Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Hola, my quiet readers!

I know I still need to blog my Run Like Hell half marathon experience from mid-Oct... and it was a VERY fun run, so I will be doing that.

... BUT I just wanted to update people on my running news.

A couple of things:
  • I've discovered pool running. Or rather, I gave it a spin once a couple weeks back, and it went really well. My dad is getting me a waterproofing kit for my ipod, so that I can pool run with tunes (which I think will make it more interesting), but I think this could also be my secret weapon for training from now on... especially since it is literally a zero impact workout which works all your muscles, including your abs and upper body. It's crazy cool.
  • After the Run Like Hell, I kinda had the goal of a 2 hour half hanging over me unfulfilled... and I'd like to try to reach that goal in 2009, but I really didn't have any specific races ear-marked yet. I knew I wanted to do PPP instead of Hippy Chick, so that was kinda decided, but other than that I really hadn't decided on anything. I was kinda seeking my next whatever.
  • I got an email about the upcoming events for TNT's spring season, and the call for mentor applications. One event really caught my eye, the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage Alaska on the solstice. After volunteering for the 2008 Portland Marathon at the TNT aid station at mile 9 (also need to blog that), I started having jealousy pangs for the runners... and realized I might be ready to consider my next marathon now. I found this running calculator where you input your best time for any distance, and it calculates what you should be capable of at other distances. According to the calculations, at my current half marathon pace, I SHOULD be able to manage a 4:26 marathon!!! That's an hour and a half off my last attempt!! Now I'm just curious whether I can do it. I went ahead and applied to be a TNT non-fundraising mentor for the Mayor's Marathon. I've been kinda leaving the choice of running a full marathon in 2009 up to the selection process of TNT... leaving it up to fate. If not selected, I'd dedicate 2009 to halves again.
  • I was considering running Race for the Roses again in 2009 too, just cause it's a good time of year to run a half, and if I'm training for a full in Summer it's probably good for me to run a couple halves in the Spring. Also, I think some of my friends AND my mom are thinking about doing it for 2009, and I'm a joiner. hehehe.
  • We aren't supposed to find out about who the chosen mentors for the Spring Season are until Friday this week (emails out on Friday night, info session for chosen mentors on Saturday morning). However, I just got a voicemail from the TNT run coord, Lindsay. She said basically: "So I see you are interested in the Alaska Marathon, but we were wondering how you would feel about being a mentor for Race for the Roses, and then, once that event is over you could continue training with the team, as a participant, and we'd pay your race entry to Alaska, but you'd have to pay for the stuff you would as a non-fundraising mentor, you know, your airfare and hotel stay... would you be interested in that?"
    So, I guess what they are saying is: I'd only have to mentor runners from Jan until early April, and then after that I get to be a non-fundraising freeloader for the next 3 months training with the team, and also get my race entry paid for!?! What am I missing here? Cause, it sounds like I'm getting the better deal here....

    Cause like, I was asking for the same benefits but where I'd have to like, mentor runners from Jan-June. This sounds MUCH better. :)
  • I left Lindsay a voicemail just now that I'd like to take her up on her offer... so I think I'm running a marathon in 2009!! in ALASKA!!! :D

Friday, October 17, 2008

Run for the Cheetah!

On Saturday, Oct 11, I had an 8K footrace to run.

It was the Run for the Cheetah, the last in a series of 4 races around the country to help
raise awareness about the endangered cheetah and to raise funds to support the Cheetah Conservation Fund's programs.

Appropriately, the race started and ended at the Portland Zoo.

A couple things about this race had me apprehensive:
(1) portland was going through a bit of a "cold snap" just in time for the race, and the weather forecast placed that morning run somewhere between 35 and 38 degrees Farenheit. Brrr!

(2) this was more or less the same route as the Reach the Bridge run I ran in late June... only, the Reach the Bridge was 1 way all the way down the hill to the Burnside Bridge. Run for the Cheetah was a loop. We ran approx 2.4 miles downhill, and then turned around and ran 2.4 miles back up that stupid hill. ugh.

Since they had dropped plenty of hints that we should take the MAX instead of planning on parking at the zoo, I went ahead and planned appropriately.

The schedule was as follows:
7:00 a.m. Day of Race Registration
8:00 a.m. Kid's Run / Walk
8:30 a.m. 8K Run / Walk
8:45 a.m. 5K Run / Walk
9:00 a.m. Food, Fun& Festivities
10:00 a.m. Awards/Prize Drawing

I was shooting to get there by 8am... and I think I JUST made it, by catching a 7:30am MAX train from the Lloyd Center station (for $2, I could get a 2 hour 2 zone ticket). I munched on some electrolyte snacks, drank some water, and put myself together on the MAX train (wiring my ipod headphones for running so the wires go along my back instead of my front, etc).

I got off at the Washington Park exit, and took the elevator up to the zoo. The race start/finish line was right next to the elevators. I was picking up my packet right about when they were sending the kids off on the kid dash.

It was cold. It was DERNED cold... but I knew I'd warm up as soon as I started running. I wore my full leg running tights with a pair of thermal tights underneath and a running skort over top. I was also wearing my puma long sleeve running hoodie, with a tanktop tech layer underneath for heat retention. Last minute I went ahead and threw the event Tshirt overtop the hoodie. And, ofcourse, I had my hat and my running gloves... but I also decided to wear earmuffs.

I pinned my number onto my front, and tied my chip onto my shoe... then hurriedly put my gloves back on and zoned out for a bit while the kids were running.

It was a hard decision to check my coat into the clothing check, but a necessary one. Then I found myself bouncing around and running in place in a desperate attempt to warm myself up... or atleast, keep myself from cooling off too much before the race start.

There weren't many people around, which wasn't too surprising given the weather, and the fact that I'd seen virtually no advertising for this event (I heard about it from another person... someone who ended up not even doing it herself). I noticed that the race bibs were color coded tho. I had a yellow number, but most of the people at the start line had a white number. I found out later that the white bib was for the 5K run... and the yellow was the 8K. WAY more people were doing the 5K run than the 8K run.

They lined us 8K'ers up on the start line... but not before I helplessly watched a lady fall over the timing mat machine. She hit the ground, and her leg dangling over the mat and her timing chip strapped to her shoe kept making the thing beep. I was worried about her, but she seemed to just shake it off. The officials got her bib number and zeroed out the timing machine of her entries.

Finally, at roughly 8:35am, they let us 8K runners go.

Here is the course map:

We started exiting the parking lot uphill, and then turned a sharp right turn and then it was 2.4 miles more or less entirely downhill, with some areas steeper than others. I was faced with the dilemma of not wanting to wear myself out TOO much, but also wanting to take as much advantage of the downhill before having to really work on the uphill portion of the run.

I think this photo was taken of me in the first mile or so:

It did take me about a mile and a half to really warm up unfortunately. We passed an aid station at a little over 1 mile. The highschool (or middle school? I really can't tell anymore) girls they had working the aid station were more into talking to eachother than handing out water... and I had to stop and wait for one of them to notice me and hand me a cup. They also said it was water... but it was watered down gatoraide... which I really didn't appreciate. I only wanted plain water. I was only able to get half a gulp down before needing to pour it out and throw it away.

