Saturday, May 28, 2011

Chuckanut Calf Cramper

Memorial Day Weekend. After a few busy months--and a particularly busy week which included two Seattle trips--I'm happy to keep things near to home. I might actually clean up the back yard, or start an indoors project, depending how this decidedly undecided weather turns. Maybe I'll crockpot something. Serious domestication.

This morning I participated in a Club Fat Ass event, generously put together by Genissa, named the Chuckanut Calf Cramper. Various route options were available. I started at the North Chuckanut parking lot with seven or eight other souls, and headed up to Raptor Ridge. I was pretty much on my own within 10 minutes, which was fine. I felt horrible--fighting a cold or some other rogue bug. I can run up there, but today it was more hiking, in an occasional light drizzle.

Checked out the view from Raptor Ridge--picture below. Then proceeded to Cedar Lake, which I haven't been to in at least a few years. Boardwalk trails through wetlands were pretty cool. Then over to Pine Lake. The boardwalks there were flooded, due to recent rains. I went for about 50 feet--totally drowned my feet in cold water--then turned around.

Good luck to all my friends in tomorrow's Bellingham Olympics!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Watershed Preserve 12 Hour Run

I managed to run 38 miles in a little more than 7 hours at the Watershed Preserve 12 Hour Run. I stopped early, because I have a lot to do this weekend yet, and a busy work week, and I just didn't want to feel too beat after the race.

Conditions were really good for running. It was supposed to rain, after our first sunny week of the year, and yet the rain held off as long as I was there. Temps felt like they were in the high 40s, maybe low 50s, and the trail was very soft with wood chips in some places. About 100 runners. The course is a 5+ mile loop on forested trail through the Redmond Watershed Preserve, and rolls comfortably enough. I have in the past done the full 12 hours--that's really kind of fun--especially towards the later hours--and good prep for bigger pursuits.

RDs Chris and Tom do an amazing job with this event, and many old hands/friends were volunteering, making things all the better for everyone. The race has a ton of food. Chris adds a really cool extra touch by giving gifts to all entrants. I chose a book--The Encylopedia of Rabbits and Rodents. I don't know why. I like field guides.

I ran the first 25 miles or so with friend Glen M., while crossing paths with many of the usuals. I started sort of poorly and thought it was going to be a tough day. For whatever reason though, today things seemed to get smoother as the miles went on.

I have no idea when things will work for me and when they won't, but it's just a wonderful feeling when things seem to click and I'm already 20 miles in. Sometimes it's the right song that makes me go. Today I discovered that the opening riff of Steely Dan's Reeling In The Years is gold later in a race. A little bit of Stones Gimme Shelter. U2's Pride (In The Name of Love). Also had the Avett Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, some Nirvana--what I'm trying to say is the shuffle was working well.

Lots of other cool races this weekend. I'm hoping for good times for my friends at Sun Mountain, Jemez, and Bishop High Sierra.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The rain continues to fall. I ran around Blanchard yesterday, a middling effort, and today I'm not particularly anxious to head out. I cracked out a new pair of shoes for Bull Run a month or so ago, and those shoes have lived a miserable existence of mud, streams, and rock. I guess they're supposed to be made for that--they're trail shoes. Whatever--it's been a tough spring in the PNW.

I find myself inspired by my friends of late, many of whom seem to be doing a great job chasing their dreams. This past week, Seth summited Mount Everest, which had me glued to his blog during the workweek. Such a feat initially defies words or description. It's sort of like saying I know someone who happened to fly to the moon last month. One of my cooler life experiences was trekking to Everest Base Camp after I finished school. I am proud of this one, because for a while I shelfed my life to go see how the other half of the world lived, and it wasn't easy. I was really sick afterwards--physically, it's hard to imagine hanging around that area for so long, and then climbing. Congrats Seth--very happy for you, and above all, glad you're safe.

