Thursday, September 5, 2013

Course Sweeping Rocks!

I survived course sweeping and actually had a blast! Deb and I kicked some butt and we did a lot more running than I thought we would do. Mostly we walked the steeper climbs and then took super long breaks at the aid stations chatting with volunteers and eating from the buffet. Ha ha!

We started at the Whistle Punk Trailhead, did a short out and back, then headed up onto the PCT for about 28 miles. There were two big climbs and two big descents, with the second descent being almost 6 miles. I loved it but Deb felt differently about all the downhill.

At mile 18 we climbed a huge rock formation and gazed out onto pretty views of all the surrounding mountains (St Helens, Adams, Jefferson, Hood, maybe Ranier too). We finished up a few seconds after the final runners, as we caught up to them and only stayed about 1/8 of a mile behind once we were on pavement again. It would have been nicer to finish up a little quicker, but the walking was a nice cool-down.

The sweeps coming into the finish

Total mileage: 34.06 and 6,200 feet of gain. My longest run yet!

I took over 100 pictures of the trail and the view but keep forgetting to bring my laptop with me during the day to post them. I never want to do anything on my computer at night. I had uploaded them all to Facebook but the upload failed. I do have a few pictures though to post in the meantime until I can post some others!

Pocket Fuel was a sponsor and since we were last at the aid stations, I ended up with quite a hefty bulk of them! The last aid station tried to give me a huge bag of them, but I only had so much room in my pack. We scored a nice t-shirt and a pint glass for climbing 3 corner rock. Very cool!

Last night Deb and I ran the first Portland Trail Series race. The runners of this series are a bit intimidating since they're all so fast, but it was a good way to get out and log a few miles before this weekend. My legs felt like bricks and my ankles were crying out for mercy for the first 4 miles. I should mention that the trail we were on this past weekend had a few miles of nasty slag rocks that were the trail. I'm impressed with anyone that can run on that without rolling an ankle. Anyway, towards the last 1 1/2 miles of the race last night I sped up, raced up the very end of the last hill, then coasted down 3/4 mile to the finish. We walked a lot but I still ended up with a decent 11 min average pace, which I'll take for such a short time after this weekend!! This series is not about ranking for me, it's just a way to enjoy the trails and maybe push myself just a little.

This weekend is the McKenzie River 50k! My calf is a bit tender from last night but besides that I think I'm good to go. Besides that <6 mile trail run, this weekend is it. My legs aren't as fresh as they could be and I'm taking the early start so I don't feel time cut-off pressure, but if I have a good run I'm hoping to knock off good chunk of time from my Sun Mtn time. Though the ultimate goal is to just have a lovely time on a new trail and keep things easy if I need to. Thankfully I now feel a lot more comfortable about the distance, especially since this isn't a mountain 50k. My body is asking for more sleep so I'm hoping to get in another solid 9+ hours tonight. Recovery from long distance running requires a lot of sleeping too!

I'll leave you with a fun picture that Deb took at the very end of the B2B sweep. We found a smiley face about 100m from the finish and I got down for a cheesy thumbs up grinning pose! This photo makes me happy because it reminds me how good it feels to finish such a long distance and be on cloud 9. Running is tough, but I really do love it. I also really love having company and Deb and I seem to run well together. New trail buddy!


  1. great pictures! love the greenery in the first one. 34 miles!? wow, that is a big accomplishment. congrats!!

    1. The pictures from the course are absolutely gorgeous! That was just the beginning of the trail too. I keep remembering to post them mid-day, but I can't because they're on my laptop at home. I'll pick some of the prettiest ones and post them soon :)

      34 miles is crazy long! But it was fun!