One strategy that I was using, since the route was winding, was I decided to run the tangents to the curves instead of always running on one shoulder or the other. This way I think I actually shaved some distance off the run, and I did noticeably pass other runners specifically when I was refusing to stick to the side of the road. I'd always check behind me for automobile traffic or faster runners before doing it... but I never ended up having a problem with that.

I didn't fall too far behind the front of the pack. I did let people go ahead of me, but I was determined not to bring up the rear. After I FINALLY warmed up, I was able to run faster, and was able to pass a number of people who had passed me in the first mile.

We hit the Lewis and Clark circle at the bottom of the hill, the turn around for the 8K race, and I saw one or two fast looking runners already headed back up the hill, having already gone around the circle. As I ran around the circle, and passed another person, I was stealing myself for a 2.4 mile uphill climb. It wasn't going to be easy... that's for sure.

Exiting the circle to go back uphill, I noticed a handful (maybe 5? maybe more) slower runners just entering the circle... that made me at least feel a little better about my pace.

On the initial uphill I ended up leapfrogging 2 ladies quite a bit, until one gave out and started walking. At about 3.5 miles in we reached the 5K turn around point... and there were a lot of people turning around there right then when I reached it. The good news is, I seemed to be slightly behind my pace for the 5K runners, so I was easily passing a good number of 5Kers once I was among them (passing people really does feel good). And then... on a particularly steep grade I finally gave out and ended up walking for a little bit. But as my heartrate recovered I found myself walking faster and faster and adopting the Portland to Coast walking techniques I had worked on all summer, till I was walking a 12 minute miles uphill. It was just something I thought I'd give a try.

I learned tho, that you really don't give yourself a break by walking fast uphill in place of running uphill, and the transition from walking fast back to running wasn't very painless. I did get back to running before long tho.

I think this photo was taken with close to 1 mile to go:

Back to head-down running up the steep hill (the best way I've learned to not feel overwhelmed by the amount of hill you still have to conquer... you focus on where your feet are, and on your next steps only), I knew the end was near cause I could hear the music in the parking lot somewhere to the left of me... I just needed to reach the top of this hill and then it was a drop back down into the parking lot.

At the top of the hill, I allowed myself a second or two to breathe, and then I pushed like hell to the finish line... using that hill as best I could. I passed 3 or so people on that last stretch who had been able to stay in front of me up most of the hill... so that was neat. I just zipped by them like they were going slow. Man, I love downhills!

Over the finish line, the announcer said my name, and I twirled my forefingers in the air in celebration as I slowed down in the finisher chute. I noticed some of the people who finished infront of me were not having a chip clipped off their shoe, and I remembered that the timing chip was only for those people who cared to be timed. They had a no-timing option. Why wouldn't you want to know your time if you're running? I mean, I could see walkers possibly not really caring, but if you do decently well and you ran, wouldn't you atleast be curious? Ah well. I went and had my chip clipped off my shoe by a volunteer.

Back in the parking lot, I saw that a booth was giving free chiropractic adjustments... I decided why not? So I filled out the form and asked for a pelvic adjustment and help stretching my hamstrings. The chiropractor had me lay down and checked out my back and stuff, then had me lay on my side, curl kinda into a ball, then he braced himself on my femur with one hand on my knee and the other feeling the back of my pelvis... then a big twitch and I felt my pelvis pop in a delightful way. He had me lay on my other side and did the same thing with my other leg. Ahhh.

Then he had me put my leg on his shoulder and did some intervals where I push down on his shoulder for 30 seconds at 20% intensity... then I pull my leg up as far as I could, and he would move to where that was... and then 15 seconds at 40% intensity... then I pulled my leg again and he moved with it... and then 10 seconds at 60% intensity... and we were done... and by gum, if that didn't take away all the weird stretched achy feelings in my hamstrings!! weird. I thanked the chiropractor... but then realized my core body temp was falling pretty quick. Sure, I was warm right then... but it was still under 40 degrees outside, and I was soaked in sweat now.

I found my checked clothes, and quickly put on my coat. I then wandered over to the results booth and found my stats. I got 4th place in my age group (out of 6). There pretty much was no way I could have beat 3rd place. She ran an 8:57 minute mile pace... a pace I have YET to achieve on any race. I'm nowhere close to running that right now.

I finished my 8K in 47:23, or a 9:32 minute mile pace. My Reach the Bridge 8K time was better, but that was also entirely downhill, where this really was a more challenging course. I decided I was happy with that time given the uphills I was running on. Overall, of the 8K runners I was 32nd out of 66.
For women, I was actually 12th place out of 44! Almost in the top 10! Neat.

This is what my garmin recorded for the course and the elevation gain.

I decided to hurry and head back to my car instead of hang out. It was just too cold to watch the award ceremony when I wasn't getting one. I suppose there was a chance I could have won something in the prize drawing, but really, when it was that cold out? I didn't much care anymore.

I checked my MAX ticket for the expiration time... and realized it was pretty much 5 minutes past when the ticket expired. I was ready to claim ignorance for the expiration time on the ticket and hope, if I got caught, it was close enough that they'd be nice. I wasn't caught though. I made it back to my car without incident.

I blasted the heat in my car and drove home. Another good morning!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Champoeg Half

On Saturday Sept 20th, I ran my first half-marathon that I didn't train for.

The idea behind this run was that on my training schedule for the "Run Like Hell" half in Oct, I was slated to run 12 miles that weekend already. 12 miles? 13.1 miles? close enough. I intended to approach this run as a training run (i.e. don't push too hard, just enjoy the run and relax).

I should know better than that tho. You put me in a race situation, OF COURSE I'm going to put out the best effort I can manage...

The run was in Champoeg Park, kinda near Newberg, OR... so a good 45 minute drive from my place. I found the park easily enough. Entering the park, I was behind 2 other cars who stopped at the little booth at the gate. There was a day-use fee of like $3 or something. I had the dollar bills set aside and was ready to pay the lady. When I pulled up she asked if I was part of the race (pretty obvious from the way I was dressed), I said yes. She then told me the entrance fee to the park was already paid by my registration! I was like, oh? Cool! I drove on through, and followed the other cars to a big open field that was the start/finish line for the race.

Champoeg Park is quite pretty. I'm glad since I was promised a pretty run in the pamphlet I read telling me about the race. It said it was mostly flat with one big hill (similar to the Portland Marathon), and thus it was a great training run for the Marathon. I figured, I can do one hill. sure. The pamphlet said the walker start was going to be 8am, the runner start at 9am.

A couple days prior to the race, I got an email from the event coordinators:
"We have an unusual situation concerning the electronic timing for our event, which will be done by Russ Zornick. He has an unavoidable time constraint in getting to another location on Saturday and I have a plan to help him and to allow part of our runners to finish at an earlier time than they might otherwise. Here's the plan:
The Early Half Marathon Walkers will start as usual at 8:00AM
Any Half Marathon runners who anticipate a 9 minute or more per mile pace should plan to start at 8:30AM. This will allow a projected finish time of 2 to 2 1/2 hours.and most would be included in the electronic timing. Any later people would be added to those preliminary timing results and be included in the awards. As we do with the Early Half Marathon Walkers we will check off your race bib number so we can accutately time you from your start time."

