It’s France Time!

Only 15 hours until we arrive.
#ready

Plus, I have these bad boys to break in.

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McKenzie River Trail – 8/16/14

Last weekend Jesse and I hummed and hawed about what to do, debating the importance of mountain biking, running, sleeping in, eating candy, and watching TV.

In the end, at the last minute, we decided we could sleep in, eat candy, and watch TV any other day of the year but the number of mountain biking/camping/nice weather running weekends were limited and we should grab life and the world by the, um, horns, and take advantage. We would camp Friday night and on Saturday Jesse would mountain bike from one end of the McKenzie River Trail (MRT) and I would run from the other end and we’d meet in the middle somewhere.

So Friday afternoon I spent some time shopping (i.e. researching) sleeping bags for me, as I didn’t have one (I ended up with the Mountain Hardwear Petaluma 20, which I’m very happy with). Long story short, I needed the left hand zip one and ended up with the floor sample at a discount because of a small cosmetic blemish. But hey, I’ll take it!

We packed up the trusty Outback on Friday evening and headed to Sisters, OR; with some not-so-quick stops at Chipotle and Target for “supplies”. Of course. Though we were not brave enough to try these. They sounded too questionable. #’merica!

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We arrived at our carefully selected campsite around 11 PM…….I know what you’re thinking. “Ugh, setting up a tent in the dark when you’re tired is literally the worst thing about camping. Literally. Not even kidding. It’s awful.” However, I’ll have you know, our tent is pretty spiffy and sets up in about 3 minutes. I’m so grateful for that thing – good work, REI.

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Morning quickly came and Jesse was itchin’ to get on the trail so we ate our oatmeal in the back of the Subaru, packed up camp, and drove the .1 miles to the trailhead (that was lucky planning)! He took off on his bike and I drove the 20-some miles to the other end and started my run.

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According to the website, it would take Jesse about 2.5 hours to ride the trail; so assuming he had about a half hour start, we would meet mid-trail somewhere and that would be my turnaround point.

The trail was really beautiful, as promised. Though many of the first miles were near the main road, which was a bit of a drag. It was a fairly warm morning and running along the river offered a nice reprieve (though the water was too cold for swimming or even wading, it was gorgeous scenery and the light breeze over the water felt incredible).

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IMG_4539(I don’t know why the “Leaving National Forest Land” sign cracks me up, but it does. National Forest Land – such a magical place…)

After about 2 hours of running, not including the 30 minute drive time, I still hadn’t run into Jesse (or many other riders in general), and I started to worry that either A) he was injured and I didn’t have cell service to know; or B) I was on the wrong freaking trail and he was waiting at the car, completely confused.

I confirmed that I was indeed on the MRT by no fewer then 3 people and turned around, certain he was hurt and I should probably head to the ranger station to figure out what to do.

At mile 11 of 15 of my run, Jesse comes barreling up behind me, grinning from ear to ear. “What the hell!?” I yelled. “Where’ve you been!?”

“Oh, it turned out the 2.5 hour thing meant to mile 16. Not end to end.”

Well. That’s slightly misleading! At least he was okay. Ironically, I was the one who was hurting! I ended up walking my last 3.5 miles or so; hips sore, feet, and heart, sad. If I was injured again, I was going to be super pissed. (I had done a 10 mile run on Wildwood 3 days earlier and still felt sore. I was panicked I had messed something up in my hips again.)

We were both pretty beat and though extending the adventure was tempting, we decided to head straight home.

On Sunday we slept in 🙂 Later I met up with my friend to help her pack for her move to San Diego (of which I do not approve. I miss her dearly already).

This week I had a 7 mile run on Wildwood from 53rd, since I hadn’t done that section in a while, and a 7.5 miler the following day on the Waterfront/downtown Portland. Both felt really good, though for the next few days I was feeling incredibly hungry!

Our DIY project this week was making our race medals into fridge magnets. We decided this was a much better use of them – on display, rather than sitting in a box in the garage. They turned out pretty cute! But we’re missing a few – will need to find them and add to our collection!

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We’ve also been enjoying some backyard slacklining, as we finally put up our set between the deck and the tree. Jesse’s getting pretty good – my suspicion is that he spends hours a day on that thing while I’m at work!

