Inaugural Appletree Half Marathon – 9/16/18

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Back in September I ran the inaugural Appletree half marathon and the day was my perfect combination for running – gray and cool, sometimes rainy; perfect PR conditions!

For an inaugural event, there was a sizable crowd but the course started with a cruise-y downhill, so finding a place in the pack was quite easy. The course had an incredible amount of water stations, cheer squads, and motivational signs along the route, it was easy to keep spirits up! We ran past the garden, past Pearson Air Museum, along the stockade, past the Old Apple Tree Park, then along the Greenway Trail with a beautiful view of the Columbia, and eventually through Marine and Wintler Parks before turning around and going back, crossing under I-5 and running along the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Plaza, through downtown, then back to the finish….WHEW!

Around mile 9 the weather turned from slightly damp to full-on downpour. Given our lengthy dry summer, I was stoked to be running in the rain; the soaked-to-the-bone type where there’s no avoiding it. It’s just the best.

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The after party at this event was easily one of the best I’ve ever been to. I crossed the finish line and was given my medal, walked about 15 feet and had a chair to sit in. There were dozens of chairs available (which never happens)! If I had an energy gel for every race finish where I had to sit on the ground, I could fuel my next 50 miler. There was also an incredible amount of food; whatever you fancied. Pulled pork sandwiches, bagels, fruit, cookies, paired with your beverage of choice: bottled water, Deschutes Brewery beer, cider, kombucha, or wander a bit and find coolers full of Red Bull, vendors with other energy drinks, and I’m quite certain a full on Farmer’s Market booth. There were massage tables, and more swag to fill your bag! I embarrassingly had so many goodies in my arms that I dropped a drink can on the ground and sprayed myself. No bother – I just wandered back and grabbed another one.

After hanging out for a bit, it was time to meet my friend for brunch so I enjoyed the walk along Officer’s Row back to my car. Another 13.1 was done and I was pleased to have been part of Appletree’s inaugural day!

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Canada – 8/31-9/5-18

For the long Labor Day weekend, Jesse and I made a trip to visit his family in Canada. On the flight there, we were seated in an exit row that had ridiculous leg room!

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We were able to visit a few more family members who don’t live in the area this trip, which was a real treat. One of the first days of our visit was spent hiking some local trails and we finished the evening with pizza, drinks, and an ice cream cake to celebrate a birthday. This lovely lady definitely wanted in on it!

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I am incredibly lucky to have these “in-laws” and I adore spending time with them. It’s always filled with good catch ups, delicious food (and ice cream, invariably!), laughter, nature walks, and craft projects. For the past few years, I have wanted to take up knitting and on this trip Jesse’s aunt replied with “well, let’s teach you then!”. And so it began. (Update: my scarf is nearly complete, however, I know nothing about knitting except the simple garter stitch, despite countless hours of YouTube tutorials. It’s a funny shape and has many visible errors. But to quote Mister Rogers: “I’m not very good at it. But it doesn’t matter.”) I was gifted a few skeins of Grandma’s yarn and Jesse’s great aunt’s knitting needles. I look forward to improving my skills and perhaps even making something worth wearing someday!

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Mt. Rainier Fastpacking – 8/22-4/18

In mid-August I paced a friend for the last 18-ish miles at the Waldo 100K, which was a lot of fun and super inspirational. I drove down in the morning, ran her in to the finish line, took the world’s darkest and coldest shower outside the ski lodge, slept in the car, hung out with some PCT hikers and made breakfast in the parking lot, and then drove home. The next week, with that same friend and two other ladies, we were at the trailhead to the Wonderland Trail on Mt. Rainier for a few days of fastpacking.