Hm. Ok. So, I'm not a 9 minute miler, I know that much. I had to choose the 8:30am start time. I arrived in the park something like 7:50am, and picked up my packet before the walkers stepped off the line. I was conflicted about my clothing options, since the weather report was all over the place. Was it going to rain? Was it not? I was hanging out by my car and trying a number of different clothing options, feeling a little lost... then I finally decided to just run in what I intended to run in the night before: capri running tights, running skort, portland marathon finisher shirt, light running gloves, and a hat. While I was changing my clothes back to what they were, I noticed a handful of far away hot air balloons rising above the tree line into the air.

I had noticed a sign to the restrooms through the woods, so went that way. When I found the restrooms, I found them dark, empty... I had the facility all to myself! That's unusual for a race! Once I was done, I wandered back to the big open field and saw that everyone else was lining up single file for the porta potties on the far end of the field. HA! dorks.

The walkers left. Shortly after that I saw someone I recognized: Diane! She did Pints 2 Pasta and won 3rd in her age group. I was happy to see her. She didn't remember my name, but was still very friendly, and totally remembered where she knew me from. She introduced me to her husband. We chatted about the race, and she admitted she didn't know about the 8:30am start time. I laughed saying she probably didn't need to worry, and that she'd be catching me either way. She was waiting for a friend to show up, and so was going to do the 9am start time either way, even though I assured her she was fast enough to start later.

Here is a pic of me before the run. My hat is a little dirty, eh? I took it camping the weekend before.

I finally stripped off my thermal layer and moved to the start line to get ready to run. I have gotten in the habbit of doing those warm-ups we were taught at the Lacamas Lake half before running now. Who knows if it helps, but I guess it's one way to expend my nervous energy prior to a race. We had to line up and get our bib numbers recorded for the 8:30am start... and then the count down and we were off.

Here is the course:

I figured, since it was a slower-than-9 minute mile pace for this group, I should be able to stay relatively in the front without any problem. What I hadn't counted on was the fact that faster people had opted to start at 8:30am just so they could finish sooner. Huh. I tried sticking with the lead runners at first, but had to back off by 2 miles or so. We started out following the course... and made a right turn onto the bike path, and then ran headlong into the walkers... who were all mad at us and pointing to the road to our left. I guess we were supposed to follow the road and not the path before the turn around. Oops.

The group of us in front ended up cutting across this grassy field over to the road. I felt kinda bad we weren't on the correct route, but I didn't worry about it too much. I was more concerned with not twisting my ankles in that field. Approaching the turn around I got to see a big field in the park which was full of more hotair balloons. This was where they were taking off from! They looked so tiny in the air, it was weird that I was able to run to their launching point in only 9 minutes or so. There were apparently many more that were about to join the ones already in the air. We ran through the parking lot, and onto the head of the bike path to head back the way we came. This was about when I started needing to back off on my pace a bit, and people really started passing me. I also found myself overheating slightly. I took off my gloves, but had no where to stow them... so I just settled for holding them in my hand for the rest of the run. I found the gloves useful for patting sweat off of my face though, so it worked out fine.

Over the next 3 miles we followed the paved bike path through the trees, mostly flat, but a couple little rolling hills (nothing terribly challenging as far as terrain). The runners around me had thinned out a good deal, and I was finally in my pace group more or less, as by mile 5 I wasn't being passed anymore by other people. I was getting a little grumpy though, cause the pamphlet had promised water every 2.5 miles along the route... and there was definitely NO water station at 2.5 miles. I was starting to get thirsty!! We ran over some high wooden footbridges, along the side of the Willamette River, past some really pretty large estates. Coming to the end of the bike path was a couple bigger hills... up and then down... then another up (and I remember cursing the pamphlet right about then) and we came to merge onto a road and did another major downhill. Then a BIG uphill along the road shoulder. This was the first part of the run that was sharing the route with cars. The traffic wasn't bad though, I don't remember seeing very many cars at all. At the top of that last big hill was the first water station, right around 5.5 miles or so. I was thirsty and winded from the uphill run, so I opted to walk for a touch while getting the water and drinking. This older guy in a red tank top behind me laughed that he wasn't going any faster than me, so he might as well walk then too!

After the 2 cups of water I snagged, I felt much better. The route also flattened out a good deal at this point. I continued along. The scenery went from forest-like to more rural. We saw barns and fields and more modest houses than what we saw along the riverside. It wasn't long before we caught up to the bulk of the walkers at this point. It was weird to think that they were technically 30 minutes behind us... and yet here we were at the same place. Right about when I was feeling good passing some confident looking healthy walkers... out of nowhere this guy in bright shoes and very little else in the way of clothing (think: split-side short shorts, and no shirt) came flying past me. I was technically 30 minutes behind him! He was a 9am start time runner! It was really impressive to see those guys running.

It was a trickle tho... it wasn't like a MASS of fast runners passing us. At 7 miles along we turned a sharp left turn onto a side road to get to the next turn around. That's about when nearly-naked-bright-shoes darted past me headed back. It was also about when Diane's husband passed me. He was a nice guy and cheered on my effort though.

There was another water station at the turn around at 7.7 miles or so. That was nice atleast. I was past all but the fastest walkers at this point. Those fastest walkers were doing a good job sticking with my pace too, but eventually I broke free of them all. At some point close to the 7.7 mile turn around, the older guy in the red tanktop had passed me and had pulled maybe 50 yards ahead of me. The remainder of my time spent getting back to that aid station at the top of the hill (at 5.5 miles on the out, but approx 10.5 miles on the back) was spent focussing on that guy and trying to stick with him and possibly close that gap. I hung with it.

I walked again at that aid station at the top of the hill to gulp down water... and then happily flew down that big hill that I hated running up. Then I knew I had 2 more hills to conquer before I was done. On the next uphill, I passed redtanktop guy. Woo hoo! Flew down the second hill, and then on the last uphill I could hear someone running up the hill with me, but a little behind me. I convinced myself it was redtanktop guy, so I was going to stay ahead of him no matter what it took.... and I continued to push myself on that hill. At the top I eased off my intensity to catch my breath and let my heartrate recover.

I was wrong. The person on my butt behind me wasn't redtanktop guy. It was one of the 9am runners. As soon as I hit the top of the hill, that guy passed me... taking the time to congratulate me on my hill tenacity tho, which was nice of him. We were back on the pretty forested bike trail at this time. More 9am runners were passing me here, including Diane who cheered me on as she passed. I was starting to kinda flag in my energy a bit... and knew this last mile or two was really going to challenge me.

We wound our way back to the field slowly... I caught sight of red not too far behind me after a turn in the trail too... so that was good motivation to put in a late push. I came rolling back into the parking lot and down the finisher chute to get my time recorded. The volunteers handed me a finisher medal too, which was neat. I'm really starting a nice collection of participant medals at this point.

