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Columbia Gorge Marathon

Hello People 🙂

I hope you’re all well and wonderful.

I ran a marathon on Sunday and thought it appropriate to write a little something about it.

The last marathon I ran was Vancouver Washington in June of 2014, so it had been awhile.  My training was pretty great in the beginning but with school, work, my kids, my husband and a couple additional part time jobs it fell off and wasn’t what it should have been.  I considered not running it but that just didn’t seem right.

The Columbia Gorge Marathon is touted as one of the most breathtaking marathons because the majority of the run is along the old Columbia River Highway and the views are spectacular.  Here are a few pictures I took on the course to prove that fact.

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It was beautiful.  Truly. 

But OY the hills.  It was a constant uphill climb that I was not prepared for.  It was an out and back course and yet it felt like a constant uphill in both directions even though I know that’s impossible. 

For the most part I did fine.  The turnaround point was 12 miles in.  Blue Eyes was waiting for me there with a hug and an encouraging word and I headed back.  At mile 16 I felt okay but could tell I was coming up on my wall.  Historically I hit the wall around mile 18. 

At mile 18 the sun went away, massive dark clouds appeared and the sky let loose with the coldest, hardest rain ever.  I started to sink mentally.  I rounded a corner and saw Blue Eyes and two of our friends cheering for me.  The friends had signs just for me (a first) and Blue Eyes had skittles.  The wall was pushed back a little and I powered up the hill to get back on the trail.

The trail was a little more than five miles before you come out and head down into the town of Hood River to the finish.  The trail is where I met the wall.

There was no shield from the rain, it was so cold and so hard that eventually I couldn’t feel my fingers.  I cried a bit, thought about quitting and then realized that no matter what I did I had to get to the end of the trail before anyone could come get me and if I made it that far it was just another 2.5 miles downhill to the finish.  So I sucked it up.

I came around a corner near the end of the trail and saw a figure on the side of the trail standing there.  The form was familiar but I was too far away to think anything else.  When I got closer I saw that it was my best girlfriend who I did not expect.  Especially not there.

Here are some pictures she took at that moment…

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This was mile 23.5.

That smile had very little to do with the marathon and everything to do with seeing a friendly face and hearing her scream “you got this!”

She was right.  I had it.  I finished 2.5 miles later and got my reward.  Another medal and a well deserved hug from the hubby.

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And then there was beer…..

Be well people!

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Hello People!

Just popping in to say hello and post a kinda quick update –

Summer has arrived in the Pacific Northwest and it is quite simply beautiful.  While I am in love with the area in which I live and do not mind the rainy days, I am overjoyed when the sun pays us a long overdue visit and rejoice when it decides to stick around for a bit.  Portland, Oregon on a sunny day is undeniably exquisite!

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I still can’t believe its July already though.

Summer started with the oldest having foot surgery.  He handled it well.

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And even enjoyed and took advantage of the recovery period….

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Cast is off now and he’s in a boot so its almost over.  Yes.  I’m happy about that. 
I’m getting my second tat on the 18th!  Woot woot!  I’m excited.  It was supposed to be done at the end of May but with my son’s birthday and my stepdaughters birthday at that time I could not afford to get it done. 

I’m signing up for another marathon because I know I can do better than I did a few weeks ago.  The Boring Marathon will be September14th and I’m pretty excited about it.  Its new, its small and its in Boring! 

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Of course I need to pull my eating habits out of the toilet or I’ll find myself doing worse than Vancouver.  I also may need to end my relationship with IPA’s.  But only until after the run is done!

Going glamping with my girlfriends in a few weeks.  I don’t camp even though being outdoors is my favorite thing (next to sleeping) but I can glamp in s cabin with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances that sits right on the Metolious River with the best of them.

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That’s the cabin we’re staying in.

One of my girlfriends insists I will put waders on and cast a fishing pole out into the river on this trip.  I think she is mistaken.  I will let you know who turns out to be right.

Blue Eyes’ 30th high school reunion is the weekend I’m glamping.  He’s a little disappointed I won’t be attending with him.  Honestly I think I am too.  But its not like we’re married….. Oh, wait.  Scratch that.

Overall summer is looking great! July is good.  August I turn 48.  September I run another Marathon and the kids go back to school.  Awesome summer stuff right there.

