Baby

1.5!

As of yesterday, we have a one-and-a-half-year-old running around the house! This is bananas to me – crazy, wonderfully bananas.

1.5!

Just like last year, we celebrated Nora’s half birthday with half a birthday cake…and this time she was even allowed to partake!

Half birthday = half a birthday cake

JK and I sure do bake the ugliest cakes, but I like to think we make up for it by making the cutest babies.

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Albums, Running

I’ve got the runs

…is what I really shouldn’t call this album, but I probably will, because now it’s in my head and there’s no turning back.

For my first month on the Ali Edwards Creative Team, I decided to use her adorable little encouraging phrases to make a scrapbook of my races. Since I’ve only participated in two so far, it came together quickly.

Running scrapbook

I love having a home for my race bibs! The 6×8 pocket size was perfect to show off the fancy one from Beat the Blerch, but I cut down my Orcas 25K bib to fit a 6×4 pocket since it didn’t have anything around the edge.

The little take the next step speech bubble is from the Encouragement Bubbles set, the all the feels heart is from Valentine Hearts, and the you got this card is from Encouragement Journal Cards.

Running scrapbook

…and because this album deserves to be thicker than these two measly spreads, I signed up for the Beacon Rock 25K in June, which looks gorgeous but dreadfully hard. I fear I might end up using the struggle is real for that one.

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Hiking with baby, Top Trips

Turtlehead Overlook

In news that should come as a surprise to no one, chasing after a toddler all day is mentally exhausting. There are so many good bits at this age – so much laughter, cool new skills, incredible cuteness – but after spending the entire day attempting to navigate the volatile emotional landscape of a small human and generally trying to keep her from killing herself, I inevitably end up on the couch, brain fried to a crisp, mindlessly watching television. Hence the lack of blogging lately. I want to change this! I like blogging! So here I am.

Anyway, back to Orcas Island. I woke up the morning after the race pretty sore and waddly, so we decided we should go for a hike to loosen up the ol’ legs a bit. But Nora was still sleeping. We got up and made breakfast, and she was still sleeping. We sat down and read and had coffee and admired the view from our rental house, and she was still sleeping. Until 9:45! That’s FIFTEEN HOURS! Apparently race day took a lot out of her, too.

Orcas Island 25K

At that point, we decided we might as well go have brunch first and hike afterwards, so we drove to Doe Bay Cafe and had our best restaurant-dining-with-small-child experience yet (except for the time we had pizza in Grado). I guess that’s what happens after you sleep for fifteen hours straight.

Orcas Island 25K

After stuffing ourselves full of delicious beans and vegetables, we drove to the other side of the island to hike to Turtlehead Overlook. Our habit of picking hikes based on the name alone (hi, Noble Knob!) paid off again, because this was an unexpected treat.

Turtlehead Overlook

The start of the hike was an unremarkable walk up an old road, but when we forked off into the woods, it was like we were walking in some sort of magical wonderland, gnomes and fairies hiding behind every moss-covered rock. Unfortunately Nora must be terrified of fairies, because she would not. stop. screaming. You can’t win ’em all. Luckily there was no one else on the trail.

Turtlehead Overlook

The overlook was gorgeous, a little piece of Ireland hidden away in the San Juans. Gorgeous. I can’t believe I had never heard about this hike before! We didn’t linger, due to the wind and the aforementioned screaming, but we have to go back there at some point. What a gem.

Turtlehead Overlook

Turtlehead Overlook

The next morning my legs were back to normal, which either means that the Turtlehead fairies worked some sort of sweet magic on me or that maybe I could have pushed myself much harder during the race after all. And Nora slept in again, for an excellent ending to our long weekend getaway.

Turtlehead Overlook | 5.7 miles | 1300 feet elevation gain –

Turtlehead Overlook

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Running, Top Trips

Orcas Island 25K

I’m back! And, importantly, I’m still alive!

Orcas Island 25K

Our long weekend began with a Friday ferry from Anacortes. Nora loves any sort of public transportation (except for that one flight from Reykjavik to Seattle which we shall never speak of again), and between her fascination with water and all the people-watching (“why are all of these passengers wearing trucker hats”, she must have wondered), ’twas a good voyage.

Orcas Island welcomed us with a magnificent rainbow, which I took as a good omen from the universe re: my chances of survival the following day.

Welcome to Orcas Island

Still, my stomach was in knots when I lined up for the race on Saturday morning. Everyone else just looked…more prepared. And like they actually knew what they were doing. JK snapped this photo of me and captured my look of reservation quite well.

Orcas Island 25K

But, as always, everything seems better once you actually start running, even though the start of the course was a long, uphill asphalt road.