I grabbed a banana, a capri sun, and a water... and attempted to cool down and stretch a little. Diane and her husband were already done. I had to go to my car and get my pullover, it was still kind of a cold morning. I ran into redtanktop guy at the food table a little later, and I congratulated him on a good run, admitting that a good deal of the second half of the run I was just trying to catch him. He admitted this was his first half marathon in like, 12 years, and he was glad he was just able to finish.

My finish stats were: 2:09:51 (a new PR!) or a 9:54 minute mile pace. I couldn't believe I beat my Lacamas Lake Half pace actually, since I wasn't really going for a time goal. That was nice. Overall I ended up 121st place out of 158 people. In my age group I was 18th out of 26. Hee hee... not that great. I have noticed that competition in small half marathons is just stiffer than other races though.

Redtanktop guy turned out to be 62 years old, and got 3rd place in his age group. HA! So much for me staying infront of him!

Diane ended up finishing in 1:37:16, or a 7:25 minute mile pace. She got second in her age group. Her husband finished in 1:24:03, or a 6:24 minute mile pace. He was 4th place overall, and 3rd in his age group. I didn't hang out to see them get their awards... I was getting cold and stiff and realized with a 45 minute drive back to get to a hot shower, I should really get going. Diane and I took some pics infront of the finish line, and I went on my way.

It was a good morning. I have to admit tho: I got home, showered, and crashed till like 5pm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pints 2 Pasta

On Sept 7, I got to participate in what has been voted Portland's BEST 10K event. I now know why.

The event is called Pints to Pasta and is a run hosted by "Running with Paula" events. I'm pretty sure I have a link to those from this blog's sidebar. The interesting thing about this event was it was a one-way run... not a loop. The advantage of a one-way run is that you don't have to finish at the same altitude you start at! This particular 10K was all downhill and flat. Only 2 little uphill sections really, and both weren't a big deal at all.

In order to facilitate this run, we had to park at the finish line (The Olde Spaghetti Factory in SW Portland). The event coordinators then shuttled us via a fleet of school buses to NE Portland... or more specifically the Adidas headquarters.

Here is where we caught the school buses outside the Spaghetti Factory.

This is the view of Adidas as you get off the shuttles.

The race didn't step off till like 9am, but the shuttles were running from 7:30am-8:45am... I didn't want to be one of the people squishing into one of the last shuttles, so I showed up to catch my shuttle to the start around 8am. Turned out I was on the second bus!

At the Adidas courtyard I drank some water, and put off checking my polar fleece pullover into the clothing check until the last minute I could... and then one last trip to the porta potties, and then me and my group of friends decided to head to the start line. I had met up with Dayna, Sheryl, and Bryce before the run. Sheryl knew this girl Diane from TNT, and she hung out with us too before the run. We had seen her during Portland to Coast also.

Here was the actual start line for Pints to Pasta 10K.

1889 runners and walkers participated in this event.

The day was a beautiful day... supposedly hitting mid-80s by the time the run was over. My goal for this run was to finish the 10K in 1 hour or less. I opted to wear my new wrap skort and my Portland to Coast technical T shirt for this run.

The start was delayed because we were waiting for one last shuttle to show up. The bus literally drove up to the start line and the passengers walked off the bus into the mass of people waiting to start the race... so the gun didn't go off until like a couple minutes late. We were all anxiously awaiting the moment we could cross the start line.

FINALLY we were allowed to start going, and the group of us moved down the hill along Greeley enmasse. Here is the course map....

A lot of this beginning stretch was where I ended up running with Sheryl during the Portland Marathon in 2007, so I was waxing a little nostalgic. I was having fun going downhill, but I didn't know whether my energy would keep up if I was going too fast... so I was trying to moderate my speed a little. I had figured out ahead of time that a 1 hour 10K would mean roughly a 9:40 minute mile pace... so I was constantly aiming for that pace or faster. Mostly I found myself running at 8:30-9 minute miles to start.

I slowed down a bit to run up onto the Broadway Bridge. This was where the crowd started to thin out a bit. Those people who pushed WAY too hard on the initial downhill start had to walk up the hill. Those of us who attempted to moderate our effort were rewarded by being able to pull ahead of the others.

Over the bridge (beautiful day... I remember admiring the Willamette as I crossed the river) and a loop around and under the bridge to then merge onto the Willamette Westbank Esplanade.

There are always a good number of homeless people who spend the night in the park along the esplanade... they were sitting on park benches wrapped in their blankets all bleary-eyed watching the group of us pound past them. Some of the runners took water breaks at the various permanent bubblers (water fountains) that Portland prominently has available to anyone who is thirsty in the downtown/old town area.

The esplanade is a relatively flat and wide mixed-use pedestrian way. Many of the city festivals take place in the park alongside the esplanade. The esplanade was NOT closed off for our race... so there were numbers of bicyclists and other walkers and runners also using the path... both going with us and against us. I saw a number of people with cameras who looked kinda like event photographers, but when I smiled and waved at them, they pulled their cameras up and watched me run past without even trying to take a snap. huh.

The group of people I found myself running with had thinned out quite a bit too btw.

Just before the Hawthorne Bridge I FINALLY found a photographer who was more than willing to snap my pic tho. :)

We went past the Hawthorne Bridge and found a dragon boat race going on. All sorts of tents and teams in matching Tshirts and PFDs holding oars were watching us run by. Some of them cheered us on, some of them seemed annoyed that we were forced to dodge through their numbers to try to keep going at a good clip.

Then we ran along the riverside area with little shops and restaurants. This path gave way to a NEW riverside park area that was completed in the last year. Then, we went through there to the more sparse area with new condos going in near the base of the OHSU tram. I was beginning to drag right about here. I had to slow down to 10 minute miles or slower, and people were beginning to pass me, but there was nothing I could do about it. I was running low on energy. Luckily I had ran most of the race UP til now at more of a 9 minute mile, so I did have a little wiggle room. I kept pushing my pace as much as I dared tho... I knew the end was near, and I was very hopeful to finish in less than an hour.

Finally, after a zig and then a zag, you could see the balloon arch of the finish line infront of you. This was decieving tho... cause you still had a quarter mile to go. I KNEW this too... since I had my garmin. Nonetheless, as soon as I saw that balloon arch I started pushing myself harder... and passed a number of people. Somehow the road here was more crowded than all along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.... interestingly enough.

My energy didn't hold for that entire quarter mile. I began my final push too early, alas. I had to slow down a bit again to get air in to my lungs... and some of the people (not all of them mind you) who I just passed were easily able to pass me. I crossed the finish line in such a crowd of people, it was simply ridiculous! I never have had to wait to get my timing chip clipped off before! There was simply a crush of bodies in the finish chute, and all of us were waiting in line to get our chips off... it must have taken 2 minutes or more to get out of the chute!

Here I thought I had done pretty good (most certainly a PR for me!).... finished in 57:04. A 9:11 minute mile pace average... but I found the area around the Olde Spaghetti Factory COMPLETELY CROWDED! Look at all these people who were done before me! dang! I went wandering through the crowd for water (why the organizers didn't put water at the finish line, I'll never know. was pretty bad planning tho). I ran into Diane right about then. She was happily drinking a pint of beer already. I asked her what her time was and she told me roughly 45 minutes. WHOAH! I asked her what her PR was for a 10K, and she stopped and said she didn't really know actually. She hadn't thought about it in a while.

