Sunday, May 31, 2015

Portland Rock'n'Roll Half Marathon Recap




The weekend of May 16th and 17th was a really good weekend.  Why, you may be asking, was it a really good weekend?  Well, in case you skipped the title of this post and didn’t realize it was a recap of the Rock’n’Roll Portland half marathon, then let me tell you that it was an expo and race weekend for me.  Haha.  Sorry, I’m feeling a little ornery as I’m writing this.  Anyway, let’s do the usual and start off with the expo.

For the expo, I went to the Oregon Convention Center.  It’s the one that has the two pyres of green glass rising above it. 

I want to start off before I say anything else, that the last and only other RNR expo I’ve been to was the RNR San Antonio expo in 2013.  It was huge.  There was well over 100 vendors there.  I was literally there for much over an hour just walking around and seeing what all there was for sale and offer in the expo.  So, that said, I was pretty disappointed with this expo.  When I went on the RNR Portland website, the list of vendors looked pretty well stocked.  However, when I got there, it was fairly small (by comparison to the previous RNR expo I went to).  This expo was more on par with an expo for a popular 10K (like the Capital 10K) than it was for a major race series. 

Sooooo…you walk in and are immediately directed to the bib pick up area.  You go stand in line for your bib number (which was emailed to you or you could look it up at a little area just outside the entrance to the expo area).  Most lines had no one in them, so of course my line had like 3 people already in it and those 3 people apparently all had questions.  Ugh.  Anyway, got my bib…YAY!  Corral 13.  This was based on what I had put down as my estimated finish time…which I listed as 2:30:00 when I registered back in January.  This became annoying race morning because the pace group I wanted to run with was in corral 10 or 11.  I was stuck with corral 13 and the 2:30 pace group.  Ugh.  I had a goal of finishing in 2:15 (or, at the very least 2:18:00 or faster).  But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

After you pick up your bib, you go to the participant shirt area and pick up your shirt.  This was much faster than bib pick up.  The shirts were produced by Brooks so they were true to size and mine fits perfectly.
Once you’ve gotten your shirt, you go to the expo area itself, but first you start in the Brooks brand official RNR PDX merchandise area.  As soon as you walk into this area, you see the fitting rooms and I had to laugh:
I had given myself my usual $100 expo allowance.  I think only once have I actually spent my entire expo allowance.  I found 1 official merch shirt I couldn’t live without
And a RNR Portland guitar pin that I couldn’t resist.
Then I proceeded to the main expo area and wandered around.  I was disappointed that none of the running/sporting goods stores that were represented at the expo were selling Hüma products, so I was unable to stock up.  Guess I’ll just have to order them in boxes off the internet…oh well, cheaper that way anyway.  There were not anywhere near as many vendors as I was expecting since I had looked at the list of vendors that Competitor Group had on their website.  Obviously they weren’t all there.  I know this because it said that Hippie Runner was going to be there, but they were not.  I was about to leave and then I walked past this one vendor that was hooking people up to what appeared to be a TENS unit.  The lady saw me pause and asked if I’d like to try it out and I said “sure!”  She hooked it up to me and turned it on and it immediately felt amazing.  She explained a little bit about it.  I mentioned that I had a TENS unit that I had gotten from my pain management doctor a few years ago and that it didn’t even come close to how strong this unit was.  I’m not going to go into detail on this as I will be writing a review blog (not compensated at all) in a month or so after I’ve used it a bunch of times and have tried out all the settings.  Suffice it to say that she made me an offer I really couldn’t refuse and bought one.  (a little side note: I looked it up online when I got to the hotel and she really did give me a great deal on it.)

