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Building A Better Bumblebee

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:49 pm

@nkrichards wrote:We were in Vancouver this weekend and I could not believe all the trees that were already in full bloom!  No wonder the allergies are acting up.  Glad to hear the Flonase is "legal"...hope it helps.

I got a Nathan race vest recently and tried it out on Saturday.  I'm not a big fan of the camelbacks but needed something and also needed a place to carry layers as you mentioned.  It worked OK...better than the handhelds I've been using but I'd prefer to run without them.  Not an option if I'm going far and/or off road I guess.

Hi, Nancy! Yes, I'm glad Flonase is "legal," as well. It could have been awkward otherwise.

As far as hydration/transport goes, it seems like there's trade-offs with just about every system. I'd suggest simply having a personal valet tag along to tend to our various needs, but that probably would detract from that whole exercise in self-reliance appeal of trail running, wouldn't it?

Oh well. Figuring it out is part of the fun.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:15 pm

(Wow, nobody's posted here in 24 hours? Yipes.)

---

Walk: 2.4 miles

Weather: Sunny and mild. 57 degrees.

Didn't get a run in before work, as I cross my fingers hoping this Flonase does its job. But I decided to head out for at least a short walk during lunch. My legs are getting stiff from all this sitting at my desk. Got to move!

The walk was fine, as I worked some of the kinks out of my legs, ankle and feet.

I activated the Strava app on my phone to measure the walk, to see if it'd hold GPS and not drain my iPhone battery. It passed both tests - even giving me a little more distance than I'd thought on this route - though it has an annoying "moving average" time that cuts out time when you aren't moving, apparently. Except, I was moving. Anyway, it made my pace seem better than it was. Glad it also records elapsed time, too.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:16 pm

Trail Run: 10.07 miles

Weather: Mostly sunny, mild. 40s to low 50s. Gear: Nike Terra Kigers, shorts, T, wool long-sleeved T, jacket. (stripped to T as I warmed up.) Fuel: Nuun in Camelbak, 1 pack of granola bars at summit. 2 Endurolytes on the way down.

A rare Thursday day off (had to cover a shift Monday), so I decided to up the intensity with a trip up Hamilton Mountain in the Columbia River Gorge. It's part of the course of the Beacon Rock race coming up in June, and it's got sections that requires thee points of contact - and sections are are NOT for those who are afraid of heights. And steep? Let's just say that one mile took 28 minutes. Eep.

The run involves a big climb up a gravel road for a couple of miles, dipping until you hit a side trail that follows the contour (finally allowing running) before turning up for the big ascent. You climb from somewhere around 700 feet at the base to 2,488 feet up top. The route then rolls along the top of a ridge before passing through a drainage, climbing up the side of another ridge and then finally hooking back up with the gravel road down.

The trail is quite rocky, and it provided a good test for the Terra Kigers. They handled it pretty well, but a bit more underfoot protection (they have no rock plate) might have helped. Traction on downslopes was a bit scary, too. I almost did a butt-plant on a slippery spot, but recovered. I was more careful after that.

This was NOT a low heart rate effort. I tried to keep it down at the start, but once I hit the real climb, it was impossible to not go well above my target. In fact, I was 25 bpm higher than the target for a lot of the climb, so high that my heart couldn't settle down once I hit the downhills. I finally said screw it on the last mile, where the gravel road had fewer big chunky rocks, and opened it up a bit. I think I got down into the 6s at one point. Whee! Good practice on concentration and foot placement.

Average HR for the whole run: 142



Elevation gain was somewhere between 2,563 and 5,437 feet, depending on whether you believe Strava (the lower) or RunningAHEAD (the higher). Garmin Training Center thinks it was 5,509. Smile

I'll post photos separately. My iPhone was a bit balky out there, crashing unexpectedly, but I got a few nice shots.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:22 pm

Pix!



A runnable section of trail before it got really steep. It looks soft and cushy, but it has some slippery stuff under the pine needles. Almost butt-planted shortly before I took this photo.



A view in the woods, where trails diverged. I took the steeper one. (On the right)



Farther up, you can see the Columbia River (Oregon is on the other side) and Beacon Rock. For scale, that little nub of rock is 848 feet tall.



From the top of Hamilton Mountain (elevation 2,488 feet), I got a great view of Mount Adams. Table Mountain is the foreground on the left.



