Friday, January 30, 2015

Mid-Week Longish Run

The most annoying thing happened to me on my run on Thursday. I made the rookie mistake of not making sure my Garmin was charged before I left the house. Ugh! I thought that I was so smart in charging it in the car on the way to the trail, but sadly the 30 minute charge only got me 3 miles worth of running. At the start of the run I thought "no worries, I will use Strava on my phone!" Well, those same 3 miles drained my phone battery 20%-- and I only had 40% to start with. Knowing that it is never a good idea to be in the woods with a drained phone, I shut it off and ran the rest of my run by time. I knew when I had to be back at the trailhead and gauged the rest of the run by that.

Unfortunately I must have been moving much, much slower than I thought. I gave myself a 15 minutes per mile allowance so my planned 7 miles should have taken me 1:45. I finished the run in 1:45 and when I got home and plotted the route online it said I only ran 6 miles. UGH. I do not know how I have slowed down so much, but that felt incredibly defeating. Maybe I spent more time staring at the waterfall than I thought? At least I did the time on my feet that I planned, so that was good. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day out at Cougar Mountain. The sun was shining, the trails were mostly dry, it was glorious. I ran a bunch of new trails and found another waterfall! I thoroughly enjoyed this new route. 

This is Far Country Falls.

Here is the map of the run. Start at Red Town Trailhead. The section on Wildside Trail is used to run out at the beginning then back at the end, like the stick of the lollipop!

When I plugged this route in to Map My Hike and it said the total elevation gain was 1,023 feet. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Saturday Long Run at Cougar Mountain

One of my goals for the year is to get to know the trails at Cougar Mountain very well. I would love to be able to run out there and always know where I am and always know what trails to run to get in the miles I need.

On Saturday I headed out to Cougar for a solo run. The great things about solo runs are that when you are feeling lazy, you can roll out of bed whenever you are (finally) ready. You are also able to run wherever you want, making up the route as you go. And, as was the case for me that day, you are allowed to walk as much as you want. It felt like I was battling the beginning of a cold and my energy wasn't where I would have preferred so I just really took my time to cover the miles. 

I thought it would be fun to start occasionally sharing some of my routes on the blog, in case any of you want to use them and also so I can remember them!

This run was 7.3 miles from the Sky Country Trailhead. One thing to note: I did an out and back to the Fantastic Erratic Boulder on the Bear Ridge Trail. Also to note, the Coyote Creek Trail is not marked off of Clay Pit Road. If you are running east on Clay Pit Road from the trailhead, Coyote Creek Trail is the first trail you will see off to the left.  

The elevation profile of this route is below. It is 1,305 feet of elevation gain. 

There were SO MANY wonderful things to see on this run! 

The boulder was kind of neat. I also passed by the mine shaft for the first time (spooky!). I was delighted to find one of the waterfalls at Cougar, as well, which was gorgeous. It was sweet to come up on a woodpecker working holes in to a dead tree, too.

Trail running never, ever is boring. It can be hard and and messy and exhausting as hell, but never boring.

Coal Creek Falls.

View down from the top of the boulder.

A pond.

Saturday's run brought me to 22.2 miles ran/walked with a total of 2896 feet of elevation gain for the week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Workouts and Randomness

I think I am ready for January to be over. Everyone in our family has been hit with some sort of sickness, but here's the kicker-- we don't really seem to even all have had the same one! Of course, viruses don't necessarily act the same in all people, so who knows, I just thought it super strange. Last week I picked a sick girl up from school, this week I picked up a sick girl from school, plus we've had some early release days and days off of school . . . needless to say, my schedule has been all wonky. Such is life as a stay at home mom! Luckily the only thing to suffer was a few of my workouts and that isn't the end of the world. I do love being able to easily take care of the girls when they need to be home sick. 

Last week's walking and running totaled 21.2 miles and 1906 feet of elevation. The other training point I am stuck on (in addition to not knowing how to balance road and trail miles) is how to factor walking in to my training schedule. Is it cross training? Can it take the place of any running miles? Man, I need a coach. 

