The Handsome Man with Athletic Thighs
Running In Circles
 
Wednesday, January 18th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: The Wrecking Yard
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 34:27
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Drizzle, 41°

Comments: I ran an easy four miles this morning. I felt pretty good unless I was running uphill. I had very little oomph in my legs. I saw a Bald Eagle, which is always cool.
 
 
Tuesday, January 17th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: None
Weather: N/A

Comments: I meant to run an easy four miles this morning, but low, dark clouds blotted out the pre-dawn sky, leaving everything cast in gloom. I just couldn't bear the thought of plodding through the murk. So, I skipped my run. I'll sure be glad when the sun starts rising a little earlier. A day without rain would be nice about now, too.
 
 
Monday, January 16th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: None
Weather: N/A

Comments: Planned rest day—no workout. My hamstrings are still a bit sore from the race on Saturday. Speaking of Saturday's race, my dad wrote a little article detailing his experiences in the 50k:

It was raining as I pulled into the parking lot at Bridle Trails State Park a little after 2:00 PM last Saturday. It continued to rain as I checked in and received my race number. My son Tyler showed up to run in the 10 miler, and it rained as we listened to the Seahawks game in my car while waiting for the races to start. The rain lessened, but did not stop while we warmed up for a few minutes before the start of the five miler. It began to rain a bit harder before the start of the 10 miler.

After watching Tyler sprint off into the gloom, I pondered if the course this year might be as muddy as the first year the race was held in 1996. This was to be the 9th time I have participated in this race, but the only one I really remembered was the 1996 edition. That event featured drizzling rain, cold temperatures, long, narrow and cold stretches of water covering the trail for up to 20 yards at a stretch, downed trees, and innumerable stretches of shoe-shucking mud. I fell six times during that race, and was afflicted with a rash for weeks afterward, no doubt brought on by the fecund effluvia swirling about in the long, still puddles--a gift from the equine beasts who normally ply the trails throughout the park.

Over the past 10 years, much of the trail has been graded and filled in with gravel--with the exception of several stretches along the eastern boundary of the park. These sections are too narrow for the machinery needed to do the grading work. All of this trail work, plus some milder weather, has made the course more runnable over the years--and for some of the veterans of the first edition, "less fun".

By the time the 50K started at 3:10 PM, it was raining steadily once again. During the first loop, I was amazed at how good the trail actually was. Considering we were in the 25th straight day of rain, there was only a minimal amount of standing water, no downed trees, and just a few long patches of mud on the notorious east side. I completed the first lap in just over 48 minutes. That split gave me a nice cushion for a sub six-hour finish time.

Trail conditions started to deteriorate during the second lap. It was raining hard now. Long, wide puddles started to form as the runoff was sloughed off by the super-saturated soil to lay in natural and man-made declivities. With more than 100 runners on the course, stretches on the trail that had been wet soil on the first loop were now churned up, muddy and slippery. Nonetheless, the route was still "runnable", and my time at the end of two loops was 1:44, widening my sub-six cushion.

By lap three, all of the 5 and 10 milers were finished, but there were still enough 50K runners working like bipedal mixmasters to churn up the mud. Oh--did I mention it was still raining? I did a lot more wading and walking on this lap. My three-lap split was 2:45. It had taken me nearly 62 minutes to complete the circuit, but I still had a good margin for the sub-six goal.

Lap four introduced two new obstacles. The first was in the "trench", the long hill in the first mile of the route which has been carved over the years to resemble a half-pipe on a snowboard course. The bottom of the halfpipe was so churned up that it was like walking uphill in deep snow. I really felt the burn in my quads as I slogged up. The second was emergence of a knee-deep, 10-yard wide and 20-yard long "lake" that formed at the northeast corner of the route. There was no way around it, and going through it required great care. The footing was very treacherous--slippery mud, sloping ground, and roots all had to be traversed. It continued raining during this loop, and with dropping temperatures, snow was now mixed in with the rain. By this time in the race, my gloves were soaked, and inside those wet gloves, my hands were freezing. The trail along the eastern side was now a series of long puddles and gooey mud. I started to have flashbacks to 1996. I had to stop during this loop to remove some debris from my shoe. It took a long time to get my mud- encrusted shoe laces loose, and even longer to loosen up my body to run again after a nearly 5 minute break. All of the twisting I was doing in the mud was playing hell with my spinal fusion. A 68 minute split for this lap reduced my sub-six cushion to only 6 minutes.

After jettisoning my sopping gloves and unwanted water bottle, I headed into the gloomy night for lap 5. Even though the rain let up a bit, the conditions on the trail continued to deteriorate. The puddles and muddy sections grew wider and longer. My hamstrings started to get very tight, so
that when I could run, I was running very slowly. Another 68 minute split put me at 5:02 on the clock. I still had a chance to break six hours, but I would have to do a lot more running on the final loop to make it.