For now I will just enjoy the sun and try not to melt… This is me melting as I drove home on Monday.  It was 100 with no wind. 

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Hope your summer plans are bright and happy…. 🙂

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Wow, so I ran a marathon on Sunday.  Yesterday.

It’s still a little surreal that I did it.  And that’s a little freaky since it wasn’t my first marathon, it was my fifth.  I knew what I was doing, it wasn’t new territory and on top of that it wasn’t even a new marathon.  It was one I had run before.  Albeit 3 years ago.  When I ran it in 2011 it was my first marathon.  It was kind of scary then, I didn’t have any idea what to expect.  This year not only did I know what to expect, I was more familiar with the area since Blue Eyes lives in a town a stone’s throw from Vancouver and I’ve become quite familiar with it.

Friday before the marathon Blue Eyes and I drove to Eugene and packed a Uhaul with the boy’s stuff to move him home.

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I didn’t pack, lift or carry.  I supervised, but the drive down and the drive back was tiring to an extent.  Not to mention I had spent the first three hours of the day in a Committee meeting that was BORING and drained me of any energy I might have otherwise had.  And since the Uhaul only had two seats I sat on a makeshift seat made of plastic bags filled with clothes on the way home.  Ow.  My butt was numb twenty minutes into the drive.

Saturday was supposed to be for resting, and for the most part it was.  I watched a couple of episodes of Orange is the New Black (okay, yes.  I’m addicted.  Thank God there are only two seasons).  I washed my hair.  I puttered around my house until it was time for me to go up to Blue Eye’s house.  Once I got up there we went to dinner.  I wanted something Asian.  Good chow mien would have made me happy.  The place we intended to go to for that turned out to have moved somewhere not convenient so instead we went to B.J.’s.  I’m on the fence about B.J.’s.  They have a good selection of beer, but since it was the night before a marathon I wasn’t drinking beer.  They have a ridiculously large book like menu that I’m always annoyed with by the time I get through it and realize there isn’t much for me to choose from since I’m a vegetarian.  That’s what happened so I ended up ordering a pasta dish that turned out to be yucky.  I was so disappointed it put an obvious damper on my otherwise happy mood.  I ate about a quarter of it and then I waited for Blue Eyes to finish his meal so we could leave.  Thing is, even though I didn’t eat much I wasn’t hungry.  So I didn’t eat anything else.

Mistake #1 – For the entire day of Saturday I ate 1 protein type bar, a banana, a blueberry bagel with jam and a quarter of a plate of angel hair pasta with some gross butter sauce on it.  That’s it.

Mistake # 2- Water consumption was nil on Friday and Saturday.  Thursday I drank over a gallon of water.  That was Thursday.  Friday I maybe had 8 ounces of water because we were driving back and forth from Eugene and I didn’t want to have to pee all the time, and then after we turned the Uhaul in Blue Eyes and I went to a local tap room and I drank a pint of beer.  8 ounces of water and 16 ounces of beer and I peed all freaking night.  I think I got up 8 times to pee on Friday night.  Saturday I never thought about the water, I was puttering, watching my show, washing my hair.  Not drinking water.  I think I drank maybe another 8 ounces all day and then at dinner I drank about 8 ounces while I waited for Blue Eyes to finish his meal.  That’s it.

Soooo those mistakes under my belt I slept well Saturday night and got up bright and early on Sunday.  I ate a banana and Blue Eyes drove me to Vancouver, walked me over to the starting line, stood and waited while I went potty, chatted with some of my running chick friends and then took a selfie with me.

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Then he left me and I got ready to run.  Still excited.

They had three waves.  The fast people, the slow people who weren’t walking and the walkers.  I was in the second wave and I got behind the 5 hour pace group.  I kept telling myself to remember to just run a nice steady pace.  I didn’t want to get caught up in that frenzy when a marathon starts and start running hard.  I had 26.2 miles to go and I didn’t want to use up what I had in the first 3 miles.  Even going slow and comfortable I passed the 5 hour pace group and ran on.  I never looked behind me because that tends to stress me out.  I don’t want to know how many people are behind me, or not behind me.  I was listening to music so I couldn’t even hear people come up on me, which was also nice.  The first 12 or 13 miles are an out and back situation through an industrial area.  It’s pretty boring, but you turn around at this park on the river which is nice.  I would guess all the way out to the turn around is about 6.5 or 7 miles.  I’m not sure.  What I am sure of is that the first elite runners passed me coming back before I reached 5 miles.  Elites amaze me.  I don’t want to be one, but I certainly find them fascinating.

