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Health, Layouts, Life, Running, Scrapbooking

Friday Five

I keep thinking of little things I want to blog about but it seems like so much work to actually sit down and do it, so I decided to try a Friday Five post to give a couple of little updates about the parts of life I seem to be most into right now (I can guarantee that this won’t happen every Friday):

Running:

Aah, running. I was going to call this section “training”, but that sounds too organized for the flying-by-the-seat-of-my-running-skirt thing I’m doing. I’m having so much fun upping the mileage on my weekend runs, because those are usually on real trails with no external motivation needed, but I’m not doing nearly enough on weekdays down here on the Powerline Trail. I really should try to get out for some longer stroller runs. (Writing this post motivated me to take Lily out for six miles today, woot! *high-fives self*)

Spring 2018

…however, I did do one really fun thing on the Powerline on Sunday – I ran the Thrilla in Woodinvilla loop! This is a classic bike loop that connects the Powerline Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, the Tolt Pipeline Trail, and the Redmond Watershed Preserve. I’ve wanted to bike it ever since I found out about it in 2012, but never got around to it…so now I ran it instead! Very cool to be able to access this kind of a course two blocks from our house. It’s a little daunting to think that this isn’t even 2/3rds of the distance I’ll be running on race day, but at least I’ve reached the point where I think I’ll be able to cover those miles without literally dying.

Spring 2018

Pilates:

That’s right – I’m voluntarily doing strength training! And I’m loving it! A while ago I noticed that there was a new Pilates studio next to the craft store here in Redmond. I’ve always wanted to try Pilates with an actual reformer, so I signed up for a free class…and was immediately hooked. This is huge, you guys – I have not found any form of strength training that I actually enjoy since my Ashtanga yoga obsession 14 years ago. I go twice a week, and since I run to and from class, it’s a really good way to keep my lazy self moving on weekdays. I think my main challenge during the 50K, apart from the heat, will be to keep running on very tired legs, and running back up the killer hill to our house after Pilates classes seems like a decent way to practice that. Pilates has made me feel much stronger already, especially my core and glutes, which I’m hoping will protect me from a running injury now that I keep (somewhat irresponsibly) upping my long run mileage.

Spring 2018
(Awkward first ever attempt at a gym selfie)

Nora is really fascinated by Pilates and the teacher let her watch the start of my class yesterday. I think it’s so cool that her first experience of a gym is seeing me do something because I truly think it’s fun – it’s not something I’m doing as some sort of punishment or a means to an end. I’m really enjoying this process.

Food:

I’ve been focusing a lot on running nutrition lately, since I’ve finally realized how important it is to eat not just before an activity, but also during and after. Back in my hiking days, when I was not in very good shape and was working extemely hard climbing those hills, I would wait until I was already exhausted and bonking before having some food or gummies or something. At that point it’s already too late, really. I wonder how much more energetic I would have felt on a lot of those trips if I had just fueled properly.

Food!

So these days, if I am going out on a run that will last longer than 90 minutes, I make sure I eat something every half hour – usually dates, oatmeal/banana cookies, or gels. (I’m trying out gels that have more natural ingredients than GU – so far I really liked the Canaberry and Long Haul ones from Spring Energy, and I ordered a sample pack from Muir to try out as well.) I also eat something right after I’m done, then have a big, nourishing, replenishing meal ready to eat when I get home.

Spring 2018

Scrapbooking:

Oh, scrapbooking. I have unfortunately been suffering from a bad case of Reverse Midas Syndrome, which means that everything I touch turns to crap. Luckily(?) this isn’t my first time fighting the ol’ RMS, so I know that (a) it’s part of the natural ebb and flow of life, (b) it will go away eventually, and (c) the only thing that really works, at least for me, is to step away for a little bit and then return refreshed. This time around, Ali Edwards unintentionally swooped in and helped me along, because she created these cool videos featuring the latest creative team projects (February and March) – turns out hearing Ali Edwards talk about your layouts is pretty much the biggest creative confidence boost ever. So I’m inching my way back into things by making pages so simple that I can’t really mess them up too much (which is honestly my style anyway).

Here are some of the ones I have liked lately:

Winter wonderland

Super simple, really just a big photo and those story cards from the Details Story Kit from last year.

