Saturday, April 29, 2017

Picture of the week ~ Bucket Carry thoughts

My thoughts while doing the bucket carry at the Seattle Super 2017 Spartan race. This is what came to me as I was trudging along: When life's circumstances are long, hard and seemingly never ending, take a break (it's O.K.) re-group (re-adjust)  your body and spirit (& grip), Keep going. Don't let it break you and as you are going along and you see others carrying their heavy burden rest awhile with them. Offer encouragement that they too can continue on. (Photo from

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Seattle Super Spartan race results 2017

It was a "Beast" of a Super.
I think that the Spartan race course designers get a big kick out of what they set up for us. This years Super was more difficult than last fall's Seattle Beast. This was not only my perception but others that had done both races agreed. Spartan Super's are 8 to 10 miles long with 24 - 29 obstacles. You can read my last years Seattle Super report HERE, both last year and this year they had the distance and the amount of obstacles at the higher end of the range. My husband joined me again on this adventure. He was also registered to do the Sprint the next day. So a back to back weekend for him.
Getting ready for our day
The obstacles this year were (I think most of these are in order, it becomes a blur after awhile):
5' wall (before the start)
Over under through
7' wall
River walk
(I couldn't find any official photos of my husband in the barbwire photo collection).

Vertical cargo
When we got to the back side of the course there was a lot of deep water walking, thick deep mud, rocks and downed trees to climb over and under (none of this is in the obstacle list).
2 - 5' walls,
 We were told these were "no assist" walls meaning 30 burpee penalty if you can't do it. Usually unless you are in the Elite division you can help others over the walls, so this was new information on these particular walls. I have difficulty with walls. I've only managed to get over the before the start wall once, so I wasn't thrilled to see that they had added another potential burpee maker. I tried several attempts but couldn't do it until my husband said, why don't you take off your Camelbak hydration pack and see if that helps. Wow, I got over them both. Needless to say that my pack is coming "off" at the start from now on before I attempt "that" wall. It's pretty demoralizing when you begin the race and you can't even get over the "before the start" wall. I've got some awesome bruises on my stomach, arms and upper legs from trying to make an unmovable object move. I banged into them pretty good. Ha Ha! I really need to practice my jumping "up" skills.
Stairway to Sparta
Double Sand bag (literally a bag of sand tied at the top), 
This year they had a treat for us we had 2 sandbags to carry for an incredibly long distance. Someone told my husband that if you put them on your shoulder and raised your arms up and put your hands on your head it would help keep the sandbags in position so they wouldn't slide off of your shoulders or tire your hands for gripping obstacles later on the course. What a great tip. I later heard that the weight of  each sandbag for the double sandbag carry was 30 pounds (60 total) for the women and 40 pounds (80 total) for the men. I felt sooo light after I put mine down.
Inverted wave wall (a new obstacle with aluminum bars)
This one terrified me, I took one look at it and went right over to the burpee zone.
 Z wall (or bouldering traverse wall)
We went up and down a muddy, rocky hill to and from the Z wall.
Monkey Bars
Spear throw
Rope Climb
Olympus wall
A frame cargo
Sandbag carry
The sandbag used to be a fairly light stuffed pancake looking bag, now they've stepped it up to kind of a heavy tube shaped bag as you can see in the photos below.

Bucket Brigade,
This was by far the hardest bucket carry I have done in a Spartan race to date. I heard from others on the course that only the World Championships course in Tahoe had a harder bucket carry than we had for this years Super. That made me feel a little better. It was extremely long, and the ground was muddy. I would take about 20 steps put it down figure out a different way to grip it then start again, repeating till I got to the top of the hill to the gravel dump area. I thought of life as I was frustrated with myself that I found it so difficult. This is what came to me as I was trudging along: When life's circumstances are long, hard and seemingly never ending, take a break (it's O.K.) re-group (re-adjust)  your body and spirit (& grip), Keep going. Don't let it break you and as you are going along and you see others carrying their heavy burden rest awhile with them. Offer encouragement that they too can continue on.
By the time I got to the top my outlook was better and I was smiling again. 
Inverted wall (wood)
Rolling mud
Dunk wall

Slip wall
Atlas carry with mandatory 5 burpees
Water filled tube flip
Tire flip, 
I was particularly proud of myself on this one. When I first tried to lift it it wouldn't budge. We were supposed to flip it one way and then back again. I tried a few more times and then I got it up one one knee and from there I could switch my hand position to push it, Back again and I was done. Yay! I heard that the women's tire flip was 200 pounds.
Twister (a new obstacle, like the multi rig but the handles turn as you go)
Low water crawl under bungee cords
Hercules Hoist
Multi rig
Fire jump

Our stats for the day: 
Burpees, we shared them. I did 165, my husband did 235. 
His 2 day total burpee count was 420 yikes!
Garmin stats:
10.7 miles
total ascent - 2792 feet
total descent - 2933 feet
I was 5th out of 7 in my age group. 
I was a little disappointed in myself for this race, I'd gained back almost 20 of the pounds I'd lost last year. That's alot of extra weight to carry over the obstacles, but I'm still proud of me and how I did on such a grueling course. 

Next stop Montana: Another back to back weekend for my husband. A Beast on Saturday and then Sprint with me on Sunday.