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We cached our food on the trail, had a few hiccups in obtaining a permit (but got one secured early that morning), studied the air quality websites ad nauseam, camped Wednesday night and started our journey Thursday morning. The Wonderland Trail is ~93 miles around Rainier with about 22,000 feet of elevation gain. It’s definitely a good challenge, but achievable. We planned to do ~30 miles per day, beginning at Longmire and running clockwise. Carrying ultralight tents and sleeping bags, minimal clothes, day snacks, cooking tools, survival gear, and water only, we ran the flats and downs and power hiked the ups.

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We were stopped for a permit check once, mid-morning. The ranger seemed skeptical about our plan, but didn’t question us. We carried on, passing day hikers, other backpackers, water crossings, switchbacks, campsites, and suspension bridges. The miles ticked on as the day got warmer, all the while with Rainier looming off to the right.

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Eventually, it became clear that the adventure was poorly planned and mistakes were made. I no longer felt safe on the mountain with this team of ladies and I made the decision to turn back. One of the others felt the same and joined me.

The two of us hiked back a few miles to a campsite and stayed there illegally, hoping for a little mercy from either the camper who reserved the site or a ranger who might question us. Luckily, neither showed up. Because we didn’t make it to our food supply, we had to ration our snacks and divvy it up between us – dinner, breakfast, then fuel for the hike out the next day. In the moment it was a bit of a joke; in hindsight it was foolish. We hung our packs on the bear pole and I spent the night in a very small tent on the side of a mountain with a woman I’d known for less than 20 hours.

I know life begins outside of your comfort zone, and I trusted my new hiking buddy, but I longed for this adventure to have been a success or at the very least, a better experience. It’s easy to dissect what the errors were, to point fingers (at myself, even), and to be angry and frustrated, but no one was hurt and I learned a lot about how to respect group dynamics and also about pushing my own boundaries. I definitely look forward to returning to Rainier to conquer Wonderland; it’s a National Park that’s not to be missed and a truly spectacular trail, but even with experience on your side, it’s still Mother Nature who has the last word.

In the morning, we packed up and shipped out, both of us eager to end the failed circumnavigation attempt. The hours passed and the scenery became familiar, as did my hiking buddy. I learned a lot about her and we had a genuinely good time hiking out, but I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d ever hear from her again (4 month update: I haven’t).

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Back at the cars, we changed clothes, had a full meal for the first time in over 24 hours, and eventually parted ways. I drove home alone, returning 2 days early. At the time, I simultaneously knew I made the right decision but was also disappointed I didn’t finish the challenge. The other two women did finish and I was admittedly jealous of that accomplishment. But I know Wonderland will be there to complete; the goal is for me to be, too. And with the decisions being made in those days in the backcountry, I had to prioritize the safety of the group above my own ambitions. If you can’t find a leader, be one, right?

Idaho – 8/10-12/18

Between the trip to McCall in July for the 20-miler, my niece’s horse 4-H show on August 4th, and then this trip, we were in Idaho a lot this summer. This particular weekend we spent with our good friends at their home in Coeur d’Alene. You might remember them from our Enchantments backpacking trip in 2017 (and John writes his own blog, which you can check out here). We don’t get to see them as much as we want, but it’s always so great to catch up when we do. And we always manage to get in an adventure, which is the cherry on top.

Jesse and I arrived super late on Friday night, driving over from Portland after work. Luckily everyone (except Kid-O) was still up waiting, so we weren’t too imposing! After a good sleep, we walked to brunch for some excellent local food, and then headed out for a hike. We were hoping to get in a small backpacking trip for old times’ sake, but there were some fires in the area and even though they weren’t the danger, the air quality was poor for strenuous activities and/or sensitive humans…like 18 month olds. So we drove out to the Montana border for the Blossom Lakes hike. It was about 7 very warm miles round trip and we enjoyed snacks and lake wading and basically had the place to ourselves.

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As happens with toddlers, hunger set in on the drive home and dinner plans needed to be arranged immediately, if not sooner. The girls headed home for a quick bath and dinner prep while the boys made a grocery store run for a few more ingredients. There was a hilarious bath mishap that slowed the process somewhat, but we all managed to get to the dinner table and have some great tacos without too much stress!

