The weather report couldn't have been worse, but Justin and I turned our heads and decided to go for a Sunday jog up Rattlesnake Ridge. If weather dictated our runs in the PNW we would never get out the door. In the midst of a downpour and numb fingers I always find serenity. The solitude from a dark, rainy run is always rejuvenating. If that sounds backwards to you, you either need to conquer your fears or invest in the right clothing. I have always loved reading about the Danes who bike to work in the worst of winter. I'm certain it contributes to their statistic as the happiest country in the world. No excuses!
We climbed just over 1,000ft to the ledge and stopped briefly. The ledge usually has stunning views, but not today! There wasn't a soul to be seen. The ledge was completely engulfed in a foggy mist that sent a good chill through my face and ears. I guess I'll wear a hat next time.
We continued past the ledge along the Rattlesnake Ridge trail. This picture below is deceiving because it was the only patch of snow we ran across. Most of the run actually looked like this. Things got really sloppy beyond this point because the stack of snow from the previous day had been washed away from the rain and the trail was pretty slushy. There was a lot of sliding around on our way down. We started on the Rattlesnake Lake side of the trail which ends at Snoqualmie point. If you were to reverse our path the climbing would be much more gradual, although you have to deal with a steeper downhill. You will also need a car shuttle if you go point-to-point, otherwise an out and back is certainly worth the drive.
Rattlesnake Ridge: Exit 32 from I-90
Elevation gain: 3500ft
Volunteer Park and Washington Park Arboretum
It's no secret that Seattle is a capital city for running. It has a great network of city-trails for a major metropolitan area. I know the spread of trails in the city is feeble compared to a mountain town, and sometimes I want to pick up and move straight to Bend or Sun Valley, but if I did that I would truly miss the diversity of the city. Seattle is never going to be like running through the Smoky Mountains, but for the combination of city culture and running it is pretty dang good. Road runners thrive in the emerald city, but for a trail runner you still have to jump in your car to get to the mountains. Nonetheless, options are endless.
With that said, Justin and I almost always make it to the mountains on the weekends unless we are traveling somewhere, which is usually a trail-running destination anyhow. The trail-road balance has shifted my choices in purchasing running shoes. When I first started seriously trail running I was biting it on the trail whenever I went downhill. Justin was running in road shoes on the trails in the beginning and was constantly speaking about specific shoes (that will go unnamed) as being dangerous on the trail. My first trail shoe was a bit on the extreme end when I reached for the Salomon Speedcross which had lugs big enough to tear my eyes out. Since then I've modified my choices and realized a little will go a long way. The Scott Kinablu has been one of my favorites thus far and the rocker bottom is surprisingly comfortable.
Salomon is a noteworthy brand with top-notch trail running shoes. Regardless of Justin's affiliation with Salomon I have always been keen on their products and was stoked when they came out with a CityTrail line. They also have an app that goes along with their line. Their CityTrail shoes are the perfect combination of traction and fluidity for weekly urban runs that turn into mountain trails on the weekend.
It's nice to see a brand with a good balance that suits a diverse runner like myself and Justin. They have shoes for multiple terrains, which I'm yet to see another brand match in their same quality. I plan on eventually trying all five of their CityTrail shoes, but for now I'm enjoying my Sense Pros.
If you're coming through Seattle as a trail runner and don't have enough time to get to the mountains, consider these options, which all have easy extentions to nearby parks:
There hasn't been a lot of wandering around here as of late, but I like images like the one above to remind me of my natural tendency to explore. I have a growing list of winter destinations involving snowshoes and skis. But before the snow piles onto the trails I'd like to make it here and here.
My goal is to be well-rounded this winter and surround myself by others that want to get out in the cold and sometimes dark weather. I rarely mind the rain in the Pacific Northwest and I love the mystic energy that surges through Seattle in the winter. I always wonder why one might live in the PNW if they truly hate the weather. It's not that terribly unforgiving! Ok fine, sometimes it is. That's why it's good to stock up on canned goods and other non-perishable necessities like instant beer.
This time of year I could always use a little kick start to my running since the days are getting shorter and I am running mostly in the dark. What's better than a few links from around the web to keep you inside for even longer? Just kidding, I kept it short so you can get out the door and go running!
Justin is hyped about The North Face 50 that's less than a month away. I swear I get daily emails regarding minor details or excitement. This interview was a great conversation Justin had with Eric at Ultra Runner Podcast! It's 50 minutes, so grab a glass of red before you press play.
Every now and then in the abyss of running videos I stumble across a good one on youtube with depth. This video touches on the darkness of ultra running. I still haven't figured out what makes running addictive, but I liked this guys reflection.
This story blew my socks off!
What if everybody ran?
Justin is incredibly inclined to get more into climbing and combining it with running. This article had great unsolicited advice. I'm drawn to the mountains as well but I'm certainly not as bold as him. The day he races KIMA I will probably be on the sideline.
And lastly, mark your calendars for January 2nd!!
I am an outdoor and travel junkie who is currently completing my doctorate in occupational therapy overseas in rural Fiji. On Sweet World Travels you will find stories of my life with my husband, the communities we serve, and the many adventures we take.