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Posts Tagged ‘fun’

Last weekend I went camping with two of my dearest girlfriends. For approximately two weeks prior to the trip I had debated with myself about whether or not I would actually go. My debate most often centered on money and my desire to spend as little as possible due to a variety of unexpected expenses this summer. But as the date got closer, my need to get out of town, decompress and feed my soul was far greater than my penny-pinching-debt-pay-down ways.

Friday morning I had to drop my puppy off at the kennel. I always feel guilty about that, even if it’s only for a couple of nights. To ease my own guilt I took him for an early morning run. I reasoned he would be so exhausted from the run he wouldn’t have enough energy to give me his sad puppy eyes when I said good-bye at the kennel. For those of you not familiar with my puppy, here he is.

Trigger

At a little over 200 pounds he is not a lover of the run, but he does love me and if I want to run with him he will run with me, for at least a little while. I’ve pushed him to run 4 miles before, but his limit is really 2. Friday we ran just under 2 and he was beat. After drinking a bucket of water, he sprawled out on my bedroom floor while I showered and got ready. We went to the kennel and said our good-byes with a minimum of sad looks.

Then I was off to drive 3 hours to my girlfriends home in Terrabonne, or as she calls it “TerraBama.” The day was sunny, the drive was lovely and Mt. Hood was a spectacular site.

mt. hood

I got to C’s house around 10:30 and while she and S finished getting ready I enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea while sitting by her koi pond.

koi pond

Later I sat in her backyard with Frank. C’s standard poodle. You would never know from this picture that just seconds before he was all in my face attacking me.

MeNFrank

C had purchased a month’s worth of groceries and after her husband helped us get them all out to the cars we headed to our final destination. Camp Sherman. We arrived a little before 2 and were allowed to check into our cabin a little early. When we got into the cabin we all just kind of stood there looking around in amazement. It was pretty spectacular. The photos online were nice, but actually standing in the cabin looking around was far, far better.

After dropping our things in our bedrooms we opened the French doors and lounged in the Adirondack chairs a few feet from the Metolius River and let the vacation begin. C (who is a master chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris), made Margaritas, fresh salsa and chocolate chip cookies in a matter of minutes. Instantly everything was right in the world.

Travis2

SnacksonDeck

Later that evening we walked around Camp Sherman for a bit before we had dinner at the Kokanee Café.

TravisNCait

Dinner was to celebrate C’s 60th birthday that happened a couple months ago. The Kokanee Café was charming and even though we were in the middle of Central Oregon and the menu was pretty meat heavy I was able to enjoy a wonderful and oh-so-pretty beet salad.

BeetSalad

Then we went back to the cabin, sat on the deck and I drank my first glass of bourbon. “Drank” is probably not the right word, it was more like “sip, let it burn down my throat, and then sip again.” Needless to say I was ready for sleep after that.

Saturday morning I got up while the cabin was still quiet and put my running clothes on. It was a pretty, bright and sunny morning and I couldn’t wait to get out there and run. I ran away from the river first, along a bike trail. So, so pretty. Constant reminders of why I love Oregon so much.

Morning run

Morning run6

After that portion of my run I made my way to the bridge we had walked over the night before. I noticed there was a path that ran along both sides of the river so I followed the one on the right. It was amazing. I ran, walked, took pictures, ran some more and was happy to see other runners out.

Morning run4

morning run5

When I got back to the cabin the ladies were up and on the deck. C handed me a cup of tea and I sat for a while before I jumped in the shower. When I got dressed and came out into the living room I was taken by this view. I had to take a picture. So, so happy I decided to come and be a witness.

TheCabin1

We drove into Sisters and did some shopping.

TravisConvertible

I bought some olives (LOVE) and some Strawberry infused balsamic vinegar and C & S bought some clothes. Headed back to Camp Sherman that afternoon C advised S and me that it was time to do some fishing. “If we must” was kind of the attitude S and I had, but since we were gathered to celebrate C, and she wanted to fish, we were fishing.

After we got to the location we had to put on waders and boots. It was painful. The boots were the right size but they seemed to squeeze my foot so painfully tight I could have cried. C swore it would be better as soon as I got in the water but I didn’t believe her. Still we joked and laughed and had the best time, all while preparing to do some fly fishing. It was so fun. Again, glad I had come.

