Misc. Summer Fun!

My mom, sister, and nieces visited for a weekend in late July and we had a little excursion up to Ape Caves, then hit up Target for back-to-school shopping, and the market for some fruit and face painting!

Jesse and I did some summer training in Forest Park and another quick trip to Silver Falls (on the one day it kind of rained all summer).

We also went with a friend to an all-day outdoor climbing class. We learned knots and anchors and had a nice little climbing session. Almost makes me wish I loved running less so I would make more time for climbing..!


Lake Michigan Loop + Canada – 7/20-24/17

The minute I turned on my cell phone on the plane from SFO, I had notifications that Jesse & I would need to travel to Canada that week. That night, we had flights booked, dog-sitting arrangements made, and 2 days later we took a red-eye to Chicago. As we all know, last minute flights are either horribly expensive or ridiculously cheap. Facing the former, it was going to be hundreds of dollars cheaper to fly directly to Chicago, rent a car, and drive to Canada. So the adventure began.

One terribly turbulent flight later, we arrived in “The Windy City” in the middle of some sort of monsoon weather. We were soaked just running from the door to the car, a mere 50 meters or so. Butting up to Thursday morning commute traffic, we hit the road to avoid any rush hour mayhem, heading east toward Michigan. Eventually, the hunger set in and we stopped at some random town for a basic breakfast in a tiny diner. We continued on in the rain for a while longer. Eventually when it cleared, we stopped at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and accidentally napped under a tree for an hour or so. When we awoke, it was blazing hot and the sun was out. We attempted a brief hike while we were there, but neither my mood nor my attire were right for such a feat. We aborted that mission and hunted for some lunch instead.

Tempting, but we passed on this place..!

Finally, we had to start making up some time, as we had an entire state to drive up. A few hours down the road, we made another pit stop in Grand Rapids. We stretched our legs in Millenium Park and watched the turtles, grabbed some iced coffees, and began again.

The final stop was in Traverse City for dinner and the sunset on Lake Michigan. I fell in love with the cleanliness of the town, the water, and the summer-y vibe. I look forward to returning with more time on our hands.

We made it to our family’s house in Canada late and just slept. It was nice to no longer be moving.

The next few days were filled with family, ice cream and Tim Horton’s, hugs, laughter, and memories. We scrambled the shore of Lake Superior one afternoon, skipping rocks and looking for critters.

Our drive home was through Wisconsin, to complete the loop. It was a fun game to compare America to Canada and even Michigan and Wisconsin to each other and to Oregon. We stayed one night in Green Bay and wandered around Lambeau Field briefly. I always love being in the heart of Packers country!

The next day, back to O’Hare and back to PDX (after a frustrating and confusing delay at the airport where we boarded and deboarded the plane due to “mechanical” issues?).

How was California? – 7/15-17/17

One of my closest friends lives in the Bay Area and I had yet to visit since she moved there, so I booked a flight and went. I guess adults are allowed to do that and it’s quite lovely.

I arrived early morning and we picked up some fresh bread, stone fruit, and veggies. We made an emergency vet visit, and then grilled an array of appetizers for the perfect summer dinner. It was hot, much to my chagrin, and that evening we walked along the water through the most impressive dog park I’ve ever seen.

On Sunday, we went for a hike/run up Mt. Tamalpais and got a little turned around. Giving up, we ended up down in Miur Woods to beat the heat. The redwoods were beautiful and I enjoyed our mini California adventure. That evening we had some pretty incredible pizza from Berkeley and watched Wall-E, because why not?

The next morning I was back in Portland. It was such a lovely girls weekend; I need to make these more regular, for sure.

Fueled by Fine Wine Half Marathon- 7/9/17

As you know, I am a trail runner through and through, which means I typically gravitate to the woods, to the mountains, and to small-time races. I walked up to the Fueled by Fine Wine race feeling out of my element, as almost 1,000 runners gathered in the small park in Dundee. I had been hemming and hawing about bringing my own hydration and my friend encouraged me: “You may benefit from it. Those hills...”I have my own hill challenge on my schedule in August, so I’ve been filling my weekends with power hiking and my weeknights with hill repeats. I brushed off his comment, feeling full of myself. Before I even hit mile 5, his words were on loop in my brain. “Those hills“. Indeed.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 8.07.30 PMIt’s been a warm summer in Oregon already and the race started at 7 AM from a park and it warmed up quickly, as we immediately ran up a pretty good incline. Running through vineyards is not exactly shady, so the sections of road in the trees were coveted.

2017 FBFW Half

The first aid station was right at mile one and I zipped by. There was plenty of aid throughout the entire course (as well as port-a-potty access), with water, electrolyte drinks, gels, and at one point I saw some gummy worms and Reese’s peanut butter cups! The volunteers were all so happy, helpful, and encouraging and I wish I could thank them all personally. We ran quite a bit on paved roads, which was a nice way to make up some time. Though the hills never quite let up, it’s much easier running on pavement than through lumpy grass amongst the grapes! Mt. Hood and (I believe) Mt. Jefferson watched us all morning long. When the downhills arrived, I greeted them with gusto! Arms outstretched like a 5-year old, I sprinted down (while secretly hoping I wouldn’t crash and burn). Perhaps my favorite part of the run was at the Lange Estates Winery. We just ran up a grueling hill and came into their aid station, where they had a sprinkler running! I wasn’t the only one who lingered under that puppy! It was a refreshing way to gear up for the hill ahead: 10% grade!

2017 FBFW Half2017 FBFW Half

This was the last of the major climbs (this was from mile 8-9, approximately) and we were generously met with another aid station and a sight for sore eyes:

2017 FBFW Half

The sign was a bit premature, as we had a few little climbs to make yet, but essentially, it was time to pick up the pace. The race ended on a downhill, so I mustered a sprint finish, grabbed a bottle of water, and headed toward the shady grass to relax with some post-race snacks and to enjoy the rest of the morning before the hot drive back to Portland.

2017 FBFW Half

2017 FBFW Half

Saddle Mountain – 7/8/17

More training, more hiking, more trails, more friends, more views, more adventure.

We hit up the coast range this time for a repeat of Saddle Mountain to beat the heat. I brought my running buddy and her son, as well as Jesse and RileyDog. Not a cloud in sight, we hiked for a few hours, then headed the rest of the way to Seaside for brunch by the ocean. Not a bad Saturday!