East Lake Sammamish Trail

This evening the weather was gorgeous with temps in the 70’s and clear blue skies. I took advantage of the perfect conditions and walked a section of the East Lake Sammamish Trail with my mom and dog Pepe. This 11 mile soft-surface pathway stretches from Issaquah to Redmond and is another example of a great rail-to-trail program. It took a long time to open the trail with steadfast opposition from lakeshore homeowners, but I am glad the county persevered! The views are gorgeous all along the path with shimmering Lake Sammamish always right next to the trail. I also enjoy running this pathway when I am looking for a flat soft-surface run near my home and actually ran a large section of it yesterday.


I’m in my hometown of Sammamish, WA for a week and a half. Naturally, the weather is cool and rainy. A steady rain fell all day today and temps struggled to get to 50 degrees. Fortunately, I am brining some of the California sunshine as a hot ridge of high pressure is expected to build Thursday through Saturday providing temps well into the 80’s and perhaps topping the 90 degree mark in Sammamish, which is located a bit inland from the cooling waters of the Puget Sound.

I celebrated my birthday with family on Sunday and enjoyed my sister’s delicious apple crumble – no added sugar, but so sweet =) I have also had the opportunity to run in a couple favorite local parks – the Redmond Watershed Preserve and Cougar Mountain. The vegetation up here is so lush, especially this year with the cooler and wetter spring. The trails were a bit muddy too, conditions I haven’t experienced in CA for months!

Law School Graduation!

Today was the graduation ceremony from Stanford Law School! It was a great ceremony and reception with memorable speeches from the faculty member, Professor Bankman, and student rep, Onye. Lunch with the family was also great at Macaroni Grill. We topped it all off by watching some great distance running events at the Payton Jordan track meet at Stanford.

Thus, 19 years in the school system has concluded (k-12, 3 years undergrad, 3 years law school). I am very proud of my educational accomplishments and it’s hard to beleive it is now time to enter the real world.

Shore Path, Part II

My hopes came to fruition and I was able to run the shore path in Pacific Grove again today. The fresh ocean breeze under sunny skies was awesome! Every time I run this awesome path I feel like I am getting a treat. The run basically covered all the paths from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Asilomar State Beach and the Links at Spanish Bay. The run was 50 minutes and around 8 miles. The groin has been cooperating on these easy runs but tomorrow I am either going to take the day off or do a super short run so I don’t get ahead of myself on the recovery. My groin it is still a bit tight and I do not want to hinder the progress. Plus, I have got to be fresh for the skiing next week in North Lake Tahoe!!

Today was also my sister’s birthday so Happy Birthday Talli! The celebration with tea and a delicious chocolate torte was fun! Talli’s new baby boy of one month, Bram, seemed to be enjoying the event as well :)

Congrats Mom!

Big congrats to my mom, Ita Pantilat, for a great powerlifting effort despite being sick with the flu all week. She started off with squatting doing 231 pounds (not feeling great) and then felt better on the bench putting up 215 pounds and then 303 pounds for the deadlift. This was the first competition my mom has done the complete powerlifting trifecta of disciplines (her specialty and focus has been the bench). Her marks enabled her to break the point record for her age group (55-60) and weight class (114 pounds)! Awesome!!

Yesterday we celebrated my friend Scott’s Birthday with a pub crawl in downtown San Francisco. We started the night off at the (apparently) famous Nick’s Crispy Tacos and I got a Chicken Burrito that was indeed tasty. We then hit the bars, including an Irish Pub, an elegant Wine Bar, a Log Cabin Bar called Bigfoot Lodge with animal heads on the wall and a giant wooden sasquatch, a tribal themed bar called Vertigo with cool masks and statues, and a grundge/emo bar. The sharp contrasts between the bars, from the decorations to the patrons, was very interesting and fun.

