Wednesday, April 20, 2016

500 Days Till Summit Day

On September 2, 2017, Wil and I will summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. That's 500 days away. Between now and then we have a lot of training, planning, packing, training, flying, fretting, training, repacking, shopping, and training to do. And we should do some training. And then there's the climbing...

We'll be joining our friend Jenny Hadfield on this adventure ... along with some other friends we met trekking the Inca Trail. In the months to come we'll be talking about this trip in more detail, but here's the itinerary for the main part of our trip:

Day 1 (August 26): Arrive at Kilimanjaro airport and transfer to the hotel in Moshi, where we'll spend the night.

Day 2 (August 27): Rest day in Moshi, and we'll need our guides. I'm hoping we'll go into the Moshi town center as well.

Day 3 (August 28): This is when stuff gets REAL. We'll have breakfast at the hotel, and then we're off, starting our 3-4 hour climb in the village of Nalu Moru (1,950m). Fingers crossed we'll spot wildlife -- colobus monkeys!!! -- as we climb through forest. Tonight we'll camp at 2,600m with views over the Kenyan plains. 

Day 4 (August 29): In the morning we'll climb steadily to the Second Cave (3,450m) with views of Kibo. After lunch we'll head toward Mawenzi, camping in a valley near Kikelewa Caves (3,600m). We'll be walking, in total, 6-7 hours.

Day 5 (August 30): Today we'll spend 4-5 hours walking, mainly to get acclimatized to the altitude. So we'll either walk to gain altitude and return to the same camp to sleep, or hike to the Mawenzi Tarn Hut (and spend 2 nights there instead). 

Day 6 (August 31): If we didn't hike up to Mawenzi Tarn, we'll make that short but steep climb today.  If we already did, we'll explore the area to get more acclimatized. Only 3-4 hours walking. 

Day 7 (September 1): Today we'll spend 4-5 hours crossing the "saddle" between Mawenzi and Kibo to reach the Kibo Campsite (4,695m) at the bottom of the Kibo crater wall. We'll then relax for the rest of the day to prepare for our final ascent. 

Day 8 (September 2): SUMMIT DAY!!! Wake at midnight to a light breakfast, then start climbing at 1am. We'll switchback up steep scree -- possibly snow? -- to reach Gilman's Point on the crater rim at 5,861m between 5 and 7am. Two more hours of hiking along the rim will take us to the true summit, Uhuru Peak, by 9am. This is what we came for!

Then we'll descend back to the Kibo Huts to have lunch, collect our things, and then re-cross down to the Horombo Huts for dinner and sleep... zzzz.... This is, obviously, the longest day -- 10-12 hours of walking.

Day 9 (September 3): Down, down, down we'll go, through moorland to Mandala Hut (2,700m), and then all the way to the National Park Gate at Marangu (1,830m) which we should reach after 6 or 7 hours at around 2 or 3pm. We'll then be driven back to our hotel in Moshi for a well-deserved celebration and more rest. 

After all that excitement, on the day 10 we'll be heading out on a 7-day safari ... so exciting!!!

Fancy joining us for this adventure? Read all about it on Coach Jenny Hadfield's site!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

2016 Tinker Bell 10K and Half Marathon Course Maps - a closer look

I always love looking at the race programs when they come out ... sure, they're pretty formulaic, but it's nice to get a sneak peek of the color theme (prediction: peach and lime shirts this year) and, of course, the COURSE MAPS.

First, the 2016 Tinker Bell 10K map:

At first glance, it might look very similar to the 2015 map ... but NO! Thankfully, runDisney kept the opening mile(-ish) intact, running around the outside edge of the park. But then the route through the parks is quite different.

Here's 2015, for reference:

It looks like we'll have much more time "on stage" in both parks! And this year the 10K runners will get to run through the castle -- always a bottleneck .... em, highlight. ;) Of course, a lot of the Disneyland course changes are probably because of the Star Wars Land project (squee!) -- which makes it somehow even more exciting.

Quick side-by-side, with 2015 on the left and 2016 on the right:

Now, what about the half marathon?