In the morning we hit up a local crag for a few hours of rock climbing before Jesse & I hit the road for home. Jesse and I are still learning the ropes, literally, and constantly wish we lived closer to Lindsey & John, not only to improve our skills, but to have such great climbing buddies. For now, we hope they don’t mind doing all the work of route finding and anchor setting!

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Kid-O joined us at the crag and her ability to self-entertain, her bravery and curiosity, and her parents’ dedication to teaching her to love the outdoors (and how to be safe in them) continues to impress us. We look forward to watching how she grows and fits in with our adventuring!

We made a small detour for ice cream on the drive home (hilariously Kid-O still thinks ice cream is yogurt and rejects it, so we don’t have to share with her!), Jesse and I packed up quickly, and made the journey home.

We look forward to hosting them in Portland in January!

McCall Trail Running Classic 20M – 7/14/18

This was one of those whirlwind weekends where everything happened and I want to remember it all. I look back at the photos and think “what even was that!?”. It all started with my best girlfriend wanting to run the McCall Trail Running Classic in Idaho. Immediately my answer was “yes” and we registered, booked a hotel, and then promptly forgot about the entire thing until just a few weeks out, panicked at the lack of training and planning, threw it all together, giggled our way through the entire roadtrip, ran it, and then somehow it was over.

Friday morning we packed up the car, made a pit stop at Fred Meyer and the bank because some things can really only be sorted out at the branch, and then we drove 7 1/2 hours, stopping only once. My favorite memory was the crazy rolling road into a tiny town and the cars under the carport with no cover on it. Oh, how we howled with laughter!

The “mandatory-ish” race briefing was Friday at 6 PM. We rolled into the parking lot at 5:58. What can I say? If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late, amirite?

We picked up our packets and listed to as much of the race briefing as we could stand, then went to check into our room / find some food. We hauled all of our gear up the stairs, opened the hotel door and realized someone else is in our room! After some finagling, we ended up in a different, lesser room, with my sweet friend sleeping on the fold out couch. I felt awful! She insisted, so eventually we both took a mental shrug and walked up to the diner for some pre-race breakfast-for-dinner and made a note to return when the Christmas shop next door was open!

As always, race morning comes too soon and we dressed and were out the door for our 8 AM start. Timing chips on, we lined up (near the back of the pack) and took off up the hill! Pretty soon we hear super heavy wheezing behind us – before we even passed all the cars in the lot – and a very winded woman dressed head-to-toe in pink came shuffling up behind us. We soon realized she was part of the race and we were both a little worried about her ability to complete it. Humbled, we were leap-frogging with her for a little while and eventually she passed us for the last time (and finished a good 40 minutes ahead of us).

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I really do recommend this event – the views are really stunning and the singletrack is dreamy and runnable. There are some good hills to climb, but some equally wonderful downhill. There are water crossings and meadows, and the aid stations were top notch (bacon & pancakes? yes please!)

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We had no goals for this race. The cutoff was the same for the 40M (so, basically, 12 hours) and we were in no hurry. I was all about stopping for photos, emptying my shoes of rocks and water at will, walking the hills, chilling at aid stations, and just enjoying it. We drove a long way to be in this race and I sure as heck wasn’t going to be miserable doing it.

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After a wonderful day of adventuring, we crossed the finish line and to my surprise and delight, my parents were there waiting! That never happens! They drove 3 hours from their town in Idaho to catch us at the finish line and so super sweetly brought Oreos and Coke for us! My entire life they’ve been my #1 fans and my running career in my adulthood is no exception, but this was my first proper race finish they’ve been able to witness. I could have cried with happiness. We all took advantage of the post-race baked potato bar, hung out under the big tent to watch more of the 40M finishers come in, and eventually parted ways. My friend and I were headed to their house the next day, so it was a quick day trip to catch up and talk running. After they left, we headed to the shores of Payette Lake and sat in the chilly water in our camp chairs, drank our Coke, and let our shoes and shorts get sandy af while we relaxed. It was the best after-race experience to date. A couple of quick showers and we were back at the lakeside at some cute outdoor restaurant for dinner at sunset. It was a good day.

