptied out my change purse, searching for enough dimes and nickels to cover the steep $1 race entry fee.

At 10:02 we pulled into the parking lot and saw the racers bound from the starting line.

"Oh well. It isn't like I was planning on breaking any records today."

I put the loose change into my pockets and jumped onto the Greenbelt trail. Before I knew it, I was passing the walkers and the slow joggers with baby strollers. And within 10 minutes, I was all by myself in no-man's-land, the wide section that separates the fast runners and the walkers. For nearly 2.5 miles, I was by myself and keeping a 12:30 pace.

With a mile to go, I saw Scott and Sadie barreling towards me; they had finished the race long before I, and they were coming back my way to check on Denim McGoofball (the Denim Bullet? Flash McDenim...) I was doing fine, despite my attire.

At about 3.5 miles, Ben (another Beer Chaser) joined us to run to the finish. I finished in just about 49 minutes flat.

Though I know it is kind of silly, I was disappointed that I couldn't register post-race and that the drawings for the turkeys and pies were already finished. I went back to Pullman with my pocket full of nickels and no turkey. :(

I don't have any pictures of me running in jeans, but I did take this one photo of the course:


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Getting Motivated

Lately, I have been on a lot of good runs:
On Private Lands Bridge Trail, Moscow Mountain

By the water tower, above Pullman

Running down the hill by the water tower (I love this picture...)

On Kamiak Butte

A fishing boat on Rock Lake

Power poles above Rock Lake

Picture perfect - Rock Lake, WA
But lately, I haven't been super-stoked to leave work early to get on the trails.  That is not to say that I am done running or anything like that; instead, it means that I need to find some more energy for it and renew my motivation for running and fitness as a whole. 

I've heard that the best way to motivate oneself is to sign up for races.  And I am doing that; I am running the Pullman Winter Ultra Series and a 5K on New Year's Eve.  I'm also planning to stay involved in my running club and keep hitting the trails (and pavement) after work most days.

I think I am also going to shake up my fitness routine a bit in hopes that it will help my energy and motivation.  Today I looked into the Zumba classes offered in my community, and I figure that taking one might be just what my fitness routine needs.  At the very least, I am going to show up for the first day of class and see if I am just way too far out of my element (I am not very coordinated and have no experience dancing).  It starts November 1.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kamiak Trail Series 2011

Every other Tuesday, from mid-April to the end of September, I participated in (and co-coordinated) the Kamiak Trail Series.  The website describes the event as follows: "The Kamiak Loop Time Trials is a fun, tough, bi-weekly trail racing series set above the beautiful Palouse of southeastern Washington and north-central Idaho. [...] We want to provide a venue for trail runners to get together for a fun, run-as-fast-as-you-can, midweek run on a beautiful and challenging 2.25 mile trail."

Every other week, we changed the direction of the loop; on the first day of the event (April 12), we ran the loop counterclockwise, which consisted of running up the more gradual side of the butte and then running down the (really) steep side.  And then the next week, we ran it clockwise and hiked up the steep side.

It is a very challenging course even though it is only 2.25 miles long!

At the beginning of the series, I got it in my head that I was going to shoot for a sub-30 minute loop by the end of the summer.  My goal was completely arbitrary, but I liked round numbers, and it didn't seem out of the question since a few of the regular participants were able to do the loop in under 20 minutes.  So, I got it in my head that I had to beat my time each week - no matter what.

Well... I learned a couple of important lessons in attempting to keep this deal with myself:

1) Setting goals creates good motivation for improvement.  I improved a lot by the end of the series.  I am glad that I pushed myself to improve, and I felt like I had a lot of support - from friends who enthusiastically asked me whether I beat my time.  Yay goals!  Yay friends!

2) Goals need to be realistic and somewhat flexible.  When I set my goal, I didn't do so for any other reason than I liked the number 30.  And on top of that, I didn't know that I would have two nasal surgeries and a long recovery.  These things should have been taken into consideration... because without flexibility, one might cry after a particular race - oh, like maybe on August 16 - because one did not beat her last time. :(

Here are my race times in each direction:

42:04 - April 12
36:41 - May 10
34:11 - June 7
33:25 - July 5
32:27 - August 30
31:57 - September 27

39:01 - April 26
35:02 - May 24
32:35 - June 21
31:42 - July 19
32:48 - August 16
32:56 - September 13

I had a great time running, enjoying the amazing views on Kamiak, and BBQing with friends after the race.  In a way, I am kind of sad that the Series is over for the year.  But on the other hand, it is kind of nice not to have as many running-related time commitments; between Beer Chasers every Wednesday, weekend races, the Beer Mile, the Pullman Winter Ultras, and daily runs, I'm feeling like I am stretched pretty thin.  I'd like a little more time to just sleep in and go fishin'. :)


Wild Moose Chase Trail Run

On September 24, I ran a 10K called the Wild Moose Chase Trail Run.  The race took place in the Mt. Spokane State Park and started at the Selkirk Lodge (a cross-country skiing lodge, which had running toilets! - a luxury for most races).

