Gorge Waterfalls 50K – 3/31/14

Last Saturday was yet another gray and rainy day in Oregon and Jesse was signed up to run the Gorge Waterfalls 50K. But let me tell you a secret: I wanted to do it.

A couple months ago I decided to just skip the marathon distance and go right into the ultra distance. If I’m keeping up with Jesse in spirit, I might as well try to keep up in body as well, right? This event happened to be an entry by lottery only type so I decided to let “fate” (or something like it) determine whether or not this would be my first. So I secretly put my name in the hat, as you will, and encouraged Jesse to as well (“This one looks gorgeous, you should run it, blah blah blah”). Naturally, he was picked and I wasn’t. Pretty much sums up my luck, I’d say!

It turned out to be for the best, as I was battling hip flexor issues or whatever the heck that was and was out of proper training commission for a while anyways. So there you go.

This event seemed to be highly disorganized in general. There was no pre-race day packet pick up, so we drove out to the Gorge super early and Jesse encountered some confused volunteers with packets and bib numbers, which it then became obvious the race wasn’t chip timed. We then drove an additional 20 miles up the freeway to the start line (rather than taking the shuttle bus. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ that!). Sadly I had some vehicle troubles so I drove straight back to Portland and missed his start, though.

While Jesse was running, I met up with L to do some running of my very own on the comfort of the oh-so-familiar Leif Erickson Drive. We ran together for 6 miles, per her training schedule, and I carried on, merging onto Wildwood, to do….wait for it………….

Fourteen. I’m absurdly proud of Jesse for running 50k but this day I was feeling particularly proud of myself as well. It was certainly hard work, muddy and rainy, and, well, the longest continuous distance I’ve run. Ever. (We did the 25k in November, but didn’t run the whole time. I think I cried for more miles than I ran that day.)

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After my run, I drove straight back out to the Gorge to watch Jesse finish. It was pouring down rain and I alternated between standing under the finish line tent and sitting in the car with the heater on, mainly trying to dry my socks! One couple, decked out in the beloved Salomon brand, finished together all cute and the guy bent down, right at the finish line, pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him. It may have been a bad time, I think she was too exhausted to do even simple math, let alone commit to him for life, but she smiled real big and said ‘yes’ nonetheless. It was very sweet. Not long after that, Jesse showed up, finishing strong. During his race recap, it turns out he ran with the newly engaged couple for several miles, discussing useful phone apps to curb childhood obesity. I won’t give any further details, in case one of these ultrarunners decides to patent the idea =]

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Also, Jesse may not be the original one, but he certainly is the better “ridiculously photogenic guy”. See how handsome he is?

While it was certainly a novel idea to have a wood-fired pizza station there, another disappointing aspect of the race was the wait time for food for these runners. It seemed to take AGES to get a slice. *sigh* We drove straight home and I think we both fell asleep around 6 PM.

Jesse’s race recap was interesting and I’m glad this run didn’t end up being my first ultra. It boasts countless waterfalls, which didn’t disappoint, but I guess the early miles were easily congested and the tight singletrack made it difficult to pass other runners. There were many miles that were on pavement and/or right next to the I-84 freeway, and then of course the finish line was basically in the middle of knee-deep swamp. Am I being too cynical? I feel cynical right now….

At the end of the day, he ran a freaking 50K! And that’s amazing. Race details aside, that accomplishment is still so so impressive and we’re lucky the Gorge is so close and accessible for these sorts of events (did I redeem myself there? I hope so).

In other news, spring has sprung in Portland. Here’s a view of downtown from the Eastbank Esplanade. Let’s just ignore the super muddy Willamette River for now, though.

photo-23We did a little bouldering on Tuesday night and a 4-mile Forest Park hike/run with Bear last night. He was a pretty good Bear this time, and I just love how happy he is when he’s not stressed about other dogs.

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