Sunday, we were back on the road. A quick stop off at the Christmas shop, an ever quicker stop to get fuel, and we made the 3 hour drive to my parents’ house, arriving just in time for lunch. I spent the better part of 8 years in Central Idaho and don’t think of it fondly, so as we were driving through the area, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as my friend “oooohed” and “aaaahed” at the landscape. Perhaps seeing it through an unbiased lens is what I need to appreciate it’s special kind of beauty?

A wonderful BBQ at my parents’ house with my niece and all the dogs and life in rural Idaho on full display, I adored having so many people I love all together. My parents own a small business and since we were still making our way north, my mom asked us to make a quick detour to deliver an order to a customer on the way. With her hand-written directions, we tried our best not to use technology to guide us and the hilarity that ensued was just too much!

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At long last, we arrive at my friend’s vacation home in Northern Washington. It’s a beautiful spot, right on the golf course, and we spent the evening on the deck with a wonderful meal, catching up with her husband, and really relaxing. In the morning, breakfast, a tour on the golf cart, coffee, and a golf lesson (note: I was not immediately excellent at it).

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I did a tiny bit of work and then made my way back to Portland – leaving my friend behind, as she was spending the week there and would drive back separately after her vacation. It was mid-July and the temperature was rising relentlessly as the day wore on.

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I have only good memories of that entire weekend; it was one of my favorites of the year, in fact. There are times when I know I have to do the work of running alone and I accept that. But with a friend like mine and memories like these, I’ll happily give it up to have her with me.

Ultramook 50k – 7/08/18

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I’m a self-described mountain person as opposed to a beach person. Give me forests, timberline, rock scrambles, and singletrack. Alpine lakes and waterfalls, pine needles, views worth the effort. That’s not to say I hate the beach – the ocean is a magical place and I appreciate all it offers – but given the option, I’ll pick the mountain any day of the week and twice on Sunday. So, needless to say, we don’t visit the Oregon coast very often.

I had an opportunity to race the Ultramook 50k and 30k on July 8th and since I’m always keen for an inaugural event, I was hoping this race would change my mind about running at the coast! It’s certainly not a fast, on-the-sand, type of event and with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain in the 50k, it was anything but flat.

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I do love running in Tillamook State Forest but have always been on the east side. Up and over the range, just outside of Tillamook proper, the Ultramook started/ended at the Hydrangea Ranch. My favorite thing about the entire day was that the finish line was just on the other side of a river! Wading up to your thighs (or wave to stop your time and just plop right on down) after hours of running through the woods was the most spectacular feeling! But that meant to start the run, we had to go the long way around to avoid soaked shoes before the gun even went off. So around we went, the 3/4 mile walk. Groggy and obstinate, we all walked, starting us about 10 minutes late.

Both distances took off together. Each had a small field on their own, so starting off simultaneously gave a bit more community through the initial miles. Down a gravel road for a bit, then veering off into the woods, we hit AS1 and were all a bit confused by the mileage – all the watches read 2.5 and the AS sign said 3.5. Shrug. We had a few big hills to climb and I was sure the discrepancy would sort itself out as the course went on. Trail running distances and GPS signals are often taken with a grain of salt.

Miles 2-6 were grueling, gaining about 2,000 feet. AS2 was at the top and had the usual, beautiful ultrarunning spread. Chips, cookies, gummy bears, oranges, potatoes, PB&Js, water. The works. I was hoping for Coke, but seeing none, I opted for the Gatorade. They were in medium-sized bottles for the taking, which was a bit awkward, so I just dumped some in my extra handheld and took off. A small climb on soft singletrack was a nice break from the rocky 4-wheel drive track we just came up and then a steep downhill section was a fun way to start the next section.

