Well, this winter has been very wet. And very cold. The last time we had a shitty weather year like this, I was just about ready to defect, but this time around, I am as in love with Washington as I ever was. (In fairness, that blog post was written in mid-July and now we’re only in April. Ask me again if we’re still living inside a cloud come summer.)
What’s changed? I’ve embraced the magic of (a) lowland forest trails and (b) trail running. It started back in 2013, when I grew tired of depending on sunny days for my mood to lift. Instead, I hit the trails on Tiger, Cougar, and the Redmond Watershed no matter what the weather or month, and learned to love the feeling of soft rain drizzling on my face. Running and hiking the same trails over and over and over again may not sound very interesting, but it feels really rewarding to see the changing of the seasons, especially these days when the trees are a little bit greener with every visit and the trails are, uhm, fragrant with the arrival of skunk cabbage. Spring is definitely running late this year, but I finally saw my first trillium of 2017 yesterday.
I’m finally able to run again after the bladder prolapse, thanks to five million kegels and a bit of structural support from my trusty ol’ Diva Cup. Sun Mountain is less than two months away, so I won’t really have the time to get into the kind of shape I had originally hoped, but I want to at least get to a point where 25K won’t feel miserable and I won’t have to walk too much of the course. I “ran” ten miles yesterday, but it included a lot of walking (and trillium photo breaks). But! I did focus on actually running the uphills, and was shockingly successful, something my thighs keep reminding me of today.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the Cable Line this winter, slogging up and running a variety of longer trails back down, but lately I’ve decided I should probably focus on more runnable, rolling trails, like my favorite Shy Bear loop on Cougar Mountain or, closer to home, the Redmond Watershed.
I also suffered another minor setback that fortunately turned out to be much less of an issue than I had originally thought – I got shingles! That was the last illness I expected I would ever end up with, but in hindsight it makes sense – almost a year of hardly any sleep and a pretty serious bout of depression can do that to you. The Norwegian word for shingles translates to hellfire, and man alive is that accurate. Luckily for me, it was really only that painful for a day and a half, and then the lesions disappeared a couple of days after that. Hopefully that means that my immune system is finally on the mend, which would come in handy since Nora started daycare three times a week and is bringing home every virus under the sun.
JK is back to work now which means that from now on, most of my running will happen on my old friend, the Powerline Trail, after the kids (it still feels so unreal to use the plural form there) are tucked into bed. That means the days are getting longer, friends! In the good way, not the dreary way.
I usually like to listen to upbeat music while I run, but this drizzly, muddy winter called for a more mellow soundtrack. My constant auditory trail companions have been:
- Ingrid Olava | From Up Here
- Ingrid Olava | Jupiter
- Michael Kiwanuka | Cold Little Heart (ohmigod how good was Big Little Lies??)
- The Slow Show | Bloodline
These songs are so mellow that they need to be listened to on headphones, loudly (especially Jupiter) – preferably while running through the forest, enveloped in an ethereal Pacific Northwest mist.