Category Archives: Adventure

My Heart

I had planned on having all of the posts written on our trip to Ecuador by now. However life had other plans. We got home from the airport late Saturday night. On Sunday, we picked Bitty up from the cat hotel he had been staying at. Six weeks earlier, Bitty hadn’t been doing well. The vet cautioned that it could be the c-word. Deep in my heart I knew it was cancer. Despite Andy saying I shouldn’t jump the gun, I knew it.

Bitty hadn’t been eating that much the days before we left. I felt horrible leaving him but at the cat hotel he would have great care. Or so I thought. He was in his carrier when we arrived and we quickly exchanged pleasantries with the owner and then left. The owner assured us that Bitty had been doing very well and had eaten all of his food which meant he consumed 3 small cans of Fancy Feast each day. When Bitty got out of his carrier, I knew this was a lie. Bitty had lost weight while we were gone and looked horrible. And worse, he was limping.

Andy made him a vet appointment while I was at work on Wednesday (Monday was Memorial Day). The vet was prepared to rescan his belly with the ultrasound. The last time, they found a small ‘lesion’ that we all assumed was cancer. This time the lesion was gone! But in preparing him for the scan, the vet had found a mass on his chest. They did an X-Ray and found another mass in his lungs. They didn’t X-Ray his shoulder or hurt leg because it was apparent that the cancer had spread.

 

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How are we supposed to say goodbye to him?

Smith Rock Redo

This last Saturday I went back and ran the Smith Rock Ascent 15 Miler and it was awesome. As you might remember, I ran this race a few years ago and it was well…not good. I really love running out at Smith Rock so I decided to give this one another shot.

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I ran the entire race without my Garmin. It was dead when I turned it on at the start line. I put my entire pack (and my Garmin was in a pocket) in the fridge which I think drained the battery.  Running without knowing your pace and mileage is surprisingly freeing.

When the race started I was in the back of the pack but totally fine with it. I passed a few people as we ran along the river. I wanted to run faster but knew the course so I decided to play it safe. It was a warmer morning even at 8:45am. The forecast said it would be about 80 degrees by noon which was warm for early May in Oregon.

As we started up the hill beginning our climb, I felt the negative thoughts start to circulate within my head. But I focused on how many squats I had done in the last couple of months, how many hours of hiking and high altitude work, and how fast I had run my last mile (9:29). And amazingly enough — I PASSED PEOPLE!

Don’t get me wrong. Sweat was pouring off me but I felt good. As my stomach churned with the effort, I reminded myself that it was no big deal and this is how I felt when I climbed bigger hills. I drank my cold Nuun and chugged up the hill. I cheered on other runners who weren’t having the best day and joked with others.

Many runners stopped to take photos at the top of the hill but I wanted to beat my time. My goal was to run it in 4 hours. My realistic goal was 4:15 and even at the slower time, I would beat my previous time by about 30 minutes.

My favorite part of the course was running along the ridge. I love the flatter single track trail and the breeze that came up the side of the ridge felt great! Before long, we were at the first aid station. I ran through as I had my pack and no need to stop. I saw Willie and he cheered me on.

I ate a Kind bar while we snaked our way up another hill and before long we were at Gray Butte. I remembered this area very well. It was a motivating factor in my desire to train in the altitude room at Evolution. I stopped at the top of the mountain to enjoy the view and snap a few pictures.

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The run/walk down from Gray Butte was slow going due to the steepness of the incline and the size of the rocks of gravel (huge). My legs were a bit tired and shaky but I knew the hard part was over. I stopped off at the aid station for some Sprite which tasted better than unicorn tears. I tried to push the pace a bit as I knew I had a little more than 5 miles to go.

The sun really spotlighted me at that point. I failed to put sunscreen on the back of my neck and back of my arms and started to crisp and burn. Later it would look like I was wearing one small red sleeve on my left arm. Some of the faster 50k runners passed me along the single track trail which was nice as the  15 milers were a bit spread out.