Here's the 2016 Tinker Bell Half Marathon course:

and the 2015 course:

Similar changes within the parks -- though the half marathoners will have more time on Main Street in Disneyland than the 10Kers will. Is it just me (or the trick of the scale of the map?), or does it feel like there's less "on stage" time with the half marathon? The route through the quiet streets of Anaheim remains pretty much unchanged, though it looks like the finish line has been moved out of that parking lot behind the Paradise Pier Hotel (and into a different parking lot... by the Disneyland Hotel).

Here's something a little odd, and new:

Mile 5 ... and mile 12 ... are parallel. Which potentially means that some of the slower folks in the later corral, who will start nearly an hour after the first corral, will be in that stretch while the fastest folks from the first corral are running to the finish. I'm going to trust that runDisney is prepared for that and will have cones and such... but I can imagine some congestion here.

Finally, a quick side-by-side of the half marathon map, with 2015 on the left, and 2016 on the right:

I'm finally getting excited about this race... or maybe just for our first trip to Disneyland in a year!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Go Long 520 Bridge 10K race report

You know I love to run on a bridge, an elevated highway, or basically anywhere pedestrians aren't usually allowed to be. So when I read about the Go Long 520 Bridge 10K -- a chance to run across the longest floating bridge in the world before it opens to the public and vehicular traffic -- well, of course I was gonna do it.

We took the 44 -- an amusing bus ride from Ballard, because the bus FILLED UP with runners. But as we got closer to the University District, traffic slowed to a crawl, then a halt. Though we should have arrived at the UW Medical Center at 7:00, at 7:10 we had just crossed I-5. A lot of the runners -- ourselves included -- bolted when the doors opened at the Roosevelt Way stop and we all started running the mile or so to the start.

Luckily I had already gone to pick up our shirts and bibs on Thursday -- otherwise we would have missed the start.

But we got to Husky Stadium slipped through the crowd, and made our way to the starting area. They were announcing that they were delaying the start by 10 minutes to allow people to get from the parking area, which worked out well for us. Why? We had time for our obligatory pre-race photo!!!

The announced field size was over 12000 people ... pretty hard to believe. But the start was indeed crowded...

It took a while to get to the start ... so, TIME FOR ANOTHER PHOTO!

Team Wil-Sun get their race faces on
Team Wil-Sun get their race faces on!
Eventually, we crossed the start line and ran out across the Montlake Bridge ... which is always a little scary because of the sharp grating. We also had to narrow down from 4 lanes to 2 to get onto the onramp. I suspect when this race was planned they had hoped to have more work complete, as there was still a lot of construction equipment on the old roadway. 

It was also a surprisingly long way before we got to the new bridge ... I guess I hadn't really thought about it. But then, gloriously, we were on the bridge!

Wil welcomes you to the new 520 Floating Bridge!!!
Though the sun didn't break through until later in the day, the day was dry and there was no real wind. So on and on we ran. I had had weird little thoughts about all those marching feet somehow causing the bridge to wobble, but it clearly wasn't a problem.

Seriously, after the Broughton Suspension Bridge collapsed in 1831, the British Army issued instructions that troops should "break step" while crossing a bridge -- the "mechanical resonance" was blamed for the collapse. Remember the wobbly Millennium Bridge when it opened? Same thing. Apparently there was an even bigger disaster in France -- the Angers Bridge Collapse -- where 226 people died. Maybe floating bridges don't have the same issue as suspension bridges? Less chance of wobble? Anyway, this sign is from the Albert Bridge in London and it always amuses me that it's still there.

We ran up the incline to the turnaround, smiling for the Good to Go!

But we had to stop at the turnaround because this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:

It's a little difficult to tell, but the bridge is FULL of people. Pretty cool. The westbound lanes were all set up for the big ribbon-cutting ceremony later in the day, including a presentation from Guinness World Records of a certificate designating the new bridge, at 7708.494 feet, as the world's longest floating bridge.

We ran into several friends, including our pal Brenda C. -- always great to see our running pals in the wild!

our run
I didn't have a great performance today -- I felt like my feet were slapping the ground, which I noticed in my run in Oklahoma, too. And I got a very strange cramp in my left calf. So much to work on, eh? 
even the bibs were nice!