Monday, May 18, 2009

Since my surgery, I've been running capitol city marathon for the last 5 years with finish times from 3:36 to 3:46. Before surgery, I usually ran 3:20's. So again this year the plan was to run a sub 3:30. Previously, I've either had an injury or ran Mac Forest the weekend before so I couldn't go full speed. This year I planned to skip Mac Forest so I would be rested for the marathon, but ended up injuring myself anyway. When I got laid off from work, I decided to take that opportunity to lift some weights. So of course, I started out 3 times a week and promptly strained my hamstring! So I started the marathon with a nagging injury but I thought I would give it a try anyway. At the start I got together with Rachael and Terry(in pink-he lost a bet!). Kris was there for moral support and she would check on us out on the course. Also running was Ulrike-paced by Dave, Heidi, Ted, and Israel. After the first mile, Rachael decided to drop back while Terry and I pushed on at a 8+- minute/mile pace. The first 16 miles has some rolling hills so I wrote my goal time for mile 16 on my hand to check my pace then. After about 10 miles, I surged ahead of Terry (to get away from his pinkness)and when I reached mile 16, I was right on the mark! But, same as last year, in the next two miles, the hammy tightened up and my 3:30 finish was out the door. Terry went by me like a shot as I settled down to a slower pace to get home without hurting anything. I ended up finishing at 3:40 which actually gave me a second place age group award! It was a great day and everyone finished, Ulrike with second overall, Dave had alot of fun pacing and providing strategy, Heidi won an age group award, and Terry finished under 3:30!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I've done alot of running and hiking, but never have learned to use an ice axe until today. With a possible climb of Rainier in the future, my wife's father's very experienced climbing buddy Fred Griesman invited me to tag along on a climb up the snow chutes of Mt Eleanore. 
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We arrived at the lower trailhead at 8:30 in the morning, the road to the main trailhead was impassible due to snow. I was surprised that there was only one other car there, must be because of mother's day, but the weather was sunny and warm. It took us about a half hour to hike up to the main trailhead and after another 20 minutes, we were in snow for the rest of the way. Fred loaned me some really good plastic climbing boots,snow gaitors, and an ice axe. So I was ready for anything! we soon took the turn to the chutes and started plodding up the steep snowy slope. I felt like I was climbing Mt Everest, planting my ice axe, taking two steps, plant the ice axe, take two steps. We worked our way, to the left, taking the most direct route up. It was alittle steeper and at the top, the chute narrowed to a short techincal rock move that took a little time to figure out. The climbers below us thought better of it and took a different route. Another short climbing session and we were on the top! After a good look around and lunch, we put on our rain pants for the glissade descent. What a hoot, sliding on your ass down a steep slope. I had some control problems in the beginning but once I got the hang of it, it was way fun. I'm now more comfortable with an ice axe and looking forward to some more mountain climbing!