Yesterday I went a bit crazy in workout land, which is totally unlike me. First off, I ran the Oregon Trail Days Rugged River 5k Run.

I don’t know how you all take pics during races because this is what mine look like:

I will just say that the run was tough! The first mile or so was on roads. We started in a farmer’s field (really) and ran maybe 3/4 mile to the entrance of the park. Here are some pics I took on the shuttle back to the car:

Race start (told you it was a farm field).

Then, we ran through the campground area of the park, where they had their Oregon Trail Days festival set up. It’s not every day you run through tepees.

But then we hit this gravel road that went down, fast. You couldn’t even carry speed with the gravity of the descent because the footing was so uneven. I said to this woman near me, “I hope we don’t run up that!” to which she replied that what we’d run up would be worse. She was right. We ran along the river for a bit, which was a pretty nice single-track trail, and then we went UP. Here’s a picture I snagged off the internet. We started at the top, then ran down by the river (like close enough to touch it), then we ran up and past that statue. And then up a little more. It was so steep in parts!

Here we are after the race:

Then, Lori and I went mountain biking. I didn’t take many pictures because mountain biking takes 100% concentration for me, but here’s a picture I took on our break, in one of the prettiest spots.

Here’s our route! We went about 7.5 miles.

And then, because a race & 80 minutes of biking wasn’t enough, I joined our running group for the long run (part of the half marathon training plan). I had already run 3 in the a.m., so I dropped out at about 5.5 miles (they ran 8).

I felt great during the run, but I’m so sore today! I’m not sure if it was the biking, the crash I took during biking, or just excessive exercise, but today is definitely a rest day!

Trail Run Teachable Moments

Trail running with a 9-year-old is different than running with my adult buddies. We end up stopping a lot to check things out. I don’t entirely mind. There are a lot of teachable moments on a trail run. Kids learn best when they are in the moment in real-life experiences. While I’m not that outdoorsy, thanks to a family who is (my parents & grandparents) and an interest in science, I do know a few things. A few LITTLE things. When I don’t know what something is, I take a picture of it and ask my friend’s husband, who’s a biologist.

The park rangers (or someone) will periodically clean up the trails and cut away fallen trees, but big ones like this hang out for several months sometimes. This particular tree was there last year. Sometimes the tree is so big that they just reroute the trail. I’m not sure what will happen here. It’s a horse trail, and clearly a horse cannot climb through like we did.

My favorite part of the trail: flat, wide, and smooth.

We found an owl pellet! I saw one running the other day, too. They look like a pile of dryer lint. If you haven’t heard of an owl pellet, it’s the remains of an animal that an owl ate. They swallow the thing whole and somehow regurgitate the non-meat parts. More info here: owl pellets.

If you take an owl pellet home and carefully disassemble it, you can actually lay out the whole animal skeleton. I didn’t have a pocket, or I would have taken it home to do that. I pullet it apart with two sticks a bit. Owl pellets are technically PUKE so I didn’t exactly want to handle it a lot. I think it was maybe a mole. It was too much fur to be a mouse, I think. Plus, the pelvis seemed bigger than a mouse.

Our state park includes a man-made lake. Many years ago they dammed up a small creek to create the lake. The dam is to the left of where Evan is running here.

And to his right is where the creek emerges. I think it’s really creepy looking into that tunnel. I don’t even like looking at the picture. I did not stay and check this area out for long. For a trail runner, I’m really wimpy. They can control the amount of water that comes out.

Evan did not mind. He wanted to throw rocks in there. No. Just no.

The park is full of steep uphills and downhills. This is partially due to trails that were formed before good trail management/planning existed. Instead of going straight up and down the hills, they should be zig-zagged to prevent erosion. (info on trail management here: linky link)

This looks like an animal cave but is really just a weathered area of rock. I’m not saying a possum or raccoon hasn’t holed up there before but it’s not like it’s a bear or cougar den.

Another “cave” in the rock. It’s very rocky here. I’m assuming glacier activity cut it out like this but I’m honestly not sure. Maybe just years of erosion.

Limestone weathers relatively easily. It is a carbonate rock. This means it reacts to acid in rain, even mildly acidic rain. Normal rain is slightly acidic due to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Limestone also commonly has fossils, though we didn’t see any in this big rock.

We ran about 3 miles. Evan wasn’t feeling great and had a headache, so around mile 2.5 we cut over to the road and ran that back to the car. Still, it was a fun and educational trail run. Did you learn anything new?

Yeti Winter Trail Run

There is a new race series in our area called the “Yeti Trail Series”. Over the next several weeks, there are four races: 5k, 10k, 15k, and 20k. In the winter. On trails. In a really hilly park. In the snow. Not for the faint of heart!

Even still, I really wanted to run the 5k with Chris, but we didn’t have someone to watch Campbell. So, Chris and Evan ran while I took the position of family photographer. Here’s the start of the race:

There’s Evan off to the left in a blue sweatshirt:

There they go into the woods!

While they were gone, Campbell and I entertained ourselves in the snow.

It was so pretty in the park!

Blowing snow made it a little blizzardy at times!

I love snow on pine trees!

Chris ran the 5k in 23 minutes, which gives you an idea of how hard that race was in 6-8″ of snow on trails (he normally runs in the mid to low 16’s).

Chris went back to finish with Evan:

It was a nice little race! I’m amazed at how many people were there given the weather. Runners are hard-core!