Beautiful and Dangerous Mount Rainier

Everywhere you drive in Seattle it seems you can see Mount Rainier–that is of course when it’s not cloudy out.  Otherwise you would never know a 14,410 feet above sea level active volcano long overdue to erupt looms over the area.

After seeing this grand mountain for the last two years, I had to get up close and personal. So on October 5th my husband and I decided we would hike the roughly six miles of the Skyline Trail.

The drive was a short 70 miles from our home in Snoqualmie.  We were surprised to learn that after entering the park we would still have to drive 18 miles to begin our hike at Paradise.  The drive itself is beautiful with breathtaking views of the mountain and plenty of areas to park for photos.

We began our hike on a blacktop path and other then the elevation gain, we both thought how could this hike be considered strenuous.  We would later come to realize why as we encountered plenty of steep steps–along with a steep snowfield crossing if you wish.

The geology of the mountain is simply beautiful with varying rock formations, glaciers and colorful alpine meadows.  At every turn it seems your greeted with something more spectacular.  We reached Panorama Point after climbing a considerable amount of rocky steps at 6,800 feet.  The Point provided an opportunity to take in breathtaking views.  The sky was so clear you could see Mount Adams, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens.  We could not have picked a better day with temps in the low 70’s and clear skies.

At this point we had three choices.  Cross a steep snowfield to get to the other side of the trail, turn around and head back down the steep stone steps or climb the High Skyline Trail to 7,000 feet.  We decided after talking to some folks not to take the snow field because of the steepness and to take the High Skyline Trail.

If you ever have the opportunity to hike the Skyline Trail I would highly suggest taking the High Trail.  You almost feel like you can touch the mountain and the views are better and less crowded then at Panorama Point.  It is here where you will also see a inuksuk.  There was only one point in this hike shortly after the inuksuk where we came across a group of young people unsure how to cross.  Being the Eagle Scout my husband is he showed us all how to cross safely.  At this particular point it is just a little steep and rugged and you need to watch your step.  It is only four or five steps if that and the rest is smooth sailing and beautiful meadows all the way back to the Paradise Inn where you can purchase a beer or a cup of joe to celebrate your journey.

It’s hard to believe that something so beautiful can be so dangerous and that each year climbers lose their life ascending to the summit at 14,410 feet due to rapid weather changes, avalanches and experience level.  I can’t imagine what it must feel like to summit this mountain considering we did half and it felt like we were on top of the world.

Please enjoy these untouched photos taken from our trip.

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NFL Run Series in Seattle

On Labor Day the NFL Run Series hosted a 5k run to kickoff the start of the Seattle Seahawk’s 2014 NFL season.  The entirely flat and fast course ran along the Sodo retail and warehouse district of Seattle.  Fans ran alongside Safeco and CenturyLink fields.  The grand finale was a high five from Blitz the Seahawk’s mascot and a 40 yard separately timed dash along the sidelines of the stadium for all to see on the video board.

Each runner received a quality shirt and finishers received a nicely designed Seahawks number 12 medal.  The number 12 has a special meaning to Seattle fans.  In the 80’s the team retired the number 12 jersey in honor of it’s fans for playing such a significant role in the teams success.

On a personal note, I really enjoyed this race particularly because I thought it was well organized and there was no hills.  Since moving to the area, I have yet to run a race without some sort of steep hill–mainly at the end.  I thought for sure as I made the last right turn there would be a hill to totally wipe out my pace, but to my surprise I was wrong!  I am happy to say I ran a 9.22 pace–the fastest I’ve ran in Seattle.

There are three more runs left in the series–Houston, Oakland and New Orleans.  For more information visit the NFL Run Series website.

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Skirt Sports Virtual Half Marathon

Each June 1st I like to do something special with my husband for my birthday.  In the past I’ve toured on my Harley Deluxe along the beautiful roads of North and South Carolina, spent the day mountain biking the trails of McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills, Arizona and tried indoor sky diving in Seattle.  This year I wanted to kick off my last year in the 40-49 year old running division with a half marathon.  I had planned to do Bellingham Trail Running Series Deception Pass Half Marathon but I needed to stay close to home for a sick pet, so I did the next best thing, I ran a virtual half marathon with the Skirt Sports gang.