However the more she thought about it, the more she realized that this run was a PR for her also! I did some mental math and realized that 45 minutes was DAMN CLOSE to a 7 minute mile pace! That's AMAZING (7:14 minute mile pacE). Not only that, she ended up winning 3rd place in her age group! Pretty sweet!

I found Dayna and Sheryl as they crossed (I was happily sucking down free samples of jamba juice by this time). Both of them had great runs. Dayna finished in 1:03:00, Sheryl in 1:10:05. Both of them were beaming like crazy. We made our way to go get beer and pasta, and found Bryce. He was heading out already. We asked his time and he told us 54 minutes (actually 53:36). I was like, wait! You were 4 minutes infront of me? When did you pass me?? hehehe.

We hung out and ate our food and listened to the band and sat in the sun and relaxed. They had various prize give aways, but we weren't in the right spot to get anything. That was fine with me tho. I was just happy I killed the 1 hour mark.

Finally, as it was approaching 11:30am, I decided I needed to take off. I went home and passed out till like 5pm or so. What a great day!!! :D

My stats were...
Overall Place: 856 out of 1889 (hey look! I'm improving!)
Female Place: 356 out of 1119
Age group Place: 65 out of 212

Last race, I was a middle of the road runner. Looks like I'm slightly ahead of the bell curve now! Neato.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Evil Olive van1, leg 1

As you probably already know, months ago (arguably before my birthday in February) I put together a 12 person team, Evil Olive, to compete in the "mother of all relays," Portland to Coast.

Well, on August 22-23 we did it... and we did it GOOD!

Portland to Coast is associated with the better-known run relay race, Hood to Coast. Where Hood to Coast is a 197 mile run relay from the top of Mt Hood out to Seaside, OR... the Portland to Coast is a 127 mile walk relay from downtown Portland to the same finish line on the coast, on the same route.

Things about Portland to Coast to know:
(1) it is a WALK ONLY race. Running at all is a penalty that adds time on to your finish time... and if spotted on 3 legs or more can result in a disqualification of the team.

(2) frankly, altho the run teams are going 60 miles further, the walk relay takes longer than the run relay. A "good" time for the walk relay (oh, say OUR time), would be considered a bad time for the run relay. iiinteresting.

(3) the HtC/PtC people start the walk race HOURS sooner to get us through the course before the runners. So, we start way before the run folks... but we also cross the finish line way earlier.

(4) walking fast is HARD WORK. seriously.

So. Managing the team was seriously stressful. There are so many logistics to consider in running a team with 12 people!!

My team ended up consisting of:
* My best friend and her main squeeze from up in Seattle, Hana and Jesse
* A friend of mine from Myspace, and one of her best friends from down in Oregon City, Jaimee and Jessica.
* My soccer teammates and their spouses, Brent, Renee, Marc, and Brooke.
* From out in Walla Walla, my mom, her friend Ronnelle, and Ronelle's best friend, Carey.
* and, ofcourse, me!

And then, 1 month prior to the race, Renee found out that her blight of shinsplints... were actually worse than shinsplints. She had 3 stress fracture on her tibia from overuse. NO WONDER IT HURT TO WALK AND RUN, RENEE!!! Jeez.

We had to find a replacement for Renee last minute... and I was able to convince my running partner, Sheryl, to step in for Renee. Luckily, Sheryl had actually done 2 previous Portland to Coast races, so she went from newest Evil Olive member to being the most experienced walker on our team (as the rest of us were clueless about what to expect)! HA!

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Sheryl for joining our team!

Anyway, my mom ended up stepping up to help me with A LOT of the logistics. She not only found us a 7-passenger van to use as Evil Olive support vehicle #2, but helped me out with scoping out the course roughly a month before the race and taking notes (this ended up being an 11 hour excursion... holy cow!)... and then assisted me in thinking through all the logistics. She asked really good questions that made me question my previous assumptions, etc. It worked really well having her on the team, and I don't think things would have worked as well without her.

___ anyway, with all that out of the way.... the experience! ____

On Thursday night, Aug 21, the group of us (minus Sheryl, Hana, and Jesse) met up at The Olde Spaghetti Factory for our first ever team meeting. We couldn't have one prior to this date cause frankly nearly half the team lived too far away from Portland to make it!

I got there late. Oops. But, as it turned out, my party hadn't been seated yet, AND they had all found each other! Neat. We all got seated in a really nice separate room in the restaurant, and started ordering and I started going through the list of things I wanted to mention (rules, emergency procedures, penalties and disqualifications, exchange zone schematics, score sheet timing, logistics, and quick notes about each of the legs... both driving notes and walking notes). The dinner was a lot of fun, and I got through everything I wanted to. Plus the food was great! I was feeling REALLY good about the team after the dinner. After the dinner, I watched Brent and Renee transfer the food stuff for van #1 into Marc and Brooke's rig, and then I collected people's overnight bags in my car and headed out to the coast...

1 hour 30 minutes later, I was at Gearhart, OR at our rental condo (1 mile north of Seaside) that we got for 3 nights (Aug 21-24). Hana and Jesse had driven here from Seattle and checked in for us. They had a nice 6 hours or so to hang out and enjoy the coast before I showed up to collect them. I walked around the condo real quick before unloading the car and shepherding Hana and Jesse into my car. The condo was GREAT! It was a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo pretty much right off the beach. Plus, it was only like 2 blocks from a McMennamin's brew pub, the Sandtrap. How amazing is that!?!

The 1 hour 30 minute drive back to my house flew by as I went over all the same things with Hana and Jesse that I did with everyone else over dinner.

We rolled into my driveway around 11:30pm. We only had a handful of hours before everything started for us. We made the sofa bed for Hana and Jesse, and they went directly to sleep. I wandered around the house restlessly for a bit before finally settling in bed... and deciding I couldn't sleep. I read a novel for several hours, and then realized I only had 1 hour left before it was go time, so I turned off the lights and tried to lie still, but honestly didn't sleep at all. hmmmm.

When my alarm went off at 2:15am, I was still wide awake.

I got up, threw the 3 additional things I thought of overnight that I needed in my bag, and then went through my ritual of brushing my teeth, washing my face, and putting in my contact lenses. Then I got dressed to walk.

Sheryl showed up at my house around 2:50am. We piled our stuff into her rig, and drove out to Marc and Brooke's house in SE Portland. There we found a warm reception (and fresh coffee!!! mmmmm) and we started packing our stuff into Evil Olive van #1, a Honda CR-V... our home for the next 24 hours. Luckily Marc and Brooke's rig had a roof rack, so we were able to strap our sleeping bags and sleeping pads and pillows up there to conserve room in the rig. If you haven't noticed yet: there were 6 of us... for 5 seats with seatbelts. This is not a problem when one of us is walking. However, when ALL of us are in the rig, one of us was banished to the trunk. I happily volunteered for that position. It was actually quite comfortable back there to tell the truth. Marc and Brooke put a comfy seat back there for me, and there was more than enough leg room.

