Sunday, March 25, 2007

Now it gets fun!

My rides are starting to get longer and longer now and its great! But first I got in a nice long run on Saturday.

I've moved my long rides to Sunday so I can go to Jacobs soccer games, they were due to start this weekend, but they canceled the game due to all the rain. I did get in a nice 2 hour run on Saturday because the game was canceled. I drove over to run up Galbraith Mountain. I ran up to the top past the towers to run down my favorite trail, the Wonderland Trail. I always enjoy the view from the top of the Wonderland trail, looking East you can see all of Lake Whatcom including Mt Baker in the distance, the entire city of Bellingham to the North, even cities further north, to the West brings in views of the San Juan Islands and your high enough to see over some islands and see that they are truly islands. On this run I couldn't see 50 feet due to the clouds, so much for my view.

There is now art up on top of Galbraith. Kinda weird just running along and seeing this art out in the middle of the forest (the Pink art) or in the middle of a clear cut (the Blue art).

I woke up early Sunday to check the rain and my email to see if a friend and I were going to meet for our bike ride. No rain and no email, so I got all my gear on and headed out at 7 for our 7:30 meeting. Pat left at 7:00 too and as it turns out we were about spot on where we planned to meet in the middle. From there we headed east towards Mt Baker, but turned North at Nugents Corner to head into Everson and onto Lynden. All this under clear skies and not too much wind. I hadn't ridden on these roads, but there was very little traffic and beautiful countryside and scenery, not to mention great conversation. It is very nice to ride with a friend.

Coming around back to where we started, Pat headed on home as did I. I had planned a short transition run, but coming up the last hill on the way home I had decided to not run. I had just put my bike in the garage and on my way into the house when Jacob came out and was all excited as he, Alex and Debbie were headed out for a run (Jacobs rides his bike while Debbie pushes Alex in the stroller) so I went in and got on my running shoes to join them. We ran around Whatcom Falls park. Wow o Wow was there a lot of water coming over the falls, more than I've ever scene. It turned out to be such a nice day we skipped a play we were going to go see and the whole family worked around the yard. We did get a little rain after done in the yard and now it looks blue and sunny again. What a great day!

Check out all the great photos here:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Core 4 got er dun!

These four amazing athletes (and more importantly, good friends) finished the Chuckanut 50k this weekend. John, Scott, Mike and John ran in the rain ALL DAY. The rain started about 6:30 am and did not stop until the evening. I went and watched the start and got a ride up to aid station 3 and 4 (Ridge Trail area) that I was volunteering at for the day. After sending the runners out into the light showers and a quick cup of joe, made our way up to the top of Chuckanut Mountain. We setup the aid station and made PB&J wraps, cut fruit and candy bars into bite sized portions. The first runner came through about 9:45 or so, still raining.

As the runners came up the hill many seemed glad to see us and many just happy for a little break before heading out for one of the toughest sections of the run. This upper loop follows the ridge trail, generally down hill for about 2-3 miles and then turns onto the Lost Lake Trail. This Lost Lake trail can be muddy in the middle of the summer. After days (weeks) of rain and raining all day, I heard it was mud bog after mud bog and I can only imagine how much water and mud they had to run (or walk) through. After suffering through this mudfest, they come around the south side of the mountain, only to have to go up a trail called Chinscraper, due to the grade your chin can scrape the dirt off the trail. I imagine this section, after 250+ runners was very muddy making it extra tough and slippery.

Once finished with Chinscraper they come back to the aid station I was at. Some runners just run past, while others take their time and get another rest before finishing the event. I was surprised to see some runners with pretty clean legs, some were definitely covered in mud, but some found a clean way around or through the mud bogs.

I'm truly inspired by these guys and think very highly of them.


I did get a run in on Saturday, after my duties at the aid station were done, I ran down the ridge trail and the lower Lost Lake trail connecting to the Interurban at Arroyo Park to run back to the finish area at Fairhaven Park. I felt a bit bad getting 'good jobs' and 'well dones' from others on the interurban trail. One person photographing the runners asked me if I was in the race and I said no, she said she didn't think so because I was running to fast. This is at the 30 mile mark for the runners and I had only come down the hill.