So, I busted my expo allowance by about 50% over budget, but I’m satisfied with what I bought.  So, after buying the TENS unit, I left and made my way to my hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott.  They had a nice “welcome runners” banner behind the front desk.
I get checked in, go park my car in the garage and make my way up to my room.  I open the door and my jaw dropped.  This is the best hotel room of my life!
They had Oregon Rain brand bottled water, which I’m sure tasted fantastic, but for $3 a bottle, I’ll drink tap water (which in Oregon tastes fantastic anyway), thanks.
The room had a full size refrigerator, a small stove top, a full sized sink, a full sized coffee maker, a dishwasher, and cabinets with 3-4 wine glasses, water glasses, coffee mugs, plates, bowls, utensils, cookware.  It was fully stocked really.  It had a full sized couch with a chaise lounge at one end.  It had a desk.  It had a dining table with 2 chairs.  It had a flat screen TV (I wanna say it was a 42”).  The bed was king sized and super comfy.  There was a full sized closet with 2 sliding mirrored doors.  This was really an amazing hotel room.  Now I know why it was $200 a night…but I think that was a discounted rate for race participants.  I think the room goes for closer to $250 a night.  Eeek!

I got unloaded in the room, hooked up my computer to the wifi and looked up directions to Foot Traffic, a local running store.  They had a very specific shirt I have been wanting for over a year now that you can only buy in their stores.  I knew it was within walking distance from the hotel (aka: within a mile).  I walked there and bought my coveted shirt…plus a matching sticker that I will probably use for the scrapbook page for this race.
I then walked back to the hotel where I looked up Olive Garden locations.  Then, I proceeded to Olive Garden for seafood alfredo, salad, bread sticks, and chocolate brownie cake (probably shouldn’t have had that last bit…oh well).

I came back to the hotel and laid out my outfit in the flat runner position.

I went to bed around 11pm local time and had my alarm set for 6 and 6:05.  My phone had updated to whatever the newest version of the Andriod OS is right now and the way my volume controls work now is different so I was afraid that the alarm wasn’t going to make any noise when it went off, so I was pretty much wide awake by 5:30.  But I laid in bed until 6 and, btw, the alarm worked just fine.  I got up and got dressed.

There was supposed to be a Marathon Maniacs group photo around 7:15, but there was free breakfast provided by the hotel (which, really, it’s not free when you’re paying $200 a night for the room…but whatevs) that I really wanted to partake of that didn’t start serving until 7.  So, I opted to skip the group photo and eat some quality food pre-race.  I made it to the starting area around 7:30 and couldn’t find hide nor hair of anyone wearing a MM shirt.  Saw boatloads of Half Fanatic and Double Agent shirts, however.  I wandered around the start area and took some pictures of fun things I found.
i love Team RWB!
not a bridge we ran over, but i love bridges!!!

As I mentioned, I was really annoyed to be back with the 2:30 pace group, especially when I found out they were doing a wave start to help runners avoid getting stuck at trains within the city.  There went any hope I had of catching up to the 2:15 pace group.  But, it was probably for the best anyway because it took me a full 4.5 miles for my body to get warmed up and ready to really open it up to where I knew there was an actual chance of me hitting my goal of finishing in 2:15.  For the first few miles I was running 10:30 or slower…but no splits in 11:00 or slower.  Mile 4 was pretty much completely uphill and when I looked at my Polar (that shows my estimated finish time and my current mile pace), I was going about 14 min/mi up that hill.  Ugh!!!  Until I recovered from that hill, I had pretty much written off hitting my 2:15 goal and was just aiming to finish without walking and readjusted to hitting my 2:15 goal at Orange Leaf in July.

But, then, when I made it to mile 4.5-ish, I started feeling myself hit my strides and it didn’t feel like a struggle to run anymore…but it didn’t feel easy.  I knew that if felt easy, then I would have no problems hitting my goal.  But, it just became “not a struggle” and I could feel my strides feeling “right” to me.  There were a few more uphills after that monster hill, but nothing that drastic.  Most of the areas we ran through were very pretty and interesting.  There were some transient camps we ran past and those had a “wonderful” odor to them and I held my breath as we ran past them.