Looking south, I got a nice peekaboo view of Mount Hood. Those foothills on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge have a good number of trails, too, but from the Washington side, they look insanely big and steep.



The run wasn't all mountain vistas, but it was still pretty. This is Hardy Creek.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:59 am

A quick morning-after report.

1. I was extremely irritable yesterday after my run. Everything pissed me off. That's not how I'm usually wired, so it was odd and not particularly welcomed by my family. Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out the cause. I tried packing in some extra calories, but that didn't seem to help. I was a bit dehydrated, but not that much. I suppose it might just be a response to the increased physiological stress I imposed on my body yesterday. It was only 10 miles, but it felt like 20+ with all the climbing.

2. I was a good 30 minutes slower on this route than the last time I did it back in 2013, and at a higher heart rate. That bothered me a bit, until I looked at what I'd been doing before I tried this route back then - ripping out 40+-mile weeks with regular 20-milers. It was actually at the end of a step-back week. Well, okay, then.

Both these items have me wondering about the concept of training specificity. In other words, would I be better off building the long run off the trail before diving into more race-specific outings? Or, is it more valuable to focus on extending trail runs to build strength tailored for the situation? It's a clear choice, but the answer to my question is a little murky.

3. All my work on form is translating over into trail running. I could feel my landing is different now, especially on downhills. Of course, it helps that the one time I landed on my heel I skidded and nearly landed on my backside.

4. Not sure about the Terra Kigers. They're decent shoes, but they feel a bit restrictive, compressing my midfoot and toe bones. Their traction isn't all that impressive, and they lack a rock plate, so chunky rocks are tough to run on.

5. I'd wondered if sandals would work on this run. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!  No.

5a. I can see why the Tarahumara use tire tread for their huraches. Ain't nothing getting through rubber that dense. I know Luna makes some "trail running" varieties with a tougher sole - it'd be interesting to see how they'd handle that route. I think I'd let somebody else try it, though. Some of those dicey areas for footing are uncomfortably close to cliffs.

6. Almost forgot to add: I'm a little sore this morning, but mostly in my ankles. No big surprise there. I can feel it elsewhere, but not enough to make me walk funny.

6a. Correction: Hellooo, quads! Yowza.


Last edited by Mark B on Fri Mar 20, 2015 11:00 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  mul21 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:04 am

@Mark B wrote:

Both these items have me wondering about the concept of training specificity. In other words, would I be better off building the long run off the trail before diving into more race-specific outings? Or, is it more valuable to focus on extending trail runs to build strength tailored for the situation? It's a clear choice, but the answer to my question is a little murky.

If it was me, I'd be doing shorter trail runs to build specificity and doing long runs off the trail to build endurance.  Not necessarily for any physiological reason (though I suppose you'll be less beat up this way), but I think it may be mentally easier to see quicker progress with trail runs be shorter and getting easier a little quicker than you might get doing it the other way.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 20, 2015 10:09 am

@mul21 wrote:
@Mark B wrote:

Both these items have me wondering about the concept of training specificity. In other words, would I be better off building the long run off the trail before diving into more race-specific outings? Or, is it more valuable to focus on extending trail runs to build strength tailored for the situation? It's a clear choice, but the answer to my question is a little murky.

If it was me, I'd be doing shorter trail runs to build specificity and doing long runs off the trail to build endurance.  Not necessarily for any physiological reason (though I suppose you'll be less beat up this way), but I think it may be mentally easier to see quicker progress with trail runs be shorter and getting easier a little quicker than you might get doing it the other way.

You mean treating tough trail outings more like up-tempo work than long runs? I've wondered about that, too. Could be a good option.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:08 pm

Update: Oops! Heh. I seem to have trashed my quads. What a Face

On the upside, I haven't felt good, old-fashioned trashed legs in quite a while. It was like meeting an old friend again.

On the downside, well... I'm walking a little funny, and thinking a long Sunday morning run would be a mistake. Derp.

No regrets, though. It was a nice day for an adventure, and the views were terrific.