We drove out to OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) where the PtC starting line was around 4am. It was insane. Just a mass of vehicles and people.... I left the van numbers, race bibs, safety pins, and car paint with my teammates to decorate van #1 as I took a couple headlamps and reflective vests into the breach to check Evil Olive in. I also dragged Jesse along as he was our first walker... however once we learned we couldn't check in immediately he went back to the van to get ready for his walk. It was a bit of chaos, but eventually after 4:15am I was able to get our team checked in. We received our timing chip and the relay "baton"... a reflective slap bracelet. The rest of van #1 had walked out to find me by the time I checked in... and then talk of finding porta potties started. I hung out near the start line soaking in the excitement and chaos until I remember the stop watches!!! Shit! We have to turn in a break down of the "split times" at the finish line to completely finish the race. To this end, I had created a clip board with 2 stopwatches taped to it and a sheet of paper. This was the easiest process I could come up with for timing our legs. Ofcourse, it helps if I HAD the fricken stopwatch clipboard at the start line!!

It took a bit of panic and running around, but I found Marc with the van keys and he let me in van #1 to get the clip board. Whew!

Then it was standing around... listening to the announcer guy go through all the team names in our start time (geez, maybe 60 teams?!?) naturally cheering for ourselves... and then 3, 2, 1. GO!!! And they were off (mostly older women... and Jesse) in a blaze of walking. They dissolved into the dark along the Willamette Esplanade, and we who remained filed back to van #1. I learned at this time what "roadkills" are. I guess it's tradition to keep track of the people you pass while you are competing, and that number is your roadkill count. Sheryl informed us all, and we were like, oh? ok.

Here is Van 1 all decorated up:

We played with the idea of going for coffee, but then decided we were all good since we had just had some coffee at Marc & Brooke's place. Jesse's leg was short... only 4.16 miles, so we decided to go straight to the next exchange. This turned out to be a good idea. The parking lot was small, so if we had done anything before getting there, we most likely wouldn't have been able to get in and park!

We were standing in the exchange when the very first walker of the relay (who most likely started at 4am) came through with a motorcycle escort. That was kinda neat. We watched with curiosity as the first several teams did the first hand off of the reflective slap bracelet.

Here is Jesse on the first leg of the race.... he's on the left (obviously).

Finally, after 55:22 here comes Jesse! Hana got ready to go, and the hand off went flawlessly. We also had no problem clearing out of the exchange parking lot, as the volunteers were anxious to have more parking spaces for the various vans lined up on the road waiting to get into the parking lot.

Hana's leg was 6 miles long, and had told us ahead of time that a great place to meet her would be around 4 miles for a drink of water and an opportunity to take off her sweat pants if she was up for it. According to the course route, the St. John's bridge was at 3.94 miles, so just after the bridge we found a turn off that we parked at and waited for her. We hung out in the dark, talked a bit, and then eventually decided given her estimated pace... Hana was coming soon, so we moved out of the vehicle to cheer her on. I spotted her and started jumping up and down and cheering her on. She was smiling in embarrassment. I started yelling at her, "TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS!!" and the other PtC people who were waiting for their walkers thought I was joking and just chuckled at me. Sure enough, hana stopped after accepting a drink of water from Jesse and took off her pants, and then threw them at me like she was a stripper, and everyone at this roadside pit stop laughed. The sun was just coming up, and the whole trip this far felt surreal.

Here is Hana walking in the rising sun.

We piled back in van #1, and headed to the next exchange.

The next one had loads of parking spaces, but the exchange zone was nearly on Hwy 30... which was kinda dangerous, especially with the spectators who were pushing onto the highway. The volunteers were a little stressed out trying to keep people back.

My entire van first lined up for the porta potties... and then Marc and I headed up to the exchange zone (I had the timing clipboard... hence the privelege). On the way up there, I remembered to ask Marc for the van keys. hehehe... he pulled the keys out of his pocket and handed em to me. It was fun thinking about what it would have been like if we forgot to get the van keys from Marc before he started walking. hehehe.

At the exchange zone, as we were getting closer to the expected Hana sighting, Marc started stripping his sweat pants and sweater off and hung them on my shoulder. He also asked to see us around 4 miles during his 7.25 mile leg. At 1:29:22 Hana came up the hill and handed off to marc. We walked back to our car and raided the food supplies in our van. The turkey & cream cheese wraps were excellent at 7am!

I drove us to an area along Hwy 30 with a larger gravel shoulder where some other vans were parked near the 4 mile point, and we waited for Marc. Brooke happily handed Marc his water when we found him. He was talking about REALLY needing to pee for the past 3 miles. Yeeks!

When he was on his way, we passed him and whooped at him in encouragement out the windows on our way to the next exchange point.

Here is Marc on his leg:

As a side note: WAY later that same day, around 9pm, Chelsee Caskey, an 18 year old High School Challenge participant, was hit by a car on this leg, Leg 15. Chelsee was participating on Lincoln High School's team for her third year in the event. The driver has been arrested and charged with second-degree assault, driving under the influence of drugs, and reckless driving. Chelsee remains in serious condition at Emanuel Hospital . This is the first ever occurrence of a runner-vehicle collision during the relay's 27 year history.

So not cool.

The next exchange point, as soon as we got there I had to pee again and took off for the porta potty. I didn't realize that everyone decide they needed to pee also. Unfortunately this was a smaller exchange parking lot, with fewer honeybuckets, so the line was ridiculously long. I found everyone else in line once I was done... and realized I had left the key in the van thinking not EVERYONE was leaving... whoops. Brooke had the key on her and handed it to me. I went and got the timing clip board, and then simultaneously kept an eye out for Marc on the route and for Brooke from the porta potties. My anxiety was for nothing, Brooke was ready to go well before Marc showed up. Here came Marc at 1:45:08, and handed off to Brooke.

Additional side note: Marc found a dirt hill to duck behind to pee during his walk. If someone had seen him do this, it would have been a disqualifiable offense. Good thing he's a stealth pee-er!

Brooke's leg was only 3.52 miles long, and she told us she didn't want a pit stop from us along the way. BUT, she was also pretty sure she didn't want to ditch her jacket and could tie it around her waist if she got too hot. We passed her pretty quickly after she had started tho, and Marc made the executive decision as van driver and as Brooke's husband, to pull off on the next street and get her jacket from her. Brooke was very grateful. :)

Walk, Brooke, walk!

We moved on to the next exchange at the Scappoose Fred Meyers... where Evil Olive van #2 was also meeting up with us. My leg was up next.. so I was a ball of anxiety. The rest of my van was ready to find coffee. :)

I started getting phone calls from van #2 saying they spotted Brooke just a little ways off, and she would be at the exchange soon. Also they were asking where we were... I kept telling my mom, "at the exchange!" I thought she knew where it was since we drove there before... but I guess she wasn't paying as close attention as all that.. cause she parked further away and walked over.

Anyway, all my anxiety was for naught. Everyone was back by the time Brooke showed up at 55:49. Hana made sure that Brent got the timing chip (which he needs on his shoe while crossing the finish line in Seaside, OR), and I honestly couldn't tell you who was doing the timing clip board.... hehehe. Brooke handed off to me, and I was off!!!