We ran over 2 bridges during the 13.5 miles.  The first one was the Broadway Bridge.
I’m a bit of a bridge fanatic.  I love a good bridge.  And Portland is FULL of bridges!  I will run the Bridge of the Gods run one of these days.  It crosses 10 bridges!!!  WHOA!  It was after the Broadway Bridge that the giant hill happened.  Basically, ALL of mile 4 was a hill.  While I didn’t stop to walk while going up this hill, there was a moment that I checked my pace and I was “running” along at about 14 min/mi.  EEEK!  Thankfully, I was able to recover my pace when I made it to the top of the hill.

We ran through beautiful neighborhoods and portions of town. 

As we were reapproaching the river, we were going downhill.  I was hoping to pick up some speed and get some miles in the 9’s, but for some reason my legs weren’t letting my fly down the hill.  Maybe because I was fatigued and I subconsciously didn’t want to get going so fast that I tripped and fell down the hill…it was pretty much as big as the one we had went up in mile 4…so it was a big hill).  I was hoping that I could gain a minute or two going down this hill and cement that 2:15 finish time I was chasing, but it didn’t happen.  I just couldn’t seem to go fast down this hill.  Frustrating.

The second bridge we crossed was in the last mile and as we were coming up to it, I was afraid because usually bridges arch up to cross over the river (the Broadway Bridge did) and I was pretty well spent and wasn’t sure I could make it over a bridge arch at that point without walking…and I did NOT want to walk!  Thankfully, this bridge, the Hawthorne Bridge, was pretty much flat.  It’s a different kind of drawbridge in that the section where the ships go through gets lifted straight up by pulleys, so it can be flat.  Thank goodness! 

As I mentioned, I saw quite a few Half Fanatics and Double Agents in the starting area.  I saw all those people out on the course as well.  There was one guy in a Double Agent shirt that he and I kept yo-yoing being in front of each other (you can see him in the picture of me running across the bridge at the bottom of this post).  When he saw me and my pink Marathon Maniac shirt, he gave me the thumbs up and a “hello!”  Later in the race, I was passing this group of spectators and one guy that I ran passed said to me “way to go, maniac!”  That was a nice little boost right there.  Then, about 2/3rd or so into the race, there was a couple older ladies spectating and they were both wearing Double Agent shirts and they got all excited when they saw me!

As we crossed the finish line, they had remnants of the carpet from the Portland Airport laid out in the finisher’s shoot as you approached the timing mats.  That was pretty cool.  The carpet is pretty iconic in Portland (well, in Oregon as a whole, really). 

After I crossed the finish line, I got my medal
And then collected my bottle of water, bottle of Gatorade, bottle of chocolate milk, partial Jimmy Johns turkey sub, 2 PowerBars, and 2 single serving bags of Half Pops.  I skipped the bagels…mainly because they were just plain bagels. 

Overall this was a great course.  I am disappointed in this Rock’n’Roll event for the same reason I was disappointed in the San Antonio Rock’n’Roll event I did back in 2013.  The music was practically non-existent along the course.  But the course itself was top notch.

As I’m sure you already know, I became a Marathon Maniac on March 1st after running the Army Marathon in Killeen, TX.  Later in the day after this race, once I got back to my parents’ house, I registered for and officially became a Half Fanatic as well!
That night, while I slept, they sent me the email verifying that I was now a Double Agent as well!

On my walk back to my hotel, I of course took a selfie with my medal and made sure the Hawthorne Bridge was in the background.
Here is the list of my splits, if anyone is interested:
Mile 1 – 10:24
Mile 2 – 10:25
Mile 3 – 10:33
Mile 4 – 10:59 (hooray giant hill!)
Mile 5 – 10:04
Mile 6 – 10:06
Mile 7 – 10:03
Mile 8 – 10:00
Mile 9 – 10:35 (not sure what happened here, another hill I don’t remember???)
Mile 10 – 10:06
Mile 11 – 10:07
Mile 12 – 9:58
Mile 13 – 10:19 (getting tired)
Final .5 – 4:24

Overall, my pace was fantastic once I got warmed up and then recovered from the mile 4 hill.  Based on this performance, I know I can definitely hold a 10-ish pace, so, I’d like to set a goal of a 10:00 min/mi pace for the Orange Leaf Half Marathon in July, which would give me a 2:11 finish, just 6 minutes shy of my half marathon goal (well, the goal I want to achieve by the end of 2015, that is…I’ll have a whole new, faster goal for 2016!).

