Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cascade DNS

Beautiful August weekend in the Pacific Northwest. I was supposed to be running Cascade Crest today, but I chose not to start.  My left hamstring and the tendons behind that knee do not seem up to it. I left the decision a bit open until the end, but it's kind of the obvious smart move. For the last four years I've spent this weekend over in Easton, either volunteering or running, and so it is a bit odd to stay home.

Lots of friends are up at Cascade today. My best to all of you, running or volunteering.

This morning I went up Chuckanut, hiking, just to kind of stretch things out. A big owl swooped me, and then perched in a tree, checking me out. The picture above is not so good--bad lighting--but if you look closely you can see the flash caught the eye of the owl, so that it has red eye.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sahale Arm

Finally, I got out again, on a perfect blue Saturday. I went up to Sahale Arm in the North Cascades National Park, one of the great day hikes in the U.S. I didn't really want to run, but I did a little bit, and carried a small pack, as a bit of practice for Nepal.

Sahale Arm is an 11.4 mile round trip from the parking lot, climbing up to 7800 feet. I believe Harvey Manning or Ira Spring considered it their favorite hike in the northwest. It was crowded, with an army of Subarus in the parking lot. Besides being a great day hike, the trail to Cascade Pass is the launching point for all sorts of mountaineering trips, with numerous jagged peaks within relatively short hiking distance.

I first saw snow near Cascade Pass, and then up on Sahale Arm there were a few snow crossings, but no problems really. Doubtful Lake still had significant snow in the lake, reaching out to the island. As I mentioned, lots of people out on this beautiful day.

Climbing to Sahale Arm Glacier camp was a bit of work. Nothing too bad, but I was working the hiking pole. I seemed to move faster than most, even though just hiking, which was a good sign, considerng my recent leg troubles. The weather couldn't have been more amazing, 80+ degrees, not a cloud in the sky, but the sun actually got to me after a while. The views were always good, but particularly exceptional from Sahale Camp, where the  waves of mountains give visible definition to the name "Cascades." I like where I live.

I managed to blister my heal, breaking in new shoes, probably with the wrong socks. Duh, ouch. Sandals today. No bears, but I saw a mountain goat near the camp--picture below, such as it is.

More pics here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wedding in Virginia

This weekend took me back to Virginia for my sister’s wedding, and a brief hot August visit with the family.  I am thrilled for my younger sister and her new husband, a very nice gentleman.  The wedding was a sterling affair in a nice country club in Haymarket, which just happens to be near Bull Run, where I ran a 50 miler earlier this year. 

The trip was a whirlwind for me, a test of endurance really, coming off strep throat.  I took a redeye flight on Jet Blue Friday evening, and then returned to northwest on Monday.  The flight path was abominable, though the best price, connecting through Long Beach, California.  It took something like 14 hours, door to door.  I liked Jet Blue, as they had real-time Direct TV in every seat.  I watched NFL football traveling each way, and managed to knock out a book too.

August is really not the best time of year to visit Virginia.  Weather was hot, humid, with occasional thunder and lightning storms.  The evenings are wonderful though, with the sounds of crickets and frogs outside, lightning bugs too, and the air just seems to relax a bit, after a tough day. The day of the wedding, the possibility of more storms was forecast, but fortunately never materialized.  The wedding itself was beautiful.  Great to see the family, even for such a brief time. 

Regarding running, I am reminded of when the great Kenny Rogers sang, "I need to drop in to see what condition my condition is in.”  I haven't ran in two weeks, due to a hamstring injury, strep throat, and travel.  It's been a tough time.  Somehow or another, I’ve managed to do 10+ events this year, and I know I need a break. Moreover, my hamstring is bugging me bad.  Even now, sitting here, I can feel tightness behind my knee. 

As for the fast-approaching Cascade Crest, I’d say I'm doubtful, but I'm still chewing on it a bit. I'm more inclined to focus on getting healthy for Annapurna in September. Still, the race is paid for, gorgeous and amazing, and so I'll leave it on the stove for now.

And, is summer gone already? What happened??  I’ll probably do something interesting this weekend, perhaps Sahale Arm, just to try to find the high country.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Strep Throat

At this moment, I am watching Rambo: First Blood 2.  John Rambo: "To survive war, you have to become war."  I've been watching a lot of television this past week.  I had never heard of this show, Matchmaker Millionaire, but I've seen my share of episodes now. Also, it seems like America's Got Talent is on every single night. That's some high quality programming. I like those dance people who glow in the dark like a Lite-Brite Board. Professor Splash is a nut.

I have strep throat, as might be discerned by the title above. Came down with it maybe on Tuesday or Wednesday after White River.  First it was just a swelling of the gland. A perturbance. But then on Wednesday afternoon it got so I couldn't focus, and I probably had a fever. It felt like I had broken glass in my throat. Couldn't eat a thing; drinking water hurt. I went to the doctor the next day; diagnosis made; antibiotics prescribed.

I got better, but the antibiotics didn't work as well as expected. After a tough weekend, I went in to the doctor again on Monday.  Finally, I got the right medicine, and now seem somewhat whole. I've lost about 9 pounds this week. Probably wouldn't hurt my running to stay sick another week, at that rate.

What a weekend of great weather and outdoor doings to miss though. Rich and Mike doing a ring-around Mt. St. Helens on the Loowit Trail, always a dream of mine.  Scott K. summiting Rainier. Terry and company putting on God's Country 50k out in Anacortes. I saw Joe and Shawna made it up Thornton Lake.

Me meanwhile, I know Matchmaker Millionaire. Also saw Up and The Eagle, fwiw. Up is cute.  The Eagle--not so good.

It is interesting though, to sit in a doctor's office.  You fill out the paperwork, show them the benefits card, make the co-pay.  You sit in the lobby, with all the other sick people.  Then they call you to a room, and shut the door. All this sterile stuff everywhere. Blood pressure, ear temperature taking machine. Eventually the doctor.

My point is, going to the doctor's office is sort of a stop and look around thing for me. Getting sick doesn't have to be a negative. It helps remind me of how good it is to be healthy.  I hope I can stay healthy and continue to do those things I like to do, and adjust in a graceful manner as I age.