Settling in Seattle

Settling in Seattle
Gorge Waterfalls Preview

Apryle and I made our way back from Republic on New Years Eve, I considered this to be our official move to Seattle, since we would be there to stay for the foreseeable future. After about ten days of gloominess and cold we were greeted by a sunny mild day on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass. I put in a solid 10 mile run around Cougar Mountain. It was refreshing to run without yaktrax for a change, and although the higher reaches of the park held some snow and ice, it was certainly runnable with trail shoes.

We did a poor job at ringing in the New Year and fell asleep early, after a long day of traversing the state in Apryle’s Chrysler Town & Country. The next three days I was fortunate enough to run with my good friend Seth West, who was coincidently visiting from Austin, Texas. The first run of the New Year was a 13.3 miler at Bridle Trails State Park, then an 8 mile out and back up the snow/ice covered Mount Si, and finally capped off with a 25 miler around Union Bay and the Arboretum.

I continued alternating running at Union Bay/Arboretum and the Interurban Trail in Shoreline for the remainder of the first week of 2016. Then finally, to top off a 116.76-mile week (my furthest distance since the lead up to the 2012 Leadville 100), I ran an impromptu 50K at Bridle Trails State Park! The race went quite well, it consisted of 6 laps around the 5.2-mile trail surrounding the park. I wanted to keep the pace quick so I used the 5 and 10-mile racers to my advantage and raced with them until they finished their respective distances. Once they dropped off it was all up to me to keep up the tempo. I made it until the middle of the fourth lap before I had to pull out the headlamp, which far surpassed my goal.

Furthermore, at the midway point I was on course record pace and was confident I could even split. Apryle and I had a great system worked out, she would hand me a gel and my water bottle, I would take a couple of swigs, toss the bottle, and then choke down a gel while transitioning to the next lap, this helped avoid the confusion of the aid station. However, as darkness descended on the thickly forested park, and the headlamp failed to brightly illuminate my path, my pace suffered and I ended up finishing in 3:25:00, which was about 7 minutes off course record pace.

I was elated with the time, but still somewhat disappointed at missing the chance to own a course record. I staggered off the course and was questioned by the race director if I had completed all six laps. My first reaction was to take this as an insult, because I would rather crawl across the finish line in last before I would unfairly take a win in a race. But I suppose it was somewhat of a compliment in disguise. Apryle and I headed back to Shoreline, but not before stocking up at our favorite store, the Grocery Outlet in Bothell. It was here that I realized I was in quite bad shape, I was having chills, my legs were cramping and my intestines were in knots. I had not realized how much of a toll the effort of that race took on my body until walking around that store.

At any rate, I recovered from the race and put in some easy runs with Apryle in typical alternating fashion (Interurban one day and Union Bay/Arboretum one day). It was also on these days that I discovered Richmond Beach and Boeing Park. They were both small parks, but Boeing offered a few densely canopied singletrack trails, which I found to be quite refreshing in the highly residential town of Shoreline.

Boeing Creek & Innis Arden

At the end of the week, Apryle and I made our way to the Washington/ Oregon boarder along the banks of the Columbia River. Our intention was to preview the Gorge Waterfalls 100K course. Apryle had done all of the research and had mapped out where I would be running each day in order to optimize our time on course. We camped out of the back of her van and it served as our shelter from the constant barrage of rainfall that weekend.

The course was spectacular, and also quite difficult to traverse, which we quickly realized on a quick 5.5 mile run around Ponytail Falls. After a restless nights sleep I hit the trail at Yeon State Park where I ran to Cascade Locks to meet up with Apryle. The trail was flooded and strewn with fallen trees making the pace quite choppy. I also took a wrong turn leading me up a spur trail to the top of a small peak that offered a brilliant view of the fog. After several hours on the trail I met up with Apryle and we ran an out and back from Cascade Locks that featured much clearer and runnable trail with a scattering of icy patches. I called it a day with 18 miles and prepared to repeat the effort the next day.

On the third and final day of the preview I ran from Wyath (midway point) back to Cascade Locks. As expected I got off course at a certain point and stumbled upon another beautiful waterfall and was fortunate enough to meet a Cascade Locks trail runner (Casey) and we ran several miles together. I found the stretch of trail from Wyath to Cascade Locks to be the easiest of the course. After finishing up that stretch, Apryle and I ran the first part of the course around Multnomah Falls. This was only a five mile loop but it featured the steepest climb of the entire course and was an excellent way to wrap up the trip.

It is hard to believe that as of January 17th, we had only been living in Washington for one month. Between the long drive from Austin, the winter GUD season, the Bridle Trails 50K, and the Gorge Waterfalls preview, the time flew by. As life becomes busier once again, my time to crank out posts becomes much more limited, but after a short hiatus, the four part series finally come to a close. The next post will begin a new chapter in my life in the northwest and feature the conclusion of January, the new adventures of February and the Fort Ebey Kettles Trail Marathon.

Training Block Between Franklin Mountain 50K & Bridle Trails 50K

MonthDaysDistance  Time    PaceLongest Run
November15 to 2145.36  5:44:01    7:3511.06
November22 to 2865.97  7:43:30    7:0110.4
December29 to 559.9  8:07:24    8:0813
December6 to 1290.84  13:30:50    8:5526
December13 to 1965.4  10:59:46    10:0515
December20 to 2653.6  8:11:05    9:0922.11
December27 to 275.08  11:15:19    8:5914.01
January3 to 9116.75  15:14:45    7:5031.2


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