I would like to close this by saying that Portland is an amazing city to run through.  While running this race, I decided that the Portland Marathon is now on my running bucket list.

And here's my scrapbook page for this race!  I love it!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Weekly Recap

As you can see, I’ve changed things up a little bit.  This weekly post will no longer be a “weigh in & recap.”  Why?  Because I don’t want the scale to be the master of me anymore.  Sure, what the scale says IS important but it is not the be all end all of my efforts.  It does not measure everything within my progress toward my goals.  I do still have a goal weight…in fact, I’ve updated it and it is now 165 instead of 170.  A lot of thought and processing went into that updated number.  It will not be easier for me to get to 165 than it has been for my attempts to get to 170…hello, it’s an extra 5 pounds below my original goal weight.  Now, if I add more weight lifting into my weekly workouts, then the number will probably jump back up to 170, but since 90%+ of my workouts are strictly running, the way I look at 170 now will be drastically different from how I looked when I was 172 two years ago while doing all sorts of workout DVDs and gym workouts on top of running.  
 
While I’m not replacing the use of the scale and am by no means going to stop using it, I am going to shift to using an Omron body fat machine as my primary progress measuring tool.  I just ordered it off Amazon yesterday, so I will get it later next week sometime.  After I’ve received it and have read all the instructions on how to use it properly to get the best results, then I will start using it and posting my progress using it.  I will also, based on my initial use of it, determine a good goal body fat % for myself.
 
So, with that said, let me recap this week for ya!  We’re going to do the usual recap week of Saturday through Friday.
 
• Saturday: had a great run down the highway!  Yep, you read that right: down the highway!  The highway that runs between Salem, OR and a little town called Rickreall has an asphalt-paved hike/bike trail that runs along one side of it  Oregon is very outdoor activity friendly, if you didn’t know.  I parked in a grocery store parking lot and ran down the side of the highway.  I had taken a gel with me, but decided since I was only going to run 6 miles, that I didn’t need it and left it in the car.  However, when I got to mile 3 (my turn around point), I didn’t want to turn around and kept going.  I got to mile 4 and, while I still didn’t want to turn around, I didn’t bring the gel with me, so I had to turn around.  It was a great run and probably the first time that I actually went longer than I originally planned to run. 
• Sunday: I was flying from Oregon back to Texas…no exercise.
 
• Monday: I had planned to run 13.1 for Memorial Day, but about 30 minutes before I had decided I would leave to go run a huge thunderstorm that actually produced a few tornados and some extensive flooding happened…so no run.  And it didn’t dawn on me to go to the gym instead and lift some weights.
 
• Tuesday: I had planned to do the 13.1 from Monday this day, but just could not get myself pried out of bed.
 
• Wednesday: unable to pry myself out of bed again.
 
• Thursday: yep, you guessed it, glued to my sheets again.  I’ve been fighting off a need for a mental break from running for about 2 months now.  It’s been looming and I keep pushing it off to the side and hoping it will go away, but it hasn’t.  And I think, this week, with being sad that I’m no longer in my favorite place in the world: Oregon, with my family and childhood friends and then disappointed that I couldn’t do my Memorial Day run due to inclement weather that my camel’s back just broke and I was “powerless” to stop it and just slept way too much instead.
 