In other news, at this time a week from now I’ll be on a plane with my love en route to France!

Sunshine and Summertime

I blame the heat, really. Portland has had a ridiculously hot (or gorgeous, depending on your climate outlook) summer and I’m tired about it.

Most people get super fit in the summer, right? Outdoors all the time, getting tan and enjoying nature and the sun and lack of rain. Well…this girl prefers the gray skies and cooler temperatures. So…I’ve been basking in the glory that is our 800 square foot house with air conditioning binge watching Orange is the New Black (much to Jesse’s dismay). But frankly, I don’t do so well when temperatures are above 80 degrees (Fahrenheit, that is).

So running has been minimal, if not non-existent. Ice cream, however, has been in abundance! Fair trade? I think soooo!

Jesse ran the Cascade Lakes Relay again this year, as a fill-in again even! He was on the same ultra team he was on last year, the Short Chain Fatty Asses, with many of the same people. I maintain he is like Santa and visits them only once per year. I trekked down to Bend to pick him up on Saturday (this would have been Aug 2nd). His team did really well and it’s such a fun atmosphere to hang out in. They finished in just under 33 hours! Exhaustion and camaraderie go hand in hand with something like this and they were all looking pret-ty disheveled at the finish line!

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My mom and my sister were in town for my “bridal shower” this past weekend. They wanted to do something for me, so I told them to come to Portland and we’d just spend the weekend together. Jesse took off for Mt. Hood to go mountain biking/camping and it was just us girls, and 3 dogs, all weekend. We went to brunch, hiked in Forest Park, enjoyed some shopping on NW 23rd, picked up my wedding dress, and I took my sister bouldering. I loved having them here all to myself!

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I had my wedding dress altered by the cutest Vietnamese dress maker in SE Portland. Kim did an amazing job of hacking off the train and making small adjustments *ahem* elsewhere. She has the tiniest shop at the Fubonn Shopping Center with a small corner with a curtain as the “dressing room”. I don’t need nothin’ fancy!

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Jesse and I ran a quick 5k on Mt. Tabor last week and I went out again with Riley later that night for a really quick 2 miles, but that had been the extent of my “training” in the past few weeks. Even Riley gave up after 2 miles that day, forcing me to walk him home, as he wouldn’t run any more.

Last night I decided I needed some time in Forest Park so I drove to Lower Macleay straight from work and got to it. I knew the trail was going to be dry so I figured my road shoes would be okay and ended up with sore toes and a couple blisters – but I PRed on just about every section, so it turned out to be a good Wednesday 10 miler. Good work, Brooks Ravennas!

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Also, because I had the random photo, I’ll let you know that I love pink running gear (except none of the pinks actually match. Go figure). See?

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The next event I have my eye on is the Condor 25k in Corvallis. Should be hard work, but is on some nice trails I’ve not run before! Here’s hoping it’ll be rainy!

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Lacamas Lake Half – 7/27/14

I came back from Canada about a week before Jesse did and thought I would take advantage of the Lacamas Lake Half before he arrived. I hadn’t done my own half marathon yet (no running buddy, no support crew, just me). Lacamas Lake is a road event in a little town across the border in our neighbor state of Washington and just a quick 20 minute drive from our new place, which I continuously enjoy that being the standard time from our house to basically anywhere in the PDX-metro area. Also, I realize we’ve been here for a few months now and I can probably stop referring to it as our “new” place.

When I bought my new running shoes – the fabulous Brooks Ravennas, I might add – the store had their brochures about the event everywhere so I grabbed one and it’s been hanging on the fridge for months. It seemed like a decent run, for a road event *cough cough*, so I signed up kind of last minute and thought I’d give it a go.

The day arrived and I was cursing the 7:30 AM start as I pulled out of the driveway at 6:30 AM. I’m not even up that early on weekdays! C’mon!

I had never been to Camas, Washington…dare I say “who has?” It’s pretty small, but fairly cute, though I will say this event certainly helped liven the place up. There was also a 5k and a kiddie run happening and the main street was action-packed. I picked up my packet, downed a GU (strawberry-banana flavored, no caffeine) and elbowed my way to the starting line.

