December 30, 2008

So far in 2008, I’ve run 1,221 miles, which is about 260 miles more than I ran in 2007 and about 1,220 miles more than in every year before that. The year has had its ups and downs, running-wise, but I’m pleased to be finishing it with more than 100 miles per month and with no sign of plantar fasciitis. I expect next year to be even more challenging, since I’ve been at this for two years now and probably can’t expect to keep destroying my PR in every race I run.

I’ve got one more run left this year, a planned 21-miler during the annual “Purge and Splurge” on Wildwood.


Looks like the last snow run for a bit

December 28, 2008

Looking out my backyard sliding glass door at this second, I can’t see a single drop of snow left on the ground. Out front, the only snow left is where it was piled up by shovels or plows. It’s been melting fast: yesterday, there was still quite a bit of the white stuff left everywhere. Especially on Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail.

Running on the snowy trail seemed like it would be good training for the probably-muddy conditions at February’s Hagg Lake 50K. But I think slippery and uneven snow might be a little more difficult to move in than mud. I wore my waterproof socks, of course, which worked pretty well to keep my feet warm and dryish. I did get one small blister on the inside of the ball of my right foot. I didn’t notice it during the run, though.

Calling it a “run” might be overstating the case. It was an exhausing slog, slowly jogging the flats and downhills, and walking the ups. I made it 18.4 miles — from the zoo to the NW 53rd trailhead and back — in 4:22. That’s 14:14 per mile.

I’ve never seen so few people on the trail. The first eight miles, I saw two other people. After that, maybe ten more. I guess there was just no good reason to be out there. It was a wet, cold day, and the footing on the path was slippery, awkward, and soggy.

During this storm, over the course of eight days, I’ve run for 45 miles on the snow. I think I’m ready for some nice dry pavement.

Not all snow is the same

December 22, 2008

I ran six miles in the snow today, picking up two items at the Raleigh Hills Fred Meyers along the way. (Hot Chocolate mix and hot dog buns, if you’re asking.) The snow was more difficult to run on than on Saturday. It was slicker where it was packed, and there were more areas where it was poorly packed — and therefore treacherously uneven — or just not packed at all.  With eight inches of powder or more on the sidewalks, that made for some exhausting running. I would run in the road when there were no cars coming, but I was on a busy secondary street and I constantly had to jump back up on the sidewalk.

What Does Not Kill You

December 20, 2008


I wanted to run sixteen miles on Wildwood this morning, but when I got up and looked out the window it was immediately clear that wasn’t going to happen: a thick blanket of snow had come down during the night and I wasn’t going to be able to drive anywhere. I decided to run from the house and got dressed in my warmest running gear: liner socks under waterproof socks, liner gloves under big-ass gloves, long-sleeve shirt under running jacket, Sporthill pants, and both a hat and an earwarmer. As long as I kept moving, I didn’t get cold out there.

Except for my exposed face. The wind was pretty strong at time, it never stopped snowing, and the temperature was in the low 20s. My cheeks got pretty rosy. Oh, and I couldn’t get any water for the last few miles of the run, since the end of the hose on my hydration pack froze solid. Other than that, it was great. 

I ran up Taylor’s Ferry, then headed north on one of those SW Trail routes, crossing Beaverton-Hillsdale at 30th/Dosch and making the decision to try to get up to Council Crest. Because running through several inches of snow wasn’t enough of a challenge, I guess. Progress was slow. I averaged 12 minutes a mile over the whole run, a speed I would be embarrassed by on any other day. Today, just being out there and moving was accomplishment enough, by far. 

I dodged and weaved up to the top of Council Crest, all on roads except for one short cut. There, I huddled in the lee of a water tower while I called Sweetie to let her know I was doing OK. She seemed a little alarmed that I had headed for the coldest, most exposed spot in the city. No matter: it was downhill from there.

I took the trails toward Terwilliger down, coming out three miles later not too far from the Charthouse restaurant. Following Capitol Highway through Hillsdale and Multnomah Village (both actually pretty alive with people) , I was getting ready to just be done. My legs were hurting and it was a little scary thinking about how nobody was going to come and pick me up in this weather if I couldn’t go on any further. This was mostly just negative thinking, though: I wasn’t actually doing badly at all. 

A half hour later and I was home. I checked the mirror: Yes! At long last, I was finally one of those guys with ice built up on his eyelashes. It’s every macho man’s arctic dream.

Coming back from the dead

December 18, 2008

I’ve been sick and yesterday was my first run in a week. I did six miles, perfectly flat… on a treadmill. It was very cold and snowy and dangerous outside. I don’t want to talk about it. I felt better after the run; that’s enough.

If I were a girl named April, I guarantee this post would be titled “April Showers”

December 10, 2008

They recently installed a shower in our office, so now I can run during lunch and maintain a modicum of societal decency. Not that I make that a priority: not having a shower never stopped me from running during lunch before.  I guess now I’m just doing it in style.

I ran 6.3 miles this afternoon, on a pretty flat route (Tualatin Community Park, Durham City Park, and Cook Park), averaging 8:12 per mile. I saw them testing out the new WES trains. They seemed to move along the tracks OK. I saw both a single-car unit and two of them hooked together go by, both heading for the Tualatin station. One blasted its warning horns just as it went by me. I nearly jumped out of my shorts.

A bowling alley!

December 9, 2008

The vast majority of the images I get during my virtual run across the US are boring. Really boring. “Oh look. A road.” So when I happen to find myself in a town, I’m excited. In front of that town’s bowling alley? Ecstatic!

Welcome to Florence, Colorado. Here’s the Google street view of the same spot.