TravisFF5

TravisFF4

Then I stepped into the water and made my way out to the center of the river. Wow. I am not a fisherman. In fact, I don’t “GET” fishermen. I don’t understand why people fish. It seems boring, time consuming and silly. Um, until I found myself standing in the middle of this rushing river and loved it. Didn’t catch anything, in fact, I wasn’t really trying. Standing in the middle of the river as the water rushed around me, on a beautiful, sunny day brought a peace on me I had not experienced in quite some time. I loved it and while I won’t say that I’ll ever fly fish again, I will most definitely stand in the middle of a river with waders and boots on and hold a fishing pole, just to get that sensation back. Peace. Pure and simple.

TravisFlyFishing

TravisNSandraFF

After that excursion we went back to the cabin to claim our spots on the back deck, eat munchies and I think I drank a beer as we watched the water. Later that evening C whipped up dinner and after it got dark we walked back to the Kokanee Café to sit in the bar and have a drink together. Wonderfulness.

While C & S were staying one more night, I was leaving on Sunday. I wanted to get back by 1 p.m. to pick up my puppy from the kennel so that required I leave shortly after 9. I got up early to run and say good-bye to Camp Sherman and the Metolius and again spend some time being grateful for my life.

When I got back to the cabin I enjoyed a cup of tea, jumped into the shower, passed out hugs and headed home. I made pretty good time considering I went home over the Santiam Pass, which is a two lane road with not enough passing lanes and way, way, way too many motorhomes traveling. Since I made good time I stopped in Salem to see my niece. Her and her fiancé have a dessert company and they were selling their products at the Salem Bite & Brew. She was surprised and happy to see me since it’s been awhile and she asked me to hang around for a bit because her mother would be arriving soon. It was worth the wait! I was thrilled to get to see and chat with my former sister-in-law. It had been about 6 years since I’d seen her last. After that reunion I got it in gear and went to pick up the puppy.

When I got home I put my stuff away and lounged in my quiet house reflecting on the weekend and the joy of friendship and family that will always be family regardless of circumstances. There is a lot going on in my life right now, but all things considered I have very little, if anything, to complain about. I’m happy, healthy and content with me. Can’t ask for much more.

C got us a gift to commemorate our trip at Camp Sherman. The bracelets have the longitude and latitude location of the cabin we stayed at. So unique and thoughtful.

Bracelet

All3ofUs2

Until next time people! Be well!

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For the last couple of days I’ve been thinking about NOT running the Boring Marathon. I’m not firm on that thought, but I’ve been thinking about it.

It’s an incredibly busy time at work, my school work load is high, having both of my boys in the house adds additional work and I just don’t know if I can successfully pull off training properly to run in 2 months. I haven’t been running what a training plan says I should, and when I do get out there I just want to run and not think about my time, distance, etc. I just want to enjoy running for the sake of running.

But a part of me says fuck it. Just do it.

I had originally planned to run Portland because RunnerGirl wanted me to since she’ll be back to do it again. While I love Portland, I don’t love the Portland Marathon and I won’t be running it. It’s too expensive for me and it always rains when I run it and I’d hate to bring rain unnecessarily since it was perfect and beautiful running weather last year. Instead I’ll stand on the sidelines and cheer as she passes and then Blue Eyes and I will meet her and her husband at a bar to drink alcohol. It’ll be better than last year because I wasn’t drinking when they were here. It’s safe to say that is not what’s going on in my life this year and I’ll be about the beer.

MeNK

My bestie and I live in the same town but have a hard time getting together with kid responsibilities, work, life. We try to get together once a month without fail and last night was the night. We hit McMenamins Roadhouse so I could get my hands on a bottle of their Sunflower IPA. I love Sunflowers and I love IPAs, so this beer was made for me. It’s only around for this month and it isn’t available on tap, only in the bottles AND they only had two bottles left. So I bought a bottle, but I drank something else while we were there.

MeNbottle

After we left the Roadhouse we went to Sasquatch Brewing. Blue Eyes and I went to this place last week and had the BEST experience. The waiter was cool, the place was cool, we were there for a couple of hours during the late happy hour and really enjoyed ourselves. It was really pleasant. I couldn’t wait to go back. Sadly, aside from the fact that I was hanging out with my bestie, the experience last night sucked. The waitress was a bitch with a nasty attitude and the bartender was even worse. We still had a good time, because that’s what we do, but it really soured me on the place and I’m not sure when I’ll want to go back. We are not lacking in Breweries and Taprooms in this area so there is no need to revisit a place that left a poor taste in my mouth. The beer I had at Sasquatch was a 10.2% ABV. Kinda left me needing to go home.

sasquatch

So in addition to beer being a friend and just wanting to run for the sake of running, I’m debating the marathon.

