Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blanchard Mt. Run


Tamara giving pre-race instructions.

Early last week Eric and I decided to join in on the Blanchard Mountain fun that Michael and Tamara were hosting. Then, late Thursday evening, Wendy decided it might be more fun to go with us than running 20 miles alone. Never mind that she'd never run on trails, with a little discussion, she decided to try it out. Lucky for me - instead of running alone in the woods like I thought (and worried about), I'd have company! I was planning to run one loop - 11 miles, then hang out in the sun, visiting with others while I waited for the rest of our group to finish. I thought maybe, if I felt like it, I'd go for a bit extra...no hard plans though. I like joining these trail runs and doing a half version (or less - this was a 33 mile run, three 11 mile loops). It takes all time pressure off me and lets me run purely for fun - no "racing", no need to rush because I know I'll be in before everyone else in the car pool.

Blanchard is a-way up north, nearly to Bellingham. We left Puyallup at 4:30 am, which of course meant getting up at 3:30 am. Just in case you are not aware, Starbucks is not yet open at that time. We had seven of us packed into Steve's Yeti, with all our gear in our box up top. As usual, the gang got a little rowdy on the drive up and we had lots of laughs. Once we arrived, Abi said she'd like to run with Wendy and I - it was Abi's birthday the night before, and she had gotten very little sleep, and had maybe one too many sangrias. No problem - double the fun! Oh, and on the drive up, I also found out that not only was this going to be Wendy's first trail run, it was also her first time in the woods - she had not even been hiking before. Wow, that took some guts, don't you think?

We had a wonderful day. Wendy was a little anxious, and she didn't like the slippery-slidey downhills, but she handled them like a pro. We kept her between Abi and I, and we kept the pace comfortable, took breaks, talked up a storm and just generally enjoyed ourselves. Wendy and I were nervous about the infamous "Kill Bill Hill" - we'd been told that you had to scramble up it, using roots as hand-holds. Abi ran the race last year and kept trying to reassure us. In the end, it wasn't too bad. I did have to use roots a couple times, and think about my way up a couple times, but we did it!


Steve and Rob on Kill Bill Hill


















From the view point, straight across. If you click on the picture to enlarge, you can see Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island (where we ran in February), and behind it the Olympics.

Once we came back to the start, I mentioned that I wouldn't mind doing a bit more, but did not want another complete loop. Tamara suggested a trip to the outlook and back for another five-ish miles, so that's what we did. We had all forgotten how much climbing that involved, but enjoyed the added miles anyway. We finished our 16 miles with time to change, eat and rest a while before the others came in. It was fun visiting with the other runners and hanging out in the sun for a while. After a burger at a local tavern, and a long drive home, a shower never felt so good. It really was a perfect day and it gave me the itch to get out on the trails a bit more this summer. We'll see...


From viewpoint, looking a bit south.


Aftermath.

13 comments:

Ovens2Betsy said...

That sounds like a fabulous run! When's your next one?

Sarah said...

That hill looks tough! Good times. : )

Joe said...

"Kill Bill Hill" eh?? Gotta be a story behind that one. It looked brutal!

What a neat way to organize a run. I love the relaxed atmosphere. Good for you!!!

Sarah Elaine said...

Great photos! You seem to have this way of being around people for their first introduction to trail running. :-)

Thomas said...

Wow! Stunning views!

Anne said...

What fun! What views! I'm so glad you had the fun time you were hoping for. And yea to Wendy for nailing her first trail run.

lizzie lee said...

the 6.40 min/mile was only for 0.2 miles only....

Jack said...

What an incredible, well worth the climb. Thanks for sharing...

King Arthur said...

You looked strong out there, and of course always smiling.

Wes said...

There's some great views. I hope Wendy enjoyed her time on the trails!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Another "one" bites the dust! I hope you remember the "one" thing that I am referring to about first timers on trails. :) It was a rowdy car ride THERE and BACK! Rob loved it! Let's do it again soon!
Jenny

runliarun said...

Starbucks has these little cans called "doubleshots" - heavy-duty coffee, marvelous when cold, perfect for 3 am summer mornings on the go.

scott keeps running said...

It's beautiful over there. I need to visit more often.