I gulped down a Red Bull and plunged into the darkness and my last lap. It was raining hard again, and the snow flakes looked huge in the beam of my flashlight. I took a pretty hard fall, my only one of the night, just before reaching the trench. I slogged up it one last time, and continued walking after topping out to let my legs recover. By now, the trail conditions had reached their nadir, and in my opinion, equal to those in 1996. I passed Stan Nakashima, another veteran of the 1996 race, who was on his fifth lap. He had finished last in the 1996 race with one shoe split apart and no flashlight. At least his flashlight was working this year. As I continued along, I ticked off each of my own personal milestones on the course--the Trench, the first powerline break, Horseshit Lake (new this year), Mount Stafford (the little climb after the first left-had turn on the eastern side) the Eastern Front (the trail on the eastern side seems endless to me), the Big Dip (where the trail heads west once again, signaling an end to the Eastern Front), Dolphin's Turn (a right hand turn just past the uphill part of the Big Dip, where one year running legend Bob Dolphin cheered on the runners), and the second power line break. I call the part of the course from the second power line break to the final climb the "Backstretch". I like this part of the course, and I seem to be able to run it quickly. After running the Backstretch, I saw the glow stick marking the ascent of the final climb on the course. My legs were too shot to run any of the climb, so I walked all the way to the single track, which by now was so slippery that I walked most of it to the top of "The Knoll". In 1996, runners had been forced to climb over a large tree that had fallen over the trail at the top of the knoll. In other years, more downed trees had blocked the trail past the summit of "The Knoll". This year, there were no downed trees, just slippery mud and puddles. I made it thorough the single track section beyond the knoll, then down the road one last time to finish in 6 hours and 10 minutes. I don't know if this year was worse than 1996, but it was certainly just as much "fun". Oh yeah, my lower legs and ankles broke out in a rash this morning.
 
 
Sunday, January 15th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: None
Weather: N/A

Comments: My ankles were sore from twisting and turning on rocks and roots during yesterday's race. My 'strings felt a little sore too—I'm not used to running that hard for that long. I also need some extra time to cook my mom's birthday dinner. For these reasons, I decided to take the day off.
 
 
Saturday, January 14th
Bridle Trails 10-Miler

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: Bridle Trails 10-Mile
Distance: 10.4 Miles (11 Miles with Warm-up)
Time: 77:57
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Rain, Cold

Comments: The race course was pretty sloppy. Ankle deep mud covered most of the length. The ten-mile route was two laps, and the second time around the mud was even more churned-up and slippery. I ran the second loop three minutes slower than the first, more due to watching my footing than fatigue.

I had planned to run an additional loop with my dad once I finished—he was competing in the 50k—but I got too cold waiting for him to come through. My hamstring cramped up while I stood shivering in the rain, and my knees got so stiff I could barely bend them. I told my dad I was leaving when he came through, and he wished me well and sent me on my way. I felt so cold I didn't even change into dry clothes; I got to my truck and started the heater going.

I had thawed out by the time I got home, but the mud that caked my legs had dried into a crust. I scraped it off in the driveway. I still looked pretty filthy when I finished. A nice, hot shower took care of the rest.
 
 
Friday, January 13th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: 166 lbs.
Course: 20-Minute Freestyle
Distance: 2 Miles (Approx.)
Time: 20:00
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Rain, 45°

Comments: I came close to not running at all today, but I got it done.
 
 
Thursday, January 12th

Resting Pulse: 52 bpm
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: The Wrecking Yard
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 35:48
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Cloudy, 41°

Comments: I managed to catch a moment without rain during today's run. That was a refreshing change. The ground was still plenty muddy, though.
 
 
Wednesday, January 11th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: The Wrecking Yard
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 36:04
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Rain, 43°

Comments: I ran four miles at an easy pace this morning. I didn't feel very motivated. I skipped my core workout. I guess I've caught a case of the lazy.
 
 
Tuesday, January 10th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: None
Weather: N/A

Comments: I meant to run today, but it was rather windy this morning. Since my running route is a path through the forest, I kept having images of tree branches falling on my head. I decided to skip the run to avoid the possible skull fracture.
 
 
Monday, January 9th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: None
Weather: N/A

Comments: Today was a planned rest day—no workout. My legs are a little bit sore from the long run on Sunday, but I've felt worse. I need to get some sleep tonight. My phone woke me up at 3:45 a.m. last night. It was a wrong number, but I had trouble falling back asleep. I just saw Munich, and it left me feeling a touch paranoid.
 
