Sunday, February 16, 2014

Run Stupid Run

This has probably been the oddest 10 days of running I've ever had. It started last Thursday with heavy (for Portland) snow and a 'feels like' temperature of -12C, which was cool to run it as it was just settling. Friday was more of the same and a short 10k in -7C.

CAPESTORM, Hi-Tec, Buff and K-Way all work amazingly in -12C
My plan had always been to run the Wildwood trail end to end (30 miles) on Saturday and I thought more overnight snow wouldn't make the trail too bad. It was warmer at -4 and the first few miles were fun, with stunning winter scenes provided by the snow on the trail, deer prints to follow and snow covered trees along the way. By about mile 7 the snow was 5 inches deep and too soft to not break through. My kms went from six to eight minutes with twice the effort. At mile 10 I decided to drop down onto the wide flatter cycle path that runs through Forest Park. It was no better, and I was 10 miles from home but more from my pick up at the end of the trail. So I pummeled through the snow, for a while behind the lone XC skier, until I reached a parking lot on the road with 20 miles down, but too early for my lift back and too far from any cover. Having established my guardian angel was at least 30 minutes away I started to run along St Helens Road back to Portland as much to keep warm as for any other reason, and eventually after some comical 'where are you?' 'I'm behind a garbage truck' 'Where are you?' 'I'm huddling by a sign for BFG Construction' exchanges I jumped into a warm car with peanut butter and jelly muffins and coffee. Never having felt so happy to bail a run and very grateful that someone would care enough to drive out in white out conditions!

Not the traditional WW end to end run
The next day the snow had turned to sheet ice and i met up with local trail legend and WS100 M10 Yassine Diboun (Animal Antics) for a run on Wildwood and the streets. Luckily potential hypothermia wasn't followed by broken bones as we took over 2 hours to run the 10 miles, slip sliding our way back to Goose Hollow. Surely conditions couldn't get any worse? Monday and the thaw had started producing a nice inch crust of soft snow with 4 inches of freezing water underneath. I now have the cleanest pair of NB Minimus trail shoes in Portland I'm sure.

PDX road gritting - it just ends! Still the safest place to run
A few days of 'normal' Portland weather (ie rain) meant a track 5km in 18,08 before the Hagg Lake Mudfest 50k on Saturday. After snow, ice, freezing water, freezing rain, ice pellets and even one sunny run, it was a Mud City at Hagg Lake, with 2 laps of the muddest race I've ever run. Last week's training obviously helped as I managed fourth place in a reasonably competitive race (see results HERE and the first pics HERE). Now I need new trail shoes (trashed!) and new hip flexors :)

Part of the Hagg Lake course - pretty typical section


  1. Felt a little stupid last winter, I was running to Maclears while Cape Town was in the grip of a storm... No snow that day, but it was hailing and raining and the north wester unfriendly!!!

    Why stupid, I didn't want to stop and put a top on... I just kept saying: keep moving...

    Down from Platterklip into Echo Valley you could understand why that little mountain kills people as I could only see a couple of meters...

    But stuff like that make us feel alive!!!

    1. Its been my favorite week of running and it made me strong for Saturday :)