I took the day off (from training) on Sunday, Debbie got in a good run and we later went on a family bike ride. We borrowed a trail-a-bike for Alex to ride. His feet just touched the pedals, so couldn't pedal, but could hold on and he LOVED it. We rode around Boulevard Park and think we will get a trail-a-bike for him to grow into.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Final Four

Stop filling out your March Madness brackets. I know the Final Four... personally! I ran with them on Sunday morning. John, Mike, Scott and John are the survivors and will be running the Chuckanut 50k next week while the larger portion of our Sunday trail running group are recovering and possibly watching and supporting them on this great run.

We met at Lake Padden in the middle of a wind and rain storm, but once underway and in the trees it was not raining and I didn't even hear much wind. I say it was not raining, but it was not dry, my feet were soaked through within minutes and my shoes and legs were covered in mud minutes after that, but it was fun to be running again with these guys. We ran for less than an hour total. After we met at Starbucks and I thoroughly enjoyed the good stories.

I'll be volunteering at the 50k this year. I volunteered in 2005 at aid station 3/4 and will do the same this year. This aid station is at the top of the mountain, I get to see (and help) the runners not once, but twice, both times after they have climbed Chuckanut Mountain. They go for a 7.5 mile loop after I see them the first time, during that loop they will go around the mountain dropping elevation, coming back up the back side and dropping more elevation only to have to climb back up to the top.

This week is a recovery week for me, so only about 8 hours of exercise planned and lots of rest, I need it. On my plan, I switch from two weight workouts a week to one and really start to ride the bike more and more. While loosing a weight workout I will gain 1-2 bike workouts and 1-2 running workouts each week. Swimming will remain mostly constant at 3 workouts, but I will incorporate a 'longer' swim each week so my time in the pool should be up as well. My biggest weeks have been constant at about 12-13 hours for the week. I will hitting at least an 18 hour week and most of that time is bicycling. I'm looking forward to it!

Good luck and have fun to all the 50k runners this lucky Saturday! I will see you there. I'll be the one in green ;-)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Great Weekend and Monthly Update

It was a wet and muddy weekend, but I had a very good weekend of training.

I met another triathlete on Satuday morning for my annual ride out to Everson to run in the Honeywagon fun run put on by the GBRC. No rain on the ride out or back, but the roads were wet to whole way. Lots of road grime from all the sand and dirt they put down during the few snow storms we've had this winter. We took it nice and easy on the way out and back. It was great to not be riding in the garage on my trainer.

I wanted to run fast as I was going to run the 4 mile event (last year I ran the half marathon). These events are run on very flat farmland around Everson. I started out fast and at the first mile marker checked my watch and hit 6:31. I kept on moving along and hit 13:04 at the 2 mile mark. I was hopefuly that I could keep up this blistering pace. Just past the two mile mark is the turn, 4 milers turn left and the half marathoners turn right. I was suprise how many half marathoners were running 6:30 miles turned to the right. The field thinned out and I was hopeful to be in the top ten. There was no 3 mile marker and I think that just helped me continue on strong. Being such a flat course it can be difficult to keep the speed, hills even small ones help to break up the pace and let you relax a bit. I just kept trying to maintain my pace. Coming back to the start/finish always gets my adrenalene up another notch and was able to kick around the school to a finish in 25:38 for a 6:25 average pace!

I met up with some of the 50k runners for a muddy run on Sunday morning. They are in the second week of their taper and the planned two hour run was just right for me. We met at the Vet clinic and ran up to the Lost Lake trailhead and back. Boy o Boy was the trail muddy. This is part of the 50k race and will get even muddier after 325 runners come through in a couple weeks. Great run and was great to get back to a run with some friends. The group has gotten smaller due to a lot of injuries this year. We had 10 in our 50k group for last years event and it is down to 4 50k runners this year. Hopefully we will all be back running strong in the future.

February 2007 Recap: 42 hours and 26 minutes of training. My percentages are starting to even out, but I will need to get in more and more cycling so that should continue to rise.