My friend Sarah and I have been having a blast working out together at her gym (soon to be my gym, too!) once a week. We have been taking turns coming up with workouts and typically will focus on either upper or lower body and then some abs. Always abs. 

Now for the randomness:

*I have been flying through the entire series of Friends. Watching it on the iPad or Kindle means I just put on an episode while I am doing something (like typing this blog post!). Just started season 7.

*recently I read an article on Huffington Post that nicely explains why I almost completely stopped using Facebook. The author, Dawn Q. Landau, writes, in part:

Anyways, it is a great article. I urge you to read it. 

*How about those Seahawks, eh?

*And speaking of play-off games, I have suddenly become obsessed with figuring out what the heck happened with the Patriots' deflated balls

Monday, January 19, 2015

Road Miles

On Thursday morning I got up and headed right out the door to run first thing, which is something I rarely do. Despite it being early (for me) and being a bit behind on sleep from being home with a sick little girl, my legs were ready to go! In the interest of my goal of "climbing mountains", I headed out the door and straight towards one of the tallest and longest hills in the area. After powering straight up I was rewarded with an amazing view of Elliot Bay, downtown, and the Cascades off in the distance right as the sun was turning everything a million shades of copper. I took the back way down to Alki, then headed off to tackle one more hill before running back home. All in all, just under 500 feet of elevation gain. Not bad for a run before breakfast!

Lately I have been annoyed that I can't quite figure out how to factor in trail AND road miles in to my training. I can't tell if I should be paying attention to mileage or time on my feet! So, for instance, last weekend I did 11.6 miles on the trails in just over 3 hours. This weekend I did 13.1 miles on the roads in about 2 1/2 hours. Which would be harder? 

My body didn't love the road miles on Sunday. About half mile from the end my right hip just started to really hurt. Every step felt painful. If I had run those miles on the trail, would the same thing have happened? Well, obviously that is really hard to know. I DO know that I won't be running any farther than that on roads during the next training cycle!

Sally (who had already run 7 before I joined her) and I took on a fun route for the 13.1. Unfortunately it ended a wee bit short so we did a bit of an out and back at the end.

The route.
The elevation. 852 feet of gain.

My goal was to hit some big hills, which we succeeded in-- both out of the way early on, fortunately! After that we just had to contend with strong winds and driving rain, you know, stuff that makes running a total bitch. Between the hills and the weather, we were pretty slow, but it was simply nice to catch up with Sally. It just wasn't my most favorite run ever, but it built character and it does feel good to say I ran a half marathon for fun outside of my training program!

One more week "off" before 50K training officially starts!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Running, Walking, and Elevation Galore

I didn't make any resolutions or goals for 2014-- I knew that my only goal for that year, and every year, would be to stay healthy enough to keep running farther and farther distances. Goal met, I would say!

Despite telling myself that goals, or rather more goals than my usual (see above), weren't really necessary for 2015 I kept coming back to some things that I would like to focus on. 

The first one stems from my "theme" for the year, which is Climb Mountains. In the past I have always tracked my miles run, which mostly worked okay. I also walk a lot, but don't log those miles, and then I wondered, what is my goal with tracking miles? Well, I really want to know how much ground I cover over the course of a week, month and year. This year I am using a google spreadsheet to log every run and walk. In addition, I am logging the elevation gain of every walk and run. 

My mileage goal for the year (walking and running) is 1,000 miles. If I stay un-injured, this should be easily do-able. I hit 700 running miles in 2014 with a lot of time off and likely walked at least 300. My elevation goal for the year is 100,000 feet. Again, if I stay un-injured, I can reach this goal with almost daily movement and some long, hilly training runs and races. 

So, anyways, in my first week of tracking this I had a total of 23.6 miles, running and walking, and 4,400 feet of elevation gain.