There are others who've just downright amazed me lately. I don't want to write at great length on their achievements, but for example, Shawn managed to pull a sled through the first 350 miles of the Iditarod course. Tony, her husband, then went out and ran nearly 400 miles in a week. People I know of are setting trail records, running Badwater, running Hardrock. Or simply going out and fulfilling a months long training plan and running their first marathon, as with one friend this past weekend.

And then there was a benefit this past week at my law school for an organization called Landesa, which facilitates land tenure in developing countries. The founder has been nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize, and was honored at this event by Bill Gates Sr. A good friend and classmate of mine was  honored that night too for the amazing photos she has taken in places like Rwanda and India, while doing legal work. Really amazing photos, worthy of National Geographic.

After the event, a few of my first year classmates and I got together, enjoyed our mutual company, and also got a sense of what everyone had been doing, and the stories were similarly inspiring--partnerships, kids, military service. Others I know right now are starting or raising families, running for elected office, going into self-employment, finishing professional schooling, building their own house, moving to a foreign country, or making other such big moves. Lots of challenges being taken on, lots of changes going on.

I am fortunate to know amazing people. Amazing in character, amazing in deeds. They inspire me, and it seems particularly moreso in the last few months, but to what goal for myself I'm just not sure. I have no plans to go summit Everest, as cool as that would be. And my personal satisfaction won't be simply measured in the miles or kilometers I run.  I just know that of late I find myself restless, fishing within myself a little bit more for those changes and goals that will inspire me, both in the present and for the long-term.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lost Lake 50k+

Lost Lake 50k was wet and muddy this year. Really wet and muddy. I had mud on my face at the finish, and my shorts were caked, from sliding down the hill by the Lost Lake waterfall. My shoes have their own room right now. My socks didn’t make it.

My most lasting memories will probably be the wind spitting rain at me while going up Chinscraper. Also, slipping and sliding in the mud around the Lost Lake waterfall and back up the makeshift trail that once was Overlander. Always muddy, the course turned into a grad school course in Soils once we got to Lost Lake.

I did the early start, along with friend Rich. Early start, early done. We totally nailed a high-five right before RD Alvin said go. We ran together until Two Dollar Bill, after which I fell apart. That’s about 1.4 miles in. Oh well. There’s a hill there, and I do my own thing. Takes me a while to warm up. And this course has a lot of hills. I think it is 8200 feet of climbing. Also, the course is actually 34 miles.

It rained steady the first three hours. Not a good rain. The kind of rain that gets into everything, with a sideways wind. Times this year seemed to be about a half hour slower than the last two years, probably due to conditions. It was hard to dial in what to wear—I ran in an OR Seattle Sombrero, orange vest, blue sleeves, and then another jacket at times. Pretty much a fashion disaster, but it seemed to work.

There was this new section after Lost Lake, about 29 miles in, with steep steps cut in the mud. Alvin, Terry, and everyone put in a lot of trail work here--I was very impressed. It was a whole new trail, for quite a ways. That said, it was a tough and somewhat deflating section, because of all the climbing, sometimes with your hands, and the slipping, the sliding.

This year there was even more drinking water out on the course, with self-serve jugs left in strategic locations. I went with only one bottle, and it worked fine. Friend Mike and I climbed together up the Pine and Cedar trail—that was great catching up time. Bonked from Lost Lake to the last aid station, but always kept moving, and finished fine. Maybe I could’ve went faster, or been more ready, but overall, I’m content with the effort. A day on the trail.

I hung out a long time afterwards with friends at the wonderful post-race barbq in the Clayton Beach parking lot. Recovery comes fast, with good burgers and soup, while talking trails, runs and other stuff. Also, worth noting—a great shirt, a finisher cup, a finisher coin, the aid stations, and the barbq—it all makes a really great value for the registration fee.

Thank you Alvin, Skagit Rs, Terry, Delores, Shawna, Joe, Heather, Kevin, Jamie, Stan, Jon, and everyone else. You are awesome!