Snow Day on Repeat; More Snow, More Miles

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Last night, as I went to bed, I decided to let myself sleep in as long as my body would let me, regardless of the fact that Saturday is traditionally the group long run day.  Of course, I woke up promptly at 7am and decided at twenty after I would throw my clothes on and run out the door to meet my friends on foot at 8am… two miles away, for an eight mile run.  In the snow.

Fortunately, I made it on time, and I am so happy I got out of bed to meet them – It had snowed again overnight, there was hardly any traffic, and it was gorgeous.

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The Hawthorne.
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Hidden track of Duniway.
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Up the hill on Terwilliger.
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View from the hill.

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City view from the top deck of the Steel.
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On the Eastbank.

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Toward the end of our run, it really started snowing heavily.  I had a wonderful time walking home through all the white flakes of fluff.

We were lucky to have one more day of glorious snow; we are currently experiencing freezing rain, and it seems the conditions tomorrow will be best suited for staying indoors.

What are your favorite snow-day adventures?

Be safe and stay warm, everyone!

with joy,
~Alaina

A Snow Day Run

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Over the past few days it has snowed.  It snowed a little on Monday and again on Tuesday, and while it looked pretty floating in large white balls of fluff, the air was warm enough that it all melted away moments after it hit the ground.  Then, on Thursday, after a very cold, dry Wednesday, the weather reports were all over the board, as is usual when there is a potential for “winter weather” in Portland.

And then… at about ten in the morning… tiny, white flakes began falling from the sky.
The snow did not necessarily stick, but was blown around by incredible gusts of wind. 

When I decided to leave work at twelve thirty in the early afternoon, snow was piling up, the wind was crazy, and the temperature was around 20 degrees (with a ‘feels like’ six degrees!).  Needless to say, in a location where drivers are inexperienced with the white stuff falling from the sky, a half hour commute turned into nearly three hours, much of that spent waiting for a bus in ‘blizzard’ conditions.  I rewarded myself with a hot chocolate at one of my favorite coffee shops close to home, and on my walk after the fortifying hot beverage, snow-covered the ground.

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Snow was predicted for varying amounts of accumulation, and to my delight – there were measurable inches by the end of the day!  Which of course meant that today I was probably going to skip the commute to the office and work remotely.

And I did – delighted to sit at home at my desk, and gaze out my single-pane window at the snow-covered city.

After a few hours of sitting, staring, and finishing some work, my legs could not sit still any longer, and I had to get out and run!

I layered up (three wool shirts!), headed out the door and quickly learned that running on lightly compacted, powdery snow is very much like running on dry sand.  Challenging and so much fun; I found myself giggling every two minutes as I would slip or slide.  And of course, I took pictures!

It was a beautiful morning…

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During this morning’s run, there was no precipitation, in fact the sun starting peeking out from behind some clouds.  At noon, it was snowing again… and it has not stopped!  I am looking forward to walking out into a dreamy, white winter wonderland to get my morning cup o’joe, and plan which direction my feet will take me on the Saturday long run…

Where do you like to run when the weather is … compromising?
How do you stay warm?  I thought about a scarf today to cover my nose, but decided against it as it could have been uncomfortable.

Keep warm, and have fun getting outside!

with joy in running (and the unexpected),
~Alaina

Cold Days: Fingers Become Icicles and the Appearance of the Little Circle of Doom

The last couple weeks have been cold.
I mean Cold!

I have recently acquired my first OMNI-HEAT Down-jacket from Columbia Sportswear, and I am loving every second of wearing this blanket from heaven.
I can not believe it took me so many years to get one of these jackets.  It is a total game-changer!  See it here!

I have also learned the effects of the cold on my regular habit of picture-taking on my run… three-quarters of a mile in, one picture snapped, then – the screen goes black and the little circle of doom spirals, sputters, and disappears as my phone shuts itself off. 

Does anyone have a solution for this iPhone “it’s too cold out to function” shut-down prevention?  How do folks in Alaska and North Dakota use cell phones or smart phones if they just shut off when it is cold?

Needless to say, I haven’t been getting many scenic captures in the past few weeks.  Fortunately, the weather has warmed a little, my life is calming, I’m feeling the breathing room, and I’ll be able to get out and share the view very soon.

Here are a few pictures from a run when the temperature hit the teens; the sun was setting and I was able to get in a few pictures in the first 8 minutes of my run before the spiral appeared in blackness and my phone took a nap:

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I plan to find a solution so I can continue my favorite pastime of iPhoneography while running, and until then, you may find more words here than images.  I welcome any thoughts or advice you can offer!

