A story in pictures. Spring in the PNW is incredibly refreshing.
(To the the tune of Hank Williams’ ‘On Top of Old Smokey’ – sing along!)
On top of Mt. Bailey, all covered with scree
To find some adventure, I went with Jesse
To summit Mt. Bailey, we stomped through the snow
We skirted the crater, and swatted mosquitoes
We followed blue blazes, and made our way to the top
“We’re nearly there” he’d say, and I tried not to stop
The day was so pleasant, warm with blue skies
I’d gaze east to Mt. Thielsen, with awe in my eyes
We traversed a few snow fields, Jesse cut us a path
I was nervous at first, “I’ll do what with this axe!?”
We had snacks at the summit, and took in the view
“I love this”, I told him, “adventuring with you”.
Since we didn’t do as much running as we’d hoped for in Europe, I knew I’d need to get some serious runs in upon returning to Portland. We’ve committed to the Condor 25k on October 5th and I’m feeling
Jesse was working all weekend so I got up early on Sunday and headed to Forest Park by myself to just run. I had some water in my pack, a couple GUs just in case, my favorite skort, and a good podcast; I was ready for an adventure. I was debating with myself what a good distance for the day might be and kept reminding myself: “It’s not about what you’re capable of, it’s about what you are willing to endure.” –Orrin Woodward
15 miles later I was done. I had a few issues towards the end (well, throughout the whole run actually, but nothing worth whining about on here) but it was a fabulous fall morning and was pleased that I was able to finish and will hopefully be in good shape for our Corvallis event coming up. Except I’m paying for it a little today (and made the foolish decision to climb tonight as well. Ouch!)
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!
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!
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!
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!
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?
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!
A few more days of running behind me. Here’s what I was up to all week:
Monday, 4/28: Rest day, of course.
Tuesday, 4/29: 8 “easy” miles with Jesse on Wildwood after work.
Wednesday, 4/30: I was running “for fun in the hot, hot sun!”, as Dr. Seuss would say! I did 5 miles downtown and there were so.many.cyclists on the waterfront! Sometimes I think those clowns should be banned. And other times I feel jealous of their sweet rides, while I’m running along miserably, checking my watch every .2 seconds hoping to see progress. Plus…the Cinco de Mayo Festival was in set-up mode and I wasn’t able to cut up to the parking garage as I typically would, resulting in a bigger loop than normal. But it was interesting to see all the carnival-y things in their eerily dead state.
Thursday, 5/1: 5 miles on Wildwood with Jesse and Riley. Another hot day in Portland and we were certain Riley was going to combust, even though it was late evening. We were also nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes, cutting our outdoor stretch session short! Felt like summer…
Friday, 5/2: Rest day!
Saturday, 5/3: 18.5 miles. This “little” loop I mapped out had us start at Pittock Mansion and run to the Saltzman firelane where we caught Leif Erickson and ran back to NW. My friend Erin and I had been shopping all day and I talked her into joining us for the first bit, as she needed to do a 10 miler that weekend. Then her 10 miles turned into 13 miles. And then eventually we decided she’d just join for all 18, a distance PR for her as well! – I attribute the final commitment to our beef jerky offer. That stuff is so good mid-run! We finished with a decent time and had perfect running weather through Forest Park. A little drizzly and about 64 degrees. The pictures are a lie – we were running in t-shirts, I swear!
On the drive home after the run, we were in separate vehicles and Jesse sent me a text that he had to make a quick detour. I was showered and in my pajamas by the time he made it home, but he had stopped and bought me 18 hot pink roses…one for every mile I ran that day. Could he be any f***ing sweeter!? I just love him. (He also brought Starburst jelly beans and Reese’s PB cups, but those are 2nd place by far).
Sunday, 5/4: Rest, rest, and more rest. After our long run, my knee was really bothering me in a “I may or may not be injured” sort of way, causing me to be really paranoid about having done some real damage. So I took it easy, put some frozen brussels sprouts on it and began hoping with all my might that it was only fatigue.
