So maybe I pushed myself a little hard on those 37 miles on the Eastern Loop. I felt great at the time, and other than a missing toenail (don’t kick rocks when running) I didn’t think any damage had been done. Annette Lake and Lake Caroline proved that yes, a little damage had been done. But I kept trying!
Next on the list was Lake Lillian and a little exploration along Rampart Ridge. The ridge took my breath away, and was worth [literally] crawling up some of the steep trail behind the lake to see it. It’s certainly on my list of places to return to, and after looking at the map closer I think we found a fun little loop that will also include going up and over Mt Margaret.
Running up hills was fine. Flat ground was ok, but as soon as the grade became any level of a downhill slope, I would get shooting pains on the outside of my knee. Anything after three miles was excruciating, but as soon as I stopped, the pain stopped. No swelling, no soreness after a run, and no heat. The views kept coming, so I kept going…
Ruckel Ridge and Ruckel Creek were next, taunting us from down in Oregon. The first 4 miles of this trail was so steep, it made Mt Si look like a cakewalk. It could only be summed up by this treasure we found at the “summit”:
About half way up the ridge we had a nice view of the Columbia River!
My knee still hurt, but stopping wasn’t an option, so luckily I was referred to an amazing Physical Therapist. I knew I wanted to continue, and tapping out wasn’t an option until I had tried all of my options. Three visits later I was able to run/hike the Cascade Head trail near Tillamook, OR with no pain. Zero. I almost cried.
The next day we ran point to point through Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach, OR, starting in Seaside, and ending in Cannon Beach. Still no pain.
I had some vacation to burn, so we took a little trip to San Francisco. I had never been to the city, and here was where I had my first all-day urban run experience. If you’re going to explore a new city, I highly recommend running through it, and stopping only for coffee, lunch, and beer. Lots of beer.
The next day we detoured south to the Big Sur area, and hiked the Cone Peak marathon lollipop loop in two days. Just over 26 miles of 30% grade trails, 21 of them hiked/ran on day two. This was the most miles I’d ever done in a day, not to mention the steepest (consistently) trail I had been on. Once again, the views didn’t disappoint!
The final big trip for the year was up to Vancouver BC where we did some trail running in rain, sleet, and snow, as well as my first attempt at Skate Skiing. The trails were super fun with lots of roots in some places (I love technical trails) and many bridges as well. Where there are bridges, there are usually waterfalls!
Then we found snow!
2015 was unquestionably an amazing year for me. Not only did I travel some amazing miles on the trail, I traversed and grew personally and professionally. But we’ll stick with the trail mileage for now… in 2015 I backpacked/hiked/fastpacked/trailran 432 miles. To realize that I only started any mileage in June, and have broken my personal records monthly, I have a feeling that hitting 1,000 miles in 2016 will be a doable goal. 🙂
Now that I have 2015 summed up, I can start sharing my current adventures, goals, and accomplishments. I’m hopeful my posts will have a little more detail for each adventure, that might help a fellow explorer in their adventure. The previous three posts were more of a quick overview of my year, and to give you a taste of what you might see here in 2016. It’s going to be a good year!