Thursday, January 17, 2013

Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat

It's time for the third annual Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat! Well, I guess I should rephrase that, as the temperature is hovering around zero and we're enjoying perfect skiing conditions right now: it's time to get excited for the third annual Women's Trail Running and Yoga Retreat! Join us May 2-5 for an extended getaway to experience the best the Methow has to offer: sun, fun trails, snow-capped mountain views, wildflowers, and relaxation in a beautiful place. This year we'll be based next to the Methow River, at Winthrop's River Run Inn. They have cabins, inn rooms, and a main house to accomodate both groups and individuals, complete with a swimming pool and hot tub for afternoon relaxing. They are giving us a crazy good deal (rooms between $35 and $55 for single occupancy), so as not to break the bank.

The plan: wake up, eat yummy food, run, eat yummy food, practice yoga, relax, eat yummy food, sleep, repeat.

Early May brings sun and myriad wildflowers valley-wide, and we'll tour the area on daily runs (or twice daily if you're so inclined) between one and three to four hours.

This year I'm excited to have a demo fleet of Scott Running shoes for everyone to try: their lightweight and innovative design make a great, fun feeling shoe. Also new this year, local photographer Kristen Smith will document the weekend and give everyone a photo-loaded cd of her work. Because food and fueling is so important for maintaining a healthy running lifestyle, Stewart Dietz Catering will provide us with nourishing, vegetarian meals (every meal except Saturday night so you can experience our local restaurants). There will be opportunities to work on trail running technique; learn strength exercises, nutrition strategies, and injury prevention to supplement your running; and how to formulate a successful training plan. Finally, local shoe whiz and Winthrop Mountain Sports owner, Rita Kenny, will give a talk on the importance of shoes and how to find the right one for you.


When: 5pm Thursday, May 2 to 11am Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cost: $275. Includes catered dinner Thursday, all meals Friday, breakfast and lunch Saturday, and breakfast Sunday; guided trail runs in groups based on level and distance; technique instruction; injury prevention/strength session; nutrition discussion; and a shirt. As I love a girls' weekend, bring a friend and take $15 off registration (email me for the discount code if you want to register online.

How: Register online, print or email this form. Call River Run Inn to make your reservation at (509) 996-2173 (make sure to mention you are part of the running retreat to get your discount).

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Rattler is Back!

April 20, 2013          9am
4-Mile, 9-Mile and Half-Marathon 
Pipestone Canyon: Winthrop, WA

A fun, beautiful and challenging trail run in the Methow's unique Pipestone Canyon.

Course Information:
Four-mile: a mix of singletrack and doubletrack, this loop has a couple of rolling hills in and out of the forest, with about 300 feet of climbing.

Nine-mile: this loop goes along the Pipestone Canyon ridge, with some steep climbs and lots of snow-capped mountain views. There is about 1700 feet of climbing and some technical trails. After dropping off the ridge, you can refuel at the well-stocked aid station, then make your way up the canyon on the doubetrack to the finish.

Half-marathon: put the two loops together into a figure eight and get about 2000 feet of climbing. There will be an aid station after the four mile loop as well.

Register online or send a check with this form. Bring a volunteer and run for free! Contact us for this option.

Other information:
The weather in April is often like the pictures below, warm and sunny. The day after these pictures were taken, however, it was raining, so be prepared for everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

Methow Valley Inn, is a beautiful and comfortable bed and breakfast in Twisp; it is close to the start and the owners are offering a 20% discount to runners. Call to reserve your room at (509) 997-2253. Make sure to mention you are running the race to get the discount.

Directions to the start:
The race is on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife land, so a Discovery pass is necessary to park. Please respect our state lands by bringing your pass.

From Winthrop (allow 25 minutes):

View My Saved Places in a larger map

From Twisp (allow 30 minutes):

View My Saved Places in a larger map

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Base Training At Its Finest

Cougar Mountain, from Gunn Ranch Rd (Photo by Reid Warner)
These first few months of the year are all about training volume and building strength. Given that we have about two and a half feet of snow (with much more in the mountains), I'm doing a lot of skiing outside and pumping iron in the gym.  If I've learned anything in the past couple of years it is this: strength training is important. Very important. Last winter I spent time in the gym and was rewarded with, oddly enough, running stronger up hills! Since the races I'm most drawn to have a lot of climbing, that strength really paid off. Aside from the benefits of moving better with having more strength, strong muscles are more pliable and less prone to injury: good things for a repetitive movement sport like ultrarunning. While moving through the different periods of training and then through the racing season, I necessarily increased my running time and transitioned to doing specific strength like hill sprints. By the end of the season, I was looking forward to getting back to the gym to build more strength onto what I did last year. Having a true periodized training plan has been helpful in getting all the different physiological pieces trained properly. It's just not possible to build everything at the same time.