The hikers along the way cheered the runners which always brightens any run. I slipped on the damn slick dusty rock which I tried to hustle down. I hit my ass and then hopped up slightly embarrassed. Running along the river was slow going as the river was full and looked deliciously enticing. I really wanted to jump in.

I hiked slowly up the hill to the finish line and pretended to run across the finish line. I was so excited to see 4:06:01. I beat my time by 40 minutes and 48 seconds. I realize that it sounds incredibly impressive and it is. But when you are slow, you have a great opportunity to make some huge gains. I really want to come back and run this again. My goal will be to run it in 3 hours and 30 minutes. That means I would need to cut 2 minutes off of each mile. But I think it’s doable.

I learned so much from the two races at Smith Rock. You cannot fake hard work. But positive thinking and confidence mean so much. There’s a lot of tall mountains out there. Don’t put one in front of yourself by being your own worst enemy. You have to believe in yourself, do the work, focus, and fully commit yourself to your goal.

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By the way, beer tastes so much better out of an earned glass.

An Adventure in the Works

Andy and I are preparing for a another adventure.

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Mom’s Visit

Mom came to visit last weekend. We had a nice cool down but then the temps came back up to a sultry 95+ degrees. Thank goodness she’s acclimated to those temps but unfortunately Andy and I were a little grumpy.

At Fort George Brewery

At Fort George Brewery

At the Astoria Column

At the Astoria Column

At Peninsula Park

At Peninsula Park

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We drove the Oregon Coast.

We drove the Oregon Coast.

Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout

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Time for Adventure

After my making my decision to scale back my running and training (no Capitol Peaks and no Mt. Hood 50), a whole new world has opened up. I slept in this morning which was the first Saturday in a long time this has happened. I got invited to run a super chill cool adventure run at the end of July. I signed Andy and myself up for a sushi making class and there are a few cheaper concerts I will be going to in the next few months. And I’ve been reading so much. In the last week I’ve read 4 books. And cut my hair off.

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I’m still out running but shorter distances. I’m focusing on building speed and improving my hill running. I just needed a break from the longer distances for awhile.

Chicago

I had a work conference so I rolled into Chi-Town for a few days. I’ve never actually been to Chicago only spent countless hours in O’Hare. Chicago was much more interesting than I thought. I have quite a few friends from Chicago who have been pretty adamant on how awesome the city is.

When I rolled into town it was really cold and snowy. The weather warmed up over the next few days but when we left it had once again gotten cold. I would love to come back to town in the early summer.

The photo below was taken around midnight central time after hours of traveling from Portland to Chicago.
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I finally got some authentic deep dish from Lou Malnati’s. It was good. I mean really good.

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For our company’s services award dinner, we went to the Field Museum which was so cool!

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And my team won an award for “Program of the Year”
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The ‘L’ is such an interesting way to get around.
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Angel’s Rest

Last Saturday after a sucessful shoe launch, I headed out to the Gorge to hike/run Angel’s Rest. Everyone told me to get out there early so I arrived by 7:15am. There were all ready a few cars in the parking lot so I didn’t waste much time in getting my stuff together and heading up the trail.

The first mile wasn’t spectacular at all. In fact, it was kinda gross in places. In some places there was a lot of cigarette butts and Starbucks cups as well as some other garbage that I suspect was actually toilet paper. Yep. That’s right. Toilet paper on the trail. There are little views of the Gorge as you head up.
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The hike is steep in some places but definitely doable. Then you get a view like this:
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I only saw 2 people on the trail as I headed up. The trail heads into a forested area so all the pretty views are obscured by trees. There were a lot of times I was sure I wasn’t on the trail but then I’d see the signs of human life aka more cigarette butts. I spotted this little guy on the trail as well.
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Coming down the trail, I ran into 25 different parties coming up. So the advice to get out to Angel’s Rest early is smart.