View Finding to kick off marathon training

This is part of a weekly series about view finding, those moments when you take a deeper breath and savor the sights, then fumble for your camera. Whether you’re running, hiking, biking, four-wheeling or skiing, take a moment to enjoy the view. The pictures in today’s post were taken with my Samsung cellphone.

For the last month I’ve been telling myself that March 4th would mark my 12 week training countdown until the Coeur d’Alene marathon, with my “official” training starting with a rest day.

After all, I usually rest the day after a long run. On Saturday, Curtis and I had gone for a leisurely 13 miler on the Centennial trail, my favorite location for long runs because it’s pretty, it’s long and I don’t have to wait for or worry about traffic.

Jill running on the Centennial trail

Some spots still had snow and slush but most of the trail was clear. Probably the biggest benefit to running this time of year is that we have the trail mostly to ourselves.

Snowy stretch of the Centennial Trail next to the Spokane river

I love listening to the river on this stretch of the trail

The next day was too beautiful to stay inside and rest. So, we kicked off marathon training with some view finding. We headed to the hills.

The Dishman Hills Natural Area is just a few miles from our house, with the closest trail head exactly 2 miles away.

Trail into Ponderosa Pines

We chose this trail head because it's the closest.

While I used to run these hills a lot in high school and we’ve taken the kids hiking there many times, we don’t normally run there. Instead we mostly run routes we can map, for obsessive mile tracking. That’s going to change this year. It’s silly to stick to the neighborhoods when we have a network of trails cutting back and forth through a Ponderosa pine forest with views of Mt. Spokane, Micah Peak and the Valley.

View of Micah Peak from Dishman Hills

My house is in that Valley.

View of close trees and Mt. Spokane in the distance

If you squint, you might be able to see Mt. Spokane in the distance.

This was the first run since last fall where I left the house without gloves and a fleece or jacket. I also didn’t wear my beanie, instead I opted for a Bondi band to keep my ears warm with a cap to protect against ticks. Of course, that didn’t stop me from sweating like crazy.

The trail was a delightful mix of mud, pine needles, rocks and snow. The hardest part was deciding which way to go each time it forked. We followed our whim and ended up running in circles. We even saw the same man walking his dog three different times. On days like these I wish I owned a Garmin.

Man on snowy trail

trail with trees on one side and drop off on the other

Parts of this run/hike doubled as a hill workout

I hope that over the next few months we run these hills often enough to memorize the trails. I think it will add some nice mental variety to marathon training.

What cell phones take the best pictures?
Do you run trails as part of your training? 

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  • Jen

    I love my iPhone for taking pictures. I used to use my old LG EnV and that was fine, but the iPhone is much higher quality. I love running trails, both wide, smooth rail trails and more rugged, single-track trails. We have a state forest just over a mile from my house with tons of beautiful trails. I should head there more. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  • I agree with Jen…I love my iPhone for taking pictures.

    I don’t generally run trails as part of my training but I am keen to try! It just means a little drive first…which I’m not totally against.
    Good luck with the Marathon training!

  • I need to replace my cell phone (which takes mediocre pictures at best) and I’ve been waffling between the iPhone and a Droid. I do a lot of phone interviews so I also need a phone that has good call quality.