Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Summary: Spartan race(s), 1/2 & full marathon training

I thought I'd start doing a monthly training report of what I'm doing to get ready for the upcoming races we've entered. 
In April my husband and I will be doing the Whidbey Island half marathon, in May the Montana Spartan Sprint and in June the North Olympic Discovery Marathon.
*added edit to this post - also the Seattle Beast Spartan Race in October for my Spartan Trifecta.

My totals for the month are:
100.83 miles - run, walk, hike
3 hours and 37 minutes - circuit training
1 hour 22 minutes - indoor cycling
2 hours and 44 minutes - yoga
2 hours - tai chi

Endomondo stats -

Thursday, January 28, 2016

One Hundred Acre Woods Trailblazer hike

The hike today for our Trailblazers was the One Hundred Acre Woods, doesn't that sound like a lovely place to spend the day?
We've hiked this area a couple of times before, you can read about those hikes HERE
Our carpool drivers took us to Marine Park where we walked up to join the trail system that connects with the Interurban trail. We then walked through Fairhaven park and into the One Hundred Acre trails.
The last time I was on this trail the beginning section was a muddy mess, I was happy to see that the City had improved the trail in that area.

As we made our way past the improved area, the dirt/fir needle trail resumes through a wonderful fern filled forest.

As you can see in the photo below, we did find the mud.

We eventually found our way back onto the Interurban trail and then headed to Hoag's pond.

After a quick walk around the pond, we headed back to the One Hundred Acre Woods.
Our "fearless leader Pat" kept assuring us that he wasn't about to get us lost in the woods, he even pulled out his map just to prove his point.

 As we made our way through the forest a few things caught my eye:
New "early spring" growth -

a few delicate little mushrooms

and a tree where someone had done a Cedar pull. 

I had been to a museum in British Columbia a few years ago and had watched a video on Native Americans relearning things from their past and trying to keep their culture alive. This tree reminded me of a short video I had seen there on the practice of bark pulling. The bark is then used to make baskets and hats by weaving the Cedar strands together. I searched on YouTube and found this video on the activity. I hope you take the time to watch it, I found it very interesting and informative.

We then made our way back to Fairhaven park and ate our lunches at the picnic tables, a rare luxury on our hikes.
When we got back to Marine park, we were remarking about how the weather really cooperated for us today. 
As you can see in this panorama photo below, it really was pretty nice!

Endomondo stats:
Total miles hiked - 6 miles
Minimum altitude - 10 feet
Maximum altitude - 249 feet
Total ascent - 352 feet
Total descent - 393 feet

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Whatcom falls park from the Sr. Center Trailblazer hike

Our hike today was what I call a city walk, we did one similar to this last March. 
On that day spring was in the air, the trees and bulbs were blooming, you can look at the spring blossom photos and read about that day's route HERE
Today 10 of us came to the Bellingham Senior Center prepared for a rainy day on the trail, but we were pleasantly surprised by only a few raindrops right at the beginning of our walk. Our fearless leader "Pat" led us to Whatcom falls park on one of the many city trails, this particular trail led us through neighborhoods and then onto the "Railroad Trail".

We stopped at this trestle and listened to "Pat" as he explained that this was a Fly over for the trains or as we would say on the freeway - an overpass.

I stepped inside the structure and took the photo below looking up towards the sky for a different perspective.

We walked across the Alabama hill pedestrian bridge and then through some neighborhoods before we were in the forest again. I took the photo below of some flags flying over a house, so you could see that there was a brisk breeze blowing at times, and as an homage to our dear Seahawks. 
Sadness, our season is over for the year.

 "City" hikers :-)

Soon we were following Whatcom creek and approaching the falls.

I took a photo of the falls today to show a comparison of water flow from our March hike, as you can see the water level was a bit lower then.

When we were on the moss & fern covered bridge I took a picture of the spillway. This is the view down creek from the falls.

Our lunch destination was the shelter just on the other side of this bridge.

After lunch we headed west along the creek. This area is where the pipeline explosion happened in June of 2009. You can read the timeline of events HERE
Just before we crossed Woburn street there is a long stairway leading down to the road from the trail. 
Here's a photo of the stairway that I took from last March's walk. On that occasion we went up the stairs.

 I decided to take advantage of the stairs and did a little workout. After I went down them, I ran back up. According to Joe there are 105 steps on this stairway. I think I need to make that part of my training workouts. 
Very fun! 
We made our way back to the senior center by going on the trail behind the car dealerships on Iowa street. My blog post from last year shows photos of this section of the trail.
When we got back to the center, Pat showed me the map he used for the day's hike. The little hill shape on the upper part of the map shows the railroad trail.

My endomondo tracking map shows the same hump for the railroad trail as Pat's, go figure!