As far running, my groin still feels tight. It’s not very painful, but I notice it enough to the point where running doesn’t seem like a great idea. I’ve got no pressing races or goals in the near future so I am going to play it safe and wait this out. The result is days off the past couple days and more days off in the future until it heals. It would be nice to be running again on Tuesday when I head down to Pacific Grove to visit my sister, her husband, and my new nephew, Bram (the seashore path right by their home is sweet!).

Instead of running I hit Arrillaga Gym for some quality weight lifting. I did some benching today and got back to 10 reps of 150 pounds. I think at my peak when I was lifting routinely I was doing 10 reps of 160, only ten pounds more, so I am happy the muscles are still there :)

A new boy!!

There is a new member in my family – my sister Talli gave birth to a boy this evening! Big congratulations to her and her husband David! The name of the boy is Bram, which originates from the Hebrew name Abraham and is used in the Netherlands (part of the boy’s heritage is Dutch). The birth was apparently not easy as this was my sister’s first baby, but it’s now over and she is recovering in the hospital. The baby was on the large side (7 lbs, 12 ounces) and already has some of David’s dark hair! I now have a niece and a nephew.

Yesterday I went on a long run for 23 miles and it felt fairly decent, but it still made my legs quite tired so today I only ran 5 miles and worked out a little at Arrillaga gym.

Snoqualmie Valley Trail

Today was the first sunny day since I have been in Sammamish (it took 13 days!). The sky was a clear, the air was crisp and fresh, and the temperatures were relatively pleasant in the low-40s. I took advantage of this rare treat and ran the Snoqualmie Valley trail between Carnation and Duvall for 100 minutes of running (1 hour, 40 minutes) and about 15 miles. None of the run was particularly fast, but I felt pretty comfortable and after all, easy runs should be easy! Yesterday was basically a rainy washout and I was worried about mud, but fortunately this section of the Snoqualmie Valley Trail was mud-free.

This evening I head to my sister’s house in Maple Valley to visit her and her husband as well as my 16-month-old niece, Tamar! It should be fun!

I also look forward to getting my first turns of the ski season tomorrow at Alpental and using my brand new Atomic Metron skis :)

Records for Ita Pantilat!!!

I am proud to report that my mom had an awesome day of power lifting today (Thursday) at the WABDL world championships in Anaheim, CA. First, she broke the open womens (all age groups!) record for her weight class (108-114 pound class) by benching 225.7 pounds. This shattered her personal record at this weight class by over 16 pounds (209.2 pounds previous PR). Weighing in at 112 pounds prior to the competition, she essentially benched over twice her weight! Also keep in mind she is 55 and turning 56 next week – she is getting better every year :)

To follow up the fabulous benching performance, she competed in the deadlift this evening and lifted 300.3 pounds, another personal record and age group record (54-60). My mom only started competing in the deadlift this year and is making huge strides. All the hard work and dedication in the gym is paying off!

What a truly amazing and inspirational performance!


A couple more climbs

I got in a couple more speed climbs this week while the weather was good. On Thursday, I ascended Eldorado Peak in North Cascades National Park in 4:58 roundtrip! The first time I climbed this mountain in 2003 it took 10+ hours and I felt pretty studly afterwards. Now I climbed it in less than half that amount of time!

On Friday I climbed Lemah mountain in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. This mountain was much more time consuming and physically taxing. There was 22 miles of trail running and around 12 miles of rugged off-trail travel complete with loose rock, talus fields, snow, scrambling, and annoying brush. Lemah mountain is definitely an area that is infrequently visited. Aside from a couple cairns, there was no evidence of human impact past Spectacle Lake – no paths, no camping areas, no bootprints. The climb had an exploratory feel to it, especially because I made a couple routefinding errors. This climb took 11:26 and let’s just say I am quite tired today.  

Check back later for trip reports and photos!

Also, today is my neice’s first birthday so happy birthday Tamar! My sister threw a small party complete with delicious lunch – chicken and vegetable skewers, burgers, salads, cake, etc.