Monthly Archives

October 2012

Issaquah Alps, Running

Ingunn Learns to Run Downhill, Part One (of Many)

With the onset of rain comes the arrival of Tiger Mountain season. Tiger is the perfect place for me to “train” for Orcas Island and get the exercise I need to stay somewhat sane during the soggy months.

I think Orcas will be a good first race for me as there is no way I’ll be able to run for 25 kilometers without walking. 3500+ feet (not quite sure of the exact figure) of elevation gain means long hills, long long hills, long hills that force pretty much everyone except the front-runners to slow to a walk.

Tiger is pretty in the fall

Since I’ll be walking several miles of the course, I figure I should at least be comfortable running the downhills so I won’t end up hiking the entire distance. I tried it out on my favorite Tiger Mountain loop (High School Trail -> Section Line Trail -> down WT3 -> Bus Trail -> Powerline back to High School) on Saturday. Somehow I forget how steep the upper Section Line trail is every time I go – this must be the same kind of amnesia that makes women choose to endure childbirth more than once – so I crawled my way to the top, totally living up to my blog name.

I thought I would be lightning-fast on the downhills, but it’s not as easy as I had thought. I immediately got a nagging side stitch and had to stop and walk. After this had happened several times, I realized that I was concentrating so hard on landing correctly (and not slipping on the snot-slick leaves) that I was holding my breath. Once I relaxed and kept chest open and shoulders back, the side stitch went away.

Great view

When we got back to the car, I was totally pooped, more so than after my hikes this summer which were twice as long and had more elevation gain. It was a really good kind of tired though, and the following two days of DOMS in all my little stabilizer muscles told me that I really was teaching my body some brand new tricks.

Here’s my Strava feed for the run. As you can see, I use the term “run” loosely, as I’m 100% sure that most of my TNAB friends could hike that downhill and finish faster than I did…but everybody’s got to start somewhere, and as long as I am out there and I’m having fun, I refuse to be embarrassed about my pace. (Mostly.) My main goal now isn’t to get a faster running pace, but to be able to sustain that pace on the flats and downhills without having to stop and walk so often. I’m pretty sure that 60% of that battle is mental, as I tend to underestimate my body’s capabilities.

– Section Line Loop | 7.5 miles | 2400 feet elevation gain –

Hiking, Me, Running

The changing of the seasons and of other things

I’m sitting here listening to the rain playing drums on our roof, and it feels like Seattle again. We had an absolutely incredible summer with endless sun and no significant rain from late July to mid-October, but now autumn is here and it’s time to lounge around in front of the fireplace, reading books and ingesting myriad pumpkin-spiced foodstuffs.

For once, the rain was welcomed, as it seemed like half the state was on fire. Unfortunately, the Table Mountain A-Frame burned down (poor Pooperine!), but obviously that’s inconsequential when you think of all the people who lost their actual homes.

Mazama Ridge

In personal news, I’m still trying to find the root cause of my pain problem. My doctor’s new theory is that it could actually be a musculoskeletal thing, which would be preferable to a scary internal organ thing.

I tried total rest, but that didn’t help at all (and it turns out that chronic pain is much more difficult to handle without a regular influx of endorphins), so I’ve been doing easy but wonderful hikes and lots of slow (as if I have much choice) runs. Just in case the doctor is right, I’ve also been doing pitiful, Fondaesque adductor exercises to strengthen and stretch the area in question.

Labyrinth Mountain

I’ve been hesitant to mention this online or to most of my friends, but I’ve stopped eating gluten. I know, I know, it seems like such a fad, right? Originally I tried it because of anecdata showing it might help with my pain problems. Well, it didn’t, but three days after going cold turkey, I woke up feeling clear-headed for the first time I can remember since my teenage years. No brain fog, no headache, no lethargy. I didn’t want to say anything at first since I figured it might be some sort of placebo effect (and I can practically hear the exasperated sighs all the way from Norway when my parents realize that I now not only eschew meat, but also bread), but a month and a half later I am still going strong.

It’s been surprisingly easy so far, but I could see problems arising during the holidays – no Norwegian Christmas cookies? No Field Roast?? No gravy??? No onion-rosemary rolls???? Hnnngh. But really, I would rather feel this great than eat a cookie. Besides, I can still have sweet potato soufflĂ©. Mmm. I should probably do a test where I eat something really glutenous and see how it affects me, but I just feel so damn good now that I don’t want to risk it.

Homeward bound

Due to this new-found energy, I have started running more consistently and really enjoying it (mostly). And…I signed up for the Orcas Island 25K in January! I’m hoping it will keep me from hibernating all winter long. This will be my first race of any kind ever, so the only person I will actually be racing against is myself. As long as I’m not last, I’ll be happy (but, honestly, there’s a pretty big chance that this could happen).

Actually, I’ll be happy if I make it to the race at all, if it turns out I do have some sort of musculoskeletal failage. Maybe my uneven-legged, pigeon-toed gait and crooked back has finally caught up with me.

Sleeping in for the win

So, this was an update of sorts, complete with photos from different hikes we’ve done which I will get around to writing about at some point. I guess going gluten-free didn’t magically turn me into a better blogger…but I’ll try not to let an entire month pass before my next post.

October on the beach