On balance, this supports the notion that I probably ought to focus on building up distance before stacking up the vert. A climbing-focused approach might work at some level, but at least to start it requires more recovery and therefore reduces mileage gain. Probably more efficient to work it the other way. Base, then strength.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Mon Mar 23, 2015 3:56 pm

Woot! My legs work again! (And the Flonase is letting my immune system stand down)

LOW HR Run: 90 minutes (6.71 miles)

Weather: Mixed. Clouds, blue sky, rain, wind, cool. 47°, gusts to ~13 mph. Gear: Sandals, shorts, long-sleeved T, hat, jacket/vest (sleeves on, off, on, off). Fuel: Carried no fuel or fluids

I felt recovered enough from last Thursday's adventure to see how my body would react to a low HR run today. I was a little worried, considering how hard I'd worked my system last week. But I was pleased when I fired up the HR monitor and saw my HR dip below 50 (to 48) while standing up prior to starting my run. Nifty.

I tried to keep it was easy as possible, and I fretted when I saw my HR corkscrew up a few times. But overall, it went better than expected. I decided on the fly to make this a 90-minute outing rather than a 60, and I didn't regret it. I had to deal with more wind than usual, and I got hit with a couple of showers. But all in all, it was good.

My paces were on par with my past few times on this route, without any big improvements, but my running has been a bit sporadic these pasts few weeks. Now that I seem to have allergies more under control, I think things will get rolling again.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 126
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue Mar 24, 2015 6:51 am

N = 1 observation here...  Granted, not all other factors are held equal, but they're "equal enough."

Situation A: Lots of miles, at least half of which are on trails.
Situation B: Lots of miles, ~25% of which are on trails.

I was much faster on trails for situation A.  Yes, my HR was higher at the beginning, but after about a month, my quads turned to steel and my HR stopped spiking at every little incline.  Situation B, which is recent, my stamina is definitely lacking on long inclines, and my HR immediately jumps by 10bpm.  

That said, if a longer trail run is wiping you out for days and ruining your family...  Well, then take it easy.  But I would work on building towards what you'll do in your race, especially because the trails out there don't look too technical, so the risk of silly injury is reduced.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:20 pm

Walk: 2.4 miles

Weather: Party cloudy, warm when the sun came out. 52

A lunchtime walk along the Columbia River. I focused on keeping it relaxed and easy, which isn't always easy to do - the instinct is to pound when the goal is to do the opposite.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:28 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:N = 1 observation here...  Granted, not all other factors are held equal, but they're "equal enough."

Situation A: Lots of miles, at least half of which are on trails.
Situation B: Lots of miles, ~25% of which are on trails.

I was much faster on trails for situation A.  Yes, my HR was higher at the beginning, but after about a month, my quads turned to steel and my HR stopped spiking at every little incline.  Situation B, which is recent, my stamina is definitely lacking on long inclines, and my HR immediately jumps by 10bpm.  

That said, if a longer trail run is wiping you out for days and ruining your family...  Well, then take it easy.  But I would work on building towards what you'll do in your race, especially because the trails out there don't look too technical, so the risk of silly injury is reduced.

Interesting observations, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

I think a lot depends on the nature of the trail. There's a world of difference running Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, which has lots of ups and downs but nothing drastic, and climbing Hamilton Mountain, which is, after all, climbing a mountain (1,275 feet in 1.6 miles). Probably not the best comparison, especially for heart rate. On that stretch, I just tried to keep my HR from spiking above 160 -- I hit 169 at one point. And that was just hiking. Shocked

Something to think about.

And for giggles, here's the chart from that outing.



Yes, that last mile was significantly downhill. By that point, I'd decided the hell with heart rate and just ran.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:05 pm

I started a project in a 7 floor office building, with me on the 7th floor.  Naturally, I walked down the stairs at lunch and again when I left for the day.  My knees didn't hurt, but one could tell that I haven't walked down that many steps at one time.  After lunch, I walked up 3 flights because the office is not as cold as I would like, so I didn't want to appear to have that glow from walking up 7 flights.  But I'll get there because it'll only help the legs and joints.

Hope y'all and those mountains get some rain..
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:09 am

@ounce wrote:I started a project in a 7 floor office building, with me on the 7th floor.  Naturally, I walked down the stairs at lunch and again when I left for the day.  My knees didn't hurt, but one could tell that I haven't walked down that many steps at one time.  After lunch, I walked up 3 flights because the office is not as cold as I would like, so I didn't want to appear to have that glow from walking up 7 flights.  But I'll get there because it'll only help the legs and joints.

Hope y'all and those mountains get some rain..

Hey, Ounce! Thanks for dropping in.

