May 21st – Day 4

Total miles run for the day: 13.1
Total miles run for the week: 56.1

Total elevation for the day: 1,138
Total elevation for the week: 4,124


13.1 miles – Mixed road and trails
Average pace: 8:55
Elevation gain: 1,138
Effort Level – 6
How did I feel – Good

As I laid in bed, drifting in and out of sleep this morning, I was pretty sure I could hear it raining heavily outside. Was this rain going to continue into the morning for a cold, wet run I asked myself? Yes, was the answer. Yes it was. By the time I was ready to get started on the run, the heavy rain had transitioned to a lighter mist, but it was still a wet and chilly 48 degrees. I threw on a long sleeve layer, put my head down and just got started on the run. As I began, it was tough. The wind was howling, I was cold, stiff and achy. “It always feels better in a little bit,” I kept telling myself, “It always feels better.” Within about a mile of getting started, it did feel better! I started to warm up, the legs felt more fluid, and my outlook was a lot more positive.

For today’s run the goal was to get all the miles done in one workout. I knew that I wanted to avoid running all 13 miles on the road, but I wasn’t quite ready to do 2 hours of laps in Discovery Park. During normal conditions, I am able to make it to single track trails out of my door with about 2 miles of road running. However because of Covid-19 one of the pedestrian paths that crosses the ship canal of Seattle has been closed, this means it is now a little over 3 miles to dirt trails. I figured this could work out well, I would be able to get about ½ of my miles for the day on road, and about ½ on trail.

About one mile into my run, I had to cross the Ballard bridge. This is one of the least pedestrian friendly bridge crossings I’ve experienced, and I try to avoid it when possible. The bridge is about ¾ of a mile long, with such a narrow sidewalk that it is difficult for two people to pass by each other. There is really no barrier between you and traffic, just a little three inch wall. The sidewalk sits so close to the cars that you get covered in road spray if it is at all wet and you feel the rush of air as the cars whiz by. While all of these negative factors are present, the views from the bridge are great! As you look to your right you can see the hundreds of fishing vessels that make up the Alaskan fleet. Ranging from 30 ft up to 150 ft, these are ships meant for one thing and one thing only, hauling the maximum amount of fish out of rough and challenging seas. The influence of maritime industries on Seattle is very obvious as you see the sheer number of boats. As you look to your left when crossing the bridge, you have a view of the first foothills of the Cascades. These included the well known training grounds of Cougar and Tiger mountain. On clear days the views continue further into the Cascades, giving you views of Mt Si, and Granite Mountain.

As I crossed the bridge, I had about a mile to get to the trails and I was feeling good. I had to tell myself a couple of times that I was trying to keep the effort level easy today and that I didn’t want to push at all, because I was feeling ready to roll.

At the entrance to Discovery Park I ran into my client, and fellow Team Runrun member Ana Valencia! I was so excited! While we have chatted on the phone I haven’t seen Ana in person since February, so we stood 6+ feet apart and had a chance to catch up. I always love running into friends unexpectedly while out on a run because it’s such a nice reminder of the community we have surrounding us. This was a good way to start the trail section of the run.

The foliage in Discovery park right now is unreal! Everything is so lush and green, you can just feel the park bursting with the life and growth of springtime in the Pacfic Northwest. Every couple of minutes I would try to observe and appreciate just how special these couple of weeks of spring are. So many fall and winter months consist of bare, brown trees. Even the summer months will bring a fading and lessening of the green, but right now, as new growth explodes, the colors are intoxicating.

As I progressed into the run the intensity of the rain continued to increase. I planned on doing an out and back route today, so 6.5 miles was my turn around point. At about 6 miles I started a climb off of the beach, up the northern bluff of the park. The canopy cover of the trees in this section is extremely dense, and even though it was raining really hard, I could barely feel a drop hitting me! It felt like being completely covered under the huge umbrella of the forest. I had a sense of feeling protected and nurtured by the trees. I am extremely thankful for the unique conditions of the Pacific rain forests. At the same time there were several birds calling and singing, and I was surrounded by the lush green ferns and plants described earlier. Other than the fact that my hands and arms were numb from being cold, I could have easily thought I was running trails in Hawaii.

Discovery Park has two longer climbs, with trails running from the beach, up oceanside bluffs. The north bluff is a little shorter with about 300 ft of gain. The south bluff is a little longer and has about 425 ft of climbing. These climbs are great because while being steep and filled with stairs, they are still runnable. I hit both of these climbs today. I made my turn around for the run at the top of the north bluff, headed back down, along the beach and over to the south bluff. I came off the beach and headed up the steeper south bluff. My Strava account has logged nearly 100 attempts on this section, so I have run it a lot. Out of those nearly 100 climbs on this bluff, I can remember 3 times where the effort felt easy and the legs didn’t burn. Today was not one of those days, the legs burned!

discovery park seattle

discovery park seattle

As I left Discovery Park the rain was starting to dissipate and hints of blue skies were showing. I had the same three miles of road that I had run at the beginning to make it back home. My legs were starting to feel tired. I could feel the unforgiving nature of the sidewalk, I was hungry, and I was ready to be done. These feelings persisted for about two miles. However as I started in on the final mile of the run, I felt fresh again! I felt encouraged to be close to home, and excited knowing that I was on day four of seven on my 100 mile challenge. I used this excitement to finish up my run for day four.

When I returned home, I realized my daughter was taking her morning nap. I used the down time as a chance to sneak in a little strength training. Here is what I did over about 20 minutes of work.

Strength Work:

45 Push ups
45 Russian twists @ 20lbs
40 Swings @ 35 lbs
27 Reverse fly @ 10lbs
10 Deadlifts @70lbs
30 Seconds side plank
6 Push up and row to side pillar
10 Single arm rows @ 35lbs
10 Flutter kicks with mini band
10 Abduction with mink band
20 Goblet squats @ 35 lbs
4 Single leg deadlift @ 20 lbs
30 Jackknifes

Andrew O’Connor is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Andrew, check out his coaching page.

Read more about my week here:

Intro to my 100 Mile Training Week

Day 1 – May 18th – 16 miles

Day 2 – May 19th – 12 miles

Day 3 – May 20th – 15 miles

Day 5 – May 22nd – 13.5 miles

Day 6 – May 23rd – 20.2 miles

Day 7 – May 24th – 10.7 miles