Total weekly miles: 36.5
Oh, and I bought my wedding dress. “It’s all downhill from here”? Please, let it be so!
I had a goal in mind this week and I fell short. I’m told this happens sometimes, that I can get it next week, and that I still did some really good work, but of course my harshest critic is myself. I was really disappointed in myself on Saturday. Here’s how my week turned out, though:
Monday, 4/21: Rest
Tuesday, 4/22: 8.0 miles along the Springwater Corridor. I was feeling really great on this run and my stats showed really consistent miles. Plus, the scenery is hard to beat for an urban run!
Wednesday, 4/23: 4.6 miles with a friend in NW/Forest Park. I love this loop with her – a little climbing, a little descending, a little trail, and a little urban. She’s also a great running buddy and I always love our catch-ups.
Thursday, 4/24: Rest/heavy lifting. Our good friends are selling their house and moving out of state so I reluctantly helped her clean and stage their home for photos.
Friday, 4/25: 5.6 miles around downtown Portland. It ended up being a convoluted bridge loop and I just missed the downpour(s).
Saturday, 4/26: 13.1 miles on Wildwood with Jesse. It was a good distance, but I won’t talk about performance. Still feeling down about it…
Sunday, 4/27: Rest/more moving assistance.
Total weekly miles = 31.3
I suppose I can’t complain too much about that number. I’m still getting stronger, setting goals and PRs, all while remaining realistic and accepting that bad runs and bad weeks happen. I need to remember to embrace the good runs and be proud of my progress no matter what. This week is supposed to be like summer in PDX – looking forward to taking advantage!
Okay, so I’m not actually a fan of Kanye West but sometimes that line gets stuck in my head and it seems applicable for this weekend.
The top weekend priority was wedding planning. And that was great…we made a little progress. Second priority was a big long run in the hot, hot sun.
Here’s the ‘before’ photo:
Yes, we’re both wearing our SOB shirts. In Jesse’s defense, he had his on first and I decided on mine second. There was much discussion about this and we finally concluded that…well…who the heck cares?
Anyways, it was 70 degrees and gorgeous in Portland and we mapped out a 16 mile section on Wildwood to conquer. And basically we dominated it. It was extremely hard work and took a really long time, but at this point I am setting distance PRs every weekend and I am thoroughly enjoying seeing my progress. Of course this run might as well have been a 5k for Jesse, but I am forever grateful for his support and his company. And, per Kanye, I am certainly getting “…better, faster, stronger!”
Here’s the after photo:
With sore toes and a slight limp, we went out for some dinner afterwards. This is always a must for Jesse and a baaaaad idea for me, as I still get really queasy after running. Anyone have tips on how to get over this? It’s a real bummer…
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.)
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 =]
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.
We 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.
Jesse returned from California a few days early this week and I was glad to have a few nights with him before his crazy weekend work schedule commenced. He went climbing with some friends on Friday night while I took in a ‘hawkey’ game with my lovely friend, Shawna.
It was a playoff game between the Portland Winterhawks and Vancouver Giants at the
Moda Center Rose Garden. We had pretty great seats, actually. Gotta love Groupon! The Stanley Cup even made an appearance – apparently Portland was the first city to have its name engraved on the cup. You learn somethin’ new everyday.
Saturday was really casual, with a 5 mile run with my running buddy followed by some Po’Shines goodness in Kenton (though I am routinely disappointed with their fruit bowl. I need to stop ordering it to end the cycle). Jesse and I had a pretty good run on Wildwood on Sunday afternoon. He has a 50K coming up this Saturday so we made running a priority and took a good portion of the afternoon to get in 13 miles. It was such a perfect running day and Forest Park was gorgeous, per usual.
On the walk to the car, Jesse spotted this ridiculous request, which we had a good laugh about!
Some good effort there, Portland! Love it.