September 23, 2014

Recovery week and Brice Creek trail (Summer Adventures: part 2)


One of the best runs I did in prep for McKenzie river trail run was about a 1 hr drive from me. 

My hubby surprised me with wanting to spend a family day at a spot I had mentioned before to him. Unfortunately I had misplaced my trail map for the area, and it was Sunday, so the Forest service office was closed for getting a new one.

Sidenote: If you plan to go run Brice Creek, stop in Cottage Grove at the ranger station for a free map booklet. There are several other trails in the vicinity and Brice could be connected with them for a much longer weekend running or hiking adventure.

The lack of map stressed me out a bit, but how could I say no? We packed lunches and stopped at the Cottage Grove Wal-Mart for any extra goodies, before heading up to the trailhead on a very humid 87F day.

Once we got up there, I was surprised to see just how many different small campgrounds there were on this short stretch of creek in the Umpqua National Forest. There were a ton of people there too (a few hikers, but most were there for a fun, ice-cold, swimming hole)! But that's what you get on a summer weekend in the middle of the day. Midweek I would expect it to be pretty empty.

We found a few different spots for trail access, and looked for a mounted map of the trails in the area. My hubby had an idea to take a photo of the hanging maps with my phone, which was brilliant!  I did, however, decide to stick to the trails which were easy to find.  And it's a good thing I didn't actually end up needing a map, because on my phone, the writing was so tiny it was blurry and useless...


First section of the main trail was a bit more technical than expected, but I still managed pretty well in road shoes that day. I wore my Altra Intuition 1.5 because my trail shoes were looking pretty bad! 

Together we settled on starting "upriver" because there was a harder looking trail to a waterfall that I wanted to run first, and he also wanted to take the boys to hike.

The stretch of trail that runs along Brice Creek is 5.5 (trail) miles long from point to point (that equals 8 road miles ☺ ).  But if you are want to add to that, you can also do the Trestle Falls trail, which is about a 2 mile loop coming off the Brice Creek trail. (That's not what the BLM says, but they are wrong!)

It's quite a bit of a climb compared to the rolling trail that follows the creek. But the falls are a nice reward!

This was in summer.
I can imagine in the fall or spring when the creek flow is higher, that it's awesome.


After a good workout, I made it to the falls and was not disappointed! I didn't realize that the trail would go behind the falls. This is unimproved, so don't expect to find any stairs or railing.

One group of hikers was resting by the falls, and had been unprepared for the climb up, which, even though it's short, is rather steep with some loose rock. It's suitable for supervised kids though.

If you are daring, you can scamper down to the shallow pool below the falls.

A small cave looked inviting!
I found out later that my boys had explored it with my hubby during their hike.


Another mile or so later, I was back on the main trail, and heading down the "gentler" path. One nice thing about trail running in Oregon, is that even in August you can find some shade.



The main trail had a few sections I probably would not take my 5 year old on. This spot was a bit tricky to navigate, and would be lots of fun when it's raining (slippery!).



Other sections had about a 40' drop straight to the creek below.





After my run, I joined the boys for some freezing cold rock sliding/ creek swimming. The water felt great, and after all that sweating I needed a bath!

We finally left after eating our picnic dinner because some lightening moved in.

Two things I learned on this trail run: 

1) Don't underestimate how much you can drink on a trail run. I had 48 ounces of water and ran for 15 miles. It took me way longer than I had planned (trails always do this to me!) and finished the last drop of water from my bottles with a half a mile to go.

When I got to the car, I did something I never do. I opened a cold soda and drank it without stopping. It was soooo good.

2) Hornets. They are a fact of late summer trail running. 

I was orbited for 4 miles by a bald-faced hornet (or maybe a few were taking turns),  that seemed to want to scare the daylights out of me. Fern fronds in hand, I was swinging wildly. Defending yourself from hornets while trying to maintain good running form is quite taxing!

*****

Post 50k recovery
After the MRTR 50k, I felt remarkably undamaged. So much so that I started looking at other 50k trail races to sign up for.

I started back into running the Tuesday after the Saturday race. I don't think this was a huge mistake, because my legs honestly felt good. And I did not approach MRTR as a real "race" but as a long run with a faster finish.

That said... within a few days of running consecutively, I noticed a familiar soreness coming up in my foot where it was injured around June 21st. So I debated a few days, "dragged my feet on it", and eventually decided that taking a rest period might be my best choice. 

It isn't the kind of thing I can't run through. In fact, I ran every-other day on it for several months.
It's just that I am ready to let it heal so I can get back to running with some higher weekly volume and intensity. I'm not interested in settling for running 3 days a week for the rest of my life just yet! If this continues to be an issue when I return to running, then I will have to go back to the drawing board.

One day at a time. 

So, for the meanwhile, I'll be 
  • working at improving my strength and flexibility 
  • poking my foot a lot
  • saving for a new GPS watch that will actually hold a charge and upload (!)
  • practicing reading with my 5 and 7 year-olds
  • taking my dog (well, she's 60% mine!) for hikes, if the foot allows...
  • volunteering for the costume carnival at school
  • scheduling a root canal and crown 
*******

How about you? 

Have you visited any good trails lately? 
Ever been pestered by a hornet, or anything else, during a run?
What is your usual recovery plan following a race?

September 10, 2014

I survived my first ultra! ~ MRTR 50k race report




Life lesson learned:
If anything, this race proved to me that unconventional training can still lead to a lot of fun, if I am willing to have a good attitude and be realistic about things.

I chose McKenzie River Trail Run 50k as my first ultra because it is close to home and it looked like an "easy" race for a newbie. If an ultra can be "easy".. 
  

September 5, 2014

All My Eggs are in One Basket and I'm Shooting for 50k from the Hip. MRTR tomorrow!

McKenzie River Trail Run is Saturday! 
I know, because I got an email reminder about bib numbers, bees, hotel shuttles, how not to get lost, and most importantly- where the food is after the race.

Am I panicked?
I've been through that over the last few days and am now past it. Dropping all three boys off at school for the first time ever has allowed lots of time to over-think things. ☺

I have asked myself a few times this week, "Why did I

August 21, 2014

Summer Adventures: part1


The summer has just rolled by, but not without a few excursions.

We've been making the most of our opportunities to enjoy the 3 months of dry weather we get here in southwest Oregon.

My other half has been largely out of town, which has made ultra training..

July 31, 2014

Pacing Tips: How to have a FUN marathon with a Friend

On Sunday, I had the privilege of running a marathon alongside a friend of mine from college. It was her first shot at 26.2, and she asked me months ago if I would run Eugene Marathon with her. We hadn't seen each other in maybe 20 years!

This was not a decision I made lightly, because a marathon is a BIG deal- and a FIRST marathon is a very big deal.