January details

Little details I want to remember about my girls, using Ali’s February kit. I actually got a little wild and crazy and STAMPED on this one.

Hard change

This one was from the Change Story Kit. Those thoughts have been gnawing on me for a while now so it felt good to get them down on paper.

Home sweet home

I made this one with the March kit after we had spent some time (yet again) discussing whether or not we should move back to Norway. Gaah. So many places to call home.

Orcas Island details

I scrapbooked the race part of our Orcas trip here, but there were more things I wanted to remember. So I took my favorite easy way out – an enlarged journaling card for the title/journaling lines (this card was from the Details Story Kit too), journaling in bullet point form, a handful of photos in pocket pages. Done.

Young’uns:

In kid-related news, Lily started walking! She took her first steps on Orcas Island in January, but it wasn’t until these last couple of weeks that she decided she was comfortable enough to make walking her main mode of transportation. I LOVE THIS AGE. I forgot how cute wobbly toddlers are!

Spring 2018

Spring 2018

…and Nora turned 3.5! She asked for a beetroot cake for her traditional half cake. I truly don’t know where she got that idea, but we made Dr. Fuhrman’s Healthy Chocolate Cake which actually does have beets in it, and we added beet powder to the frosting as well. It was pretty epic.

20180302_155543541_iOS 20180302_155825729_iOS

To sum it all up, life is hectic but it’s oh so good.

20180318_014656880_iOS 20180309_230437150_iOS

Layouts, Running, Scrapbooking

Running updates in scrapbook form

Looks like I’m never going to get around to any real race recaps from Deception Pass and Orcas, but I’ve managed to get them into scrapbooks.

Deception Pass 25K is the first big race I’ve done that didn’t involve a weekend away. We just woke the kids up early, which went against every fiber of my being (the night before, I realized that I literally didn’t know how to set an alarm on my phone – I didn’t get an iPhone until after Nora was born, so kids have been my alarm clock this entire time), and drove up there that morning. I made this page about it for December Daily:

Deception Pass 25K

In January, we returned to Orcas Island! This was my first time repeating a race, and I am happy to report that I ran it 40 minutes faster than I did in 2016. I made it just under 4 hours, which was my goal.

Run

My brain isn’t really functioning now because it’s full of mucus, so here are some running/health thoughts in bullet form:

– Regarding that mucus, I am sick again. Both girls were sick all last week and now it’s my turn. I have been eating terribly, which when combined with a preschool virus and lack of sleep, always leads to me getting sick. I want to start eating well again! I should probably read my own blog from last spring to remember how good and energetic I felt. I’ve signed up for a Facebook challenge to eat 100% nutritarian during the month of March, and I’ve already started, as of yesterday afternoon. W00tz!

– Given that I ran Orcas Island 25K in just under four hours, I am kind of panicking about the fact that the cutoff for Sun Mountain 50K is 8 hours. Gaah. Sun Mountain doesn’t have any hills that are quite as evil as the Powerline climb on Orcas, but it does have heat, which is my kryptonite. So my odds of finishing under the cutoff are kind of low, but as long as I have fun (type 1 and type 2) and I cover 50K on my own two feet, I’ll have met my goal.

– I ran a 13 mile training run on Cougar Mountain on Monday, which has been my longest non-race training run since last summer. It felt really, really good, especially after being cooped up in the house with two sick kids for a week. Slightly annoyed when I came home and realized that if I had tacked on an extra .1 mile, it would have been a half marathon.

– I had a crisis of confidence in January when I realized how little I am training compared to everyone I know, but then a friend reminded me that I’m not actually *racing* these races, I am doing them to make sure I get out of the house for regular alone time/trail therapy and, in the case of the 50K, to see if I can actually make it that far on foot. The second I start even considering something that resembles an actual training plan, it removes all the joy of running for me.

I’m super bummed that I’m sitting here coughing instead of running through the woods, but on the other hand it’s snaining and kind of awful outside, so maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world.