I am really excited about the coming year. Aside from the events we are putting on, I have some fun races planned. I woke up early on New Year's day to register for the Speedgoat 50k, in Alta, Utah. It's part of the International Sky Running series, that I've always been enthralled by, since first learning about the world of trail and mountain running. According to the International Sky Running Federation, skyrunning is defined as "the discipline of mountain running up to or exceeding 2,000m where the incline exceeds 30% and the climbing difficulty does not exceed II grade." Oh yeah! Most of the races are held in Europe, but this year there are a couple here in the states, the Speedgoat being one of them. Due to the quality of the event and available prize money, it attracted the best in the world last year, and will surely do the same this year. I'll likely only see them at the start, but I'm excited to participate in a race with the best mountain runners in the world.

That said, I have some serious work to do! The course boasts 11,000ft of elevation gain over the 50k course, between the altitudes of 7,700 ft and just over 11,000 ft. Just typing that makes me nervous. Needless to say, I'm motivated more than ever to get strong. Luckily, we've had amazing ski conditions and enough snow at low elevations to do front-country skiing on some of the very local, car-accessible spots like Cougar Mountain and Driveway Butte. The other day I did a strength workout in the morning, refueled with some friends, then took Nikki for a loop up Cougar with my backcountry gear to get some vertical. It was so fun!

Nearing the top.
I climbed a leisurely hour, with stops to look at the changing view and the cool, iced trees. The descent was even more leisurely, as it is a lot of work for a dog and required many breathers. It was a great first-time excursion for the season. A fellow enthusiast was out on his split board, and got some great pictures (thanks, Reid). It snowed today, and with a storm in the forecast, I'll have plenty of opportunities to do more laps. Skinning up a mountain is as close to hiking up a steep slope with hands on quads as you can get, with a really fun descent! Thanks to all the people who have been frequenting the mountain, the skin track is really well packed and easy to power up. Now that I'm getting my climbing legs in shape, next time I'll try picking up the pace.

Yet another forced dog picture.
One tired, happy dog!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Women's Ski and Yoga Schedule

Wow, what a great start to the winter we've had! After several days of constant snow, we have a great base for the Nordic trails. MVSTA is doing the stellar grooming that we locals have come to graciously expect; both skating and classic skiing have been spectacular, if you can brave the cold weather. It's been clear at night with endless stars and classic bluebird days that you see in magazines. Everyday I'm amazed at the place I live and how lucky I am to be here. I'm excited to share my enthusiasm for the Methow in March for the Women's Ski and Yoga Retreat. If you've never Nordic skied before, this is the perfect opportunity. Skiing is great cross-training for running and cycling, and is so much fun!

To kick off the new year, I thought I'd share what's in store. There is still space available, so if you'd like to join in on the merriment, register here. Bring a friend or two and make it a girls' weekend!

Here's the plan:
Friday, March 1
1:30-3:00 pm     Yoga: Mixed Level
3:00-6:00 pm     Free Time
4:30-6:30 pm     Check-in and Registration at Sun Mountain Lodge
6:30-7:30 pm     Hosted Wine and Hors d'oeuvres
Evening             Dinner on own

Saturday, March 2
7:00-8:30 am     Yoga: Beginner or Intermediate/Advanced
8:45-9:15 am     Breakfast
9:30-10:00 am   Orientation: Come ready to ski
10:00-noon        Ski Session: Classic*
12:30-1:30 pm   Lunch
2:00-3:20 pm     Afternoon Ski Session: Classic*
4:00-4:30 pm     Apres Ski Stretch
After 4:30 pm    Free time. Dinner on your own at Sun Mountain Lodge's dining room or in town.

*Skiers who prefer a skate session will be accommodated with a group size of six or more.

Sunday, March 3
7:00-8:30 am     Yoga: Beginner or Intermediate/Advanced
8:45-9:15 am     Breakfast
9:30 am            Meeting: Come ready to ski
10:00-noon        Ski Session: Skate or Classic
Noon                Check-out
12:30-1:15 pm   Lunch

I hope you can carve out some time to come out!