 
Sunday, January 8th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: Lake Youngs
Distance: 11 Miles
Time: Not Timed
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Partly Cloudy

Comments: I ran a loop of Lake Youngs with my dad and his friend Fred. It has been a long time since I've done a training run with company. It was kind of nice. I'm not sure I would have put in a long run today if they hadn't been expecting me. I jogged out to meet them, so I got in an extra mile or so.

When I got home, I noticed a Red-breasted Sapsucker in a tree near my front yard. I had Angie bring out my camera—I was still wearing muddy running gear—and I managed to snap a few photos. I went back for my tripod, but the little guy didn't like that and flew off.

Red-breasted Sapsucker
 
 
Saturday, January 7th
Priest Point Park Orienteering

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: Priest Point Orienteering Course 5
Distance: 4.3K (6 Miles Total)
Time: 53:48
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Heavy Rain

Comments: Today's orienteering course was not too difficult navigationally, but there was a fair bit of climb and some long running legs. I did fairly well. I didn't beat Jake, though. He caught me on the tough leg between four and five. We had to cross a ravine—well, we didn't HAVE too, but it seemed like the best route choice. I saw Jake arrive at the top when I was half way down. We ended up at the bottom at the same time. I managed to pull ahead after the next control, but he kept nearly catching me. I beat him to the finish by just over a minute, but since he started two minutes behind me, he did better. We were both absolutely drenched from a sudden, hard rain that hit while we were in the open. It was like someone hosed us down. At least it cleaned the mud off.
 
 
Friday, January 6th

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: The Wrecking Yard
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 34:43
Other Exercises: Core (10 Min.)
Weather: Cloudy, 49°

Comments: I ran an easy four miles this morning. I felt like I was running through quicksand. My legs had no life, no zip, no spring. I was surprised that I finished in about the same time that I've been running all week. I expect I would be much slower. Maybe this means I'm coming around.
 
 
Thursday, January 5th

Resting Pulse: 52 bpm
Weight: 164 lbs.
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: Core (10 Min.)
Weather: N/A

Comments: I was working on a project this morning, and I stopped paying attention to the clock. I realized I wouldn't have enough time to run six miles as planned, but I still had time to squeeze in four. When I went to check the weather conditions to select my clothing, I realized it had started raining. Hard. I lost all motivation to head out the door. I finished up my project instead, then watched Sportscenter.

Can someone tell me where I put my motivation?
 
 
Wednesday, January 4th

Resting Pulse: 52 bpm
Weight: 164 lbs.
Course: The Wrecking Yard
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 34:36
Other Exercises: Core (10 Min.)
Weather: Cloudy, 39°

Comments: I ran an easy four miles this morning. I need to start doing real workouts soon, because this easy run thing is getting boring.
 
 
Tuesday, January 3rd

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: 164 lbs.
Course: The Wrecking Yard
Distance: 4 Miles
Time: 34:58
Other Exercises: Core (10 Min.)
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 37°

Comments: I ran an easy four miles this morning. I had a little bit of soreness left over from Sunday's race, but it didn't hamper me as much as I thought it would. I saw a beautiful sunrise, one of the rewards of running early in the morning.

I took over two hundred photos at the orienteering meet on Saturday, and I finally got around to going through them. The vast majority of them came out blurry. It was so dark in the woods that I was shooting between 1/15th and 1/20th of a second. Most people were moving quickly enough that their motion turned to blur. So, I'm not trying to be arty, it's just the way most of the photos turned out.

Picture One


Picture Two


Picture Three


Picture Four


Picture Five
 
 
Monday, January 2nd

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: None
Distance: Zero
Time: N/A
Other Exercises: None
Weather: N/A

Comments: Planned rest day—no workout.

I played in a poker tournament at Jake's house. I didn't play well and went out early. It is the first time in many games that I haven't won any money.
 
 
Sunday, January 1st
The Resolution Run

Resting Pulse: Not Recorded
Weight: Not Recorded
Course: Resolution Run
Distance: 5 Miles (7 Miles with Warm-up/Cool-down)
Time: 33:44
Other Exercises: None
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Cool

Comments: I had two goals for today's race: break 35 minutes and run every mile under seven minutes. I accomplished both. In fact, I ran about a minute faster than I expected. My legs were a bit trashed from yesterday's efforts at the Bog Slog.

I started out a bit fast, but it's hard not to when the 5k is mixed in with the 5-mile. I slowed a bit over the middle of the course, but the last mile was my fastest. I even managed to sprint past two guys at the finish. Here are my splits:

DistanceSplitTotal
Mile 16:356:35
Mile 26:5913:34
Mile 36:4420:17
Mile 46:5227:09
Mile 56:3333:44
 
Sometimes I feel like I'm breathing underwater.