McClellan Butte / John Wayne Trail

Three weeks out from Cascade Crest, I wanted one last big weekend.  Yesterday I ran over to Seven Hills Running Shop to join their Saturday morning group run, managing to get a lot of distance in around Seattle – although it was mostly flat.  Today I wanted to cap off a 40 mile weekend and make sure to get some vert.  I’d yet to run to the top of McClellan Butte (snow stopped me a month ago), so I figured it was time!  The John Wayne Trail is a great way to get to some of the trails on the south side of I-90, while adding some runnable miles, so I drove to the Upper Twin Falls Trailhead in Olallie State Park. (more…)

White River 50 Miler

About the Race

The White River 50 is one of the classic ultras of Washington.  While there’s not enough prize money to attract the “big names”, there are plenty of super-fast runners that show up to go after the glory of winning this one.  I kind of like it that way.  My race report won’t really get into the battle at the front, because I don’t really care.  One of the things that I love about ultrarunning is the egalitarian feel of it.  No celebrities – everyone is out there together.  I hope it stays that way!  Here is the only reference to the front of the pack: A picture of the start.

Clear, cool morning.
Clear, cool morning.

The Course

“It’s just two climbs.”  Every White River veteran knows this phrase.  Just two climbs.  Two steep, long, punishing climbs that take up about half of the 50 mile course.  The course starts at the Buck Creek Airstrip, meanders through some beautiful woods, crosses the road, then goes up.  And up.  I had forgotten how high the first half of the course went.  We pretty quickly got to the 4000′ range and kept on pushing.  The course tops out at just under 6000′ in the miles surrounding Corral Pass (Mile 17 aid station).  There is then a long, soft descent back to the start/finish to start the second loop.  The grade down is so comfortable and the ground so soft that it’s tempting to just open up and go fast.  Do so at your own risk!


Nasen Ridge Trail Run

Nasen Ridge – Heat, Mosquitos, Dust, Snow

Now that the bug bites have finally gone away, it’s time to share a bit of last weekend’s trail run that Luke and I did on Nasen Ridge.  We got to Nasen Ridge via the Merritt Lake trail, about 10 miles east of Stevens Pass.  The trails we travelled were on the Green Trails Maps Stevens Pass Map 176S.  A couple miles up a dry, dusty dirt road brought us to a dry, dusty trailhead (yes, there is a theme forming):

After climbing to Merritt Lake, we headed west on the Nansen Ridge trail to Crescent Lake, scrambled up some steep climbs, turned around and headed back east, beyond the Merritt Lake trail up to the Alpine Lookout, before turning back around and returning to the trailhead.Long, dry day.  Good hydration training, with plenty of climbing.  Most of the trail was in the 5,000 to 6,000 foot range.


Balboa Park / Florida Canyon Trails

Running the Trails in Downtown San Diego

Two of my favorite pastimes are running and travelling. Whenever possible, I like to make the two intersect.  This typically results in urban exploration run, which I find is a great way to orient yourself and get to know a new city.  In San Diego, I decided to try and get a decent trail run in, without leaving the core of the city.  I’d read a bit about the trails in Balboa Park, so I figured this would be my destination.  I was encouraged by the park’s claim of “65 miles of trails”, but prepared for mostly sidewalks and other paved routes.  I was pleasantly surprised!


Yakima Skyline Rim 50K – 2014 Edition

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more… -Henry V, Act III, Scene I

Back to Yakima

Last year was my first time attempting Rainshadow Running‘s Yakima Skyline Rim 50K.  It was also the first time the thought that I might not finish a race entered into my head.  I finished the brutal trail run, but it was definitely a death march the last 6 miles in to the line.  I told myself: “never again.”  So, of course, a year later I found myself back at the Umtanum Recreation Area, ready to start the race.
“Once more unto the breach.”  That’s all that kept going through my head.  Why was I doing this again?  Too late for that, though.  The plan?  Repeat nothing I did last year.  The result would have to be better!