Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trail "running" (updated with more pictures!)

We spent the weekend at Sun Mountain Lodge near Winthrop, where I was attending the Defender Conference. Once a year I get the opportunity to take continuing education classes at a mountain resort instead of a boring convention center.

We were especially lucky this year because the North Cascades Highway opened for the summer just about a week ago, cutting at least an hour (maybe more) off the drive over. We were also able to leave at midday instead of 4 or 5 on Friday, so we were actually there by a little past 4:00.

Have I mentioned that I ran 14 miles before work on Friday morning and got to work at 9? I was out the door at 5:15 a.m., about an hour earlier than usual. I wanted to get the week's long run out of the way so it wouldn't be so burdensome on Sunday.

The other part of my grand scheme was that an extra long run on Friday would leave me free to eat a lovely dinner Friday night without concern.

We had no trouble getting a table for dinner in the hotel's lovely dining room, as most of the conference attendees were eating at the group dinner, "enjoying" a taco buffet which was mediocre at best (so I heard later). Suckahs!

Our dinner started with bread from a local bakery and a trio of butters, plain, pesto butter, and a wonder lavendar honey butter (we lapped up every bit of that one). Then an amuse bouche, tuna tartare topped with wasabi avocado. Instead of a salad Rod had roasted pear soup (we'll be working on making something similar this summer), and antelope for his entree (I don't remember anything else about it). They served his soup at the table poured from a small teapot--very cool!

I had a salad with smoked duck, dried cherries, and other tasty bits I can't recall. Then I had a pork porterhouse (very thick pork steak) with some kind of spicy apple sauce (not the same as applesauce), served with apple fritters (YESSS) and and some lovely spring vegetables, including foraged fiddlehead ferns. I ate about 2/3 of the pork and took the rest to use for lunch on Saturday (we had a refrigerator in the room).* I ate ALL of the fritters!

On Saturday I took a midday hiatus from classes (I have plenty of credits, I can give up a few) to go mountain biking with Rod. We rented bikes from the hotel and just went for a couple hours. That was plenty, as we're not the most skilled of bikers! The last trail we went on was actually "not recommended" for bikes (oops) but still it was the best route back to Sun Mountain from where we had ended up down by Patterson Lake. I said "down"--yes, we had to go "up" to Sun Mountain Lodge. I alternated between riding in the moderate sections and pushing the bike in the steepiest, rockiest bits of trail.

Saturday night dinner, Patterson Mountain burger with blue cheese (Rod had cheddar), bacon, and grilled apples. YUM! (I may not have had a real hamburger since we were at Sun Mountain last year!)

I decided to do my Sunday run on the trails, even though I'm not crazy about trail running. The alternative would be to run DOWN the road and then back UP to the hotel. Not appealing. I might end up doing sort of the same thing on trails, but maybe it would be more interesting.

I started by running down the road toward Patterson Lake Cabins (don't mind downhill road running!). Past the cabins I wanted to turn onto a trail called Patterson Mountain. I had a little trouble finding it (per usual for me), but I did...and promptly started going uphill.

Note to self: "mountain" implies uphill.

After a bit I came to the beginning of the Patterson Mountain loop trail (my destination). I opted for the south side of the loop (according to signs). It didn't matter, really; eventually I'd get to he north side.

And I started climbing again. (Yes, I am going up the side of a mountain!) I found that this uphill jogging sometimes dropped my pace to 16-minute miles. When I decided to walk the steepest rockiest parts, it was a 20-minute pace. This all concerned me a little, as I had allowed for a 15-minute average pace in my time estimate to Rod (anticipating hills and stops). But luckily it wasn't all 16-20 minute pace. In the level and downhill sections I dropped to a 12-minute (or faster!) pace. Although I had to walk on some of the downhills too, where they were too steep or technical (I think that's the word trail runners use). Here is the view from one of my highest points.

So yes, after I reached the Summit/Loop sign (I opted not to head for the summit), the trail started heading downward again. (Look, a stile just like on the footpaths in England!)

Sooner than I expected, really, I returned to the beginning of the trail and began to follow another trail that headed back to Patterson Lake Cabins. Here is the view looking down on Patterson Lake, the cabins and somewhere up and to the right is where Sun Mountain Lodge is.
A closer view of Patterson Lake cabins.

That also brought me to the road again. Still not wanting to run up the road, I opted for the Lakeview trail that we had taken with the bikes. The climb really wasn't too extreme--there was only one segment that I chose to walk rather than jog.

However, the trail is also a shortcut to the road, and when I reached the top, almost to the lodge, I was only at a little over 6 miles. I wanted 8. That was easily fixed, though. I ran down (only slightly downhill) the wide Sunnyside trail until Garmin pinged 7 miles, then backtracked. I reached the lodge at 8.04 miles, the perfect distance even if not the perfect pace (almost 12 minute per mile average pace!).

That is one reason why I don't prefer trail running. I feel so slow and there's little I can do about it! I really prefer walking/hiking trails. Although, I must say that even with the slow pace, I was able to cover a lot more distance in the time I had than I would walking. I wouldn't mind doing that loop (even to the summit) as a hike sometime. The views are amazing!

It was such a run/walk conglomeration that I don't even know if I feel like I got a workout. I'm sure I did...but I didn't feel very worn out after the run! And Garmin decreased the calories it allowed me per mile thanks to my slow pace. Boo hoo.

While I was out running Rod went to the dining room and had a humongous (and delicious, I hear) breakfast. So I made myself lunch for the road--two almond butter and jam sandwiches on sandwich thins (all of which I brought with me). Before I went out I had a yummy whole grain apricot scone and when I got back a whole grain banana nut muffin--rocking the carbs today! Along with leftover coffee that I had stashed in the fridge. (These whole grain muffins and scones are great, so delicious and only about 250 calories each, much less than other versions! They are QFC brand, made by a company called "Mostly Muffins.")

I am home now (have been for a couple hours anyway) and I am so pleased to have found a replay of the London Marathon on Universal Sports! I was bummed that I forgot to set the DVR before I left. I watched a few minutes when it started at 5; I will watch the rest later on DVR after I fix dinner. Despite my devalued calorie burn, I am hungry!

*What I did with the leftover pork: I had brought some sandwich thins so I made a sandwich with thin-sliced pork and blackberry jam. It works! It would have been nice to have some cheese but I couldn't forage any and as it turned out I didn't miss it.


Heather said...

What a fun weekend - I want to go to CLE's there!

Terri said...

Wow that looks like an absolutely beautiful spot. You are so smart to have foregone the conference dinner - i would do the same thing as you. For me, the conferences we get to go to - they're always held in huge convention halls - it sucks! Unless you take a few extra days and rent a car, the time is too short and you can't see enough of the city.

I can't believe you did all of those uphills and said that it didn't feel like you got a workout!