Showing posts from 2011

My first 50 - Part I

I don't know when the idea first took root in my head that I might be able to run 50 miles. I like to blame the facebook Chicks running group that I was added to earlier this year. Through that group I have met, both virtually and physically, so many amazing and inspiring runners that it helped to convince me that I could go farther than I ever thought possible.

After Hagg Lake in February I immediately signed up for the Gorge 50k. I wanted to improve my time (still a laughable goal after I realized the difficulty level of the Gorge course) and try a point to point course. After the Gorge I think was when I heard rumblings amidst the running group that people were signing up for a 50-miler. I checked out the website. The run was called the Mt. Hood 50 and it was held up by Mt. Hood - starting from the Clackamas Ranger station. It was a double out-and-back course which appealed to me. You ran back by the start/finish at the 28.4 mile mark so if you just weren't having a good da…

My first 50 - Part II

It seemed like a pretty quick trip back to the Start after the turnaround. People in the campground we ran past on the way out were waking up and were curiously watching us as all these runners with numbers went running past their campsites. The coffee in the air smelled delicious and I was wishing I had been able to start my day with a cup.

I knew that when I hit the start/finish area that I wanted to get in and out without spending much time. I started running through what I needed to do about a mile out. I was surprised to hit the start/finish just under 5 hours. I had planned to be back at this point between 5:30 - 5:40 so this was a positive sign. Instead I made it in 4:59:31. My friend Rose came up and asked if I needed anything. I didn't know she would be here (she was going to pace a friend on the second half) so it was a nice surprise. I stopped and grabbed my bag, changed out my three empty bottles for three full ones, grabbed a new pack of shot blocks and set back out.

Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon

My friend Alice had the idea to sign up for this race. It was a half-marathon in wine country, starting in Dundee, OR, about 45 minutes from Portland. It was a spendy race, $85, but included wine-tasting after the event and a donation to several organizations (including a Newfoundland Rescue organization). Since Alice had gone along with me on several of my plans I thought I should go along with this one. Lee and Celeste also signed up so there were 4 of us on race day.

We headed down early, arriving in Dundee at 6:20 am. The race started at 7. This was perfect as it gave us a bit of time to use the facilities and relax for a minute or two before the race started. At 7 am the gun went off and we immediately set off up a steep hill. This would set the tone for the course. It was up one hill, then down, then up another hill. Right off the bat I got my heart rate up really high and felt cold and tingly until it went back down to a normal rate.

At the beginning I tried to stick with Alice…

Training Run - 40 miles

I wanted to get a longer run in prior to the race at the end of the month. Mentally I felt I needed to achieve the 40 mile mark. I planned a long and complicate route through Forest Park that would enable me to tick a bunch of trails and firelanes off my All-Trails Challenge list. I tried to enlist a few people to join me - one for the first 20 and one for the second 20, but I didn't end up having any success. After much consideration I decided to simplify my route and do some out and backs on Wildwood. I felt this would be safer if anything were to go wrong with me physically, and I didn't want to push deep into the park solo.

I had to do an early morning airport run which had me pulling in to the Germantown parking lot at 5:50 am. It was very quiet, I was the only car in the lot, and although it was fully light out it still felt a bit dark in the park. I gathered my things (hydration pack with 1.5 liters of water and 1 liter of Gatorade, 2 packs of clif shot blocks, 2 packet…

Training Run - 35 miles

Saturday July 2nd I wanted to tackle my longest run to date. Adam was off on a Mt. Hood climb so I had the majority of the day to work with. I planned out a long loop from my house over the Sellwood Bridge, along the Waterfront, up Thurman hill to Forest Park's Leif Erickson drive, down Ridge trail to the St. John's Bridge, along Willamette back to the Waterfront and home.

I had wanted to get going early but when my alarm went of at 5:30 I was too tired to get out of bed. I slept for another 2 hours, and didn't start running until 8 a.m. I was carrying a liter of water, a liter of gatorade, veggie sushi rolls, 2 packs of margarita shot blocks, and a couple of gu's. I was hoping these supplies would get me through the full distance. The first 10 miles of the route was in full sunshine and I was lamenting that I had failed to think of wearing sunscreen. I was pretty warm and sweaty during this stretch. It was a relief to arrive at the entrance to Forest Park - it was mu…

Middle Sister

Finally a climb to post! I have been focusing so much on running that there hasn't been a lot of climbing in the last 7 or 8 months. However, that all changed last weekend when I got to attempt a one day ascent of Middle Sister. Typically, we do MS as a two day climb. From the trailhead at Pole Creek it is approximately 5000 ft of climbing (when there is no snow on the approach) and 14 miles roundtrip. We usually leave Portland around 7 am on Saturday morning, drive to the trailhead (5300 ft), and begin the hike around 11 am or noon. This allows us a leisurely 5-mile hike with overnight packs to camp at 7100 ft. The hike tends to be pretty easy, albeit a bit dusty. The first two miles are relatively good trail - although there has been a lot of blow down in the last few years that has made it a bit more challenging (needing to go around and over lots of logs). You climb very gently for two miles and then descend several hundred feet to Soap Creek. From Soap Creek it is another 1.5…

Vancouver Marathon

I signed up to run this race in May of 2010 when I first heard about it. I figured it would be fun to run an inaugural event and it wouldn't be too far to drive from my house. They were also offering a super early bird special of $45, so I thought that even if something came up and I couldn't run it I wouldn't have lost a lot of money.