I took my headphones out before we reached the turn around so I could take a break and listen to my breathing.  When I did that I was able to tell that the 5 hour pace group was right behind me.  Not close enough for me to make out their conversation, but close enough for me to know it was them because it was a big group of people running, talking and laughing together.  I prepared for them to pass me, and they did, right when we came into the park.  I ran with them and every time I slowed down a little bit and they inched away from me I would make myself run faster just so I could catch up.  I played that game with myself for probably 3 miles.  But then I decided I really didn’t care that much.  I just wanted to enjoy the run, so I let them go.

I kept an eye on them, as well as the other people I’d been leap frogging from the beginning.  There was a tall black man who ran at a really nice, easy pace that I followed for awhile early on.  I liked his pace and I figured I could keep up with him.  I named him “Lurch” because he was so freaking tall.  When he got way ahead of me I could still see him because of his height.  He got really, really far ahead of me.  There was a man I named “B.O. Santa” because he had long gray hair and a really shaggy, really long gray beard and he was running without a shirt on (it was not attractive) and the first time he passed me the B.O. almost wiped me out.  I’m not judging him.  We were all out there running hard and I’m sure none of us smelled pretty, but this man smelled so bad when he passed me the first time I had to slow to a shuffle so he could get far enough away from me so I couldn’t smell him.  And then I watched other people react to him when he passed them.  Which made me feel not so bad.  There was a rather large woman who I didn’t name but we leap frogged each other a lot.  At one point she got really far ahead of me and I was sure I’d never see her again.  In fact all three of these people I was sure I would never see again at one point.  They seemed to be THAT far ahead of me.

Around mile 14 I drank a 5 hour energy drink.  I am not one who can handle caffeine so I wasn’t sure I wanted to take the drink, but I figured I’d give it a try and see what happened.  Worst thing that could have happened was I’d get a terrible headache and feel like crap for the remainder of the race.  What actually happened though is I felt instantly better than I had, even though I didn’t realize I didn’t feel that hot.  As I told Blue Eyes later, though, I’m not sure whether it was the drink or the fact that we were finally back into “town” and away from the industrial area and there is something about running through neighborhoods that makes me feel good about running.  It might have just been that, or it might have been the drink.  I’ll have to give it a go at my next marathon and see what happens.  After mile 14 I came upon and passed the large woman.  In fact when I passed her I felt so confident in my running I was sure I would not see her anymore.  I was right.

I caught up with B.O. Santa too and then we leap frogged some more.  I actually think he crossed the finish line before me, but for the last 10 miles we were pretty close.  I’d just hold my breath every time I passed him.

Everything was dandy, (even though I didn’t come upon the 5 hour pace group again), until I passed mile 16 or 17.  My calves started cramping up on me.  Not just a little.  It was the most excruciating pain I’d ever experienced and I continued to run with it until I almost fell.  I stretched out my calves and walked a little, and then ran.  Until they cramped up again.  It was the cycle.  It sucked.  At mile 18 I saw Lurch, which surprised me.  I hadn’t seen him for quite some time and I’d imagined he was uncatchable.  I saw him, I hurt, but I passed him and didn’t look back.  Never saw him again after that.  I love when that happens.

Blue Eyes stepped out at Mile 20 and I was thrilled to see him.  I fell into his arms and told him I was hurting and that I wanted to stop.  He totally ignored me and told me the 5 hour pace group had just passed not to long ago.  So I ran on.  The people running the half marathon started a couple hours after the full.  Actually I think someone told me they started at 10 a.m., we started at 7, so it was 3 hours.  Anyway, by the time I got to mile 20 I was amidst half marathoners who were walking.  Even though I was hurting it was a boost to my ego to pass so many people, even if they hadn’t come as far as I had.

The run/cramp up/walk cycle got old quick and I was kinda irritated.  I calculated in my mind that I would likely not beat my best marathon time, but I would definitely beat my time from the first time I ran the same course.