The race was fun, and the course was pretty difficult.... hmmm, what else can I say?... 

I suppose I don't have a whole lot to say about the race because the primary feeling that I had after the race was that I shouldn't have run it in the first place.  My nose is still giving me trouble, and because of it, I am not in the kind of shape that I could be.  I knew I wouldn't PR and the race cost $40, but I couldn't help myself and signed up the morning of the event "just because," I suppose.

I hiked and walked the uphills and ran the downhills, and tried to ignore my nose and focus on the beauty surrounding me.  (It really is a beautiful area.) 

 And at about an hour in, I came upon another runner that I ended up befriending.  His name was Branden, and he said he was in first place for the first two miles.  He was 16 years old, and apparently wasn't very well-practiced at pacing himself.

We chatted about girls and wrestling and cars for around two miles. :)  I encouraged him on the uphills - "We're almost to the top, Branden!" - and before either of us knew it, we were at the 6-mile marker.

We decided to run it in, and he came in a couple of seconds ahead of me.  I finished in 1:29:13.

I didn't go home with a jar of honey - the prize awarded to the top finishers in each event - but I did go home with a race bib to put in my scrapbook. 


Walk for the Warriors

I have fallen behind on my blogging, and every day I intend to write, but nothing gets written.  So, I figure that writing a little something about the events that I have participated in lately is better than writing extensive race reports "someday."  So, here we go:

On September 20, 2011, I participated in the Walk for the Warriors, a 14-mile course along the paved Chipman Trail in Eastern Washington.  The race started at 8:00 AM in Moscow, ID, and I have to admit that at 7:55, I had some mixed feelings about the event.

First, I was nervous about the 14 miles.  Fourteen miles is the second-farthest distance that I have ever run, and most of my long runs these days are only 5 or 6 miles.  A part of me worried about injury and/or embarrassment. 

Second, I was disappointed by the turnout.  The race was advertised on the radio, and when I found out what the event was raising money for - the Warrior's Promise Foundation - I figured that lots of people would attend, especially since the event was on the weekend of September 11.  However, there were only five or six people there total, and I think that all of them were a part of my Wednesday night running group, the Palouse Falls Beer Chasers. 

(Side note: I still think I might write a harshly-worded letter to all of the ROTC programs on both the WSU and UI campuses, scolding them for their absenteeism.  They should have been there, if you ask me...)

And third, I was pretty excited.  It is hard not to feel some adrenaline on the morning of a race, even when one knows she is going to do a lot of walking.

At 8:00, the race began, and I quickly determined that I needed to pace myself.  I had been casually planning to run 1/2 mile then walk 1/2 mile for 14 miles, and after running the first half mile at about a 8:30 pace, I decided to fully commit to that plan.  I simply could not keep that pace.

It turns out that my plan was a good one.  It was realistic given the distance of the event and the shape that I was in.  I felt good for nearly the whole run.  Around mile 10, I was feeling pretty tired, but I didn't have many options and decided to just keep plugging along.  And at mile 13, I had enough energy to entertain the idea of running the final mile.

In the end, I ended up walking about 6.5 miles and running 7.5.  I came in at 3:22:31.

I really hope the event attracts more people next year.  The volunteers were great, and it is for a good cause.  I'm glad I participated.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Puffer Butte Huff and Puff

Last Saturday I participated in a 4.6-mile trail run against the advice of my ENT doctor.

The back story: I've been struggling with what to do with myself these days.  I've had two septoplasties in the past two months, but I haven't wanted to give up exercising altogether. 
Pic from my first surgery
Technically I am not supposed to run and engage in activities where blood rushes up into my head (and swollen nasal capillaries/tissues), but it has felt like a long recovery already, and I am ready to feel like me again.

So, as I was putting on my running shorts on the morning of the Puffer Butte Huff and Puff - a 5-mile trail race in Fields Spring State Park - I worried that I would regret my decision to ignore my doctor's advice.  "I'll just walk most of it," I told myself; and this made me feel better.  At least temporarily.

Before the race I warmed up a bit in the lodge and made small-talk next to the fire.  Then I lined up in the back of the smallish pack of people gathered for a picture at the starting line.
63 runners participated
The gun went off, and I started a slow jog that I maintained for nearly the whole race.  My plan to walk was destroyed when I realize that there was only one person (who was my mom's age) behind me.  I kept about a 13-minute pace, which isn't "race fast," but it pushed me to my limit that day.

The last mile of the trail was the best, by far.  It was a single-track dirt trail, and (because of my pace and the size of the race) I was the only one on it.  I wish I had pictures to show you.  Even though my nose was hurting me pretty bad, I remember enjoying myself on that path.

I came in at 1:01:08 and got a 3rd place age group ribbon.  Both of these are kinda funny since the website later showed that the 5-miler was actually 4.6 miles, and the list of runners shows me as 9th in my age group.  Oh well. :)
I was feeling pretty miserable at this point.
Smiling for the camera - post ice and pain killers
As always, I am glad to have participated. 


