Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Trail Running For A Year

So yesterday was a milestone kinda day, it's been one year now since I took up the "fine art" of trail running. Hollah! Had I not broken my hand last year whilst mountain biking, the thought of running would have probably never crossed my mind. A blessing in disguise? I dunno, but I sure am glad I added it to the mix. Anyhow, I decided the only way to celebrate this momentous occasion would be to... you guessed it, to go for a run! With my nagging pain & injuries I've come down with over the last couple weeks, I figured a short loop on Lower Mac to Wild Cherry would be a perfect way to ease back into things. Also, I picked up a new pair of INOV-8 Trailroc 255's the other day to try out too! Ahhh yeah!

I decided to take it slow. A tiny bit of knee pain let it self be known shortly into the run once I switchbacked onto Wildwood, but it quickly subsided. Heel pain, damn, not really there either. I was consciously thinking about fore-foot strikes the entire time (damn my heel striking to hell!), so it felt quite all right. I even felt like there was spring to my step, especially going up hill with these news 255's. Traction wise, they seem to be on par with my 285's. Didn't really get to try them out in any mud just yet, just a few tacky sections, but they felt great.

Woke up this morning, lo and behold, intense heel pain. Not sure what the deal is, but it's crazy, almost as if I struck a nerve. Arrrgh!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Always Something

So I thought I was going to start off June with a bang, unfortunately, it turned out to be much more of a fizzle. The initial hike up Indian Point was a great way to start the month off. A couple days later, I did my Lower Mac Alderizer loop. A nice 8'er with some change. The run started out quite slow, but finished surprisingly quicker than I anticipated. Once I made it back to the apartment, I knew something was up. I was talking to my neighbor whilst catching my breath and noticed a sharp twinge in my right knee. Knowing that I like to blast down the Thurman bridge on occasion, this was most likely the culprit... just an over-extended knee I thought.

Well, that kinda sidelined me from doing any more running for the rest of the week. I did manage to get in a few hikes that weekend and the next (felt a little bit of knee pain, but really not too bad) and a few great mountain bike rides as well. No pain at all when on the bike, which woulda totally bummed me out otherwise. Aside from that, anytime I would attempt to do any kind of running, I would feel the twinge in my knee. So I figured I would just take a couple weeks off. Blargh.

Fast forward to last Saturday, after a rather over the top bloodymary filled work function, and then nap session, I figured it would be best to do a little hike. We parked at the zoo and took the Marquam trail just up to Council Crest. A rather short out and back, but with great views of downtown Portland. Once we got back, I noticed no real pain in my knee, but now my left heel hurt! WTF?! Seriously, how do I keep getting injured. Although, I do think the heel pain is from my ongoing battle with PF. I went riding the next day up in the gorge at Syncline (it was a bit rainy, which meant no rattlesnakes would be out), and again, no pain at all. However, once I was off the bike and walking around, the pain was definitely there again. I tell ya, it's always something.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Indian Point Trail

Finally, the sun is out again! I was starting to get a bit worried that this was going to be what the locals called "June-uary." Back to the point, Indian Point- the hike we planned on doing the previous week, thwarted by a directional snafu at the very last second. This time around, we found it. Hiking up trail 408 was not too bad, then again, anything compared to the Wyeth trail from the week before, is not too bad. We hit the "look-out" point just above Indian Point right at about the 2 hour mark. As we were heading down towards Indian Point, we missed the off-path turn off, and ended up going about 3/4 mile past it. Just shy of Deadwood trail, we beat feet back and headed down to the said Point. Resting, snacking, and photos ensued. Seriously, we need to up our snack game. I think I mentioned this last time on our hellacious Wyeth hike. Must not forget the good snacks! On the way back, we made the lollipop loop up to the cut-off trail and then down Nick Eaton trail. Damn, that is a steep ass trail in sections, glad we didn't come up it! Essentially, from the cut-off trail and down Eaton trail, we were back at the car just under an hour. Cracked open some ice cold Modelos and alllllll was good.