When I was less than half a mile from mile marker 26 I met a hill.  It wasn’t the worst hill I’d ever seen, but it was a hill and I was hurting.  I ran up some of it and walked up some of it.  At the top of the hill was a volunteer with a really deep loud voice.  He was saying things like “Come on Young People get up this hill!”  “You’re less than half a mile from the finish!”  He said a lot of things that I can’t remember, but hearing him made me laugh and he instantly became my favorite volunteer.  His chatter never stopped, he just kept repeating his six or seven phrases and when you reached the top he high fived you, hugged you or gave you some other form of encouragement.  I told him he was awesome as he gave me a high five and he thanked me.  Blue Eyes was standing there with him too.

Blue Eyes walked with me a ways and then told me I was really close and he would meet me at the finish.  I ran down a little hill and turned to see the mile 26 marker and the final stretch.  Lots of people were hollering and I started running a little faster.  OH MY GOD my calves hurt and I wanted to walk, but you can’t walk in the chute!  I kept a silent prayer going asking God to please not let my legs seize up and have me fall flat on my face until I crossed the finish.  As is generally the case, he did me one better and I managed to cross the finish, walk over and get my big-ass medal, a banana and some Sun Chips before I thought I would fall over.  Blue Eyes was there then and he massaged my calves for me for a good 10 minutes.  I love him.

I was a little disappointed because while I was sure I had beat my course PR, I was also sure I’d not beat my overall marathon PR.  I even told RunnerGirl that on Facebook when she asked if I’d gotten a PR.

Today as I was putting the information into my spreadsheet, however, I realized I was wrong.

I finished the course 10 minutes quicker than I’d finished three years ago, so that was right.  But I also finished 2 minutes better than my best marathon so while it’s not a huge PR, it is a PR all the same AND I honestly believe that had my calves behaved (or maybe had I drank some water, taken a salt tab, and eaten properly the day before) the outcome would have been much better.  No way to know for sure.  Guess I’ll just have to wait to see what happens at Portland.

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I can’t wait to see the photos from the race.  There were a ton of photographers out there so my odds are good for a decent picture.  🙂  We’ll see.  Anyway, even though today was a little difficult in the walking department, I feel good and I look forward to training for the next one.  After I take a week off, that is.

Take care people!!

Peace!

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I’m running a marathon on Sunday and as is usually the case (even though I tend to forget this during “training”) I am incredibly excited.  Regardless of the outcome I just love to run!

Training has been as good as it gets for me since I generally start out with a hard and fast plan and then tweak things and do whatever feels right for me.  I only ran one 20 and it kinda sucked but any distance can suck so it doesn’t worry me. 

Originally I was going to have to drive to Eugene and move the college boy home for the summer on Saturday.  That’s driving four hours round trip, lifting and packing heavy shit into a cargo van and then unpacking the same the day before running 26.2 miles the next day.  Blue Eyes called bullshit, however, and now he and I will drive down on Friday (he works on Saturday) afternoon and he and the boy will lift, load and unload as I supervise and then Saturday will be left for me to run a quick couple miles before I do nothing but rest my legs.

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I ran this marathon three years ago.  It was my first.  I like to see improvement every time I run a marathon but I am especially hopeful for improvement at this one.

Bart Yasso was there the first year I ran it.  It was cool to hear him announce my name when I finished.  He’s scheduled to be here again this year.  I’m hoping to get him to sign my copy of his book on Saturday after one of his motivational talks.  I’m a Yasso fan.  🙂

I’m excited.

A great change from last time will, of course, be Blue Eyes at the finish.  Yay!

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And the topper?  There is a brew fest going on in Esther Shore Park (where the race begins and ends) over the weekend.  Race participants get free entry.  I’m all about post race beer (and nachos).

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So I think things are under control and I’m as ready as I’m going to be.  Let’s do this thing!

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Peace!

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I ran my last long run on Sunday.  Twenty miles.  BOOM!  Well not quite “BOOM” it was more like sixteen miles of BOOM and four miles of pain and discomfort.  But I pushed through and made my 20. 

The weather threatened rain but that didn’t really concern me since this IS Oregon.  Wonderfully, however it was lovely at 4 a.m. when I started out and even lovelier when I got home at 8:10.  Four hours of running.  Or as Blue Eyes calls it “four hours of crazy.”.

Didn’t feel crazy when I started.  Twenty is my favorite distance.  But for your whatever reason….crappy nutrition, not enough sleep, my chi being off I fell off my wagon at mile 16. 