For my run I chose my home turf of Snoqualmie Ridge and downtown Snoqualmie, Washington.  Snoqualmie is beautiful, but the Ridge area has always been a very difficult run for me because of the elevation.  My Garmin Forerunner reported a total elevation gain of 1,170.  Although nowhere near the elevation gain of a recent 25K in Yakima of 4,612, it’s still a challenge.

It was a beautiful day for a run with temps in the low 70s.  My run took me down Snoqualmie Parkway to one of Washington state’s most popular tourist destinations a 268 ft waterfall called Snoqualmie Falls.  Footage of the Falls was also used in the television cult classic Twin Peaks –thus adding further popularity to the Falls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a stop at the Falls I zigzagged back around tourists and continued into downtown Snoqualmie for a brief stop at Rail Road Park and a pose with the 26 ft long 39,000 pound Centennial Log exhibit.  I then continued running through downtown snapping a photo of the Snoqualmie River with the beautiful Mount Si mountain in the background before returning back up Snoqualmie Parkway to my home on the Ridge.

I clocked in a 2:38:26 for my Skirt Sports Virtual Half Marathon run and ended my celebration with a few beers, special birthday cupcake and a soak in my hot tub.

Next year I’d love to join the girls in Colorado for the run.  Until next time…………..

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Dirt in Your Skirt 100 Mile Summer Challenge

The Dirt in Your Skirt group is bringing back their 100 mile summer challenge for the second year.  The challenge begins on June 1 and runs through September 1, 2014. Runners will log their miles on their own and communicate with each other via Facebook.   The cost is a modest $30, and those completing the challenge will receive a Muckle similar to the one shown below.

I love the concept because it has something for everyone.  Long distance runners can complete the challenge in as little as a day or weekend, and those new to the running community can keep their training on track throughout the summer.  Runners are still ranked according to completion date, adding a bit of competition to the whole challenge.

Last year I took four weeks to complete the challenge by just sticking with my usual 25 mile per week training schedule.  This year my goal is three weeks and I’ll be kicking-off the challenge on my June 1 birthday with a half marathon trail run.

For more information and to sign-up for the event visit the Dirt in Your Skirt website.

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Running Portland with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series

The City of Roses has once again proven itself to be an excellent marathon host city.  I am always amazed to see the support shown to the runners by the neighborhoods and businesses.  It is my favorite running city.

This year I thought it might actually be the first time I’ve ran a marathon in a downpour. Fortunately, to all of our surprise, the rain stopped right before the start of the race and I am happy to report, I ran rain free the whole race.

I really needed this race despite a 2:17–of which I could of had a 2:15 if the police would not have stopped the race for traffic.  You see lately I’ve been experimenting outside my comfort zone with ultra running, and despite these races being difficult and not having a dnf, I was growing tired of coming in last in my age group.  These races have also allowed my pace to suffer terribly.  On the plus side, I have gained a great deal of endurance.  I just need to find a sweet spot–one that allows me to run shorter distances at a satisfying pace, while occasionally enjoying longer distances without feeling demoralized.

The bands at this years’ Portland race seemed to be a bit thin compared to other R’n’R races–including Arizona’s P.F. Chang’s marathon.  The Navy band was excellent, as well as another band belting out a popular Stevie Wonder song.  The expo was typical of any R’n’R. Aide stations were plentiful–enough to run without carrying your own support.  Volunteers were friendly and supportive.  Loved the purple wigs in the neighborhood around mile 9 and the dancers around mile 11.  One pet peeve I have to mention–PLEASE STOP TEXTING WHILE YOUR RUNNING.  This is getting ridiculous! I guess if I don’t want to see this one, I need to run faster.

I would encourage everyone if you haven’t already ran a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, to try one.  I believe they have something for everyone whether you are a seasoned runner or a newbie.  And newbies need not worry as there is plenty of support along the way and time to complete the race.  To save $10 off an upcoming race use code RNRNWCOMP5 by May 31st.

Until next time…….

 

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