Saturday, January 3, 2009

Stimpson Nature Reserve

My original plan for Saturday was to knock out the Lake Samish half marathon, a sort of annual tradition. The race was cancelled, though, due to unsafe conditions, which I'm sure was the right call. This race has taken some licks the last few years--I think this is the third cancellation in the last 6, though I could be wrong. GBRC puts on great races--local runners in NW Washington are spoiled, though most pitch in to make it happen. The Tiger Mountain 50k was also cancelled, due to snow, so that too was out.
Plan B turned out to be pretty cool though. Dean T. and I went out to Sudden Valley and ran the Stimson Nature Reserve. This is a wonderful little trail that I'd never been on. No bikes are allowed back there, and other measures are taken to make it a real nature reserve. We had the whole place to ourselves. It's possible to do a figure eight loop, with some respectable rolling hills and climbs, and you run around one lake and some creeks. One lap is four miles---I did three trips, making for a pleasant 12 miles in the snow. The whole trail run was on snowpack, so it wasn't particularly an easy dozen, but not too bad either. Pic above, pics below.
So...2009 is here. I'm still tossing around what runs I might do, what adventures sound good. That process has been fun, and I'm not forcing anything. I pretty much took December off of really long running, just to rest up a bit, although the snow slowed things down too. The turn of the year is always an opportunity to take stock, do inventory, set goals, eat cheese. Some of my 2009 goals will have little to do with running, but one reason running is so important to me is it helps me keep everything else moving forward. Who knows about 2009, but planning is constructive (unless you tend to make bad plans, in which case DO NOT PLAN, that would be destructive).
Part of the benefit of keeping this blog has been it helps me set benchmarks, memorialize things, etc., even though it's sort of like the tree that falls in the wilderness that no one hears, since I don't think I get much traffic. I'm fine with that--I'm happy to share, and I've found there's personal reward in the process of publishing. I probably could figure out tag clouds and search soups if I wanted to. This blog was part of a bigger goal for last year, which was to upgrade my technology side. I was originally a bit concerned about blogging, because the blog is about me and that might be perceived as narcissistic. That's not it, and if you know me, you know. Maybe I should've done the blog about a family member and not told them, and posted really bad pictures and told ex-girlfriend stories. I think that's punking. No, blogging's turned out to be a good tool to help me plan, and it sometimes helps me get a grip on what I think I'm about. It's been kind of fun, kind of interesting, posting pictures and trying to write well enough to confidently share with others.
Anyway, as far as 2009 runs go, I expect in the first quarter of the year I'll knock out the usual suspects--Orcas, Chuckanut, Honeywagon. Moving towards summer, right now I'm leaning towards throwing in for Hardrock, but I don't expect I'll get in due to the lottery. If it did get in, that would be a big deal and would affect my plans for the first half of the year. More likely though, I may do Big Horn, if I can get away for it. Also, Cascade Crest in August is looking likely, b/c its one of the best runs in the world, and it's local. Then maybe the Bear in Utah or Grindstone in VA, if I'm not too sputtered, but I also have my eye on the Hellgate 100k in VA. Some of these will depend on costs, training, and really burnout control--I do not want my calendar to run me--I want to run it. I also hope to do two or three "epic" North Cascades runs, such as Devil's Dome, Stehiken, and/or Hannegan to Ross. I even got one of those steripen zappers to help me stay clear of beaver fever this year. Above all, I want to stay healthy, uninjured, knock out a few lifetime-memory type trail runs, and let running continue to support all other aspects of my life.
One final nod to 2008. This was really one of the best outdoors years I can remember for me. I'll never stand on a podium as far as racing goes, but I saw some amazing places this past year, set and met goals, and IT WAS GOOD. Smiles here. "memorialize" things, inspire me to AIM HIGH for 2009, and feed my inner list mONsTer---here's my top 10 list-- (drumroll, with cowbell):
1. Wasatch, Utah--100 miles of heaven and hell, so they say, and that's about right.
2. Mount Masochist 50--in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA, in fall, with my Dad crewing.
3. North Bend to Vantage--2:30 A.M., twenty hours in or so, pouring rain and lightning in the distance, alone among the tumbleweeds of the Columbia Plateau, lost.
4. Sourdough Mountain in spring--atop the snowcapped mountain, alone, 360 views to Canada with clear skies, at Gary Snyder's fire lookout--high still air, drinking from a tin cup--a North American classic, in my backyard. What took me so long?
5. Eugene Marathon--Track Town USA, Pre's rock, road trip with friends
6. Cutthroat/Cascade Classic whirlwind weekend-classic Methow 11 mile trail run; Burn Baby Burn Disco Inferno party all night at Mile 73, man; and the twenty mile Mount Thorpe Lookout trail sweep.
7. Night running in Arches National Park by the Balanced Rock, with clear starry skies. Milky way, dark dark skies. Alaska and Nepal are the only places I've seen comparable night sky. I still don't know constellations.
8. White River 50 miler, and especially the "moment of clarity" in the field of lupine at Mile 36.
9. Watching the seasons, sunrises, sunsets, stars, moon, huckleberries, and wildlife on Blanchard Mountain.
10. Big Beaver Valley 24 miler behind Ross Lake in the spring, to the Nature reserve and the old red cedar grove--one of my favorite spots in the world.
So there's a list to beat in 2009--moving forward! Best to all and any who come this way in the new year! Stimson Reserve pics below.

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