Seventh floor, eh? You'll be scampering up all seven flights in no time. I totally get the "don't want to show up at work with huge armpit stains" concern, though... Ever consider keeping a a change of clothes at your desk, and a moist towelette? Smile

Crazy thing about the weather: We've actually got plenty of rain this year. Trouble is, it was warm rain, which meant the mountains got rain, too, when they're supposed to be getting snow. Therein lies our problem, which won't really get obvious until this summer.

---

Had to run an errand yesterday morning and therefore missed my window for a barefoot run, so I decided to try Wednesday as a full rest day in hopes that it'll improve my runs today and tomorrow. I'll test that out a bit later this morning.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:48 pm

Test: failed.

---

LOW HR Run: 90 minutes

Weather: Mostly foggy and damp, clearing in last 20 minutes. 47-56° Gear: Luna sandals, shorts, T, jacket (shed). Fuel: Carried water.

An unexpectedly poor run today, with much slower paces and higher heart rates. It was rather upsetting, which set me on an emotional roller coaster that took me to some unpleasant places and didn't really help matters much. The best thing I can say for the run is that I kept at it and didn't simply walk it in. That counts for something, right?

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 126
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:17 pm

@Mark B wrote:Test: failed.

---

LOW HR Run: 90 minutes

Weather: Mostly foggy and damp, clearing in last 20 minutes. 47-56° Gear: Luna sandals, shorts, T, jacket (shed). Fuel: Carried water.

An unexpectedly poor run today, with much slower paces and higher heart rates. It was rather upsetting, which set me on an emotional roller coaster that took me to some unpleasant places and didn't really help matters much. The best thing I can say for the run is that I kept at it and didn't simply walk it in. That counts for something, right?

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 126

It just occurred to me that I reduced the dosage on my Flonase on Tuesday... and that I stepped down my antihistamine this morning from Cetirizine back to Claritin. And I've now got a whopper of a sinus headache.

I'm surprised that allergies could have that big an impact on performance (and mood), but it seems as good an explanation as any other. I'll switch back tomorrow and see if it helps. Pollen. Bleah.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Mar 26, 2015 11:10 pm

Pseudoscientists and amateur physiologists unite!

Our local community college offers fitness testing for a not-too-unreasonable sum that is designed to determine "your unique heart rate zones for power, efficiency, energy and max fat burn training, along with your fuel utilization (fat vs. carbohydrate) at key exercise intensities, Ventilatory Threshold and your VO2max."

One of my neighbors tipped me off to it a month or two ago, and I've been pondering whether to go ahead and do it. These past few weeks of second-guessing my new lowered heart rate target has convinced me that it's time to stop screwing around using somebody else's statistical modeling and see what *actually* happens when I run at different intensities.

I'm sick of guesswork. I want to know.

Here's a PDF of a sample test result.

Obviously, my main goal is to determine the level of intensity where I shift from burning fat to glycogen, so I can keep doing the sort of endurance-based workouts I prefer - but at an intensity/pace that actually correlates with my body, not a formula. Yes, even Maffetone's formula. (Gasp! Heresy!)

The beauty of getting hard data is, that threshold is pegged to intensity - not any specific pace. So that should mean that a single test ought to be able to guide me as my fitness improves. As fitness increases, paces improve at the same level of intensity.

Watch: I will find out that I need to set my heart rate target even lower! Now, I honestly don't think that's going to be the case. I bet I'm well under my proper target. But if I am at the right level, or still too high, at least I wouldn't be able to second-guess so much. That gets destructive.

It'd also be good to know my actual LT, as well. I had a general sense of where it was when I was racing road marathons, so it'd be fun to see where it is now.

The VO2max would be interesting, too, though not terribly useful for most of what I do.

Has anybody else done this sort of testing? Was it helpful?
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:16 am

Always wanted to do it more recently as I had it done back when I was in my early 30s.

As for the allergy stuff, I think I made the same mistake earlier this month and once I started to use the Flonase again, the symptoms subsided again. Not really sure how long you are supposed to use it.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:24 am

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Always wanted to do it more recently as I had it done back when I was in my early 30s.

As for the allergy stuff, I think I made the same mistake earlier this month and once I started to use the Flonase again, the symptoms subsided again. Not really sure how long you are supposed to use it.

