Thursday, January 15, 2015

After another week of good running I headed out to the Cape Perpetua Fat Ass and ran the 50K there.  My plan going into the run was to take it easy and run with some friends.  As we all started up the first climb I caught up with a guy from Corvallis who was doing the 30K.  We ended up running together the whole day until I had to head off and do one more loop while he cruised to the finish.  Anyhow, we ended up going quite a bit faster than I was planning but that was fun and the pace was still comfortable.  The course took us up a big 10 mile climb then down 10 miles with a few rollers along the way.  Then up 5 more miles and down 5.  Coming down the 10 mile descent we really got cruising so when I took off for the last 10 miles I felt silly slowing down so I kept up a good pace.  Fortunately the only rough patch was starting down the last hill when my legs felt a little stiff.  I haven't put a hard effort at this distance for quite some time so that wasn't much of a surprise.  I felt strong finishing the run and hadn't checked my watch all day but figured that I had put up a pretty good time.  Turns out I ran a 4:10 on a course with some good climbing.  Looking at the map, I figured that the course was maybe 30 miles, not your traditional 50K, but that run sure gave me some confidence.  The next day I managed a sub-1 hour effort of one of my favorite routes up McCulloch Peak which was the first time I had gone that fast.  After a couple great days though, I could feel that the body took on a little more than it could take in stride and the next few days found me more focused on recovery more than running.  Today the legs felt like they were back and I managed a sub-2 hour double McCulloch using a fairly direct route from Oak Creek then dropping into Soap Creek and climbing out of there.  All in all I'm feeling happy with my recent efforts, and also am having a lot of fun just heading out and running every day.
Cummins Peak

Some sweet single track coming down from Cummins

Heading up the last climb

Looking back up the trail

Another beautiful descent

Although it is hard to see in the picture that's the ocean behind those trees

Cruising through a tunnel of trees

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Once again my running has started to take off.  The past few weeks of relaxed running, both in effort and expectation, have payed off leading to some very solid running this week.  After Christmas in Montana with my grandparents, I felt completely healthy and managed to put up a nice balance of long slow running and some shorter faster efforts.  My fitness is really starting to come around so I'm very excited to see what I will be able to do in the coming weeks.  At this point, Orcas Island is definitely on my mind although there is still 4 weeks to February 7th.  I'm not focused on the race yet like I will be in a couple weeks, but ideas are starting to creep into my mind of what is possible.  Coming back from some time down I have no specific goal yet, but if I can keep running how I am now, I will be looking for a pretty fast time.
Enjoying some wet trail with my brother
Cruising through the bottom of the clearcut
Me on top of McCulloch Peak
After getting hammered with a bunch of rain on Saturday, my brother and I got out for an easy run on Sunday.  There was still some rain which was accompanied by unseasonably warm weather (50s) for about a week.
A couple weeks later and there some snow up high
Some cool ice formations up on Lookout Saddle
Nearing the top of Lookout Mountain
After some warm wet days came some cold clear days.  I like the contrast because changes the forest giving me something else to appreciate.  On my run up Lookout Mountain, the weather started to warm up again so I was happy to get a few pictures of the ice and snow.  This run took me over McCulloch and up Lookout putting me on my feet for a while and throwing in some decent climbing.  I felt solid all day and was happy to run through some areas I haven't seen for quite some time.