This may sound weird. It sounds weird in my head. BUT I’m going to run long tomorrow, 17 or 18, and see how it feels. When I get back I’m going to go to a 7 a.m., Bikram class and meditate on how the long run felt and whether or not I should run Boring. I know. It’s weird, but I think the yoga in the hot-as-fuck-room will help clear my mind. And while truthfully I may not be able to think about the marathon as I’m in the room, my mind will be clear when I leave and I can contemplate it on the way home.

In other news…. I got my second tattoo. A sunflower. For those of you following along you know my first tat, a running chick, is on my left shoulder. That didn’t hurt really. I mean yeah, it hurt a little initially, but it didn’t really hurt. This one? Um, well, yeah. It hurt. A lot. Two days later and it still hurts, but I love it so much I don’t care about the pain. I love my tattoo artist and what she does — and this tat is fabulous.

Tat #2

So that’s what I’ve got going on.

I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and the weather is great where you are. It’s fantastic here in the Pacific Northwest and I’m loving it.

Peace!

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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.

moving

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.

prerace

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.

post race

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 spent the weekend in Idaho with Blue Eyes.

Blue Eyes likes football and participates in a Fantasy Football League (?) – the league he’s part of has been together for 10 years.  The lot of them consists of 9 men and 1 woman.  Interestingly, the woman’s husband was the original member of the group, but he sucked at it and kind of lost interest because he sucked so badly.  The wife took over his spot about 4 years ago.  While she hasn’t won, she doesn’t suck and she and her husband have divorced.

Originally all ten members lived in the Portland/Vancouver metro area.  About 7 years ago, however, one of the members moved to Idaho.  Every August he makes the trek back to the Pacific Northwest for the draft.  A couple of years ago he asked if the group would be open to making the trip to Idaho for the 10 year anniversary.  Everyone agreed it would be a nice change, so that’s what was planned and this past weekend that’s what took place.

Blue Eyes invited me along a few months ago.  Originally I said no.  While I like to travel and see new places I’d heard some scary stories about racism in Idaho and I really had no desire to have my own first-hand accounts.  Obviously I changed my mind.  Pretty happy that I did.

I left my house a little after 6 a.m., on Friday morning to drive to Blue Eye’s house in Washington.  I got there before 7 and we left his house by 7:30 and headed to Hood River.  In Hood River we met up with some of his closest friends (and my favorites, thus far, of his friends I’ve met) who were also going to the draft.  Then we set out.

Now, if you look at a map, and you know I live in the Portland area you might assume it wasn’t really too much of a drive.  After all if you drive East from Portland, across Oregon and into Idaho you hit Boise.  Easy.  We weren’t going to Boise, however.  We went to Bonners Ferry.  Here is a map of Idaho. . .

Map of Idaho

We were 14 miles from the Montana border and less than 25 miles from Canada.  Beautiful country, but man what a drive.  Probably 8 hours of straight driving, but all told, I was in a car for 11 hours.  Made for a long day, but we got there before 5:30 and enjoyed a BBQ and beer at the hosts beautiful house in the middle of a quiet forest area.  I’m a vegetarian, though, which is a foreign concept in an area where they eat Buffalo on the regular, so I ate side dishes with my beer.

Exhausted from the drive we were back at the hotel by 10.

Saturday we drove into Sandpoint and had breakfast at a cute little café that used all local and organic veggies – the food was wonderful and filling.

di-lunas-cafe-in-sandpoint

After breakfast we walked through the Sandpoint farmers market where Blue Eyes bought me a couple of sunflower art pieces (I love Sunflowers)

SPfarmersmarket

And then we walked over to the Sandpoint city beach.  Sandpoint is beautiful.  I’m convinced.

sandpointcitybeach sign

SandpointCityBeach

The draft started at 1:00 p.m. at a local bar in Bonners Ferry.

Mugsys

Having never been to a fantasy football draft before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  There was some set up involved – the draft board, for one. . .

empty draft board

And then two of the guys weren’t able to make the trip so they participated by phone via Facetime.  The two Iphones being used were set up at the table in each guy’s respective drafting position, so it was kind of like they were there. . . Kind of.

First order of business was to congratulate the prior year’s winner and present him/her with the money and trophy.  Blue Eyes won last year, for the first time so he accepted his trophy and the cashola.  It was nice.

trophytransfer to blue eyes

 

trophywinner

And then the 16 rounds of drafting began.  There was a lot of shit talking and LOTS of beer.  In the four hours we were there Blue Eyes and I shared two pitchers of beer.  That equated to four pints of beer for me in four hours.  Not a ton in the grand scheme of beer drinking, but as much as I like beer, I’m a light weight and four pints of an IPA with an ABV of 6.8% pretty much put me on my ass.

