Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chirico Tenpeat...or how to do 17k in a day

17,000ft of gain. 33 miles. 1 trail.

That was my day a couple Wednesday’s ago. The Chirico Trail on Tiger Mountain in Issaquah is a steep, short trail that climbs from the base of the mountain to the popular Poo Poo Point. I’d heard that once a year Seattle area runners gather there to do repeats on the trail with 10 being the goal. I’d also heard it was incredibly difficult. So, I went.

It was a chilly start as I stood there in my singlet and little spandex shorts. The first climb I dashed up, arms crossed across my chest to stay warm. By the time I reached the top I was sweating. The first 5 repeats clicked by rapidly. I used my Ultimate Direction Body Bottle and loved it. It was the perfect amount of fluids for the 3.3 miles loop.

5 down, 5 to go

By repeat 6 the temperatures had climbed into the low 70’s and I was crusted with salt. I decided to practice hiking with my new Gossamer Gear LT4S trekking poles for laps 7-10. These poles are incredibly light, weighing in at just over 8oz for a pair. As I fatigued in lap 9 and 10 they became essential to help me continue climbing strongly. I haven’t developed a technique for running downhill with them so I just carried them in my hand, tucked behind my arm.

Poles really helped the later miles


It was a great day to play on the trails and I enjoyed the mental challenge of doing so many repeats on the same hill. I think I’ll be back to try and hit at least 20k on this trail as I continue to train for some of my upcoming adventures. A huge thank you to Jess Mullen for hosting this Fat Ass event.

Delicious Rainier Views

Ultimate Direction Peter Bakwin Pack and Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Review

I’ve been taking advantage of the sunny, warm early season days with some long training runs. These have ranged from running a double Anderson Mountain (26 mi) before work to driving to Ross Lake and going for a run until I was done (36 miles) on my day off. Yesterday I decided to eke out a long run before heading to Idaho to speak for the Friends of Scotchman Peaks. This 3.5 hour run turned into a 5 hour run when I tweaked my hamstring and managed to get lost in the aptly named Land of the Lost. On all of these runs my essential pieces of gear have been my Peter Bakwin Adventure Vest by Ultimate Direction and my Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s.

A well-worn map and a brand new pack!

The PB Adventure Vest has excellent capacity for jackets, gloves, etc as well as water, my Sawyer Mini Filter and plenty of food for however long I want to be out there. I am especially in love with all of the accessible pockets! I seldom actually stop so being able to access food and water without having to take my pack off is essential for me. The fit is comfortable, although wearing a vest does cause the front torso to be warmer and sweatier than a traditional backpack. I find this to be a fair trade off in order for me to be able to cinch my pack snug and run without it bouncing all over the place. My experiences with my pack on the PCT last year have made me exceptionally aware of what can happen with prolonged back chafe and a bouncing pack.

Filtration on the Go

My Lone Peak 1.5’s by Altra have exceeded expectations. I heard from a lot of hikers last year that they’d had problems with them blowing out the uppers within 100 miles. I was hesitant to give up my old school Lone Peaks, but I have been pleasantly surprised by the newer models. The sole is softer and more flexible than the older ones that I hiked the PCT in and that has taken some getting used to. I prefer the stiffer platform. However, I have noticed no difference in quality of upper or tread grip. In fact, I find the uppers are more breathable. The fit is a little longer however. I needed to order a half size down from normal.

Happy Feet


I have a lot of really long unsupported adventures planned for this year and I’m excited to have found some key pieces of gear that I really like and are going to work well!

Ready!