My walk was GREAT. I had 5.69 miles, straight and flat along boring Hwy 30. I had been training quite a bit the several months leading up to the race, and knew that I could walk a little quicker than a 12 minute mile (5 mph) when I had flat road. It wasn't easy, and I'm SURE I looked like a complete moron while walking fast... but I could do it.

I passed a whole bunch of walkers, and decided to start counting my roadkills after a bit. I was looking for both vans to pass me and cheer me on... every time I heard cheering from behind I'd turn around smiling to find it was someone else's van. damnit.

Then there was one van with everyone out of it cheering someone on with urgency behind me that I couldn't see. When I heard one of the spectators yelling, "COME ON, YOU CAN TAKE HER!!" I realized this someone was coming up on me! Like hell he was! No one had passed *ME* yet! I stepped it up a notch and really pushed myself on my step rate and using my abdomen and arms more efficiently to go quicker. He was a tall skinny guy, coming up on my heels huffing and puffing. His van stopped again a little further up to cheer him on AGAIN... WHERE THE HELL WAS *MY* VAN?!?! I was able to keep in front of him the entire while. He then started talking to me:
"you're really challenging me!!"
I responded, "you're really challenging ME!"
he said, "but this is my first time! I'm a beginner!"
I responded, "Dude, this is my first time too!"

That's about when his energy gave out, and he started falling behind. HAHAHAHAH! Booya!

After this, both my vans pass me cheering me on... and even my van, van #1 stops and gives me a drink of water (which I refuse to stop for, I dump it down my mouth as I continued moving). Thanks, Hana!! It was very needed!

Sometime around here I also came across the race photographer. I played with the idea of stopping and striking a pose for the camera, but then decided to just smile and hug myself. I should have struck that pose in hindsight.

BLAZE O GLORY! Here I come... I see the next exchange up ahead of me... and I couldn't get there soon enough.

I cruise in with both vans cheering me on, and pass off to Sheryl after walking for 1:06:34... or an 11:42 minute mile average pace. Marc met me at the exchange, and my legs immediately transformed into spaghetti and it was REALLY hard for me to walk or stand at all. Holy crap. 22 roadkills! Woo!

The entire team wants to get a team picture on this grassy hill, and I oblige by sitting on the ground in front of them.. too wobbly to stand. Everyone except Sheryl (who was walking) was in this pic.

I'm pretty done. We have to go get Sheryl at the end of her leg, but after that, van #1 is done with our first leg. I slam 2 more bottles of water... we head to the Columbia County Fairground.

Here is Sheryl's leg:

We aren't able to provide Sheryl any route support since she's on a leg that no vans are allowed on... we can only meet her at the end of her 4.15 miles at the fairgrounds. We get there, and I tear into our van food. Van #2 gets there eventually and parks near us. It's a gorgeous sunny morning by the time Sheryl shows up at 1:00:50 and hands off to Ronnelle in van #2. Before parting ways, Brent and I test the Motorola Walkabouts we brought along to contact one another at the next major exchange location... where cell phones do not work. We decide on channel 8, walk a bit away from eachother and test the devices. They work. We also decide to use the call signs "olive jar 1" and "olive jar 2" for van 1 and van 2 of Evil Olive respectively. Perfect! We're good to go!

We hand off the clipboard to van #2, and we sing song wish van #2 good luck as we head out for "pancakes!!"

We stop at the Scappoose High School where I was informed of a pancake fundraiser... and are informed (after barging in on band camp) that the pancakes are for the Hood to Coast runners... later. They weren't set up to feed people now. WHAT!?! damnit, why include that information in the walker packet if it's not meant for us!!! Grrrrr...

We decide to hit a local diner in Scappoose instead. We had a nice greasy breakfast/lunch... it was approaching noon after all. After food and "bottomless" diner coffee we head out. Our destination is in the middle of nowhere... the sleeping areas at exchange 24 (on Hwy 202 just after it splits off from Hwy 47 near Mist, OR). The drive takes a while to get to along the Scappoose-Vernonia Hwy, and I doze off in the back of the car... well, up till the water bottles fell on me from on top of the cooler (I was in the trunk afterall). We get to the sleep area, and Marc expertly locates a promising looking patch of shade in the back corner of the sleeping field. We immediately pull stuff out of our van to claim that patch of shade (it was pretty sunny) and another van pulls up hopefully, and then drives off when they discover that it was OUR shade... not theirs. Within minutes, we're fast asleep in the shade in the sunny late August afternoon on a Friday... in a field of hundreds of other walkers and vans. For the number of people in this field, it's eerily quiet. So pleasant......

... could almost ignore the spiders that keep trying to crawl on my legs....

(... part 2 to come)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Running in a Sea of Cheese...

A little over a week ago I found myself getting a little tired of running around Portland and Vancouver... finally.

I found a little run on the coast this weekend called the Tillamook Bay Run, and I went ahead and mailed in a registration form & check for the run. I figured, why not? It'll be refreshingly NOT portland!

The TBR race included a 5 and 10 mile length (10 miles was just running the 5 mile course twice). Since I only was slated for a 6 mile run this weekend, AND I have a major event next weekend, I opted for only the 5 mile distance... altho I did consider running 10 for a moment.

After checking the weather forecast for Tillamook in the morning and trying to call it a night early last night... this morning I was up bright and early (6am?). I got ready to go, had a big helping of oatmeal, stopped by my local Starbuckia on my way out of town, and hit the road. I've never had to drive anywhere for a run before. Google maps predicted a 2 hour drive for me. ugh.

Luckily it didn't take QUITE as long as they predicted to get out there.

I was rolling through Tillamook (if you aren't familiar, Tillamook is home of THE MOST AMAZING CHEESE. I've been a fan of their Special Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar since I was a kid... I consider Tillamook something akin to the promised land) this morning just before 9am... and noticed a cute little farmer's market set up in their little historical downtown area. The run was located on the Bayocean spit on the far side of the Tillamook bay, so I kept going.

I got to the start line/finish line/race central a tad early it turns out.

Also, I was surprised to find the place was completely surrounded by fog. The forecast the night before hadn't mentioned fog.

But it wasn't TOO terrible. Heck, this weekend is a heat wave in Portland. When I was driving out, the NPR news was all about how temperatures were going to be in the 3-digits today, and there were signs up on the highways warning of high smog levels today, and to keep driving to a minimum. I felt kinda lucky to be getting out of town actually.

I got my race-day packet, and since I had an hour to kill, I brought it back to my car and went through it.

There was some random stuff in it, like a pad of post-it notes, but I was happy to find a sample of Tillamook cheese included. :)

Anyway, after anxiously awaiting the race start for a while, it was time to go to the start line. I was TOTally surprised to find only a handful of people there. Note my race bib number was 301! Well, turns out they're still using the race bibs from the first year they held this race. There were only like 57 people in this race.

They explained to us how the race was going to work (out and back, how hard is that?) and then counted down to the start. I had on my new New Balance flair running skirt (love it), my ultimate frisbee jersey, and, as a last minute addition due to the weather, I decided to keep my polar fleece on... but ended up needing to remove it and tie it around my waist before the turn around.

