Thursday, June 11, 2015

Running Half of Mt. Rainier

So I ran from Paradise up to Camp Muir in about 1:42, and then back down in 39 minutes by my watch. See for yourself on the Strava activity.

Oh my, what a run! What a nice day! Saturday night we went to our hotel and out to eat in Tacoma, Washington and frankly, I was tired, but I was okay. I was not done with my vacation weekend.

Sunday morning we woke up and had breakfast and I had plenty of energy. I considered going over to Olympic National Park to do a long 30 mile type run, or doing something local around Seattle, but Mt. Rainier was the reason I came out to Washington, and I already had a park pass, so I looked again at objectives I could do within the park. Considering I once ran the whole 93 mile Wonderland Trail in 2010 in under 32 hours, nothing I could do in six hours on that trail had any appeal. I didn't have the equipment or fitness to do any real technical stuff, but I did have running shoes. Inspired by the sub 4 hour round trip records on Mt. Rainier I decided I could run from Paradise up to Camp Muir and back.

Sorry, there are no pictures, I was going light. There was no live GPS tracking either. I had a 20 oz.  vitamin water as my sole sustenance.

I started off wearing knee high compression socks, short shorts, trail running Inov8 243s, a long sleeve shirt, white running hat, and sun glasses. I was flying past everyone up the trail, trying to run when I could, although my fastest mile uphill was the first one, just over 14 minutes. As I got higher I slowed down due to mushy snow, of course the altitude, and tired from the previous miles. Still, it's always quite fun to be passing everyone on the trail. Mountain climbing or hiking is not a race, but passing others is confirmation that I am strong and moving well.

When I reached Camp Muir, I talked to the rangers for two minutes about people summiting that day (many people did, the weather was beautiful) and the two climbers that had done Liberty ridge the day before and camped on the summit (they climbed down Emmons Glacier safely). Then they asked about sunscreen on my legs (no) and commented I would get sunburn (which I did). I finished the Vitamin Water, tucked my shirt in and put the empty bottle behind my back under my shirt. Then I ran the whole way down. I was taking these huge plunge steps and half skiing down. Just imagine running down a mushy ski hill.

At one point I veered off the trail to go around some people and my leg went into a hole above my knee, it stuck and pulled me over so I did a quick summersault and it was slow enough I had time to think and when I was upright again I just kept on running. I wish it was captured on video because it felt like one of the coolest spontaneous things I've ever done. At the time I'm sure there were ten others staring at me, and if I knew any of them they could verify.

I made it to the parking lot, filled my water bottle with water, then sat in my rental car for a few minutes to eat something and rest before turning on 107.7 and blasting the radio as well as I could with spotty reception while barreling down the road back to our hotel in Tacoma. It was a good day in the mountains.

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