|View from Chuckanut Ridge Trail|
|City of Bellingham from Ridge Trail|
|Awe inspiring icicles, treacherously thick!|
Spending all day outdoors and in the mountains running is incredibly therapeutic. The trail has taught me many things, and today it rewarded my efforts with the most magnificent icicles I have ever seen. I could have retreated into my head and been oblivious to the magic around me, but the moment before I saw the icicles I remember thinking what fun the trail was and enjoying the flow of my pace, my breathing, and my body. I would have been perfectly happy enjoying that moment, and then I ran right into the winter magic that was Chuckanut! All over the ground and rocks were frozen ice sculptures that appeared to have defied gravity and frozen in mid-air tracing the curves of fallen branches and looking like a frozen raging sea.
The trail continues to "Chinscraper" a <1 mile section of very steep trail that take you back up to the top of Chuckanut Mountain. After I climbed the first two steep sections (one more to go) I began feeling really messed up. My eyes were zooming in and out a bit and my brain was dragging. Darn, I would have to take some energy gels after all. I had survived the first 20 miles on a banana and a few Lara bars, but it was time to get some fast sugar. Wow, those two clif shots were better than I remember gels being, and super sweet tasting! That's what happens when you starve yourself of sugars, on a cold day no less. After the nice sugar boost I easy finished the climb and began descending Cleater Road. I was ready to take on the last 10 miles of the course, feeling impatient to get to the interurban trail, at which point I would have 6. 5 relatively (ha!) flat miles back to Fairhaven Park.
My heel really began to hurt on the descent to the Interurban. I thought for a bit that maybe it would be wise to hitch a ride to my car when I got to Larrabee State Park, but it was only a fleeting thought as I was set on running the entire course. I slowed my pace and within a few miles the pain had diminished enough for me to take my mind off of it. I began to feel some tightness in my underfoot as well as the heel. My heel continued to be sore, tender and at times painful the rest of the run, but I was able to speed through the last 6.5 miles with the energy I saved for that section. Having run this course before, I knew to save a little so I could make a strong push to the finish. The last 6 miles can be heaven or hell. I finished the run just after the sun had set, happily worn out and ready to enjoy the car ride home, exhausted.
|Sweet rock formations along the trail that circles Fragrance Lake, one of my favorite sections.|
|Fragrance Lake, frozen. The lake would bellow out ringing, almost melodious craaaaa-cks every few minutes as the sun settled its warmth on the frozen water.|
|Some snow and ice along Cleater Road|
|Chuckanut Ridge Trail, snowy and icy|
|Icicles along Lost Lake sections of the trail|
|The hillside was at times a sculpture garden of frozen water|
|Trail of ice... just a wee bit treacherous!|
|More incredible ice sculptures|
|Trail back toward Fragrance Lake, before I arrived at Chinscraper|
|I ran in a hat, gloves, wool shirt, t-shirt, and leggings with my inov8 230's. The few times I stopped or slowed down, I became too cold quickly. Definitely traveled minimally!|
|Descending toward the interurban trail, some frozen waterfalls.|
|On the interurban trail, almost finished as the sun sets|