Thursday, October 1, 2020

Happy October!


Anyone else totally lost any sense of time since the pandemic started? How can it be October???

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Nos. 74 - 80

With school getting under way, my reading slowed a bit this month. But I'm still cruising along!

No. 74 - Louise Penny's A Trick of the Light:

No. 75 - Nic Stone's Jackpot:

No. 76 - Transgender History by Susan Stryker:

No. 77 - Malice by Keigo Higashino:

No. 78 - With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo:

No. 79 - Louise Penny's How the Light Gets In:
This book, the ninth in the series, was the best! So much suspense! 

No. 80 - Janet Mock's memoir, Redefining Realness:

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Wildwood 25K (7/6/20)

Way back in the winter...

After I talked myself into signing up for the April Silver Falls Trail Challenge half marathon, which would have been my longest trail race by almost 7 miles, I decided to push it further and do a 25K in July.

Brad's been interested in trying an ultra marathon (anything longer than a regular marathon at 26.2 miles) and was eyeing the Mt. Hood 50 in the Timothy Lake area. He decided to train for the 50K (31 miles), and I signed up for the 25K (15.5 miles).

So my plan was to take a short step back after the April race and then ramp back up to 25K by July 12.

BUT... COVID shut it all down in March. I continued to train for my April half and completed it solo around town.

Not knowing how long the restrictions would stay in place, I stuck with my plan for July, hoping the race would go on. But instead of spending my long runs and hill repeats in the woods, I stayed on city streets and my treadmill. 

The race was officially canceled in May, but my training continued, and I loosely planned to run it solo on the Wildwood Trail in Portland's Forest Park.

I had decided to train to 14 miles, but I was feeling antsy and ready to be done. So with a solid 13-mile training run under my belt, and then back-to-back runs of 10 and 8 (along with good weekly mileage and lots of cross training), I decided I was ready.

COVID safety on the trail was a priority, so I chose July 6. I figured crowds would be light the Monday after the holiday weekend with Friday being the day off. 

I got up at 4:30 am, Brad drove me to the 53rd trail head, and I was on the Wildwood by 6 am. 

Ready to get this done:
The temp was about 50 degrees, and the sun was just lighting up the forest. Perfection.

I started with my earbuds in but with my audio book off, planning to turn it on once I got going. But I was waking up birds as I ran along the trail and thought it safest to take out my earbuds so I could be fully alert to the rustling in the brush around me. I never put them back in, choosing instead to listen to the trail and to my body the entire time.

Brad was waiting about halfway to cheer me on - and provide a couple swigs of water, a dry Buff, and some encouragement: 

I felt strong and ready to tackle the remaining 7ish miles.

My Monday-after-a-holiday gamble paid off, and I didn't see another sole until mile 10 - and then, I saw just 3 people total in 15 miles. 

My plan all along was to walk the hills when needed and cruise along when I could. The Wildwood Trail is very rolling, so that plan worked well. 

With about 2 miles to go, I had to dig deep. I started talking to myself, literally reminding myself that I was strong and that I could do it! "OK - I got this. Let's finish this out!"

But just minutes later, I rounded a corner and suddenly the parking lot was in front of me. 

My finish photo is awesome because someone crashed into the parking lot right then, and I turned to look. Gravel was flying - it was exciting :)
ALL DONE! (Or was I??)
The Wildwood (and Forest Park in general) is notorious for GPS problems because of the forest canopy, many, many canyons/drainages, and - I assume - the fact that the trail goes along the north side of the mountain range. 

So my watch said I had 2 miles to go. But I had double checked the mileage on the official Forest Park map and on two different online maps. It tricked my brain a bit, but we decided I was right, and I had run 15+ miles.

Happy trail runner:
Being my first 25K, and with all the weirdness of my training cycle, my only goals were to finish, run strong, and enjoy being out in the woods. Check, check, and CHECK! ✔

I finished in 3 hours flat - an 11:40 average. I'm super happy with that.

I refueled with a Beyond Burger, fries, and a Dr Pepper from Carl's Jr.! 😋
This year has been full of disappointment and cancellations for everyone. I'm definitely mourning the losses. But I'm also choosing to focus on what I do have control over and what I can do. And while my running doesn't look the same as if we weren't in a pandemic, I can still do it - I can still move my body for my physical and mental health. 

I am proud that I decided to take on this 25K challenge and that I followed through and completed it, despite unexpected and less-than-ideal conditions. 💪

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Nos. 62 - 73

August reading roundup...

No. 62 - In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware:
No. 63 - A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny:
Finished in a hammock at Timothy Lake!

No. 64 - Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas:

No. 65 - The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware:

No. 66 - The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks:

No. 67 - The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware:

No. 68 - The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny: 

No. 69 - The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson:

No. 70 - How We Get Free, edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor:

No. 71 - Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware:

No. 72 - Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson:

No. 73 - Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny:

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

A Year of Hiking: 31 - 40

In my quest to hike or run 52 trails in 2020 - and during COVID - I've been searching out isolated places to stretch my legs. 

We camped at Timothy Lake, scoring a last-minute spot on the lake. The 13-mile round-the-lake trail is a treat to run: rolling but no big elevation gain and forested with beautiful views of the water. 

No. 31 - run around Timothy Lake, Aug. 3:

The start...

Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River:
All done!
No. 32 - Pacific Crest Trail, Miller Trail, Aug. 4:

No. 33 - Timothy Lake Trail, Aug. 5:

I ran a section I'd never done before - across the highway to the dam. A really great 5ish-mile run:
34 - Portland, Lone Fir Cemetery, Aug. 9:

35 -King's Mountain, Aug. 10:

I left the trail head at 8 a.m. and had the whole place to myself! I spotted my first human on my way down from the summit.

No. 36 - Hoquarton Nature Trail, Aug. 10:

After conquering King's Mountain, I drove the 28 miles to Tillamook for lunch. Then I explored Hoquarton Park and Nature Trail on Highway 101.

No. 37 - Mount Talbert, Aug. 12:

No. 38 - Canemah Bluff, Aug. 12:

Fall poison oak is beautiful!

No. 39 - Angel's Rest, Aug. 13:

COVID closed Angel's Rest, one of my favorite Gorge hikes. I learned it was reopened and planned to run it the very next morning.

I left home before dawn so I could be there before the inevitable crowds. On the hike up, I passed one father-and-daughter team making their way down. That was it! I had the entire place to myself until I returned to my car.

No. 40 - Mount St. Helens, Aug. 22:

OK... 4 months left to explore 12 more trails. I think I can do it! :)