Almost 75% of this elevation came from Sunday's long run. Stacey needed some serious elevation training for the Orcas 25k and I was more than happy to bum along on a run up Tiger Mountain. And why not throw in a jaunt around Grand Ridge for some more hills?

The view from the almost top of West Tiger 3. 
My camera didn't do it justice.
Stacey admiring the view. Those clouds were slowly climbing up the mountain, 
it was very cool to watch. 

Stacey climbing to the top.

The elevation of the run.

It was a fantastic, and pretty brutal, run. My quads were a weeeeee bit sore. One wonderful thing about it was that the climb up, as well as the descent, weren't nearly as difficult as they were last time I did them in September. Yay for progress!

I enjoyed showing Stacey Grand Ridge, aka the scene of my marathon. Hopefully we get some more runs in out there. Despite the elevation looking pathetic next to Tiger, it is a serious challenge!

Two more weeks "off" until 50k training begins! 

Monday, January 05, 2015

So This Is the New Year

MAN. I hate to say it, but I am glad the holidays are over. It don't remember the last time I felt so stressed and rushed over what is supposed to be a fun and celebratory time of year. Ugh. And I know I should be able to let stuff go, and be okay, but I DID let stuff go (and caught grief for it) and it was still somehow just a lot to manage. Come New Year's day I was totally sick, I think more like my body was just d.o.n.e. Last week I did zero exercising. Zero runs. Eventually I was okay with it, because A. I just couldn't run, and B. I am not currently training, anyways, so no better time to feel terrible.

It felt kind of sucky to lay in bed and check instagram and see how everyone is "ohmygod I ran a million miles and lifted a ton of weights!" on New Year's Day.  The one nice thing that came out of it, though, is that once January 3rd hit and I was feeling almost 100% again I had a new-found resolve to just kick more ass in 2015. I mean, yeah, everyone feels that way, right? The trick is figuring out how to harness that enthusiasm and build off of it all year long. 

I came across a blog post by an athlete who recommended a calendar to track daily progress of a larger goal. Small steps create big successes. The idea resonated with me, so I found a calendar online for free and printed it off. I intend to use it to mark off my daily strength and foam rolling exercises. One check every day. At all of those little steps will make one big strong me not only for my 50k in May, but for the rest of the year, too.

Here's what my calendar looks like hanging up:

You can print your own HERE!

The theme I have adopted so far for the year is Climb Mountains. Both figuratively and literally. One step at a time.

I had an amazing solo run at Cougar Mountain on Christmas Eve and, despite some other okay runs later that week, I sort of considered it my last run of the year. On Sunday I had my first official run of the year back at Cougar. I love that place so much. My goal this year is to get to know the trails more so I am not taking wrong turns every single time I try to go somewhere new (I am sure Stacey loves it when I tell her I want to take new trails and then don't know where to go!). So surely, over the course of 50k training, I will figure that place out. 

It has been very wet, and amazingly beautiful, out there. 

Here's what my shoes looked like after Sunday's run (you will have to imagine how soaked they were):

These are the Pearl Izumi Trail M2s. I love them. At first I really preferred my New Balance Leadville 1210s but now I am finding myself grabbing these just as often, especially for shorter or muddier/wetter runs. And yes, these are men's. I have been wearing men's running shoes for almost a year now, and while I didn't feel cramped before the switch, I do love the extra room in men's shoes. 

On Christmas Eve I tried to get some fun shots on the trails. Succeeded, I think! 

Fog in the trees.

Self-timer shot walking over a REALLY HIGH stream. 
Usually it is much lower!

I managed to sign up for yet another race-- that would bring my total to FOUR. Wow, I am dumb. Likely I am just testing fate by doing such a thing. I registered for a March half marathon, with Tara!, and we will have to tack on seven more miles at the end (pssst, Tara, I am taking you to Cougar! See above!) to total 20 that day. 

There is now a race in February, March, April and May. Kind of sort of have my eye on a race next weekend, and then I thought, hmmm, is this a fun new thing? A race a month? We'll see. But I really need to stop registering for races because it isn't smart.