After a few more rollers, we detoured quickly upwards to Top of the World for our earned views (damn, socked in. typical of the coast.) then down again and onward we ran.

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After a while another detour to Top of the World 2 (more fog? wt actual f, Tillamook?) I found myself alone. I made up some time on the breezy downhill, then entered what I believe to have been Alice in Wonderland’s Down the Rabbit Hole tunnel. Overgrown raspberries, tall grass, and uneven terrain made for some mentally frustrating miles.

I watched for the plentiful, yet often-too-subtle green course marking ribbons carefully. I caught up with two girls and felt relieved that I wasn’t lost. At the end of the long bushwhacking section, we hit an unbearably steep downhill. Grab-onto-trees-for-stability type downhill. It was short but challenging! At the end, it was more downhill, completely runnable, into AS3 (or the finish, for 30k-ers) and the start of loop 2 for the 50k. Back on the same gravel road, back to the same AS 1 (now 4), but this time our climb was along the creek, rather than the rocky road. It was beautiful in here, with numerous water crossings. I took every opportunity to dip my hands; the cold water refreshing and helped to ease my frustrations with my progress. Because it was such a small field of runners, I was pretty certain of my placement, but I was moving so slowly I expected someone to surely catch me. Reaching the top of the ridge, I popped out at AS5 and got my bearings about what was to come. I was back on the original course now for the same bushwhacking and the same steep downhill. I pressed on.

The second loop didn’t require the detours to the viewpoints – as tempting as it was to see if the fog had cleared, my legs didn’t want to extend the effort of those climbs. Back in the rabbit hole, I came upon another runner. Excited, I had been running alone for hours now, I was keen for some solidarity! He was from Texas and the hills were testing him. He was great company and it’s always fun to chat about running while running with other runners. We’re a special kind of people, aren’t we?

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Back down the grassy downhill, onto the gravel road, dodge right to the river, and wade across to the finish line. It was over. I raised my fist triumphantly, completing my first 50k in over a year, and couldn’t wait to stop my watch. Just under 28 miles. I guess it didn’t sort itself out. It’s hard to know if the course was short or the GPS was off, but either way it’s an ultra and I’m proud to have done it! That cool, breezy, foggy Sunday at the coast gave the best of both worlds: mountain and beach.

There were pulled pork sandwiches at the finish, along with beer and Gatorade. I sat in the grass with some other finishers, all of us giddy, yet exhausted, dreaming of a Coke and some Oreos – my favorite post-race fuel. The Hydrangea Ranch is a beautiful spot and I wished I had brought a blanket or lawn chair to hang out on for a while.

Twenty points to Gryffindor if you can find me in the photos. Also, the upside of such a small event is that I was the 2nd place female!

Dog Mountain – 7/4/18

I’ve lived in Portland for over 10 years now and it took that long to hike the ever-popular Dog Mountain. I had heard all the stories of how it’s difficult, beautiful, used for hill training (The Double Dog Dare, anyone?), and most deterring: busy. In the springtime, it’s by permit only to see the wildflowers. The parking lot has been expanded and is still always full. I know there are countless other amazing hikes in the PNW so this was never high on the list, but the 4th of July fell on a Wednesday in 2018 so we took advantage of the random weekday off and went for it.

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We attempted to make it a sunrise hike, but dang, that’s hard. We caught the last bits of the morning colors as we started but we were the first in the parking lot and had the entire climb to ourselves. It was a beautiful summer morning and it was nice to escape the heat. The hike is challenging but is a bit more mild than I was led to believe. Even taking the ‘More Difficult’ route!

