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Animal Athletics Blog

Cascade Crest 100- Weathering the Storm (2015)


  The day was August 29, 2015, and I was 24 hours into my 37th year. My daughter Farah and I share that same birthday (she turned 5!), so we all decided to take a family celebration weekend up in the Cascades. Of course we had a proper birthday party at home beforehand a couple weeks prior, complete with an outdoor slip-n-slide party with many ecstatic 4 & 5 year olds. The “technical” birthday weekend that we traveled north of Portland, Oregon for started off with a visit to the Great Wolf Lodge on Thursday evening (and into Friday August 28th). This place offers a wave pool, water slides, and the works, and is a lot of fun for 5 year old and 37 year old kids alike ;). Without expending too much energy at the waterpark on my part, … Read the Rest.

PNW on Fire: Call for Help!


This is a Call for Help! A few nights ago I caught myself looking online for information regarding the wildfires, and if it would affect my upcoming 100-mile ultra marathon (Cascade Crest 100) on August 29, 2015. The event takes place in and around Easton, Washington, and I found out that (as of now) it seems to be “in the clear”, as far as the fire situation goes, (which could change as fires are spreading rapidly). While checking the status, and afterward,  I felt very selfish and guilty for my race being a priority when so many people are worrying about way more important things, such as where they are going to live, because their homes have burnt to the ground! Also, there are so many working tirelessly around the clock to simply contain the fires, while resources are running … Read the Rest.

The Day of the Double (Double)


Ahhhh, the first annual “Double Double”… What a day!  We lucked out with the weather and had over 20 runners and hikers of all ages, shapes, and sizes come rip it up.  To remind those who may have forgotten, the “Double Double” consists of hiking/running Mt. Defiance (~10 miles round trip with ~5,000 ft. gain) and then driving over to the Washington side of the Gorge and hiking/running Dog Mountain (~5 miles round trip with ~2,500+ ft. gain) before setting down for pizza and refreshing beverages at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River. Yassine Diboun, Christof Teuscher, and Anthony Lee upped the ante even more and ran over to Dog Mountain via roads and the Bridge of the Gods for a total of 40+ miles!  (check out their video at the bottom of the page)  It was awesome to see people … Read the Rest.

An Interview with Jen Allen


How long have you been running? and running trail ultras? I have been running since I was  kid. I was always climbing trees, swinging as high as possible on the playground and then jumping off the swings (I still like to do this). I have always been pretty active, but I really got into running around 6th grade. It started with cross country and track in middle and high school, and I found that I just truly loved it. In college many other things took priority and had to stop running for a while, but I kept active doing  yoga, shorter runs like 5k’s and a marathon here and there, but nothing too consistent. I really got into slalom skiing and water skiing the last six years. Then about two years ago for Christmas my husband got me a gift … Read the Rest.

The Defiant Ones


 A couple weekends ago two wonderful clients–Steve Hopkins and Michelle Morris–and I headed out on Saturday for a trip up Mt. Defiance.  It was a wonderful, cold, and blustery day and, as always, Mt. Defiance offered a challenging ascent. It’s a pleasure to spend time outside with clients and see them getting stronger and more confident, pushing themselves and having fun. Enjoy the photos!                                                            

Ultra Trail Torres del Paine 109k


  The Ultra Trail Torres del Paine 109k (as well as the Patagonian International Marathon) is the brainchild of race director Stjepan Pavicic (pictured above in orange), held in one of the most unique places on Earth. I was so fortunate enough to participate in the 63k ultra in 2013, and it was an experience that I will never forget. I knew I could not pass up the opportunity to return in 2014, especially after hearing that they were adding a trail ultra distance. Running through Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile is surreal, and a dream destination for outdoor enthusiasts, but that is not the sole reason that this event so uniquely special. It is the congregation of likeminded adventurers from all over the world running for a cause, and thoroughly enjoying our time together, before, during, and after … Read the Rest.

Rocking the Rock (of Ages…)


  A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of hitting the Gorge with a couple of my favorite clients, Michelle Morris and her dad Steve.  They are both in full training mode for the Elk-King’s Mountain Traverse (an extremely tough and technical 15 miler) on Oct. 18th, put on by our friends at Go Beyond Racing, followed by the inaugural Silver Falls 50k on November 2nd. Steve and I went out and had a great time on the Elk-King’s Traverse at the end of August but it was even more fun this time with the father-daughter duo in full effect.  The 10 mile Rock of Ages-Oneonta loop is amazing and it’s always a challenge climbing ~2,800 feet up the ROA trail in 2.3 miles!  Another awesome day.  We ended up a little stronger, a little tougher and more prepared … Read the Rest.

A Thursday morning on the Elk-Kings Traverse


  Just a few days before leaving town for Tahoe I snuck in one last outing with Steve Morris, a client and burgeoning trail runner from Tillamook.  We met up at the Elk Mountain Trailhead at 6:30 am on Thursday and started up the steep stuff. Steve (and his badass daughter Michelle) are training for their first true trail races: the 15 mile Elk-King’s Mountain Traverse and the Silver Falls inaugural 50k (why start easy?) The ~10.8 mile route we did that morning covers the “meat and potatoes” of the 15 mile race and is a tough and beautiful loop.  It was great practice for Steve to see the course and know what he and Michelle are in for. It was a glorious morning!  Always a true pleasure to share time in nature with clients and good people.  Steve’s a … Read the Rest.

One More Time as the Winds Change


 In my taper for the Tahoe 200, I realized what I’d been missing all summer: mellow camping/hiking trips with friends.  Not focused on running, not trying to go fast, not treating it like a training trip for something else, not worried about how long you’re out there.  Just chilled out, campfire time, car-camping, enjoying nature, enjoying friends (even those who aren’t runners–gasp!) I had been up South Sister a couple weeks before during my last big training weekend for Tahoe and loved the route up it.  Such a great hike, a perfect objective for folks to push their limits without too much difficulty and to cut their teeth in the mountain environment.  With free camping right at the trailhead at Devil’s Lake it doesn’t get much sweeter or more convenient.  I called up some peeps and roped ‘em in.  With … Read the Rest.

Split Second

Looking down into Ape Canyon.

Last night on my birthday (August 28, 2014) I spontaneously decided to drive up to Mt. St. Helens to sleep in my car, wake up at first light, and then run around Mt. St. Helens as my “birthday run” on Friday August 29th. I turned 36, but I figured it’s a tough 32-ish miles so… close enough! The birthday solo runs are a great time to reflect on the last 365 days and give thanks for all the blessings. The Loowit Trail is a classic run that I’ve done several times including participating in the inaugural  Volcanic 50 (<—Check out this event…It’s awesome!) I really love this route, even just doing it solo. It has it all from beautiful views to varied terrain to a rich history. Similar to the Mt. Hood round-a-bout I did last year for my “birthday run”, … Read the Rest.