P.S. This is one of THE BEST-marked courses I have ever seen.  Thanks to Race Directors Jennifer and Shaun for showing us the way.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Madison Half

On July 24th I ran the Madison Half Marathon.  It was a pretty awesome experience.  Here are the highlights:

I got to Montana a couple of days early.  Though I have been to Montana before, I was blown away by the beauty of the land and sky. 

On Saturday I went exploring and took some pictures.  The rain had cleared up, and I could see each layer of mountain in front of me.    
I half-expected to see a grizzly in one of the meadows but never did.
I climbed this hill to get another perspective...and got winded from the elevation.  Uh oh.

Indian Paintbrush for my good friend Rose

The highest elevation of the race

Sunday morning registration came early.  Apparently I wasn't thinking straight because I left my iPod and my Garmin back at the car.  I got on the bus to the starting line with just my race stuff (water bottle, shoes, clothes, two gels, and some Chomps) and a smile.

The 13.1-mile bus ride to the start was long, and truth be told, that intimidated me. I wondered how my lungs would do at 9,500', and I worried I was going to come in last...again.  (Such things shouldn't bother me, and for the most part they don't; but I had to make a conscious effort to tell myself that I was there for the views and the experience and not the time.)
About to start and a little nervous
The race started around 9:15, and it was unlike any start that I have ever seen.  The race director's son rang a triangle announcing the start, and everyone started running.  But that only lasted a couple of seconds; the first hill was right in front of us, and most slowed to a power-hike.  It was awesome to see other racers walking with me; my spirits improved instantaneously.

The first few miles of the race were good.  I hiked all of the uphills, and I even passed a few people.  (Perhaps I should thank Moscow Mountain and Kamiak Butte for that.)  I loved running the downhills. 

Isn't this just an awesome dirt road?! This stretch is pretty typical of what I saw for the whole race. 
I knew that the climb to the highest part of the race was coming up, but I embraced the fact that the long, hard climb was inevitable.  After over a mile of climbing, I still had this far to go:
This picture just doesn't do the mountain justice.  It was TOUGH!
Just past the summit, I caught up with a runner named Tim, and we ran together for almost two miles.  It was nice to jog and chat with someone I never would have met without this race. 

It is funny that I don't have more stories about each mile like I did during my first half marathon and my first marathon.  The race just kinda blends together as a gorgeous long run that I am blessed to have experienced.  I never felt like I was gonna die; I never wanted to cry when I realized how far I still had to go.  I just enjoyed the landscape.  I don't want to get ahead of myself here, but it was almost as if I am getting more comfortable with the distance of a half marathon; I knew how long 13 miles feels, and I knew that I could handle it.

The only time I felt borderline-discouraged was around mile 9.  I felt like I had been climbing more than I was descending, and I then I saw this: 

Again, the climb was long and slow, but that just made the blue Gatorade even more delicious.  (Thank you, race volunteers!  You were amazing!!)

More views:
Black Butte
When I was around mile 11, I decided to check my time.  My average pace put my finish time at just about 3 hours even.  I decided to pick up the pace to ensure a 3-hour finish time. 

Unfortunately, my RunKeeper application on my phone and the course mile markers were a little bit off.  According to my app, I reached the 13-mile mark with two minutes to spare.  However, I didn't reach the 13-mile sign until after 3 hours had passed.  My official finish time was 3:03:09.

A welcome sight no matter how beautiful the course.

I was bitten by one of the deer flies that swarmed me from mile 11 on.  The welt took up the better part of my thigh by the next morning.
Tired legs

I am so glad to have run the Madison Half.  The landscape was breathtaking; the volunteers were wonderful; and the feeling I got after completing a race at over 9000', well, it makes me smile just thinking about it.  I highly recommend it... but bring your bug spray! :)



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bellevue Ghost Half Marathon

After running a half marathon on Saturday, I signed up for a second half marathon on Sunday.  I must be a crazy person (or at least run and travel with a convincing one).

At 6:30, or so, we showed up for the Bellevue Ghost Half/Marathon.  After a briefing about the course, we were given a little piece of paper with the directions for the course. 
So, where do we go?

Good-lookin' group of runners
I normally don't like posting unflattering pictures of myself, but this one cracks me up.  It pretty much covers how I felt about attempting a second half marathon in one weekend.  

The race started just after 7:00, and the other racers left me in the dust by 7:05.  That was JUST FINE by me, though.  My legs were already hurting, and I was planning to walk the majority of the 13.1 miles anyway.  I put on my headphones and looked to the sidewalk for course markers.

Truth be told, I got lost a couple of times despite the yellow and silver arrows and the directions in my pocket.  Regardless, I got a walking tour of Bellevue, and I even met a marathoner who pulled over next to me after noticing my shirt.  We chatted for a bit, and then she directed me to the street that I was supposed to be on.
A little creepy

Mt. Rainier peaking over the trees

Shopping possibilities for after the race

Nice little run

Didn't love running alongside so many cars

Hilly Bellevue
When I made it to the finish, my Garmin said I had gone 13.2 miles in 3:58:38.  I didn't care that I was slow; I had just finished TWO half marathons!  And, I finished first in my division. ;)

Pretty cool.