Hi Michele! When I read the packaging, they said you can use Flonase indefinitely. I'd imagine that if somebody suffers from seasonal allergies like I apparently do, they really wouldn't need to use it once the pollination season is over. I seem to be reacting a lot to trees this year, so once they're done, maybe I can at least taper back.

Grasses don't usually bother me much, but with how the weather is this year, who knows what'll happen?

I sent the testing lab an email last night, and I'm looking forward to hearing back from them. Now that I've decided to do the test, I want to do it ASAP! bounce bounce bounce

Oh, and the test isn't very expensive. About $100 at the local community college. Maybe some college near you has a similar deal?
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Fri Mar 27, 2015 1:10 pm

That sort of testing is offered locally...well in Bend.  I've been tempted but finding the time and justifying it to my husband is the stumbling block.  Would be interesting.

That mountain climb a few days ago was quite an expedition.  I'll have to share the photo of Beacon Rock with my daughter, Katie.  She climbed it a few days ago as her first training hike for our summit of Mt. St. Helens in late June.  She has a few more hikes planned that are a bit longer and with more elevation.  I hope to join her on the last one which is Dog Mountain.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:03 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Partly cloudy, warm. 63 degrees. Gear: Bare feet, shorts, T. Fuel: No water during

I resumed my previous dosing and medicine for allergies this morning, so I'd hoped the benefits would kick in sufficiently to make today's run better than yesterday. Just to play it safe, and because my feet were begging for it, I did barefoot laps around the neighborhood. That way, I could shut it down or extend it as I saw fit.

My heart rate was twitchy from the get-go -- I blame my HR strap for that, at least partly -- but the first mile was about where I'd expect it to be. I slowed a lot in the second mile, and saw my HR rise, but I decided to press on and see how Mile 3 went. (I'd thought about doing four miles if all went well.) Mile 3 came in a lot slower still, and at a higher heart rate. Time to shut it down.



It was probably the allergies, but it was also 63 degrees outside -- my warmest run since last October -- so that might have had an impact on the fall-off in pace, too.

My next scheduled run will be on Sunday. I'll be interested to see how that goes. Better, I hope.

Average HR for entire run: 130
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 27, 2015 3:10 pm

@nkrichards wrote:That sort of testing is offered locally...well in Bend.  I've been tempted but finding the time and justifying it to my husband is the stumbling block.  Would be interesting.

That mountain climb a few days ago was quite an expedition.  I'll have to share the photo of Beacon Rock with my daughter, Katie.  She climbed it a few days ago as her first training hike for our summit of Mt. St. Helens in late June.  She has a few more hikes planned that are a bit longer and with more elevation.  I hope to join her on the last one which is Dog Mountain.

The test isn't super-cheap, but it's not as expensive as I'd thought, either. But I hear you. It took a while to even talk myself into it. It finally took a supremely frustrating effort to force the issue and make me truly want to know, once and for all, just what my HR target should be.

I signed up to take the test next Friday. Really looking forward to it.

Did you daughter climb Beacon Rock itself, or did she head up Hamilton Mountain behind it? Either one's a great workout, though there are more miles and vertical feet in Hamilton. Dog Mountain is a bit too far for me to easily reach in a drive, but I've heard stories about just how challenging it is. Good luck!

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Dave P on Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:57 pm

Hey Mark, it's been a while. Stopping by to say hi. Great photos!
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:04 pm

@Dave P wrote:Hey Mark, it's been a while. Stopping by to say hi. Great photos!

Hey, Dave! Thanks for stopping by. Hoping you have a great day at Boston this year.

Thanks on the photos. I'm fortunate to be able to have such scenic areas so close by. I try to not take it for granted. Smile
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:15 pm

@Mark B wrote:
Did you daughter climb Beacon Rock itself, or did she head up Hamilton Mountain behind it? Either one's a great workout, though there are more miles and vertical feet in Hamilton. Dog Mountain is a bit too far for me to easily reach in a drive, but I've heard stories about just how challenging it is. Good luck!


Katie climbed Beacon Rock.  She said it was much easier than she expected and wished she'd picked something a bit more challenging but when you hike with friends you often have to compromise.  A co-worker that hiked Hamilton a couple weeks ago recommended it and Katie hopes to hike it sometime.  Not sure if she can fit it into her schedule before we summit St. Helens but it's on her list now.  I'll join her if I can...
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

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