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Now, as most of my longer distances, including the half marathons already “under my belt”, have been on trail, I had no idea what pace group I should even aim for. 2:15 I guess? I found the petite girl with her cute little sign and waited patiently as the clock ticked down…and secretly kicking myself for not having any water with my GU (that stuff basically coats your esophagus, suffocating you).

Pretty soon and after a while and before I knew it we were all running. It’s always tempting to bob and weave through the crowd to find your place but since I had no idea what pace I should be at, I kept myself mid-pack and figured it’d sort itself out later. About .1 miles in, we hit the “hill”, which made the pacers completely moot as everyone started walking already. I powered on ahead, trying to push myself for a decent time.

Running on pavement is really not super fun. It can be almost as bad as a treadmill; running next to the white fog line, feeling like you’re standing still. The lake and lush trees provided some nice scenery, but my mind still rejected the asphalt.

There were aid stations about every 2 miles, but I didn’t stop for anything until mile 8 – even then it was just a sip. I didn’t bring my Camelbak and packed exactly 4 jellybeans in my belt, of which I only ate 3. The last one melted / smashed against my phone at some point. So that was fun. Otherwise I relied on my headphones for fuel (Dear Fall Out Boy: thank you for helping me make it through. Sincerely, Bobi Jo).

The first 5 or so miles were surprisingly hilly and I quickly became annoyed at the pace I was keeping. After a few more miles, the course straightened out into a long flat stretch and I was quickly bored. My thoughts included:

  • “My shadow looks weird”

  • “What is that noise???” *looks behind* “Oh, a dog panting. We could bring dogs? Better to not have Riley here, that’d be a disaster. Is this dog really running all 13 miles? I wish Bear WAS a better running buddy though. Man, he was really confused when I left this morning. Poor guy.”

  • “Some of these houses are really pretty. Jesse and I could live there. Or there. Or there. Or there. Definitely NOT there. Oooh, horses! Ugh, they smell so good. Why is that?”

  • “I have to get away from this guy with the minimal shoes. Stop shuffling – PICK UP YOUR FEET, MAN! Holy crap, he’s like 70 years old. At least! Impressive. But still annoying. I should try to run like that.” *tries to run like that* “How does he run like that!?”

  • “We’re over half a mile past the last aid station – why are all these drink cups out here? This would never happen in a trail run. That’s grounds to be disqualified and never allowed back. Who are these clowns who think this is ok? That’s totally the top of a GU packet just thrown on the ground! Who does that!?”

  • “Seriously, my legs in my shadow are all sorts of messed up. Do they really bend in like that? I have such a weird stride. All these other people look normal when they run, why do I look so weird?”

  • “My face is too sweaty with my sunglasses on but my corneas basically melt without them. Why is this an issue? I am glad we started so early, though. It’s getting pretty warm out already. #firstworldproblems”

…among other things. I wish I had more productive things to think about that morning. You know, some deep life issues I’d finally have light bulb moments about. Some epiphanies, some therapeutic “me” time. But instead, I occupied my mind with insecurities of my deformed shadow. I clearly did not make good use of my time!

Around mile 8 I started to feel really good! I was passing all sorts of people and would give out encouraging messages as I ran by! “Good work, ladies!” “Over halfway done, you got this!” When most of those went unanswered I couldn’t be bothered anymore – some people can be so disappointing!

The last few miles were on a dirt path around the lake and it was nice to be away from the traffic for a while. Then the course fed right back into town, down the big hill we started with, and finished off downtown. I was ready to be done – but not because I was fatigued. More because the sooner I was done, the sooner I could pick Jesse up. (Not that that was true. His flight was going to land on schedule and me finishing my run early wouldn’t change that. But still. You know what I mean).

My time? 2:06. I impressed myself and was extremely pleased – for my first road half.

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I downed a few cups of water and sat on the curb for a few moments to stretch and wind down. The finishing line at the event was complete chaos and I just wanted to shower and drink lots of water so I left fairly quickly.

My favorite part about the whole thing? I wasn’t even sore afterwards; not that night, nor the days following. I guess that means I need a new goal!