Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Last week I had opportunity to visit Chicago for the first time. I only got to run once, out to and around Millennium Park and Soldier Field, but we made it all around the town, as these pictures will show. A really fun town to visit. Very easy to get around via the trains and bus system. Highly recommend the Art Institute of Chicago, even if for an hour or two. Some of the great paintings of the world are there. Also, the Hard Rock Hotel was lots of fun--a free electric guitar comes with the room. And, Jackson Browne with Sara Watkins at the Chicago Theater- par excellence.

One of these days I'd like to do the Chicago Marathon, which I can tell would be great, with all the amazing architecture and the lake front. Much to like about Chicago.

P.S. For those who know, yes, that's my Yankee Hotel Foxtrot "outtake" cover photo below.  Taken from a water taxi in the Chicago River.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon

Bellingham’s Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon may be around for a while.  I really really liked the course, and though I’m not much of a racer, the course itself seems perfect for folks who do want to run trails fast.  Lots of ups and downs—all enough to set a burn in, but nothing too steep or technical.  Fall colors don’t hurt either.

I run Lake Padden all the time—have ran around it for more than twenty years, as once upon a time I lived right down the street. Often I stop there after work for a lope.  The loop around the lake is rather pedestrian—good for strollers, slow biking, and running.  Further back, behind the lake, there are single track trails full of mud, roots, and rocks.  Plenty of short legitimate climbs and drops too.

About 300 people signed up for the race, which is really big by trail running standards, especially for a second year race.  The winning times, by Dusty and Jodee, were really fast.  Plenty of other fast people in the top 20. Competitive.

And then there was me, in the recreation class.  I was a lumbering back-of-the-packer.  I have a sore throat, to add to the hamstring issues. But I was really happy to be out there. That’s two races now for me in the last month.  Progress.  Mainly though, just good to be out.

We were fortunate to find a dry window in this rainy weekend.  It was pouring before and after.  I think it hailed before I drove up. And lots of friendly faces out there racing—Chad, Chuck, James, Charlie, Dylan, others. Strong performances, all. Al did a phenomenal job putting this whole thing together. His dedication to this race is unparalleled. And he had a lot of help and great sponsors, all for the cause of Rebound, a worthy charity for local kids. Great also to see Dean, Ruth, Heather, Kevin, Terry, Delores, and others volunteering, as always.  The NW running community is tops. So, a great morning.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Fall is here
Dark mornings, darker nights 
Corn is high, apples are cheap 
Pumpkins and spooks about

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Baker Lake 50k

The 2012 edition of the Baker Lake 50k had absolutely incredible weather. A little chilly in the morning, the day quickly warmed up. For once, the bridges were all dry--I think there are 50 or 60 bridge crossings overall, usually all a little wet. Mount Baker was visible all day along the trail--it seems like there were more viewpoints this year, perhaps due to some trail work.  The trail itself was clear. Trail running doesn't get much better than this.

This was my first 50k of the year. I did it because I always do this race, but I didn't run well, and I didn't run at all for portions of the return trip of the out and back. I was tired, muscles hurt, and the digestion didn't work properly. I knew it would be this way. I am so happy just the same to have thrown myself on the trail, and on such a beautiful day, and see what would happen.

Great to see so many friends. Everyone so friendly. It's been too long since my last race. Hard to believe the race didn't even have a race fee this year (though I did make a donation), particularly with the soup and other post-race fare, and aid station goodies. Dave and Jeanette Dutton and their family put together such a wonderful time with this event. Special props to John Bandur for his 10th Baker Lake finish. Made me smile to see John sitting next to the Baker Bear, above, after the race. Also, Stanley Nakashima on the trail, doing the sweep. You know you're ultrarunning in the PNW if Dave, John, and Stan are on the trail.

I can write a book on how not to prepare for a race. The night before, I was in Seattle after a work thing, and had tuna tartar and bone marrow at RN 74. Just weird. Mix that with coffee and GU, and my stomach never felt good during the day, or today.  Some day I'll prep smart. Today I feel whooped, sort of like the Baker Bear above, but I'll bounce back and if I can get this left leg of mine working right, I'll be hitting events more, once again.

Driving out, I saw a bobcat cross the road. 

The main thing to remember about this year is the weather--maybe the best ever, with the best ever views of Mount Baker. I could see the crevasses of the glaciers, climbing up to the peak. This race is a gem, and always my favorite.