As they say.....

Thursday, April 20, 2017


It's always fun to go back and see the progress I've made in my weight loss journey.
Here are a couple of pictures taken at the Tulip fields during the Tulip festival in Skagit county.
This one was taken at RoozenGaarde's in April of 2009.

This second picture was taken at Tulip town in April 2013.

This Saturday I'll be doing my first Spartan race of the year (the Seattle Super) and it's hard to believe, my "6th" Spartan race.
Here are a couple of my Spartan progress photos.
Montana Sprint 2015 (first race).

Seattle Super 2016,

and of course my favorite photo of last year.

I wrote this blog post - in 2012 when I was 58 and pondering what it would be like to be 60.
Now that I'm 63 I realize that dreams can come true. You just have to work a little bit to see them happen.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

British Army trail hike

Today we decided to hike the British Army trail on Blanchard mountain. I'm glad my husband studies the trail maps before we go on these hikes because I'm sure I wouldn't have found the trail as it connects from the gated logging road we followed at the start of our hike. We started from the upper trailhead parking lot off of Barrel Springs road. After walking about 1 mile we came to the Alternate incline trailhead, but we marched on past it and continued up the road.

A view of Samish lake in the distance.

3 1/2 miles of gravel road walking from the parking lot brought us to the British Army trailhead. If you look on the rock on the lower left section of the photo below you'll see a rock with a white trail blaze painted on it. That was our route.

The British Army trail is part of the PNT (Pacific Northwest Trail). There was a plethora of blazes on the trees along the trail. You can read about the formation of the PNT trail and why we have a trail named "the British Army trail" on Blanchard mountain here in this article -
I took a screen shot of the sections of the PNT trail from the Pacific Northwest trail association website, so you could see the states/sections included in the PNT trail. You can read more at their site HERE.

The British Army trail

A little friend crossing the trail.


A face in the forest.

"Many" Turkey tails on this fallen log,

We stopped at the North end of Lizard lake for our lunch. We had a wonderful few minutes of sun to warm us while we ate.

Then it was back on the trail, we walked along the west side of Lizard lake before connecting with the Lily/Lizard lake trail.
Another face in the forest.

We choose to return via Max's shortcut, the Larry Reed trail, and finally the Lily lake trail which took us back to the upper trailhead parking lot.
I thoroughly enjoyed our day on Blanchard mountain.
Max's shortcut
Garmin stats:
total miles hiked - 10.05 miles
minimum altitude - 821 feet
maximum altitude - 2087 feet
total ascent - 1585 feet
total descent - 1667 feet

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Port of Skagit Nature trail run

We decided to skip the hills and head for the flat land today, for our run. My husband and I have only 2 more weeks of training till our Spartan Race event(s). We have been training for the upcoming Seattle races. I'm doing the Super on Saturday the 22nd and he'll be doing the Super with me and the Sprint on Sunday the 23rd. 
We went and watched my dad run the Tulip run yesterday. He is 84 and placed 1st in his age group, 80 and up. 
Way to go Dad!

We've gone down to root for my dad on this course before, but we'd never run the trails. The trails are part of the Skagit Port Nature trail system. You can click HERE to check out the map. There are several map signs along the trail. It's a nice flat trail system with park benches and port a potties along the way.

If you look on the gravel trail in the photo below you'll see that the chalk arrow from yesterday's race is still visible.

My favorite section of the trail, was the "northern" loop. I think I need to go back and run it when the trees have leaves.
Northern loop trail
A bonus for me, a little library was spotted along the trail!

I found out that the Southeast parking lot (where the little library is located) is the start of the Burlington story trail. There were signs along the way encouraging children to read. 
You can read the Port of Skagit's article about it's ribbon cutting ceremony HERE. I really enjoyed that section of the trail. 
Fun day in the Sun!

Garmin stats:
total miles ran - 8.1
minimum altitude - 25 feet
maximum altitude - 173 feet
total ascent - 226 feet
total descent - 390 feet

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Chuckanut Rock & Ridge trails hike

Today's hike found us on Chuckanut mountain. We decided to hike from the North Chuckanut trailhead up the Lost lake trail to the Rock trail then return via the Ridge trail.
It was beginning to rain as we began our hike so we donned our rain gear and headed up the hill.
Spring is turning everything green!

Needless to say, it got a little wet.

Our first Trillium of the year.

We live in a very mossy, green area and I love it!

As we were hiking up the Rock trail we felt and heard the wind blowing but as we rounded the corner to the parking lot we found we were sheltered from the wind. We stopped at Gates Overlook for lunch, there was a little break in the weather just long enough for us to eat and get a quick view.

As we were heading down the Ridge trail the fog and rain surrounded us.

The weather started clearing just on time for us to get a bit of a view from the view points along the trail.

Mt. Baker is obscured by the clouds, but it's there :-).

Looking towards Bellingham.

We finally connected with the Lost lake trail again, and headed back to the North Chuckanut trailhead.


My husband and I really enjoyed our day on the trails today, the mix of weather made it all the more fun.
Garmin stats:
total miles hiked - 13 miles
minimum altitude - 237 feet
maximum altitude - 1990 feet
total ascent - 2707 feet
total descent -2651 feet