First off I had to use the bathroom, even though I had done so prior to leaving home, only five miles out.  That’s less than an hour and I had to GO.  This is a problem on a Sunday morning at 4:45 a.m.  When I finally got to a bathroom I was at 12 miles and I think that started to sour my mind. 

I ran on relieved at how much better I felt and then around mile 16  my legs started aching, my mind started doubting and I quit enjoying the run. 

I grumbled through it, and arrived home 4 hours and 8 minutes after I started. I was pissed.  4:08?! Seriously.  That’s my worst ever 20 mile time.

I bristled for awhile wondering what the hell I was thinking when I signed up for this marathon and then…. later that day I heard my 15 year old son tell his friend I was ” bad ass” since I ran 20 miles and then came home and lifted for an hour to get rid of my frustration. 

It made me chuckle and I decided it didn’t really matter how I finished in this marathon as long as I finished, because clearly my biggest fan was in my corner regardless of my time.

20 miles in 4:08. I’ll take it and just shut up.

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Peace!

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As some of you may know (even though I am writing less these days) I  am training for a marathon.  My fifth, actually.  Saturday I ran a lovely long run of 18 miles.  It was the most satisfying 18 miles I have ever experienced and the effortless feel of it surprised me.  In fact, I ran that 18 twenty whole minutes faster than the last time I ran 18.  Wild.

I’m a runner, regardless of my speed, or lack thereof.  Running makes me happy, calms my mind and puts a peace in my heart like nothing else….. Okay, wait.  That’s a lie.  Hawaii is also capable of producing the same effects, but this is about running. 

This morning was my first run since the 18.  Its a back off week.  The training plan says 5-5-5-8-13.  So at a little after 4 this morning I started running.  I could tell I’d be a little slower today for whatever reason, not enough sleep, poor night before nutrition, who knows, but if you run regularly you can probably tell when you start out, definitely by the time you reach 1 mile, what kind of run its going to be.  This morning’s prediction was “on the slow side.”

I was pretty right about it.  My legs seemed to feel heavier as I went on.  I maintained my 10:30 pace throughout.  Right after the Garmin buzzed to let me know I’d done 4 miles my route had me coming back out on to a pretty main road that’s busy at any time other than 4:45 a.m.

If you were to ask me I would tell you I’m not competitive….at all.  Except maybe when I’m playing Words with Friends with Blue Eyes and finally I’m kicking his ass instead of the other way around… THEN something happens and all of a sudden I’m all about the competition.  But with running?  Nah… I’m not competitive.

If you had asked me this morning, when my Garmin buzzed four miles, if I could run faster for that last mile I would have likely said “seriously?  I’m about ready to walk for a minute.”

When I approached the previously mentioned busy street however, I saw another runner.  That’s not common at 4:45.  I usually don’t see other runners until after 5, and on the weekends its after 6 (because yes, I still get up and run at 4 a.m. on the weekends).   So, there he was.  Dude runner with long ass legs running down the middle of the street, going the same direction I was going to go and something just happened.

First I was all pissed.  Dammit to hell if someone wasn’t ruining my Zen of running on empty streets and he had the audacity to run down the middle of the street, like I had planned to do because that’s what running so early affords you.  Then I saw him look and acknowledge my presence, and possibly register the same irritation at my interruption of his Zen and then he ran faster up the freaking hill I had told myself just two tenths of a mile earlier I would walk up. 

Screw that.  I lost my mind and made myself stay close enough to let him know I was still there and I felt him punch it up a notch.  And so did I. 

My internal conversation had a lot of swearing in it, but I like to swear so that wasn’t alarming.  What was alarming was that I kept going, despite the pain.  And there was pain.  He turned right three quarters of a mile after we started that and if we had both just stopped my foot could have kicked him in the ass.  That’s how close I was to him.  I continued that pace until I hit my five miles.

I looked at my Garmin to see I had run my last mile at 7:40.  WTF?!  Who knew that was even possible for me.  I am NOT RunnerGirl and I had just run 4 slow tired ass miles.  Baffles my brain.

Here’s hoping I don’t see him tomorrow…. Ha ha ha

Peace!

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findingmyhappyAfter the Timberline Marathon I was not myself. 

I can’t be sure, but I’d guess I had a bit of depression.  Regardless of what I said, I did continue to toy with the idea of not running again. 

