Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Chuckanut Footrace

Last Saturday was the 50th annual running of the Chuckanut Footrace. I was there.

I've done this race a number of times over the years, though I certainly wasn't at the first one. I suspect there were one or two locals who did the event in Year 1, and were here again this year. I stash my t-shirts because of long-running events like this. I used to have t-shirts from the 1980s, but they passed on some time ago. These days, I throw the old ones in a plastic bin, which will probably be unearthed after I pass on.  Hopefully though I'll dig through these now and then and be "that guy" at the race with the t-shirt from the middle earth days.

My time was slow, as has been frequently reported here. For the record, I felt like I had a bad day, despite my lack of fitness. Sometimes the hips and calves engage better than others. Onward with the stretching, the core exercises, the continued signing up for events.

The race itself was terrific, and terrifically run. The seven mile course starts down by the ferry terminal in Fairhaven, and then traverses the Interurban Trail out to Larrabee Park. The first three miles have a mild case of the uphills, and the final four miles are flat or slightly downhill.  Lots of healthy, happy people moving down the trail.

Congratulations to the Greater Bellingham Running Club for keeping this marvelous race going, year after year, and special thanks to RD Kelly for her years of work on this race. The bottle opener medal was a fine token to remember the race by, whenever I need a cold one.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Great Sedro-Woolley Footrace

If it's the 4th of July, and I'm home, I'm probably toeing the line for the Great Sedro-Woolley Footrace. Its always good to see my local running friends, and the 5.17 mile course remains the same.  My times, however, seem to get slower every year.  This year I finished over 56 minutes.  I have ran this one in under 40 in earlier years.  Nonetheless, I was happy, as I could barely walk straight, when I started, because my quads and legs were a mess from hiking up and jogging down the steep Sourdough Mountain, two days before. The flip side is I was about 5 minutes slower than two years before.




Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sourdough Mountain

Mike and I went up Sourdough Mountain in the North Cascades this weekend. This was a redemption hike, as we tried to get up there a few years ago, but were stymied by snow.

We met in Mount Vernon around 6 AM, and I was greatly appreciative that Mike was up for leaving Seattle at 5 AM. It's great to make the trailhead before most. One reason Sourdough is a favorite of mine is it isn't too far of a drive from home--less than an hour and half.

The hike is tough. A really stiff climb for the first two miles, and it never really lets up. I think climb is 5000 feet in about 5.5 miles. There was snow at the top, but it was quite manageable, and added to the allure of the lookout. The lookout is well known, as one of the Beat poet lookouts, once giving summer residence to Gary Snyder and Phil Whaley.

The wildflowers are blooming. Columbine, Indian paintbrush, varieties of phlox, and other annual favorites. Now is the time to be up high. The views from the top were spectacular, with Hozomeen and the Pickets Range figuring prominently.

More people on trail than usual. It is the 4th of July weekend.

The biggest highlight was the bear we saw on the way down. The bear was feeding in field, tucked between a switchback. It was not moved by the clapping of hands, or the banging of sticks. It took a good five minutes to convince Mr. or Ms. Bear to move along, and then we seemed to chase down the trail for another 15 minutes, as Bear seemed happy to opt for trail over steep slope. Pretty special stuff.

I was slow going up. When I was in shape, I could do this climb in under three hours, but we took more than four hours. Mike is in shape, and so awesome in accommodating my slowness. We kept a steady, talking pace going up, making it a terrific day with a good friend, on trail. Coming down was tough on the quads. There was some running, albeit slow and stilted. Hopefully recovery is quick.