Cougar Mountain 20180224_171355729_iOS

Cabin Trip, Running, Top Trips

Oregon Coast 30K

I had signed up for two big races this fall, Whistler Alpine Meadows 25K (which is an absolutely stunning mountain course with over 5000 feet of gain) and Oregon Coast 30K. A week before the Whistler race, we were still not getting much sleep and even just our everyday life felt completely overwhelming and chaotic, so JK and I decided that we didn’t have the energy we needed to drive all the way to Whistler with the kids and stay in a not-babyproofed rental house. Once we had made the decision to cancel, I felt so relieved, which is a pretty good sign that it was the right choice…still, I had some serious FOMO going on when the race photos started hitting instagram (even though the course was apparently full of wasps). Hopefully I’ll get to run it someday.

Yachats Long Weekend

A couple weeks later, life was looking much less bleak, so we packed up the kids and drove down to the Oregon Coast. The drive down was made bearable only by a lunch stop in Portland (mmm veggie bowls at Canteen) and an unfortunately way-too-short visit with friends in Albany. The kids did exceptionally well considering how long we spent in the car, but uuuugh. I never want to drive that stretch of I5 south of Portland ever again.

Yachats vacation

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

We arrived in the little coastal town of Yachats just in time for sunset, and I could feel the stress start to melt away. Our rental house was perfect – mid-century modern decor, huge windows overlooking the beach, very kid-friendly. Nora was super excited to sleep in a bunk bed in the kid room and kept asking us to put Lily in the top bunk so they could sleep together. Hmmm. (Squeee, I can’t wait until Lily is old enough to graduate to a big bed so they can share a room! That’s going to be the cutest thing ever.)

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Lily has an unfortunate tendency to sleep horribly when we’re on these trips – we figure she’s either overtired from traveling or overly excited about sharing a room with us, but we also timed the last two trips with teeth erupting, so maybe it’s just bad luck. Anyhoo, one of the best things about Rainshadow Running’s races is that they start late, so at least we didn’t have to get up earlier than the kids dictated. My race started at 10, and Nora’s first 1K kids’ trail race started at 9:15. The coastal fog lifted just in time for Nora’s race debut!

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Oregon Coast Kids 1K

JK tagged along for her race, but she covered the entire distance on her own two little feet. She was so proud!

As for my own race, I was so nervous at the starting line. Just a couple days before, I had pulled something(?) in my back that radiated painfully down toward my knee – it’s still not quite healed as I write this several months later – and between that and just generally not having trained enough, I was convinced I was going to have to drop out of the race at one of the aid stations. And of course, race director James warned us that the course was full of – of course – wasps. I had just had two wasp stings in one week that swelled up like the dickens, and I had no interest in seeing where a third sting would take me. Oh, and a fellow runner warned me that the course was actually over 20 miles long, not 18.5. Oof.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

But it turned out this was one of those times when having low expectations worked in my favor. I started running and it felt so good. No back pain. No knee pain. No wasp stings, even though the aid station was swarming with them. Just beautiful forest trails and dramatic coastline views. As a bonus, the course went right past our rental house, so I got lots of encouragement from JK and Nora along the way. I wasn’t fast (I am never fast), but I had fun, which is why I do these things.

Yachats Long Weekend

Oregon Coast 30K

Lily was still napping when I finished (at 4:49:26 – it seems crazy to me now that I was out there for almost five hours, I remember it going by in a flash), so when I got to the finish line, I grabbed some (gluten-free! vegan!) pizza and then kind of just collapsed on the grass. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to walk if I stood up again, so I just stayed in one place, enjoying the live music and the food while Jeremy and Tisha (my old TNAB companions) kept me company and JK and the girls eventually arrived.

Yachats Long Weekend Yachats Long Weekend

Eventually I had to get up, and much to my surprise I was actually able to walk. Huzzah! I don’t really remember the rest of the day except for the part when the girls were in bed for the night and I watched the sunset with a glass of wine in my hand.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

The next day we explored Yachats and Cape Perpetua – I showed JK and the girls the overlook that I had run past in the race, we went for a hike, JK went for a run, we hit the beach (Pacific Northwest style, wearing all our layers) and then we had dinner at the brewery. We really liked this little town and we totes want to go back to explore the tide pools with the kids.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

The following morning, we knew we had a long journey ahead of us, so we were super efficient with packing and breakfast and getting the girls and our stuff into the car…and then the car wouldn’t start. Gaah. Luckily our very nice next-door neighbor had jumper cables. Even with the now late start, we couldn’t face the idea of driving I5 through Oregon again, so we drove up along the coast instead. At one point we had to pull over because I spotted three whales from our car!

