Running

I very nearly signed up for a second half-marathon that is taking place two weeks after the one I’m doing this month. I like the idea of doing another – of having another impetus to keep doing some modicum of training/regular running – but the $100 entrance fee made me pause. Do I really need to spend $100 for, essentially, a bit of bling?

No, of course not. But the idea of having regular races to spur me is still a good one. So, taking inspiration from P and T and their ridiculous/awesome Picnic, I’m going to try to do something myself.

My new plan: run a half-marathon at least once a month this summer.

By which I mean I will commit to doing at least one 13.1-mile run every month. I don’t really intend to worry too much about time or anything like that – I don’t for organized races, so why should I for mine? – but that may change. ::shrug:: I don’t know! Maybe I’ll need to introduce a time focus to make up for the fact that otherwise these are just long runs. Who knows?

This will be a good way to get me to keep running, and to get in better shape overall. I want to try to do the Timberline Trail over Labor Day weekend, and might cap off the other end of the Summer of Halves (title is a work in progress) by signing up for an organized half-marathon in September. Again, we’ll see!

When the stick no longer works

Back in January, I did what I periodically do, and decided that I needed to sign up for some sort of arbitrary timed event (read: race) to get me to add running back into my regular rotation of exercise. So I signed up for the Stumptown Trail Half-Marathon, which is happening at the end of this month in Forest Park in Portland. I knew I didn’t want to do another full marathon (I’ve done three, and that seems to be holding strong as “enough”), and I knew that I much prefer trail running to road running. So a half-marathon (this will be my… hm, fifth or sixth?) on the lovely trails of my favorite park seemed ideal. And with five months to go before the race, I had visions of the lean, mean running machine I’d be by the race.

Except that seems to be too far in advance to be an effective prod, now. Because I know that I can procrastinate and not really train and still finish half-marathons – and full marathons, and the occasional self-imposed ultra – on mostly just willpower. Continue reading “When the stick no longer works”

New environs

Early this year, I moved up to Seattle from Portland. And late last month, B and I moved in together (officially), into an apartment in the Fremont neighborhood. Much as I liked the area we were in before, I’m feeling at home in Fremont in a way that I wasn’t there. Maybe it’s because here I actually am actual a real tenant, with (more of) my own stuff in the place, rather than unofficially crashing with B in his studio apartment. (Which was generous and kind of him – but still, we both acknowledge it was a bit tight!)

Or maybe it’s because Fremont’s such an interesting neighborhood. It reminds me a little of what the Hawthorne district in Portland used to be – a mixture of artsy/hip boutiques, glass shops, scruffy bars, awesome brewpubs, tasty restaurants, and funky public art. I enjoy looking over towards the Queen Anne hill looming across the waterway, and sometimes seeing the top of a mast peeking out above the trees as someone sails up or down the Cut. We don’t have easy views of the Cascades or Olympics anymore, like we did in our old neighborhood, but if I want that, all I have to do is haul myself about fifteen blocks up the hill from the apartment – which I should do more often anyway, since I’m “running” a half-marathon in Forest Park at the end of this month. Access to downtown is easy, and there’s a good grocery store a five-minute walk away, and a triumverate of Fred Meyer-New Seasons-Trader Joe’s about a mile in the other direction, along the mixed-use path that runs near the apartment. There’s even a Sunday Market craft fair with food stalls!

It’s going to be a good home.

Some days…

… are inexplicably good climbing days. I flashed two 5s in a row today, and got another one a few minutes (and tries) later. And made progress on a 7. All with a big toenail that I might be about to lose (thanks, Enchantments!) and no focused climbing work lately. Just hit the groove, I guess!

North Cascades National Park (July 2018)

A view on the way up Copper Ridge towards Silesia camp

A much-delayed tale of a multiday backpacking trip around the Copper Ridge loop in the North Cascades National Park – which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year!

Day 1: Hannegan Trailhead to Silesia Camp

8.2 miles by the map

Note:If you want cinnamon rolls on your way from Seattle to, well, anywhere north of Mt. Vernon, I would highly recommend stopping by Calico Cupboard Café and Bakery in Mt. Vernon. They have three or four different kinds of HUGE cinnamon rolls, which looked amazing… and which we didn’t sample (more fools us).

The park ranger who helped us convert our reservation into a permit at the Glacier Public Service Center was super friendly and cheerful. Since he had just finished a loop around Copper Ridge a few days previously, he gave us a bunch of information about the trails ahead of us. He warned us that the parking lot at the Hannegan trailhead was inaccessible to cars, and suggested that we park at the next trailhead down, as parking along the road leading to “our” trailhead might be scarce. Driving onwards from Glacier towards the trailhead, we decided we’d go as far as we could, see if anything was available, and if not, take it from there. We were glad we did! There was a bunch of parking right before the washout that made the parking lot inaccessible, and the next nearest trailhead was two miles back down the road. (No thank you!) Continue reading “North Cascades National Park (July 2018)”

Busy summer

The summer’s gone by so quickly! But it’s been a good one. Went backpacking in North Cascades National Park (more on that later), took a quick trip down to Yachats, got my first 7 at the climbing gym, and did a highball problem outdoors (Beach Slab (V1) at Leavenworth)! Not bad at all. Now I’m looking forward to an autumn of climbing and exploring, and enjoying it not being so dang hot and smoky.

France trip 2017

Back in September 2017, B and I went to France together.

A view from Domme, in the Dordogne

Given that the trip was B’s first trip to France, my nostalgic return to a country where I’d lived, and our first time ever traveling together, it was exciting and daunting to contemplate. But happily the trip went marvelously, even despite me scratching the heck out of the rental car while trying to negotiate a narrow, curving, downward-angled parking garage entrance. The trip was too short, but at least it was good.

So here are some photos and anecdotes from the trip, rather belatedly! Continue reading “France trip 2017”

Almost there

Planning for a trip is… well, not as much fun as actually being on the trip, but certainly a big, enjoyable aspect of taking a trip! B and I leave for the North Cascades on Wednesday morning. These past couple of weeks, but this last one in particular, my brain’s been swirling with thoughts of gear and scenarios. I’ve been to my favorite gear shops here in town, and my living room looks like a gear volcano exploded in it. I’ve been visiting the NCNP’s trail conditions page far more frequently than there has been any chance of them updating it, and debating how best to arrange things for the day we depart (when we have to be at the ranger station to convert our reservation into a permit by 11 am). I’ve questioned which of my gear is necessary and which is optional (there are spreadsheets), and thought a lot about trail food. And this, to me, is fun. (Non-backpacking trips have a different set of funs.)

What about for you? Do you enjoy the planning aspects of vacationing, or is it all about the trip itself and you’d rather skip the planning?

Flying visit to the Oregon Coast

Prompted by one too many Instagram photos of Thor’s Well and the unexpected availability of a campsite at Rock Creek Campground, B and I took a quick trip down to Yachats, on the Oregon coast, this past weekend. While Thor’s Well itself was under-well-ming (sorry not sorry), the trip as a whole was marvelous!

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We stopped in Corvallis for caffeine and a snack on the way down. I’d never been to Corvallis, and had basically nothing on my mental index card for it. Turns out, it’s got a cute little downtown with at least one marvelous musical instruments store, at least one good coffeeshop, and a nice linear waterfront park with sculptures and a fountain for kids to splash in and a mixed-use path. Oh, and some great murals:

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High tide peaked at around 8 pm on Saturday, so we had time to go to the campground in the Siuslaw National Forest and set up our tent for the night before going to see the Well. Continue reading “Flying visit to the Oregon Coast”