I lift three times a week, own and use a heavy bag, practice kickboxing, yoga and own a step (as well as many step dvd workouts), so I wasn’t concerned the absence of running might add some weight to my body.  (Yeah, right . . . you can call bullshit on that statement, I’m a woman).

Regardless, none of that shit makes me happy like running does, or did. 

After Timberline I wasn’t happy.  The thought of running made me tense up and seriously doubt myself.  It made my stomach hurt and it made me nauseous.  I decided to take the 50 miler off my calendar this year and I wiped all the rest of the “races” I had planned for the year off as well.  Including a half marathon scheduled for this Saturday.  Off.  I’m out. 

Those actions made me feel better, but they didn’t make me get outside and run. 

Last week was difficult for other reasons too.   My youngest son had an icky case of walking pneumonia, keeping him out of school the whole week on the very last full week of school for the year.  Of all the weeks to legitimately miss, the last one is not the one he would have chosen.  Still, he was out for the count.  Because the word “pneumonia” was part of what ailed him, I knew it was right to inform his father.  If you’re a new reader of my blog, I’m sure this little thing doesn’t scream “stress” – but since his father doesn’t speak to me or acknowledge my existence (i.e., he doesn’t answer my phone calls, deletes my emails and texts without reading, and I’m nothing more than unseeable air if we’re in a room together) – but whatever.  If the tables were turned and my son lived with his father I’d want to know about pneumonia and I’d be pissed if I found out after the fact.  So I did my best to inform him.  Gratefully, he did get the message, but the whole sick child, interaction-with-the-ex thing, coupled with the emotional shit from Timberline and work overload did not do much for my mental well-being – all that to say — I didn’t run.

I longed for the weekend and when it finally got here the boy was feeling better and was asking to spend the night at a friend’s house.  A good sign.  The oldest boy, who has come home from college every weekend for the last five weekends, informed me he was NOT coming home because it was the last weekend before school was out for summer.  Another good sign.

It gets light outside at 4:30 a.m. these days.  It’s kind of crazy.  As someone who is used to running at 4:30 a.m., in the dark, it’s downright odd. 

On Saturday morning I woke up to a quiet house, (just me and my dog), and a clear sky at 4:30 a.m.  I rolled over and covered my head.  “Don’t care, I’m not running” I mumbled to myself and fell back asleep. 

When I woke up at 6 the sun was shining brightly, lighting up my room with a warm yellow.  Trigger, my dog, sensed I was awake and came over to encourage me to get up and feed him.  I asked him to wait, while I laid there for a while. 

For the first time, in 7 days I was thinking about running.  It caused anxiety, but the thought was still there.  It was perplexing.

I fed Trigger and came back upstairs.  On automatic pilot I put my running clothes on.  I was standing on the sidewalk in front of my house shortly before 6:30 as if I was going to run, but I still wasn’t sure. 

My mind chatter was constant:

“Don’t have to run far, girly, just have to run.”

“Not training for anything, no races on the calendar, no pressure.”

“One mile, two miles, half mile.  Doesn’t matter.  Just go.”

“It’s such a pretty day.”

So I ran. 

I found myself running toward Brookman Road.  A two mile stretch of rolling hills that can kick my ass if I’m not prepared for it.  I was on auto-pilot and I ran the whole stretch.  When I came out on the other end I considered heading home, but I didn’t.  Instead I ran up another hill, down another and then wound around to come back up the same hill I ran down.

An amazing thing happened.

Midway up Murdock I found my happy.  Possibly it had something to do with the realization I had started at the base of the 1.5 mile hill, was nearing the top and I hadn’t walked.  Not sure, but when I reached Sunset you couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face if you had tried.  I felt so great.  So happy.  So in love with running.

I’m still not running the 50 miler this year, I’ll put that on 2014’s calendar and will possibly try to do it outside of Oregon – Northern California would be nice.  I could get my annual San Francisco fix and run my 50 in the Marin headlands.   I have decided, however, to put another marathon on my schedule for this year.  The Columbia Gorge Marathon on October 27th.  It’s far enough away not to intimidate me too much right now, and it means I don’t have to start training until mid-July. 

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Thirty-two days from today I’ll be leaving for Cabo.  Five days of fun in the sun, on the beach with Tequila and one of my favorite girlfriends!  Training for the marathon will commence the week after I return.   

For now I will simply run

Because I want to.

Because I like to.

Because I can.

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