Draft complete – everyone sufficiently liquored up for a picture – including the two guys on the Iphones!

draftboardfilled

 

draftgroupphoto

After the draft we went back out to the host’s home and had a second BBQ and more alcohol.  I stayed away from the beer and switched to Fireball.  Um yeah.  That shits dangerous.  A shot of Fireball tastes just like a mouthful of redhots.  Dangerous.  If you like redhots, that is.  Sadly, I do.

fireball whiskey

I remember very little about that evening, but I believe it was fun.

Sunday we were headed back to Oregon.  We got off the freeway in Spokane, Washington to try to find the waterfall through the center of downtown we’d heard about and in the process of looking for that we drove through Gonzaga’s campus –

Gonzaga

Then we went to Riverfront Park and walked around.  Waterfalls, flowers, fountains, running sculptures.  It all made me really like Spokane.  Which surprised me.

RiverfrontParkFlowerse

 

RiverfrontParkWaterFountain

 

RiverfrontParkWaterfall

 

Spokane Park

After lunch we headed on home, taking one quick detour off the highway to tool around Ritzville, Washington.  It took all of 5 minutes, but it was interesting in that you could tell that at one time in history Ritzville was a pretty happening place – now, however, it’s a run-down town in the middle of absolutely nothing. It was at one time the wheat capital of the world, but now, while they are still growing wheat, it’s not nearly as much as it was in their heyday and now there is nothing going on in Ritzville.  Nothing.

RitzvilleWa

After Ritzville we drove through the Columbia Gorge in a lightning storm with lots of rain.   I managed to get home by 8:45 p.m. and fall into bed.  To get up at 4:00 a.m. and wonder why I hadn’t asked for Monday off as well.  It’s surprising how much driving can take out of you – and I wasn’t driving, except to get myself home – but I’m exhausted.

I didn’t do any running while I was out-of-town, probably because I chose drinking instead, but I had a great time and have no regrets.

Working on when and where I can take my next trip out-of-town.  Trying to figure out how to get to Hawaii before year’s end – not sure I can actually make it happen, but I haven’t given up on the idea!

Sigh. . . . I love Hawaii.

I hope you all had lovely weekends and have a fantastic week!

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marathon_motivation1

Woot-woot!!  Excited is an understatement.

Work’s been a bear, life has been challenging but I cannot tell you how excited I am to get out there and run my 26.2 little miles tomorrow amidst the trees and lovely greenary. 

The weather people are predicting temps in the 70’s and a clear blue sky.  The views of Mt. Hood should be spectacular!  Expect pictures!

Running Makes Me Smile

Enjoy your weekend people!  I totally intend to enjoy mine! 🙂

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I ran with Maureen in Forest Park on Saturday.  The trails we touched on our 11 mile adventure included Wildwood, Wild Cherry, Dog Wood, Fire lane 1 and Leif Erickson (where the masses tend to run because either (a) they don’t like actual trail running; (b) are afraid to venture onto an actual trail; or (c) think running on an actual road (not accessible by vehicles) that travels through the park is as good as it gets!   HA!  If they only knew!)

Maureen had just run the Tacoma Marathon (in heat we, in the Pacific Northwest, are not used to running in) six days earlier and I had run 24 trail miles seven days earlier.  As such, we were in no hurry in our efforts and did a good bit of hiking mixed in with the running. 

I’ve decided I’m not going to beat a dead horse here. 

I love running.

I love trails. 

I love trail running.

If you’ve been following along, you know this already. 

Maureen took this picture of me on Saturday and I love it because it is truly me in one of my very happy places. 

 Me Away on Trail

 While I’m not running at the moment this picture was taken, what I see when I look at it is Me,  happy to be alive, healthy in ways I never imagined, grateful to live where I do and content with my life. 

Even with the bullshit.

I can’t really ask for more than that.

Have a good week people!

*************************

P.S. Here is a new blog that I love and have started following — murchubrian — I think he just started it.  The content is enjoyable — if you like trail running take a peak (of course even if you don’t like trail running you can take a peak!)

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I’m not sure what it’s equal to, but let me tell you that it feels like a whole hell of a lot more than 23 street miles.

This past weekend was the Vernonia Marathon.  I didn’t run it, even though I considered it.  I ran it last year and didn’t finish.  I need to run it again so I can quit being afraid of it, but this year I wasn’t prepared to do that.  All the same I told myself I’d run a marathon distance this weekend, on my own, just to reassure (or possibly remind) myself that I actually can (and have) run 26.2 miles.

