Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to Running

For the first time in months, I can say there's been quite a bit of running going on. Last weekend, I volunteered for the annual Mt. Helena Classic. We hauled jugs of water up the 1906 trail to where West End Trail meets the Backside Trail. My huffing and puffing was a good indication of just how out of shape I've become. I was amused by the course markings. John made sure no one was going to go off course this year. (See below!)
Considering how concerned I was about my Achilles tendon after the climb, I was surprised how much better it felt the next day, and the day after, and so on. Steve thinks it was a good way to stretch it out. Whatever it is, the combination of doing eccentric calf exercises, stretching, running on level surfaces and in good shoes seems to be helping. Buddy and I have run 23 miles in the past week. We're keeping them under 5 miles, which still allows us to go to beautiful trails.
View from Waterline
Saturday morning, Rebecca and Eby joined us for a 5 mile Wakina Sky loop. It's fire season, and the smoke from nearby MacDonald Pass was hard on the lungs. Still beautiful with the fall colors. Buddy and Eby are fun to watch too chasing each other around and getting into things that they should not.
Eby after running hard

Fall - Wakina Sky

If my body continues to cooperate, I hope to train for Snow Joke or another "destination" half marathon (Steve's been dreaming of a real vacation.) I'm having Buddy train with me with the possibility of Snow Joke. He's not had any more hip pain even after the 5 miles.

Oh, and I got the CamelBak Stamina II for 19 bucks from Sierra Trading Post. Love it as I do the single bottle belt. I've got too much of this stuff...

And, Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband. 12 years today. We had a great celebration weekend.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's official - I will NEVER be a morning runner. I've tried all summer; especially since adopting Buddy. I've tried to reason with myself with the "won't it be nice to get exercise over with for the day?" The answer is no. There is nothing I enjoy about weekday early morning runs. I don't like waking up that early, feeling rushed, being crabby with the dog because I'm rushed, not being able to warm up properly and stretch decently once I'm done. Running in the morning does not help me clear my head either. I'm also suspecting that the six weeks of morning running is exactly what tipped the Achilles tendon situation to disaster. So, I gave up and life is so much better!

Buddy and I now walk in the morning. I zone out during our agreed upon time of 30 minutes while he does his business. We hit the trails or road late afternoon whenever the temperatures cool or earlier if we find a shady place. The result is way less pain because I'm warming up and stretching like a good girl, a mind at peace from processing the day's events, and a happy relationship between dog and owner because we can explore at a leisurely pace with absolutely no agenda. There's nothing better than seeing Buddy's head pop up in the window as I pull up to the house and his butt wiggle when he knows it's time to RUN! My new job is perfect for this set up. I'm done at 4 with plenty of time to be outside.

I'm happy to report that Buddy has finally learned to drink from his folding dish. He's a bit finicky this way, but is making allowances :). One thing is for sure - my one bottle belt is no longer enough for the both of us. On long runs, I use my Nathan pack, but really don't want to use it every day. Anyone have a recommendation for a two bottle belt that also has a bungee cord or something to hold the doggy dish?

And, what's up with this Montana heat wave? It's September - time for fall!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Congratulations to my brother-in-law, Chris! Ironman again - 13:39 is the unofficial time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Alternate Swan Crest

My recovering Achilles tendon wouldn't allow for a repeat of the Swan Crest 57k this weekend. Although jealous - I know how beautiful the Swan Range is this time of year and I'd miss out on running with friends - I decided to suck it up and find fun in my own backyard. Buddy and I left in the dark directly from our house and did one big two hour loop of trail and roads.

Ominous Lime Kiln guarding the trail

The sunrise as we climbed above town

Buddy saying "Come on already!"

Post water and treat break. The patient "can we go now?" look.

We love this rock.

Warming up at home and happy to see Steve. Glad for gloves, hat and
layers as the high was 49 degrees!
We're sending good vibes to Chris as he completes his second Ironman Wisconsin today.

Monday, September 7, 2009

This morning, Buddy and I explored the Wakina Sky area; a place we seldom go. It was the first really chilly morning. 45 degrees had me scrambling to find gloves, hat and long sleeved shirt. We took our time on the way up Wakina Sky Road to warm up a little, watching the deer and squirrels (and Buddy didn't chase after any of them!), then ran hard up the trail. Instead of looping back on the Stairway to Heaven trail, we continued on Wakina Sky to Grizzly Gulch road. We'd been hiking a lot this week, and I wanted to run at a faster pace on a flat surface so not to stress my Achilles too much.

I've become a bit complacent on these runs compared to running in the Flathead. As Buddy and I cruised along, I heard a rustling in the trees by the road. Less than 20 feet ahead, a black bear ambled onto the road directly in our path. Definitely surprised, I shouted "Hey bear," hoping it would take off. It did, across the road, where it promptly sat and stared at us curiously. Buddy followed my lead and backed up the road from where we'd just run. Two cars passed by without slowing a bit. I continued to yell "hey bear" until it took off away from us. Here he? is ambling up to the ridge. Buddy handled it great; keeping quiet and following all commands. It's always exciting to see wildlife, but this one was a bit too close for me. We finished off our 5 miles on adrenaline.

My legs are tired. In addition to several 3-5 miles trail excursions, Steve and I started filling in what will eventually be our rock garden. We bought and planted a young juniper tree, two Barberry shrubs, russian sage, catmint, blue festuca grass, and gaillardia. Gardenwerks is the place to go - very helpful owner and lots of good stuff to dream about buying. The previous owners had not planted anything, just hauled in piles of mountain rock, so the dirt underneath was tough to dig up. Lots of work, and much more to do. I've got day lilies, red sedum, a couple more shrubs, astilbes, lupines, daisies, etc to plant. Since much of the planting is bulbs, it looks a bit funny with a few plants here and there. We can't wait to see what it looks like next year! Here's our baby juniper.