Orcas Island 25K

I settled into the back of the pack and ran what I could of that hill, walking the rest.

Orcas Island 25K

But then! Trails! I could run again! Aaah, heaven. Soft singletrack wending through a veritable wonderland of lush moss, creeks, and waterfalls.

Orcas Island 25K

Lord-of-the-Ringsian bridges!

Orcas Island 25K

Magical trees!

Orcas Island 25K

I reached the first aid station at 5.something miles, refilled my water, grabbed a handful of potato chips and some really delicious, juicy orange slice, and got started on the main challenge of the day – the dreaded Powerline Trail.

Orcas Island 25K

This thing was nothing like my friendly neighborhood Powerline Trail here in Redmond, no, this was a straight-up-the-mountain, Cable Line-esque climb complete with shoe-sucking mud and soul-sucking, NSFW internal monologues. Eventually the mud gave way to snow, because of course, and then, miraculously, the Powerline was over.

Orcas Island 25K

Finally I could run again, and it felt so good! Until we hit another hill. This was the kind of switchbacking trail I can usually hike up in no time at all, but my post-Powerline legs were just spent, and these (supposed) 1.2 miles took foreeever. At least the snow made everything look like a fairytale. One of my fellow runners shouted “OHMIGOD this is the most beautiful thing ever! But I think I’m delirious.” – I think that summed up how most of us were feeling at that point.

Orcas Island 25K

At long last I reached the second aid station on top of Mount Constitution. I had planned for a long break there to take in the views, but since it was just white in every direction, I filled up my water again, grabbed more orange slices, and got ready for the descent.

Special thanks to the volunteers on Mount Constitution who remained cheery and helpful while looking downright hypothermic! This was the same aid station where I volunteered back in 2012.

Orcas Island 25K

The next section was the most beautiful of the entire course, thanks to the snow, but also absolutely freezing. After a couple minutes of running, I realized I couldn’t really feel my fingers, so I had to stop again in order to find my gloves and hat. Opening my pack took forever with my useless Otter Pops fingers, but luckily they warmed up quickly once I got the gloves on.

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

The next four miles or so just flew by – I cranked up the tunes and ran my little heart out, only stopping when I felt an irresistible urge to hug one of the giant cedars that lined the trail.

Orcas Island 25K

The course ended with some rather rude but mercifully short hills that I couldn’t find the energy to run up, and then I was done. Huzzah! I got my well-earned high five from race director James Varner and forgot to look at the clock, but I found out afterwards that I had crossed the finish line in 4:34:39, which I’m reasonably proud of given the amount of elevation gain and my lack of training/general laziness.

Orcas Island 25K Orcas Island 25K

The post-race party was classic Rainshadow Running – live music, lots of food, lots of beer. I was a very happy kind of exhausted.

Orcas Island 25K

Back at the rental house, we watched the sunset with our furry neighbors, had dinner, and went to bed embarrassingly early. It was a very good day.

Orcas Island 25K

Hugs to JK for watching Nora while I was out gallivanting through the woods, and big thanks to Rainshadow Running for organizing such a beautiful race. I know I spent most of that horrid Powerline climb thinking NEVER AGAIN, but of course now I’m like I’M TOTALLY DOING THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR.

And look, now I even have my very own trucker hat so I can at least look like a runner, even though I still don’t know what I’m doing.

Turtlehead Overlook

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Baby, Running

Nora walks, mamma runs

Nora’s first big act of rebellion against her hiking-obsessed parents was to hold out on walking until now. But on Friday night she suddenly got up and walked over to pappa, and by the next morning she was dribbling a soccer ball across the room (in an adorably waddly way). On Sunday, she took her first trail steps on Cougar Mountain, and my heart burst into a million pieces for the 975th time since she was born.

Hiking

We’ve spent some time on lowland trails like Cougar, Tiger, and the Redmond Watershed this past month since I suddenly realized the Orcas Island 25k was coming up rather quickly and I really should start training. Eeep. I’ve run through ice and rain and mud and a few little bits of sun, from frosty landscapes to ferns and moss so intensely green they look downright Photoshopped.

January January

So now we’re two days away from the race and my longest training run was 7 miles long, and now I’m supposed to go out and cover more miles and more elevation gain than I have since the summer before I was pregnant. EEEP. My initial goal, “don’t finish last”, has been downgraded to “just finish, period”…but I’m not going to complain about getting to run (and walk…there will be lots of walking) for 25 kilometers on a gorgeous Pacific Northwest trail.

January January January

See you on the other side of the weekend, when I’ll be stiff and sore and waddling in a much less adorable manner than this little toddler of mine, but hopefully looking just as happy and proud of myself as she does.

Hiking!