Endomondo stats:
total miles walked - 7.75
minimum altitude - 47 feet
maximum altitude - 362 feet
total ascent - 306 feet
total descent - 345 feet

Monday, January 18, 2016


We have been a running family off and on for years. 
On January 15, 1983 our daughter Melissa (just a month away from her 11th birthday) ran the Nookachamps half marathon with me, my mom and dad, my brother and his wife. She was determined to run that distance and she had trained diligently towards that goal. Here's a photo of me, my brother (Phil) and Melissa. I'm not sure which race this was, but the picture was taken around that same year. 

Melissa was always my dad's protector. The first few marathons he ran were the Birch Bay and Seaside marathons. At that time he used to get serious chills after he ran. Here's a picture of her comforting him after one of his Birch Bay marathon finishes.

Another fun memory was when we ran the Baker to Bellingham relay together as a family team, also in 1983.  It was a Greater Bellingham running club sponsored event at the time. Here are my mom (Shirley) and dad getting aid and encouragement from Melissa.

Quite a few years later Melissa and my dad made some more memories together running a marathon together in Seattle.

On Saturday January 16th yet another run together was added to their memory bank. My dad (Chuck) and Melissa ran the Nookachamps half marathon together again after a 33 year gap. My brother and his wife (Rosaura) were there also to run the 10k. Here are some special pictures from the day.
Everyone getting ready for their big day -

Here are some photos of Melissa and my dad (83 years young) running their half marathon.

It was wonderful to see them running together again. My husband and I surprised everyone by showing up unannounced to watch them. We drove the course and stopped to cheer every couple of miles. My mom was even able to see them run by a couple of times and yell a cheer for them on my iPhone using a face time call. 
I love these two, with their fun spirited - get after life with a full throttle attitude. 
Like grandpa, like granddaughter!

*If you'd like to see more of what these two do for fun you can read about my dad's 80 mile run on his 80th birthday HERE and to find out more about the Spartan races my daughter enjoys, you can find that info. HERE. Her husband wrote a nice summary about their Tahoe "Beast" Spartan race,  you can read about it HERE. They had the thrill of competing on the same course as the Elite Spartan Race World champions. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Stimpson Reserve/Lookout mtn. waterfall Trailblazer hike

The Trailblazer hiking schedule for today said we were going to hike the Stimpson Reserve and Lookout mtn. trails. I was curious about how we were going to do this. I've done Stimpson Reserve before, you can read about that hike HERE. The Lookout mtn. parking lot is just down the road a ways from the Stimpson parking lot. I've never hiked any of the trails on Lookout mtn., so anything there would be exploring new territory for me. Our fearless leader "Pat", told us that we would be hiking to the waterfall after the Stimpson hike.
Today our group of 19 ready to get on the trail -

We hiked counterclockwise around the loop, the sky was blue and there was a slight chill to the air. Perfect hiking weather. I loved how the sun was shining through the trees in the forest. I quickly snapped a picture of it before it changed it's angle.

I was told by Penny that the Douglas fir in the photo below was hugging it's Cedar Mother, we discussed how it wasn't willing to let go & live strong alone.

The Douglas fir below seemed to reach to the heavens.

Someone had taken the time to count the rings of this tree that had fallen and been cut in sections to allow us to walk on the trail. I didn't take the time to see if they were correct.

The photo above is a close up of the tree below.

Geneva pond with a thin layer of ice.

We found a nice spot in the sun for lunch, a few brave ones sat with Pat in the chilly shade farther back just off the trail.

I played with my camera plus app and got this macro of a dewdrop on end of a tree branch.

We ended our Stimpson hike at 4.66 miles, I paused my endomondo app and restarted it at the Lookout mtn. parking area. We then hiked up a nice incline logging road to the waterfall trail.

Just a little more "up" and then we had a nice view of the falls. I liked the little spillway falls to the left of the main falls as you can see in the photo below, trying to make it's own way down the rock. Today we had seen a tree seemingly not wanting to let go of it's mother long after it had grown into a mature tree, and the opposite "wild child" (side waterfall) wanting to find it's own way down a difficult path. Such a striking example to me of how different each of our children are or can be as they find their way through this thing we call life.
I thought the symbolism was interesting.

It was nice to see a long absent hiker join us today. Cindy, we've missed you. It was so good to have you hike with us once more.

*Just a note to update you on my allergy testing I spoke about it this POST. It wasn't a cold, I'm allergic to the indoors :-), dust mites, dust, pet dander & mold. Good thing I'm outdoors so much!
Endomondo stats:
Total miles hiked - 5.87
Minimum altitude - 463 feet
Maximum altitude - 825 feet
Total ascent - 645 feet
Total descent - 772