Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 18 - May 28

Weekly Totals: Distance: 44.14 mi. Time: 05:47:08 Vertical: 6,747 ft.
Run Totals: Distance: 23.59 mi. Time: 04:18:12 Vertical: 6,292 ft.
Ride Totals: Distance: 20.55 mi. Time: 1:28:56 Vertical: 455 ft.

Okay, so this week's update includes a little longer time period than the normal seven days. Technically speaking, three extra days; however, don't get too excited because only one of those extra days includes a run.

Atlanta to San Diego to Seattle
If you haven't been keeping up with the blog, or you just recently stumbled up the blog, you may not have been privy in knowing that I recently packed up my Subaru Outback and moved from Lawrenceville, Georgia (40 miles north of Atlanta, Georgia) to Renton, Washington ( 15 miles east of Seattle, Washington). We took a bit of a detour and drove to San Diego to welcome home my little brother (Marine Corps) after his tour in Afghanistan. The drive ended somewhere right under 5000 miles -gas prices in California: awful-

I've been asked several times, "Why would you move to Seattle?" and usually before I can answer a series of, "Did/do you know..." statements tend to follow. 'Do you know how much it rains there?','Do you know how cold it is?'', and my favorite, 'Do you know how bad the Seattle Mariners are?' For starters, it rains 11 inches more a year in Lawrenceville than Seattle, and yes, the days of sunshine are less, but if it was that bad of a place the city wouldn't have a population of 608,660 people. It's definitely cooler in Seattle, about 7 degrees Fahrenheit; in fact, I don't even have an air-conditioner in my apartment. The advantage: having a more temperate environment means less acclimatizations through-out the year to 100 F temps and 25 F temps. Okay, the Mariners, right now, are under .500, but lets be honest about the Atlanta Braves: They can never close the deal, and if you don't win the World Series it doesn't matter how many times you made it to the playoffs because runner-up (2nd place) is the same as last place. So, why did I move to Seattle? Simply put, 'Why not?' Honestly, though and for starters, I'll let my future (starting this week) training logs, weekly updates, and pictures speak boisterously and answer truthfully with a completely bias opine position why I moved to the "Sunny Pacific Northwest."
Sunrise against Mount Rainier May 17, 2011

Lets talk about running, now.

One of the biggest changes to my training will be that I live in, well just outside of, a city designed for commuting (bicycle-type). Not only will this be a gas-saver, a little more eco-friendly, but inevitably I will have to take into account the added stress (physiologically speaking) that commuting will add to my legs. My focus is running, so I don't want to hamper any time I could be running unless it will make me stronger. In theory, the riding should help my running, so my plan is to commute to one of the many trailheads (between 5 and 10 miles depending on where I go) twice a week for two weeks and then slowly bump up the number of days until I'm commuting almost all of the runs. My long runs I may drive to anyway, but we'll see how things go. On the upside, I live 2.5 miles away from work so I can either walk or ride without a big impact on my running.
Red Town Trail
Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

To say that I've moved to an area that feels more like home because of the amazing opportunities that lie within 10 miles may actually be a true understatement. Check out the mountain that's literally at my doorstep: Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. I live right under the trail system key on the map. Pretty amazing, right? Well, follow these links to the remaining two mountains within 20 miles of my house:

To brag more, Cougar Mountain, alone, has thirty-six miles of trails to explore. And they are, technical (lots of sharp turns), steep, well-maintained, and the trees can reach heights of 100+ ft. With such diversity in trail vegetation every run feels new, and I guess, technically, it is new.  And just for fun, the county I live in, King County, has 180 parks, 175 miles of trails, and 25,000 acres of open space. My conclusion is that if I don't improve myself as a runner I've either found something more intriguing or I'm pretty damn injured. I'll be back on my weekly blog update schedule, now. Please enjoy, share, follow, and comment.

Tuesday, May 18Cougar Mountain~ Red Town Trail to Quarry Trail
Run -
Distance: 3.06 mi
Time: 00:29:46
Vertical: 700 ft.
Nice trail signs!