I hope everyone is staying warm, and having fun tackling the elements, whatever they may be where you run!

with joy,
~Alaina

Wintery Days on the Run

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Out on the waterfront with my friends for our weekly run, I could not help but admire the stillness of the river.  Each bridge, the treeline on the water, and clouds reflected on the surface of the water a secret world hidden inside its flows.  The cool temperature and shapes of the high, light clouds reminded me that winter would soon be upon the city.

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The Holiday Steam Engine
The Holiday Steam Engine

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We caught a few sprinkles of rain, and beyond that the morning was perfect.  I got home in time to bake a cake for an evening celebration of Thanksgiving with friends.  I am so grateful for these wonderful people in my life.

Happy running, and wishing you all a happy holiday season!

Thursday’s Run; Pre-Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving day, pre-family gathering, in the early afternoon, I decided to head out for my first run to the Esplanade from the Eastside of Portland.  Although it was chilly out, it felt warm with sunshine beaming down from bright, blue skies.  My route was simple, and enchantingly beautiful along the river.  Many couples were out for a stroll around the river, their to-go lattes in one hand while the other was held in their partner’s.  Families and fellow runners with their dogs were also enjoying the afternoon sun.  The day couldn’t have been better.

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I hope everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving – with family, with friends, or simply spending quality time alone, enjoying yourself!  I give thanks that I am able to run, alone with my thoughts, in such a beautiful city.  I am so grateful for my friends, family, and for all of you reading this, for giving more purpose to my joyful hobbies of running and iPhoneography.

with many thanks,
~ Alaina

Saturday’s Run: Sellwood to Springwater

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Saturday’s long run was happily, for my lately less often used legs, slightly on the shorter side at 8 miles.  Mostly flat (with a nice bit of a hill at the beginning and end), we ran out of the neighborhood in Sellwood onto the Springwater Trail, traveling the opposite direction of our usual Springwater run that starts at OMSI.

The day was chilly, damp, and cloudy, yet it did not rain except to sprinkle mid-run as a cool off.  This run is one of our favorites: post-run, we go to the Portland Juice Press, grab some delicious, fresh juices, hydrate, and munch on home-made snacks before splitting up and going home.  I got my favorite juice, “the OM” (hazelnut milk, date, vanilla bean, sea salt), and “the GURU” (apple, beet, carrot).  Totally recommend this place if you haven’t tried them, yet!

This was the perfect re-initiation into regular running.  Just what I needed.

Getting back in the game, on new territory.

And it’s on.

Kicking off the commitments, I will run my second marathon in May: the Newport Marathon.
Officially registered tonight!

When is your next race?

Saturday’s Run: The Terwilliger Challenge

Yesterday’s long run was one I joyfully anticipated; after receiving a warning that this would be steep, this also indicated to me there would be great opportunities to satisfy my iPhoneography Instagram habit (ok… addiction).  I was beyond pleased with the great company of eight ladies on this uphill trek, the phenomenally perfect weather (sunny and cool), and the spectacular views we were given on the hilly terrain of our 10 mile run up from the East side to  Terwilliger.

The beginning - Crossing the Hawthorne Bridge.
The beginning – Crossing the Hawthorne Bridge.
Climbing up Terwilliger with the ladies. Great Sunshine!
Climbing up Terwilliger with the ladies. Great Sunshine!
Small city through big trees.
Small city through big trees.
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Miniature bridge.
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Up and up and up…!
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Near the peak and turn-around.
Driving downhill.
Downhill drive.
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Second river crossing and last bridge view en route to the finish. (There is a clear reason we call it “Bridge City”).

I have long been afraid of running any extended distance downhill.  A few years ago, after experiencing a great deal of pain in my left knee on a four mile downhill, I let the experience influence my decision to run based on ups and downs in elevation.  This week, I consulted my running expert advisors (Mom and Grandpa) after experiencing some of this pain last week, and was advised by Grampa to run and walk the downhill distance.

Shout-out to Grampa – it worked, Thank you!  I was able to comfortably move at a quick, gravity influenced downhill run, alternatively walking to rest the running muscles.  I kept up with my run group by passing them at a run, they caught up while I walked, and finally, when the terrain levelled out, kept pace with the group.

As I sit here, pain-free in my neighborhood Coffeehouse, enjoying the warmth of the atmosphere, looking out on the cool, cloudy day, I am forever grateful for the day we were given yesterday full of sunshine, good conversation, and with great running buddies.  Thanks gals!

with Joy in running,
~Alaina