Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Holidays!!

Where does the time go?! I hope the holidays are treating you all well. I have been trying to stay under the radar myself and avoid the whole stress-inducing holiday madness. I haven't stepped foot in a mall at all so be warned, your "gift" may be a big warm hug this year! ;-)

The running is going well, although the mileage has come down a bit. My mileage barely cracked 50 miles last week but it included a VERY HILLY 21 miler at Hagg Lake, on Sunday, in 2:45. It was a beautiful day- I took this picture before I started my run. You can't tell by the picture but the temps were in the low 30's which made for a pretty solitary run. Not too many people venturing out in those temps and I didn't see another soul except for several cars that happened to drive by. A very nice way to get in some "running meditation". No interruptions, my ipod for some musical inspiration, and groovin' on the beautiful scenery to help numb the brutal climbs scattered throughout this run! *Nice*

On the flip side of the inspirational workouts, are the blue collar workouts. I hit the treadmill for 10 miles tonight. 7:13 pace for 8 miles / 6:44 pace for mile 9 / 6:40 pace for mile 10....punch the clock...done.

I am headed down for a week of warmer temps in SoCal to see Deb and the family on Friday. I'm looking forward to cranking out some solid running miles in SUNNY weather so hoping that the weather gods cooperate. For those of you dealing with serious weather, be very careful when you head out. Mother Nature has strange ways of showing us who's in charge and it's definitely not worth taking any chances out there!

Also looking forward to relaxing with a couple of these and maybe a good book...aaaaah

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays to each and everyone of you out there! BIG thanks for providing me with much needed inspiration in the form of your blogs. Let's all raise the bar and take it to the next level in 07!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Eagle Creek Trail Run

I capped off a week of lower mileage with an epic trail run. Steven and I headed to the Eagle Creek Trail in the Columbia Gorge at 7am for a run. The weather wasn't favorable for a run (pouring rain) but not much you can do about that in these parts. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit concerned about the exposed nature of certain parts of this trail. The trail is cut right into the side of a cliff in certain parts without any railing.

Hmmm...rain = mud = slick footing.

I was deferring to Steven though since he has done this run multiple times and if he said it was a was a go. We started out and no surprise that there weren't any other cars in the lot with the nasty weather. We were expecting rain but we were both caught off guard by the amount of snow / ice on the trail. It definitely slowed our pace as it was hard to get any solid footing on the hilly 6.5 mile run to the turnaround point. Since the out was mostly uphill, it didn't help matters either. We even encountered several stream crossings and after mis-timing a hop and stepping up to my shin in one, it canceled out the benefits of my goretex running shoes! It woke me up though....pretty darn chilly.

Can you take a guess at which one of us is the Oregon native? Yeah, that would be Steven rocking the shorts in some pretty cold temps. I wasn't having any part of that and busted out the tights! We both ended up ok although we did curse our gloves- cold, wet hands are no fun. The snow slush on the bridge is pretty typical of what we encountered throughout the run. In some places it was a lot deeper and slowed our "run" to a crawl but we weren't taking any chances on the exposed trail.

They grow them a bit tougher up here in Oregon

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr.........this Cali boy was cold!

We passed by several beautiful falls on the way out to the big one: Tunnel Falls. The run was beautiful the whole way out as we climbed up and down the valley. It was really hard at times to enjoy the scenery when you were faced with some snowy conditions and exposed trail with over a 100+ foot drop to the floor below.

As I mentioned, the conditions slowed us down quite a bit and we didn't hit Tunnel Falls until about 1:15'sh into the run (6.5 miles). I could hear it much sooner then I could see it. It was amazing to come around a corner and get hit by this HUGE mass of water thundering over this cliff. The trailhead is cut right into the side of the cliff about 1/2 way up the side of the wall and has a very cool tunnel that is bored right through the rock behind the waterfall. Pretty sketchy when you took a glance over the drop but there was a steel cable attached to the side of the cliff to hang on to as you made your way around this section.

Steven heading toward Tunnel Falls. This pic gives you an idea of how narrow the trail is- you don't want to lose concentration in this section, trust me.

A shot of me right after exiting the tunnel on the other side of the falls. It was pretty amazing standing there while the falls were thundering down the cliff. A ton of energy there and so beautiful.

Another pic giving a bit more scale- you can barely make out the steel cable handrail. I have a deathgrip on it!

This shot was obviously taken on another day but it provides a complete pic of the falls with the tunnel clearly visible about 1/2 way down. Check out the drop to the bottom- YIKES!!

Just a bit beyond Tunnel Falls we hit the turnaround at Twister Falls. Aptly named as several sections of the creek converged from different sections to twist itself into the final section as it finally dropped into the valley below.