I'm blown away by the trail. Absolutely amazing. Why did I wait so long to move? My legs are pretty stiff, the 5000 mile driving journey has definitely taken a toll on my muscle tension. It may be a week or two before I really go out for a tough, high-intensity, run.

Wednesday, May 19 ~ Mount Rainier ~ Paradise to Panorama Point (hiking)
Hike -
Distance: 4.00 mi.
Time: 03:01:53
Vertical: 1,309 ft.

Did Atlanta move to Mount Rainier?
A great hike on my new playground. The snow was deep, but being from the south I was well prepared, running shoes, jeans, and an ice-axe. I have a lot to learn. Crazy thing, we meet a lot of people from Atlanta.

Sunday, May 22Cougar Mountain ~ Wilderness Creek Trail to Wilderness Cliffs Trail

One of the many bridges across creeks

Run -
Distance: 3.50 mi.
Time: 00:43:26

Vertical: 1,303 ft.

Bike -
Distance: 8.80 mi.
Time: 00:38:27

Vertical: 202 ft.

My first day of commuting to the trail and running. This place is incredibly bike-friendly. The road shoulders are wide enough in most places for two bikes, no one honks, and the debris is neatly cleared by the rain. Georgia, take note.

Monday, May 23 ~ Marymoore Park ~ Outdoor Rock-climbing wall
Rock Wall, outside?
Distance: n/a
Time: 1:00:00
Vertical: n/a

An unbelievable park. There's a free standing 35-foot bolted outdoor rock climbing wall, and all you pay is the parking fee, $1. Not too shabby. This park even has a velodrome. It may be time to invest in a track bike.

Tuesday, May 24Squak Mountain ~ May Valley Loop to Bulitt Trail
Run -
No mustache, but some wicked shades.
I'm too cool, move over LL Cool J.
Distance: 3.90 mi.
Time: 00:40:17
Vertical: 1,109 ft.

Ride -
Distance: 11.75 mi
Time: 00:50:29
Vertical: 253 ft.

There are a lot of slugs on the trails here. I've seen slugs that have the color scheme of a dairy cow, all black, and an eerie army green. I need to get a small camera to take on my runs to take a picture of these things. On a more running note, the trails here all start at the base of the mountains -awesome- but I'm not in my Blood Mountain running shape, yet and the downhills are giving my legs a beating.

Wednesday, May 25Cougar Mountain ~ Coal Creek Trail
Run -
Distance: 5.11 mi.
Time: 00:46:13
Vertical: 559 ft. (a break from the vertical...sort of)

I decided today to find a 'flat' trail, and comparatively I did, unless you're comparing to my Georgia runs. In that case, I've definitely added some ups. What a great life.
At least in was down hill first, right. Wrong.

Thursday, May 26 ~ Cougar Mountain ~ Wilderness Creek Trail - Doughty Falls
Run -
Distance: 4.70 mi.
Time: 00:57:12
Vertical: 1,414 ft.

This trail section, Wilderness Creek Trailhead on Cougar Mountain, is becoming my favorite trail, so far. The initial run in, is winding and all uphill. Which, if you take note of the blog title, I prefer. An original association, I know. There are a lot of water falls to run by on the trails, here. I guess that shouldn't be a surprise, because I haven't run on a dry trail yet. Shoe choice is actually a big part of the run equation, now.
I'm glad yesterday was 'flat'.

Friday, May 27 ~ off day ~

As much as I didn't want to take off, it's always helpful in staving off over-training injuries. My legs will appreciate this weekend on a longer run on Sunday.

Saturday, May 28 ~ Cougar Mountain ~ Wilderness Cliffs to Wilderness Creek
I love the mountains. I'm even getting better at downhill running.
Run -
Distance: 3.32 mi.
Time: 00:41:18
Vertical: 1,207 ft.

Want to know how I know I'm improving and that rest days pay off? Ran up the entire mountain today with no walk breaks. Yes, I take some walk breaks. It allows me to run large vertical runs but keep it an 'easy day'. Today, however, I stayed in my appropriate intensity zone and ran the entire time. I'm itching to run fast uphill, but all  in good time.