There was a group of like 10 or so highschool runners, who were clearly being coached, and a group of walkers that were referred to as TLC (who I later found out was a credit union in Tillamook and Lincoln County). Other than that, there were just some random people. We all set off. I tried my best to keep up with the gaggle of highschoolers at the start. Why? I'm not sure actually. Near 1/2 mile I had to slack off a touch tho, and they passed me. However, sticking with them in the first 1/2 mile separated me from the other runners, and I was kinda keeping the rear of the first group of runners. Not a bad spot.

My mile splits were...
Mile 1: 8:34 minutes
Mile 2: 9:44 minutes
Mile 3: 9:38 minutes
Mile 4: 9:51 minutes
Mile 5: 9:35 minutes

Total: 47:49 minutes, a 9:28 minute mile pace.

For a 5 mile race, this is a pretty fricken good time for me. Ok, sure, I beat the pace in the Reach the Bridge run, but that was ALL downhill... this race wasn't. If I can keep that pace up for an additional 1.2 miles or so, I think that would meet my under-an-hour 10K goal.

The course was dirt, gravel, bigger rocks, sand... nothing good lets just say. Luckily I had worn my trail running shoes which has greater stability. I also worked hard to find the hardest packed, least rocky line along the access road that the out and back was along. I was pre-occupied in this race watching the ground trying to plot the least dangerous route along the road. I enjoyed the view less often than I would have liked... however that's fine, since the fog never burnt off. On occasion we could see a sea kayaker or a sailboat in the fog, but for the most part there was nothing to see. More often there was the smell of fish and seaweed. Definitely not in Portland. :)

The course was along the bay-side of the Bayocean spit.

Funny, apparently my garmin doesn't have the spit on its maps... according to my gamin my run was on water this morning...


I was, at first, trying to keep track of the ladies in front of me who looked approximately 30-39 years old... since I knew there were age-group/gender awards, and not many people. After a while tho I just was running and not looking at the other people. The weather (cooler, humid) did NOT jive with my bad knee, and with 2 miles left, it started to stiffen up a touch, but I decided to ignore it and just keep going. It loosened up a little after a while, but it was complaining to me the rest of the day. I was kinda glad on the home stretch that I wasn't doing the 10 mile run. My knee was not up for it.

I went ahead and stopped at all of the water stations and stood around while I drank water for a couple of seconds, and then thanked the volunteers for being out there. I told them I was in no hurry... which was only partly true. I had a good enough lead on the people behind me that it didn't hurt me to take those little breathers, and there was NO way I'd catch those in front of me. :)

I got to run alone for most of the race. It wasn't bad!

At 1/4th mile to the turn around, the leaders were headed back. I complimented the lead runners on their effort, but they ignored me. ahh well. They were all kids anyway: no manners. When I was about 1/2 mile to the finish, the lead 10 milers passed me on their second circuit of the course. So, that tells me I was a pretty consistent pace behind the leaders for the entire run. :)

The final mile was deceiving. It was flat and striaght, but I kept THINKING I saw the gate that was the trailhead, and ineffect the finish line... so I kept putting in a little more energy than I woulda if I knew the finish was still .66 miles off. You can't really SEE .66 miles off. Roughly, the furthest you can see at any given time down a relativly straight flat street is 1/4th mile. I kept forgetting that, and kept pushing myself a little, hurt knee and all.

I crossed the finish to a small crowd of clapping strangers and was disappointed to find no water for the runners. booo!

Luckily I had tossed some in my car, so I wandered over there... and then took some pictures. It had warmed up a LITTLE, and you were starting to be able to see through the fog, but not really...

Here is the start/finish trail from the parking lot...

I had about an hour to kill before the awards ceremony, so I stretched a lot, ate a banana and a mini blueberry muffin (complimentary after-run food), and just kinda, hovered nearby... the fogged burned off a touch more... LOOK! you can almost see land on the other side of the bay!!!

Behind me is a typical landscape for the Oregon coast.

I learned while hovering that not only were there NO women doing the 10 mile run, but there were only 5 women in my age group in the 5 mile run, and out of them I was 3rd!!! I've NEVER been a contender for top 3 before!! woo hoo! Ofcourse, if I had done the 10 mile run, I would have been a gold medallist AND the all-around top 10 miler woman. Eh, hind sight is 20/20. My knee wasn't quite up for it anyhow.

I stuck around for the award ceremony shortly after noon, and then the fog started rolling back in some. Some of the local Tillamook runners took interest in me (only person who drove in for this event!), and I had some nice conversations. The Gold winner in my age group and her boyfriend asked what else I was planning to do while I was out there. I admitted I had never been to Tillamook before. I told them I was considering seeing the lighthouse, since it was like, right near us. They suggested before I leave I swing by Oceanside, a little coastal town nearby, and have a meal at Roseanna's Cafe. I said, "cool!"

Driving off of the spit, this was my view...

I followed the Cape loop further away from Tillamook and eventually found Cape Meares. The fog was pretty thick at this point. You could hear the sea, but you just couldn't see it. I was kinda enjoying the fog... made for some special views.

Funny story: when I got out of the car to take that first photo, I hadn't realized I was still wearing my bronze medal that I won in the awards ceremony. I got some funny looks from some other tourists, but didn't much think about it till I was back at my car and was like, "OH! whoops!"

I hobbled on my stiffened knee down to the lighthouse. I know I was walking like a gimp, but I didn't much care. I WAS going to see the lighthouse...

cute little lighthouse!

Altho all you see is fog behind the lighthouse, I SWEAR there is the Pacific Ocean there!

On my way back to the car I spotted a little snake, but wasn't able to get a pic. I did get a picture of this guy hanging out on a thistle tho!

After this, I made my way along the winding coastal 2-lane road to Oceanside, OR.

I love how the houses are stacked up along the hillside like that!

I was happy to see the beach well attended...

I easily found Roeseanna's

The establishment was packed, but the servers were friendly. I went ahead and got the white albacore tuna salad special (as a melt on sourdough bread w/tillamook cheese), with a side cup of vegetarian vegetable soup.

It was AMAZINGLY good! I was eyeing the dessert menu the entire time I was there too... but alas I had no room. I TOTALLY would have been all over that bread pudding otherwise...

I was having fun watching the kites pass the window of Roseanna's while I was eating. As I sat there eating, the fog burnt off some more, and I was shocked to spot some massive Oregon Coast-typical rock formations offshore from Oceanside. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I just didn't see them earlier, so they kinda came out of nowhere! You can KINDA see em in this pic. Also there is a kite in this picture! :)

Also I got a quick vid of a dragonfly kite I was enjoying from the cafe. As I was filming, a mother dragged her screaming kid by me. Ignore that.

On the way back to my car, I spotted the CUTEST little sea side cabins for rent:

Dog friendly!?!? Oh man, I'm SO coming back here!

While driving home, I tried to snap pics of the fields of dairy cows I passed (without looking) with mixed success. The cows are the black and white blurs...

In Tillamook, while stopping to refill my gas tank for the drive home, I noticed they were closing down the little farmer's market that I had spotted earlier. I snapped some photos of that too!

All in all a GREAT day. I'll leave you with some shots of my brand spanking new bronze medal!!