Steven mesmerized by the beauty at Twister. Actually, he's probably wondering how to warm up his freezing hands at this point.

We then turned around and headed back down the valley for the 6.5 mile trek back to the truck. At that point we were chilled to the bone so Steven's truck was a very welcome sight after spending 2.5 hours and 13 miles running. BIG THANKS to Steven for including me in his annual Eagle Creek Run- definitely pencil me in for next year!

Hope the holiday season is going well for everyone.

No stress

Sometimes all it takes is the simple act of lacing up a pair of your favorite running shoes and getting out there. Breathe deep and enjoy Mother Nature's many beautiful and amazing gifts to get you in the right mindset! Isn't it great that some of the best gifts out there are free?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Oregon Food Bank

*37% of those eating meals from an emergency food box are children*

*22% of those receiving an emergency food box are disabled*

*47% of households receiving emergency food had at least one working member*

Today I spent the afternoon at the Oregon Food Bank with 70+ coworkers providing volunteer assistance in their Portland action center. OFB recovers food from many sources (Farms, manufacturers, retailers, individuals, etc) and distributes it to 20 regional foodbanks across Oregon to fight hunger. This is the second year the Global Brand group at Nike has volunteered at the OFB and it truly makes me feel very thankful and blessed for the many things I often take for granted in my life.

If you get the opportunity to volunteer, regardless of what it is, do it. You may think that one person can't make a difference but it is the power of one many times over where gains are made. We spent the day re-packaging rice into 2 lb bags to be included in emergency food kits distributed to families in need. With just a 3 hour commitment, we impacted the lives of many Oregonians who will now have a warm meal vs. going hungry.

Based on the amount of rice we processed, we helped to feed 17,098 people or 251 people per volunteer. While this was amazing on the one hand, I really struggled with the fact that there are many people out there having real difficulty just meeting their basic needs.

Count your blessings.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Anaerobic Baby Steps

Is the time flying by for everyone out there!?

Everytime I blink it seems like a few days has passed by. Work is crazy busy, I've been trying to squeeze in my running while promising that I will start the cycling / swimming / weights next week. That seems to be my mantra week...I'll start next week. I'll turn it around shortly.

The running has been going pretty well. I did another V02 max test in the NSRL on Wednesday. I won't bore you with the stats- my VO2 max tested the same although I was able to crank up the pain and hit the next level (5:27 mile) on the treadmill before I threw the white flag up. Funny how you can get to that point anaerobically where everything starts shutting down....5:43 hurt for two minutes, 5:27 my body was revolting big time. I did keep it rolling for 50 seconds though! Also, a bit more rested this time as I hit a max HR of 195. The protocol was a bit different this time with 10 min @ 8:13/mile pace, 10 min @ 7:13/mile pace before the 2 min interval ramp test starting at 8:30 pace and up thru 5:27 pace. Also, blood draws between each 10 min session, another blood draw during a 80 minute rest period, then had to get on the treadmill and run at 6:27 /mile pace for 30 minutes with another blood draw at the end...felt like a human pin cushion. Ok, I guess I better state that the treadmill was on a 3% decline during the 6:27 pace run. Trust me, it makes that pace a little easier to swallow. I also had to show up for blood draws for the following 3 days and I get the pleasure of doing this same test in another week! Yeeeaah!!

or maybe that should be...uuuh, yeah?

Friday, I spent the evening with Steven and his very cool family. Free pizza & beers, great company - doesn't get much better than that! **Thanks Steven!!** He also let me borrow his copy of "Bowerman and the Men of Oregon" and his triathlon dvds: "140.6" & "What It Takes" so looking forward to jumping into all of those real soon. Also, left Steven with enough Kona videos that he should be sick of watching them in the next couple of weeks! ;-)

I had to head to the Lance gym on Saturday for the last last blood draw so I decided to hit the track for a time trial and was very surprised that I was able to maintain a pretty darn quick pace thru 10 miles. 1.6 mile warmup on the chip trail then 8.4 miles on the track with my HR pegged at 178. I was getting a bit dizzy with all the loops there!

Since the marathon is drawing near, I plan on starting to throw in some honest marathon based speedwork and pace runs as of this week. Cross your fingers with me - lets hope these feet hold together. Sunday I ran a 21.1 miler in some pretty darn chilly weather- it was a clear day but probably around 33-34 degrees for the 3 hrs I was out there chugging along. Thankfully, the legs didn't protest too much after the hard run on Saturday.

Run Summary week of 11/27/06
5 Days Running
49.55 Miles Total
Mon Off
Tues 5
Wed 9.7 (V02 Max Test)
Thur 3
Fri Off
Sat 10.75
Sun 21.1

Hope all is well - looking forward to catching up on your blogs in the next couple of days!