I meant to run a few times last week prior to the 26 on Saturday, but I didn’t.  Life seems hectic and busy of late and while I’ve been diligent about my lifting, kickboxing and yoga in the evening, I didn’t make it a priority to get out of bed early last week to run.   It didn’t derail my desire to run the distance on Saturday, however.  If anything, it made me look more forward to it.   

On another note, I found out recently Timberline has a 7-hour time limit to finish.  Timberline: the lovely, high altitude trail marathon I will be running on June 1st.  Has it EVER taken me 7 hours to finish a marathon?  No.  Has it EVER taken me close to 7 hours to finish a marathon?  No.  But for some reason when I know there is a time limit I start to freak out.  Running is my mental mind fuck. 

So, while I wanted to run 26.2 on Saturday, it seemed more important to prove to myself that I can and will finish the Timberline Marathon within the 7 hour time limit.   Mid-week one of the chicks asked if anyone wanted to join her for 23 miles on the Wildwood trail.  Given all of the foregoing, I jumped at the opportunity.  Twenty-three trail miles would not be the same as 26.2 street miles, but it was more in line with what I needed and, depending on how long it took, it would hopefully help me calm the fuck down. 

Christine, the chick looking for a running buddy, runs fast.  She’s 13 years younger than me and ran her last 50k in a little more than 5 hours – because she rolled and twisted her ankle at mile 15 and had to go a little slower because of the pain.  Her normal pace is 8:30.  Mine is 10:10 on a good day, 10:30 on an average day and 11 if I haven’t slept much.   I was thrilled to run with her though because it’s always nice to run with company, and I thought it might help me run faster.   We were joined by another chick that I adore.  Here we are at mile 7.  Still happy.

TheThreeChicks

Even though it wasn’t raining when we got to Wildwood, it had rained off and on, at times hard, for the previous 48 hours.  The trail was a mud pit in places and I still hadn’t purchased any trail shoes.  That wasn’t good.  My left ankle took a beating, constantly sliding out from under me, unable to get the appropriate grip and it HURT before we got to the turn-around spot.

We started at the 53rd trail head which drops you down onto Wildwood at the 9.25 mile marker.  We ran, talked, laughed our way eleven and a half miles out to mile marker 20.75.  I took this picture and posted it on Facebook with the words “half way!” without thinking too much about it.  It wasn’t til I got back to my car and saw some of the comments that I realized how misleading that was.  HA! 

HalfWayTurnAround

My brother’s comment was “Oh hell no” – I had to go in and say no, we didn’t actually run 41.5 miles, only 23.  To which I had multiple girlfriends text me and say “who says ‘only 23’?”

On the way back Amy told us she had never run more than 18 miles, ever.  We were probably at mile 16 when she told us.  Christine and I were excited for her, she was excited, but I’d say within the next 4 miles she started to fade fast.  By mile 21 I was starving, my left ankle was throbbing and I was sure I was going to fall on my ass from the mud.  We started walking up the hills (which seemed to be relentless) and by the time we had less than 2 miles to go Amy announced she could not run anymore.  I was fine with that.  I’m not sure I could have run anymore either.

We finished the 23 trail miles in just under 6 hours (and this included walking for 2 miles, peeing in the woods a couple of times, and the times we stopped to take pictures and eat).  I stood at the street looking back at the trail and said “I should be able to finish an additional 3.2 miles in less than an hour right?”  They both laughed at me and assured me I could.  I think they may be right.

Here are my sad, sad shoes after Saturday’s 23 muddy miles.  I drove home in my socks because my ankle demanded I take it out of the shoes immediately. 

ShoesAfter23

After a hot shower the ankle felt better but I knew I couldn’t put off purchasing proper trail shoes.  I went to Road Runner and did the whole Shoe Dog thing.  I walked instead of running on the treadmill to be nice to my ankle.  I tried on a bunch of shoes.  Asics, Mizunos, New Balance, Saucony, Brooks.  I liked the Asics GT 2000.  I also really liked the Mizuno Wave Ascend 7, but when I tried on the Saucony Progrid Peregrine 3 my feet were home.  I. Love. Saucony.

NewTrailShoes

I expect to see Wildwood again next Saturday with Maureen.  And then I get to run a pretty flat half marathon through lilac and tulip fields with views of Mt. St. Helens and the Columbia River on Sunday.  That’s a good weekend for sure. 

Have a great week everyone!

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