We stopped for lunch and a leg-stretcher in Cannon Beach, which the girls loved almost as much as we do. I was nursing Lily while watching Nora climb on a piece of driftwood, and I had one of those “damn, my life is wonderful” moments.

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

Yachats Long Weekend

All in all the girls did incredibly well on the looong drive home. I was so proud of them, and so proud of myself for running 20 miles. The only other time I have covered 20 miles on foot in a day was on our Enchantments hike, which was four years and two kids ago.

I’m also just really thankful for these little mini vacations we’ve built around my races. We were too scurred to fly to Norway with a baby and a 3-year old this year, but these long weekends to Yachats and Sun Mountain were the perfect getaways with little kids.

Yachats Long Weekend

Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Health, Running, Solo

Connecting with my old self

Back in the spring, when I had just been cleared to run again after my prolapse and I was in the middle of my big Sun Mountain training stoke, I was watching Ginger Runner Live and heard Gary Robbins mention his Whistler Alpine Meadows race. Now I should mention that it’s customary to enjoy an adult beverage when one watches Ginger Runner Live, and since I’m a total lightweight these days, let’s just say that this led me to immediately sign up for that race and missing some key details. Like the fact that it has over 5000 feet of gain. Gaah.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

So the next morning, when I realized just what I had done, I figured it wouldn’t be a problem because after Sun Mountain I could spend the whole summer training and I would keep losing weight, too. Wrong. I totally lost my running mojo after that race and I have unfortunately resorted to some of my old potato-chips-as-a-coping-mechanism ways to get me through a pretty bad bout of sleep deprivation, so my weight has been standing still for a month and a half.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

But! Lily is now successfully (at least for now? I’m totally jinxing it by writing these words) night weaned, and I once again have enough brain capacity to understand just how hard this race is going to be. So I’m turning to my blog for accountability – I’m cutting that crap out of my diet again and I am going to run run run. Including hills hills hills.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

I’m trying not to be too frustrated with myself for the loss of conditioning since Sun Mountain. Getting through everyday life is hard enough when you’re not sleeping without adding training on top of that. But yeah, I kind of feel like I’m starting from scratch again.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

JK said I should sign up for another race this summer to get my mojo back, but then we decided that instead of paying to run on Tiger or Cougar (where most of the close races that are short enough for me are in the summer), I should just go out on my own on my favorite loop in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

I used to do the Melakwa-Pratt loop every summer, but this would be my first time after having kids. That actually made me a little nervous beforehand – the stakes are just so much higher now – but once I was out there again, everything felt so right.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

After dropping me off at the Denny Creek trailhead, JK and the girls went off to meet some friends for a hike around Gold Creek Pond and lunch at The Commonwealth before coming back to pick me up at the Granite Mountain trailhead. This gave me a deadline of 4.5 hours, which worked out perfectly – it allowed for a leisurely lunch at upper Melakwa (one of my many Official Happy Places) but also made me push myself a bit and run some sections where I would normally dawdle. Perfect combo of enjoying the wilderness but also getting some good training.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

It was so beautiful out there. Now that we’re no longer out doing stuff like this every weekend, I realize how spoiled I used to be when it came to mountain views.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

I just had so much fun. I felt really good physically, even better mentally, and loved getting to reconnect a bit with my former self – the person I was before nursing and diapers. It’s not that I don’t love my life now (okay, maybe not the diapers so much), but it’s important to feel like I’m 100% my own person again sometimes.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

So yes, big stoking of the running fire going on right here. Hopefully it’ll carry over to runs down here on the Powerline, too. It’s easy to be motivated when you’re up in the mountains surrounded by pikas and tiger lilies and sparkling lakes.

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

(What kind of devices are people using for tracking their runs these days? I’d like to start using Strava again for additional accountability, but I would rather not have the tracking on my phone since I am always out there alone and don’t want to waste battery life.)

Melakwa - Pratt Loop 2017

Cabin Trip, North Cascades, Running

Sun Mountain 25K

Uuugh, I have officially reached that place where I am so behind on adventure recaps that it’s getting hard to get back into it. So I’mma just start and see how this goes.

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

First up: Sun Mountain!

