We discovered a new-to-us trail in January! And it’s actually a pretty new-in-general trail, too – it was finished in October! It’s called Heybrook Ridge, and it’s on the same ridge as Heybrook Lookout (go figure) near Index along US2.
I have ambivalent feelings about sharing trail info on social media, but (a) like three people read this blog and (b) I want to get other young families out on trail. This is a perfect hike for families with young children: short, accessible, with a great view from the top (just avert your eyes from the powerlines above you and focus on Mounts Baring and Index and Persis instead).
I was super happy to find a hike with views like this snow-free in January. We went on a day when JK had the day off but Nora was in preschool so that Lily could get some undivided attention from both parents for once, and she had the time of her life testing her trail legs for the first time – supported for the time being. But we definitely want to go back with Nora, the trail is short enough that she should be able to walk most of it on her own if we bring along enough motivational snacks. Maybe.
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:
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.
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.
Aah, I love this time of year when we’re all resolutiony and motivated. Unfortunately this time of year also brings motivated bugs, and I was out with the flu for over a week. I’ve managed to fight of all the viruses Nora has brought home from preschool except one, but this time I think I paid for a December of little sleep and lots of sugar and pepperkaker, plus my immune system was busy battling an inflamed clogged duct. Not the best start to the year, but the silver lining is that at least those extra pepperkake pounds disappeared.
I did manage to make some quick scrapbook layouts while I was sick too, a bunch of December Daily pages (I’m so close to finishing! I WILL DO THIS!) and the opener for my 2018 album. This year I’m using a 9×12 album so that I have the option to include more pocket pages if I want to, but most of the pages I make for it will probably still be 8.5×11.
For the opener, I grabbed my favorite family photo (taken this fall at one of Hannah Marie Photography’s mini sessions – 15 minutes is about as much posing as Nora can handle, so these sessions are working really well for us) and one of the journaling cards from Ali Edwards’ January digital kit. I elongated it to go all the way across the page so I could fit in journaling for all of us. I cut the title out with my Silhouette, using one of these files.
On the back, I put these adorable portraits Nora drew of all of us. I love this with all my heart.
Next up is this welcome to the new year spread where I talk about my big goal of the year – running the Sun Mountain 50K. Eek! I took one of the 3×4 cards from the kit and turned the background transparent using this trick in Photoshop so I could use it as an overlay on my big trail photo.
I’m planning on doing all my One Little Word stuff directly in this big ol’ album this year, so I’ll probably be documenting my training efforts in between all the family stuff. I’m really excited to have everything in one place this year instead of working on five different albums simultaneously.
As for training, so far in 2018 I have walked around…two miles. Yay flu! But today I’m finally feeling like myself again, so I’ll take Lily out in the running stroller after her nap. It’s gonna hurt oh so good.
I definitely focused on running rather than hiking this year. There were many many trips to Tiger, Cougar, the Watershed, and St. Edwards. It’s hard to pick a favorite here, but my first time back on the Cable Line after Lily was born got me the biggest endorphin high on my life. I don’t have a good photo of that one, so here’s one of me meeting up with Nora and the rest of the gang after running the Shy Bear loop instead.
The winter of 2017 was very special since JK was home on paternal leave the entire time. So it was special, but also exhausting, because newborn. Getting everyone bundled up and into the car to go on adventures was kind of a production at this point (okay, it’s still kind of a production, honestly), but one of our favorite things to do to get a sense of adventure was to drive into Seattle, pick up food to go at Veggie Grill, and then have a picnic in Discovery Park.
I was so proud that we were able to get out for a family snowshoe on Mount Rainier in February. It was so chaotic (and loud) getting there, but once everyone calmed down and I could enjoy the sun on my face (that must have been our only day of sunshine all winter, surely?) and that big volcano? So worth it.
Last year I entered the Nutritarian Women’s Health Study, and found out that Dr. Joel Fuhrman was going to have a talk in Port Townsend. We rented a house on the peninsula and spent a couple of days exploring the area, including our first visit ever to Hurricane Ridge. We couldn’t see a thing, but we had so much fun playing with Nora in the snow.
In May, we took another family trip to Winthrop so I could run the Sun Mountain 25K. The morning after the race, we went for a family hike on the trails next to Sun Mountain Lodge, and that night I went for a solo run on Mount Patterson in the golden hour. Best run of my life! Being out there in the sun felt like our prize after getting through the rainiest Seattle winter/spring on record.
My second favorite run this year? The Melakwa loop! I hadn’t run this since before getting pregnant with Nora. Turns out it’s even more fun when you’re in good (for me) shape.
We went back to Paradise in summer to look for marmots. It was so much less hectic than our winter outing. Nora hiked most of the little loop herself, we saw tons of adorable marmots, and we just had pure fun – that’s not always a given when you adventure with a three-year old and a baby. These are the days I want to remember forever.
In August, JK took a random afternoon off and we took Lily for a hike to Poo Poo Point while Nora was in preschool. Shh, don’t tell her! As much as we love those family outings, sometimes it’s nice to be able to hike and actually talk about adult things.
…which is exactly what we got to do when my parents came to visit and we joined our first outing with the Thursday Night Afterburners in forever! As luck would have it, the hike that was scheduled for the one day we were able to go was my favorite TNAB destination: Rampart Ridge. It was perfect in every way.
While my parents were here, we also got to celebrate Nora’s birthday on the Naches Peak Loop! We brought cake, balloons, and party hats. It rocked. I made the whole family fill out little interview tags for my December Daily album this year, and both JK and Nora said that this was their favorite memory from 2017.
As summer turned to fall, we went to Twin Lakes with some friends. I didn’t expect anything special from this one, but hot damn it was gorgeous. Sunny and crisp, gorgeous fall colors, mountain views and a really pretty little lake. All good things.
In October, I ran the Oregon Coast 30K with very low expectations and ended up loving every bit of it. Yet another excellent family getaway.
Back in Washington, autumn never seemed to end – best October ever. We hiked up the ski slope on the PCT at Snoqualmie Pass to Beaver Lake, and Nora impressed us with her hiking legs.
We also visited the Middle Fork for the first time. I was not expecting these kinds of views from this little riverside trail.
After Nora’s fabulous mountain birthday, Lily deserved something equally pretty – a snowshoe celebration at Gold Creek Pond! It was a great way to take advantage of the strange drought we had this December.
In December I also ran the Deception Pass 25K – I could not have asked for better weather. I’ll write more about this one soon.
I know people love to hate the Cable Line, but whaddya know, it ended up twice on my favorites list this year. My parents came back again for Christmas, and JK and I took advantage of the babysitter time to go running together. Our snowy trip to Tiger Mountain was absolutely fabulous. We’re going to try to make room for more runs together in 2018.
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.
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.
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.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.