Distance: ~9.5
Elevation Gain: ~2,800
Time: 3:58

Friday, May 31, 2013

97.73

"Can I log 100 miles this month!?" For some reason, that is what popped into my head on Cinco de Mayo as I was cooking away in the kitchen. Mmmm, homemade carnitas tacos! At 25 miles a week, no prob I thought, I can do this. I've logged a few 25'ers in the past, but never consecutively for 4 weeks in a row. I accept this challenge! So, uhm, instead for 4, it's actually going to be just a hair over 3 weeks. Doh! I shoulda thought about this challenge at the end of April, and why didn't I log any miles for the past week?! Granted, I did get in a semi-epic mountain bike ride up in the Gorge the first weekend in May, so it's not like I didn't not do anything.

Anyhow, in order to make up for the first week of logging no mileage, I had to get a bit creative. I added in a couple weekend hikes, which should be more appropriately deemed, speed-hikes. We hiked to high-points and/or a summits on the trail, then ran back down to the trailhead. Also, right towards then end of the month, I embarked on a couple road runs, mainly for training purposes- to become quicker overall on the trails. Gotta do, what you gotta do, right? So as the title states, 97.73 miles were logged. In the end, I should have pushed myself a bit harder, but alas, I was quite sore from the industrial Saltzman loop from the beginning of the week. Just not worth it.

So that brings me to where I am today, the goal for June is to actually log 100 miles. Knowing that I came so close may seem like I got this in the bag this time around, but since it's full on mountain biking season, it may be tough to do! Must... Ride... Mountain bikes... is all I have on my brain. In addition to the 100 miles, I am also adding in an overall elevation gain component with a minimum of 15,000 feet. This should make things interesting.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Industrial Saltzman Leifer

So after reading a few different runner blogs, articles and such, I figured the best way to increase my speed and weekly mileage would be by adding (wait for it) the dreaded ROAD! Yes, I know, it totally goes against everything this blog stands for, but I need to improve both those areas quite a bit. Possibly, I will only have to implement this new behavior for a short time. We shall see. Anyhow, that brings me to today, day 1 of the dreaded road training. I left the apartment and headed up St. Helens road to Highway 30. St. Helens is fine, since their is a legit sidewalk to run on, but once I hit Highway 30, the sidewalk just goes away. Of course, it does return a short while later, but seriously, that road is cray cray. I don't trust any of those drivers whatsoever. Even the random debris that can fling up, no bueno. Once the sidewalk came back, I felt a bit relieved; about a minute of being on it, I hit Saltzman.

So the goal was to hit Saltzman and take it up to the gate, then turn around and head back the way I came. However, after running on Highway 30, the rain had started, and there was no way I was going to run with my back to the traffic. My fight or flight plan was to then proceed past the gate (I hit the gate at 27:27 by the way) and then head on up to Leif. It started pouring. Like torrential downpouring Midwest style. Daaaaamn! I was unsure how far up Leif was, so I cruised along at a comfortable speed. I hit Leif right at 42 minutes. For about 1 minute I didn't know which way to go as its a multi-intersection. Ahhh, there's the map; I then quickly figured things out. Ack! I pass mile marker 6! Aren't I lucky? Oh, dreaded Leif, you've come back for retribution, haven't you?! Somewhere around mile marker 4, I take note of just how soaked I am. Feet toally drenched, but didn't feel so bad. Thank you Drymax Socks! My Patagucci Houdini is keeping me warm, but alas, I am completely soaked through on that as well. Shorts, same deal. Leif has turned itself into a wide 6 foot river in places. I guess the sounds of the squishy shoes and slippery'ish mud helped me get through it. Oh yeah, totally heard a cracklin' of a branch and watched a good 20 foot long branch come down too. I was probably about 30 feet away, but still, it scared the crap outta me. All that rain is making those limbs waaaay to heavy to support themselves. The last 3 miles or so on Leif, I felt the need to switch sides constantly, fearing more broken branches falling on me. Hah! Finally hit the Thurman gate, and then beat feet back to the apartmento in about 8 minutes. So much for my standard road run I had planned.

