Monday, June 18, 2018

June 11 - June 17

This was finals week, so I spend much of the early days of the week studying.  When I can't run, it turns out I have a lot more time to study.  Finals this quarter were far less stressful than in the past and I would say having an excess of time to study certainly helped with that.

I did a little walking early in the week and some mountain biking too although that came to an abrupt halt Thursday when I tried to fix the brakes.  One of the brake pads was rubbing a little bit, so I decided I needed to fix that before going for another ride.  While this should have been about a 5 minute job, I started by tearing everything apart instead of seeing how to do it properly on Youtube.  I created a lot of extra work, but I did learn how to bleed the brakes, and went ahead and changed the brake pads as they were getting a bit worn out.

Friday I went for a run and felt fine for the first 10 minutes, but after that my calf started to hurt quite a bit.  I probably should have stopped at 10 minutes just as the slightest pain started.  But I ran for about 25 and my calf hurt a bit by the end.  I think I just need to give it a bit more time and perhaps start out with only a 10 or 15 minute run to begin with.

On Saturday we went to Cape Perpetua where the weather was actually pretty nice.  It not too uncommon for the coast to be 55 and cloudy in the middle of summer so we were grateful for the beautiful day.  We got to check out the tide pools, then went for a walk on some of the trails above Cape Perpetua.  Those are some terrific trails which made me excited to get back out there and run!  It'll be sooner than later.

Hopefully the next week will bring a few more miles on the trail.  I plan to keep biking a bit once I get the bike all sorted out (yeah, I really goofed) and hopefully get in some running took.  As soon as I feel healthy and am running 1 hour a day, I'm going to sign up for a 50K about a month out.  I won't train for it or taper or anything special.  I'm going to show up and run.  It might not be my best race, but I'm ready to be back.  I miss the community, I miss the joy of exploring new places, and I miss the challenge of pushing myself.  I'm ready to be back.

Uphill - just hard work like running
Downhill - white knuckles all the way

Tiger Lilies

A crab - there way to quick to catch, as soon as you get close there in the water


Lots of urchins

This was a neat water spout.  When the waves came in right, it would shoot up pretty high.

Wild Strawberries

Ghost pipes

Those are red huckleberry bushes growing on that massive doug fir.  The Oregon coast is pretty cool

Foxglove, perhaps my favorite flower

I could get the bee to sit still, but that what the brownish blob is
The same wild rose without the bee
Tiger Lilies in the Mac

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

June 4 - June 10

I tried running on Monday and that didn't go too well.  My calf was slightly painful for the first 15 or 20 minutes, then it got a lot worse so I ended up walking it in.  That was a bit of a bummer, but also not a huge surprise.

I didn't do much hiking this week outside of marking the Run for the Hills course with Cary.  Maybe that was a good thing as it gave me a bit more time to study for finals this week.  However, my calf was feeling a bit better by the end of the week so I'll try another run this week.  I'm optimistic I'll be running again by next week although it won't be too far to begin with.

Saturday I went for a ride on my brother's mountain bike.  Here's a video of my ride: Bike Ride 

Sunday the whole Miller family manned and aid station at Run for the Hills.  It was bit rainy which makes it less fun for the volunteers, but it looked like ideal conditions for the runners.  Regardless, it was fun to see a lot of local runners come through the aid station, and a few other runner I didn't know.

At this point I'm officially not going to run Western States this year.  That was a pretty disappointing decision, but also one that I saw coming for a while.  I certainly want to be there next year and I'm confident that it will happen.  For now, I just have to get healthy and slowly build back to top form.

Pine Drop in McDonald Forest

All ready for the runners

Sunday, June 3, 2018

May 28 - June 3

When I first started my blog, I was inspired to do so because I enjoyed following Anton Krupicka’s blog which featured weekly updates on his running.  I’ve never managed to post anything weekly and in recent months I rarely get anything up on my blog.  The point of saying this is I’ll try to start giving weekly updates of my running and hopefully tack up a few pictures from the week as well.

This week I ran Tuesday through Thursday for about an hour and a half, then took the rest of the week off.  I did a few short walks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and that was it for the week.  The reason for so little running is that my left calf has been bothering me for a few weeks and I finally decided to just stop running for a few days.

In early May I went for an hour and a half run with my friends Nick in Cary and the next day my left ankle hurt too much to run.  It took me a few days to figure out what was wrong, but soon I realized it was peroneal tendonitis stemming from a very tight upper left calf.  With a bit of foam rolling my left calf started feeling a bit better.  It took a week and half, but then I was back to running about 1.5 hours in the morning before class without any pain.  That weekend (May 19-20th) I ran a little under 3 hours each day and felt pretty darn good.

Then Monday came and after making the climb up McCulloch Peak, my left calf started to bother me on the descent.  By the time I reached Soap Creek (about 1 hour into my run), my lateral left calf was almost too painful to run on.  I had progressively slowed my pace on the descent, but to no avail, so I stopped in Soap Creek and stretched my calf for a minute or two.  I don’t think I’ve every stretched during a run before, so it was obviously pretty bad.  Still, I was parked at Oak Creek, so I made a beeline from Soap Creek to Oak Creek to finish up my run.  My calf didn’t feel any worse, but it certainly didn’t feel any better by the time I finished.