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

Highway 20 opened just in time for us to do the beautiful drive through the North Cascades to get to Winthrop. I had forgotten just how gorgeous it is – we haven’t seen too many big mountains lately, so maybe I just appreciate it more now?

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

We stopped at the Diablo Overlook for a picnic and I was in awe. Nora loved it too, because we told her that Davis Peak was Svinetoppen (Swine Mountain), which the pig in her bedtime stories likes to climb.

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

We stayed at the Patterson Lake cabins, part of Sun Mountain Lodge, which was the perfect choice for us with two small kids along for the adventure. The cabins are right on the water and on the Sun Mountain trail system, so you can run in all sorts of directions right from your doorstep.

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

So, race day. Unfortunately little Norbert did not get to run her first kids’ 1K due to a…toddler malfunction, but I had all sorts of fun on the 25K. (By “all sorts” I’m obviously including Type 2 Fun.)

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

I ran the first half with two old friends from back in the TNAB days, which was a great motivator to beat the cutoff at the aid station – I was genuinely nervous about that, but we made it with lots of time to spare. I pretty much always run by myself, so it was interesting to note how much farther I could go without stopping when I was trying to keep up with others. It’s the best kind of peer pressure.

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

Once I got past the aid station, I kind of fell apart a little bit. The heat really got to me, and my knee, which has been bothering me whenever I’ve run anything longer than 8 miles, was not happy with the steep, downhill mountain bike trail that we were on for what seemed like forever. I don’t really remember much, because my body doesn’t really function well in the heat. A lot of us westsiders were struggling under that unforgiving sun after training in cold drizzle all winter and spring.

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

I ended up walking so much of the rest of the course that it was downright embarrassing, especially the last two miles – I could even hear people cheering at the finish line but I just could not get my legs to run. I ended up crossing the finish line at 3:33:10. My only goals for this race were to have fun (Type 2 Fun counts!), to beat the aid station cutoff, and to use it as motivation to get me out on the trails for guilt-free postpartum endorphins and alone time, so that’s a win on all counts.

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

(Of course JK decided on a whim to run the Dirty Turtle 25K the following weekend with no training except for two runs on Mount Patterson, and he finished in 2:44:something even with over 5000 feet of elevation gain. Way to make me feel slow, dude! But whatevs, I’m here to live up to my Trail Snail moniker.)

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

After I got my well-deserved high five from race director James Varner, I spotted a super excited Nora running toward me for an even better high five and a big hug. The best! She was all about the post-race pizza party, so we walked (I waddled) over to a shady spot to spread out on a blanket and get our feast on. They even had gluten-free vegan pizza topped with kale and roasted garlic! And there was bluegrass music! And happy people! And little Noras dancing! Total bliss.

Sun Mountain 25K 2017

Also how amazing is this finisher’s glass? #hearteyes

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

As the party wound down, we went back to our cabin and took an ice bath in Patterson Lake while Lily napped. Aaaah. So awesome.

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

The next day, after a combined effort by my spawn to ensure I got less than one hour of sleep, I somehow felt really, really good. We ended up having a perfect, relaxing vacation day, something we really didn’t think would happen after that night. It’s that Sun Mountain magic!

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

We went for a short but beautiful family hike, swam in the lake again, and then both girls actually napped simultaneously so JK and I could read and relax on the porch. Aah.

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017 Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

JK kept gushing about the run he had gone on the night before, so once the girls were in bed (and they actually stayed in bed this time, thank jebus), I headed out for a run of my own.

Patterson Mountain run

Patterson Mountain run

I had hiked up Mount Patterson before, back in 2012 while JK ran the 25K, but it was overcast and hazy and it didn’t make that big of an impression on me. But this! This was amazing.

Patterson Mountain run

Patterson Mountain run

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

Golden evening light, fields of balsamroot everywhere, lupine-scented singletrack…it was trail running perfection. I had the mountain to myself (except for an assortment of animal friends), so I took to running the downhills with my arms flailing every which way and yelling wheeeeeee at the top of my lungs. Best run of my life.

Patterson Mountain run

Patterson Mountain run

The next morning we had to leave, but we made sure to squeeze in a visit to the pool up at the main lodge before the long drive home. That view, man.

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017

So, Sun Mountain. I love you. Let’s make this an annual thing (but hopefully with more sleep next time).

Sun Mountain Long Weekend 2017