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It’s a decent 5K hike to the top and the views are great – our beloved mountains in the distance, the river below. We made our way to the “true summit” – i.e. a tiny patch of dirt in the middle of some bushes; no views. Do not recommend. Scrambling back out to the view point, we enjoyed breakfast: peanut butter sandwiches and mandarins.

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Taking the long way back to make it a counter clockwise loop, we descended at a run with dreamy singletrack for the downhill. We ran into a few more people here, the morning crowd beginning their day.

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Back at the Subaru, the parking lot was full. I was pleased to have checked Dog Mountain off the list in a most memorable way. When planned correctly, it can be experienced without hassle and it really is worth that effort.

Wild Rogue Relay – 6/15-16/18

Oregon is home to many relays and our good friend likes to solicit Jesse and me for his team(s) for Cascade Lakes and Wild Rogue. Jesse and I have both retired from Cascade Lakes (Jesse ran it 3 times, me just the once), but I was open to running Wild Rogue – with promises that it’s not as hot and a bit more scenic. Plus, I love the teammates all so much, I signed up against my better judgment and let the lure of ultra team experience draw me in.

As always, we had to start incredibly early at a spot incredibly far away. We spent the night in a hotel and saw our first runner off while it was still dark. That’s generally how they begin.

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The majority of teams race with two vans and 12 runners, with everyone running 3 times. To make this multi-day event a bit more epic, we had just one van and 6 runners, so we all had to run 6 times…meaning you’re either running, eating, supporting your team, driving, preparing to run, rinse and repeat. There is little time for sleep so invariably the result is a messy van with exhausted runners at the wheel. This can’t be a good idea, right!?

Until it’s your turn to run and you get incredible views.

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It’s also breakfast burritos at 3 in the morning and it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted, the sunrise after 24 hours of running, all-you-can-drink free Dutch Bros, and your team captain in a Donald Trump clown mask.

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To be sure, there were moments of discomfort, pain, annoyance, and fatigue. Our team finished, not last but close to it, but a finish is better than a DNF is better than a DNS. In the last few legs, we were all on our last legs. Some were trying to stave off an injury, some were pelted with wind and sand, some battled incredible hills, all in an effort to make it to the finish line to pick up a rental car because Sunday was Father’s Day and some of our team had a long drive ahead.

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At the finish line, we enjoyed some quick food, had our van-emptying party, and said good-bye to half our team as they made their way north. We had a night of camping planned and I was looking forward to a proper sleep. In the morning, we were spoiled with pancakes and eggs, then started the very long journey, still in the van, home. Driving up the coast (without the pressure of running coming up!), just chatting and debating and laughing, was one of the highlights of the long weekend. I am grateful for such friends, willing to do crazy stuff. All with the radio off.

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Hello. It’s Me.

My last post was 7 months ago; 220 days to be exact. I am wondering how I let my little blog slip so far behind and then I think back over the last 220 days and remember: I’m busy.

We’re all busy, though, so it’s certainly no excuse. Life is busy, whether we’re working, traveling, running, volunteering, blogging, or just simply being. And I’m not always good about making the things I want to do a priority. But tonight, here’s an update.

The thought of making an individual post for each blog-worthy thing that’s happened in the last 7 months overwhelms me. I want to catch up with just snippets of the memories. So here’s a outpouring of life from the last few months:

I was injured all winter. On October 1st, I was running in Forest Park, a long run on a perfect day, and something in my foot went horribly wrong and Jesse had to come rescue me and we abandoned my car in the park. I couldn’t walk without a limp for days, and the following months were filled with scans, physical therapy, podiatrists, MRIs, chiropractors, insurance forms, injections, swimming, strengthening exercises, foot massages, shoe inserts, and toe correctors. I was in a very frustrated mental state. Nothing makes a runner want to run more than injury.

No breaks or fractures!

I had to drop out of all my fall races and focus on staying happy and in shape in other ways: swimming, volunteer trail work, horseback riding, hiking…

Eventually I began slowly running again, building strength in my foot, mileage in my legs, and confidence in my brain.