Distance: 11.94
Elevation Gain: 912
Time: 1:42:33

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Wyeth Trail Rendezvous Fail

Another trip with the fam (girl and pup) up into the gorge meant it was hikin' time. Our original planned hike directions got a bit wonky at the last minute and we ended up doing a totally different hike on a whim. Now that I think about it, we totally shoulda driven back the ten miles to the exit and stuck with the original plan- Heh! Hindsight is always 20-20. Anyhow, we ended up at  the Wyeth campground trailhead. Last October, we did a 7'ish mile stretch on the 400 trail headed west. It was rather uneventful to say the least. It basically paralleled the highway from above (about 300 feet up) and stayed relatively flat. This time around, we decided to head east on the trail. Well, so much for the 400 trail, it ended up turning into the 411 trail about a quarter mile in. Little did we know, the ascent was going to be a quite the leg (errr whole body) burner. In comparison to our Larch Mountain hike about a month and a half ago, which was about 2 miles per 1000 feet of elevation gain, Wyeth is about 1 mile per 1000 feet of gain. Daaaamn! Rather long and ardous switchbacks, the all the way up- well at least to the fork that is. North Lake was the destination, but without a proper map, we turned around shortly after passing the 2:15 mark (~4 miles in). Realizing it now as I type this, it was only about another 35 minutes up the way. Once again, so close, yet unbagged! We snapped a few shots, consumed our snacks, and then proceeded back down the way we came. Just a bit over an hour to get back down to the truck. Seriously, I think it hurt more on the downhill than the way up, but maybe that's just me. In the end, to make up for pain we subjected ourselves to, we stopped by Pfriem to get a growler to go. Totally earned.

Distance: ~8
Elevation Gain: ~3,800
Time: 3:34

Monday, May 13, 2013

Alder Dog Climber

Ahhh, the joy of living across the street from a trailhead is just beyond awesome I tell ya. Seriously, the day we have to move, I will be forever sad! From the apartment to the Stone House, I felt rather sluggish like I normally do. Once I switchbacked on to Wildwood trail, I noticed there were a few runners within sight up the way. I normally just do my own thing, but sometimes I like to get saucy and motor around people so I don't get stuck behind them. Like riiiiight behind them. Hear that huffing and puffing? Yeah, that's me! I generally like to pass as quickly as possibly so I don't feel like a total creeper. Anyhow, as I maneuvered around and passed the runners, I began to notice a bit of energy in my gait. Hell yeah! The next normal split sections were all a few minutes quicker too- so I kept with it. I attribute my speed to the "hero dirt" like conditions of the trail. In the mountain biking world, hero dirt is damp, and lightly tacky- just primo I say!

Once I made it up to the Birch Bench, I felt like I was starting to slow. I passed Dogwood at 35:40, which felt pretty normal. Heading onward towards Alder, I felt like I was slowing down even more... However, once I made it to Alder, to my surprise, was about 4 minutes quicker than normal; down to 43:50. Down to Leif was about 6 minutes then on Leif for about 5 minutes. Hit Dogwood right at 55 minute mark and made it to the Wildwood intersection right at 59:40. Damn, this is like 6 minutes faster than my previous attempt on this loop. Still feeling good, I continued on Wildwood up and down and around to the Aspen cutoff. Of course, as I am cruising along on in this section, I totally stubbed my toe/tripped on a root and fell to the ground and tumbled! WTF?! Doh! Hah! The thoughts that went through my head as it all happened so quickly. I landed on my bad hand, (aka the hand I broke mountain biking that got me into this whole trail running thing) but didn't want to ruin my time so I quickly shook it off and kept on running. From the Stone House down to Lower Mac I felt completely over cautious. No repeats of what had just happened I kept telling myself. Once I hit the pavement, it was all about sprints. I think I coulda pushed harder here, but I'll leave that for another day.

Distance: 10.22
Elevation Gain: 922
Time: 1:31:49