Well, that was all way before I decided to sign up for the Beacon Rock 50k. And before I decided to sign up for a Memorial Day trail marathon. Adam and I did end up deciding to stay in town this past weekend - the weather forecast wasn't great and I had work I needed to do - so that opened up the possibility that I could run the event. I went and picked up my packet Saturday morning just to keep the option open as there wouldn't be any day of race packet pickup.

I worked all day on Saturday. I have been dealing with some stomach problems over the last few weeks and was feeling quite lousy all day Saturday. I did a short 4-mile run an…

Beacon Rock Recap

I was nervous going in to this race. The elevation profile was just scary. I had hiked the Hamilton Mountain trail enough to know just how steep that section of the course was going to be. 7500 feet of climbing and descending in 31 miles, running up and over two "mountains" along the way. Was I really up for the challenge?

The weekend before Adam joined me for some hill training in Forest Park. We started at Germantown Road and instead of sticking to the main Wildwood trail, we took every side/hilly trail that we could. We climbed up Firelane 10, went up Saltzman, then up and down Trillium, up and down the full length of Ridge Trail, and up Hardesty. It amounted to 3400 feet of climbing in 15.5 miles. I was whipped at the end. I didn't know how I was going to run another 4100 feet of elevation and double the miles the following week.

Sunday dawned sunny and bright. The alarm was set for 5:10, but I woke a few minutes before it went off. The nice thing about waking up …

Ridgeline Ramble Trail Marathon

A month or so ago our friend Janet sent out a link to the Ridgeline Ramble in Eugene over Memorial Day Weekend. This race had something to offer everyone - a 10k, 20k, 20k relay, and a marathon. Adam and I no longer make climbing plans for Memorial Day so we decided we would give it a try. He registered for the 20k and I registered for the marathon. Alice also decided to join in on the fun, registering for the 20k. Jay & Janet were doing the 20k relay.

In typical Sarah fashion, I didn't do the best job of understanding the logistics when I registered. For some reason I was thinking the race as in Salem instead of Eugene. Salem is a 45 minute drive, while Eugene is a 2 hour drive. The marathon start time was 7 am. Since I wanted to make sure to build in a little time for getting lost and using the bathrooms upon arrival at the starting line it was going to be quite an early morning.

I got my stuff prepped on Thursday night in order to make Friday night a little bit easier. Frid…

A Day Off to Run

Had you asked me a year ago if I would consider taking a day off to run I would have told you you were crazy. I mean, day's off are supposed to be for tromping around in the gorge, the mountains, or lazily hanging out home. Last Thursday came with the promise of a beautiful Friday forecast - sunny, warm, dry - it was going to be a perfect day. I couldn't conceive of spending such a perfect day sitting in the office so Adam and I decided to take the day off.

Arriving home on Thursday night we talked over whether we should climb Hood. It would be a pretty day in the mountains so it would be a great day to do it. However, it was already 7 pm. By the time we packed it would be 8. Then we would lay down for 2 1/2 hours to "sleep," getting up at 10:30 to prep and drive to the mountain so we could start slogging up the Palmer around midnight. We knew there would be a bazillion other people on the mountain with the forecast, and, quite frankly, neither of us wanted to do it.

Avenue of the Giants Marathon

Running the Avenue of the Giants Marathon was the brain child of my friend Alice. She wanted another shot at qualifying for Boston and she thought it would be awesome to run through the Redwoods. It just so happened that her friend Ingrid lives in Trinidad which is only about 70 miles from the start of the race. This allowed us to have one night of free lodging, and for us all to get to spend time in beautiful Trinidad and with Ingrid and Sweet Pea (Ingrid's adorable pup).

Lee, Alice and I all signed up for the race in late December to get in on the early registration fee. Celeste, Lee's girlfriend, wasn't going to run but wanted to join us on the trip. We planned to take two cars, Lee & Celeste would drive one and Alice, Charlotte (Alice's 14-year old daughter), Rudy (Alice's 12 year old pup) and I would head down in the other. Alice made us a hotel reservation in Eureka for the night before the race.

We left town around 11:30 a.m. on Friday April 29. To get t…