And then we bought a house. It is equal parts exciting and daunting to be a homeowner, especially as first-timers. We drove by the place on December 8th, did a walk through December 9th, made an offer December 10th, which was accepted December 11th, closed on December 28th, and moved in on January 2nd. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year indeed.

We spent the new few weeks cleaning the new house, moving in, cleaning out and fixing up our rental, and all the horrible things that go along with moving. My parents, sister, and brother-in-law came to help us move and I am so grateful for all of them! A few car loads, two pickup loads, and a U-Haul and suddenly our life on 84th Ave was over. No longer will we be “first time homebuyers”. We’re loving it, though, it’s beautiful and I just want to spend all my time here. Wonderful enough to live in, but old enough to have some projects (the list is long and boring, but I did just paint the master bathroom and we’re getting a new roof next week, so there’s that).

Just a few days ago we had ducks in our yard. Sometimes an ice cream truck drives by. Everyone wears reflective vests when walking after 8 PM. I like to watch the hummingbirds from my office window. It’s home.

Riley, trying to fit on the fireplace tiles

Promptly after moving in, we went on vacation for 3 weeks. We had a trip to Moab, UT for my birthday on the books since forever, then our friends in New Zealand announced their wedding date was the weekend after, so we made a thing out of it. Moab first, then NZ, then Australia. Because why not?

Morning 15K (and half marathon) then a hike on Dead Horse Point

The famous Delicate Arch

View from the NZ Skyrunner 10K

Hiking NZ’s Motatapu Track

Rock climbing in Australia

Just a typical morning sunrise walk on Australia’s Sunny Coast

We returned to real life in Oregon and resumed work and responsibilities. We hosted friends from Idaho and Seattle, my parents have visited several times, and we had our housewarming party. We spent a long weekend in Bend and Jesse went to Germany for almost two weeks. I started to ramp up my running, with half marathons, girls running weekends, and all the trails I could get.

Sunrise run with Smiley Riley

Some mules blocking the trail during a run in Northern WA

In May, we traveled again for another wedding, this time to Mammoth, CA, and took in more adventures while we were there:

Hiking around Convict Lake

Peeking into Yosemite on the drive back

Jesse started his new job this past week and my job is crazy as ever. Up next is summer with weekends booked with events and experiences. Just like I like it. Here’s hoping I can make more time for sharing it all.

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest 10k – 9/16/17

Jesse and I (and some friends) ran the Mt. Angel Oktoberfest 10k last fall and enjoyed it enough to return again this year (with the same friends!).

After fluffing around for 45 minutes, we were finally ready to line up find our places in the pack. The 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00 minute mile pacing placards were strangely close together so it was hard to know where to be. It seemed everyone just squished in and we could sort ourselves out down the road. It was a non-issue, but we giggled about it up front.

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The course starts with a little uphill and then a longer, cruise-y downhill before flattening out. A high school band serenaded us at the bottom of the hill, along with a water station and the eventual 5k turnaround. Some wonderful volunteers at a busy junction made us all laugh with their direction signs (“Sexy ones to the left! All others to the right!”) and we made our way out to the country roads by the pumpkin patches and pastures of sheep. Like last year, it was the perfect running weather and the miles ticked by easily.

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After the race, we wandered over to the food and drinks for some local apples, banana slices, and granola bars. A booth with some tablets was set up to get your results instantly and one friend came in 2nd in her age group and my last ditch effort at a sprint finish got me 3rd in my age group! We each got a ribbon, which was a highlight!

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After a quick pit stop at the car to change clothes, we headed over to the rest of the festival (and to get our pint glasses and free beers!). With our glasses filled and our bellies empty, I snuck out to get some sausages and we feasted with the other runners.

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We wandered around the rest of the festival, checked out the vendor booths, saw some dancing, ate some ice cream near the glockenspiel, and hit up the petting zoo on our way out!

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