Although my calf hurt, I tried to keep running that week.  I just wanted to be out in the forest enjoying the warm spring weather and watching the forest change.  New flowers start popping up in March and continue until June, so I like to see the whole progression.  My calf hurt all week although it felt fine on our Memorial Day weekend snowcamping trip.

I stubbornly tried to run at the beginning of this week but came to my senses realizing that my calf was OK for low impact activities like skiing and walking but running was just too much.  At this point I’m doing some foam rolling, stretching, and strengthening exercises as well as a little walking.  I plan to try to run Monday.

I’ve found myself reflecting on why I’ve been injured a lot over the last two years.  Since Western States I’ve been injured frequently and typically only get 5-6 weeks of running between injuries.  My running has been very inconsistent for the last couple years and I think that play a role in being injured.  But I think the way I view running has a bigger role.  When I first started running, I ran because I loved to be in the forest and my main goal was to spend as much time outside as I could.  As time progressed I got more wrapped up in competition.  I’ve always been competitive, but I slowly turned running into a daily task of training for a race.  The last two years have been very frustrating and not very satisfying.  It’s time to be a kid in the forest again.

Here's some pictures from today's walk.

A dead butterfly

A purple iris

A little snake

Lots of bees hovering around these flowers

A bumblebee

Too bad this one came out so blurry

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Memorial Day Snow Camping Trip

The last several years we have gone backpacking by North Sister over Memorial Day weekend.  This year was no exception so Saturday morning we drove over to Pole Creek Trailhead and began the hike into the backcountry.  A few years ago the Pole Creek fire burned the first few miles which has greatly reduced the amount of snow we encounter early on.  However, its hard to believe that there was a trip when we skied in all the way from the car.  In recent years the standard has been to hike in all the way to the tent site, although the last mile or two will be entirely on snow.  This year we encountered the least snow ever with only the last 1/4 mile being consistently snow covered.

Can you see him?
It's a horned toad

A shooting star meadow

Broken Top and the Tam MacArthur Rim

South Sister
 Sunday we headed out from our tent and starting climbing up toward Middle Sister.  There is a long snow slope leading all the way up to the saddle between Middle Sister and Prouty Point and we slowly made out way up it.  I took a few breaks on the climb to get in some downhill skiing, but other than that we pretty much spent the morning slowly climbing toward Middle Sister.  Once we reached the saddle we took a break and ate some lunch.  The weather was good and there were already steps kick in the steep section on Middle Sister so we decided to go for the top.  The climb turned out to be pretty easy this year as the snow was fairly soft and there were no dangerous icy sections.  The view from the summit was terrific as we were able to see Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helen's to the North and Diamond Peak, Mt. Bailey, and Mt. Thielson to the south.  After descending Middle Sister we got to enjoy the long downhill back to the tent.  The snow was terrific which made the downhill skiing lots of fun.
Looking out over Eastern Oregon

South Sister and Broken Top with Mt. Bachelor tucked away between them

South Sister and Middle Sister

North Sister looming above

Jacob climbing up toward Middle Sister

Some debris that slid off the mountain

North Sister


Broken Top, Mt. Bachelor, and South Sister

Middle Sister and Prouty Point


Looking back down the snowfield - a whole lot more exposed rock this year

Mom Dad and Jacob climbing up

A crevasse below Middle Sister

Prouty Point

Middle Sister with South Sister behind

Broken Top, Bachelor, and South Sister

Three Finger Jack on the horizon

Looking out over Eastern Oregon

Jacob with North Sister behind him

You can see Cascade Lakes highway is snow free from here - we check when we got home and it was open.  Typically it is not open when we do our Memorial Day trip

Middle Sister

I take the same shot of Prouty Point every year

Looking up Middle Sister

No snow in the Cascade Range

The Cascade Range is clear to the north as well

Middle Sister

A cool band of clouds

The Cascade volcanoes all lined up

You can't see Mom, Dad, or Jacob on the steep pitch but they are there

Climbing up Middle Sister

The view from on top

Lots of lakes above the snow this year

The Husband

Dad, Mom, and Jacob on top

Looking back down to the saddle of Middle Sister

The down climb is just as slow as going up


Afternoon clouds blowing over Middle Sister
 Monday we packed up the tent then skied up toward North Sister.  The snow slope is quite a bit shorter than the one we climbed the day before, so we soon reached bare ground on one of the main ridges of North Sister.  We climbed a little ways up the ridge before stopping to have a snack and enjoy the view.  After a short scramble back down the skis, we got in one last descent back down to the campsite.  Once we were back down, we grabbed our packs and headed out.  Typically we can see for a while before strapping the skis onto our packs and tromping out.  This year only Jacob and I tried to ski from the tent site and we made it about a half mile.  Then we put the skis on our pack and began the walk out.
South Sister and Middle Sister on a crystal clear morning

North Sister

How'd the snow get back in there?

A nice blue pool at the foot of North Sister

South Sister and Middle Sister

Jacob with North Sister behind

On the way out we may have missed the trail, so we followed the creek until we were back on track.


After getting to the car we loaded up all the stuff and began the drive home.  We made a quick stop at Clear Lake to and early eat dinner by a campfire, then jumped back in the car and finished the drive.  As always, the Memorial Day trip was beautiful and fun.  Its what being in the mountains is all about.