• Friday: lest you think this was becoming a hopeless story of how Sara decided she no longer wants to run, I would like to tell you that this was not that kind of day.  I woke up on time and was excited to get outside and run.  I started off great.  About 1.25 miles into the run, my Bluetooth headphones died.  Ugh.  I was not about to run almost 6 out of a planned 7 miles without music.  So I turned around and went back home to change to my earbuds and hook the headphones up to the charger and then headed back out on a modified route.  About 3.5 miles into the run, my failure to get out and running earlier in the morning hit me and the heat was fatiguing me.  But I managed to complete 6.5 miles and I NEVER regret a run no matter how much it sucks.

Friday, May 29, 2015

What Advice Would I Give The Younger Me?

If I could send a letter back in time and give myself advice to help me make better choices, first of all, I don’t think I would actually do it.  Sure there are things that I would love to have not gone through, like horrible and abusive relationships and bad financial decisions.  But, the reality of it is that if I changed what I went through in my past, I would not be the strong, independent woman that appreciates the things that I have come to appreciate in life that I am today.  That being said, if I didn’t have a choice and I was required to write a letter giving myself advice that was not just telling myself to make the best choices I could think of when faced with options, then I would give the following advice, based on what I know now…
 
1. for my teenage self, I would say: don’t start smoking.  You will regret this decision on so many levels decades from now when you find yourself wheezing after climbing only a handful of stairs, coughing grossly all the time, and then discover when you try to quit that you are hopelessly addicted and need to take prescription medication to actually quit smoking.  I would also tell my teenage self to not skip school or run away from home.  It’s just plain stupid and you’re better than that foolish nonsense.  I would tell myself to be more involved with the extra-curricular activities that I had signed up for and, allegedly, committed to doing (ie - band, softball).
 
2. for my late teenaged and early 20’s self, I would say: take the ASVAB seriously and do your best so that you can score a spot in officer’s school when you sign up for the Army, that way you can go to college and then do your term in the Army and maybe enjoy the whole experience more.  I would also tell myself to buy new running shoes before leaving for boot camp.  I would also tell myself to not give up without a fight when it comes to the end of your military career.
 
3. for my 20’s-aged self, I would say: turn in your application for the sheriff’s office when you first fill it out!!!  Also, save money and be smarter about paying your credit cards and loans.  Also, don’t treat your vehicles like they’re disposable.  Even though you never get caught for it and never have and accident because of it, don’t drink and drive!!!  Also, SAVE MONEY!!!
 
4. for my late 20’s/early 30’s-aged self, I would say: buy a house!  And to also continue saving money.
 
5. for my mid-30’s-aged self, I would say: it’s okay if you open a bunch of credit and store charge cards, but don’t use them but sparingly.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Why Did I Start Running?

A LOT of people start running to run away from something.  A bad relationship.  The death of a loved one.  Whatever the reason, it was something they couldn’t process or deal with so they started running to burn off the stress.  While this accounts for a large portion of why people start running, it is not everybody’s reason.  It’s not mine.
 
Another big reason people start running is to lose weight.  Running is one of THE MOST effective ways to burn the most calories in a short period of time.  This isn’t my reason either.  I mean, I was in the process of losing weight when I started running, but it’s not THE REASON I started running.
 
Yet another reason people start running is to maintain a weight loss.  They want to maintain the weight they lost, but be able to eat pretty much whatever they want without the risk of regaining the weight.  As I mentioned, I was in the process of losing weight when I started running, so maintaining a weight loss isn’t my reason either.
 
I know what you’re thinking.  Those are the top 3 reasons that people start running.  What the heck could possibly be my reason to start running if it’s not one of those three things?  I wanted to.  That’s right.  I just wanted to run.  I felt the urge, the “need” to run.  I felt like it was what I was destined to do with my free time.  Did I have things to run away from?  You bet I did.  I had/have plenty of things I do not want to or know how to deal with and, yes, running does help me deal with them.  But, like I said, that wasn’t even a factor in why I started running.  Did I have weight to lose and could have benefitted in that aspect by starting running?  Oh yes indeed I did.  But, again, not why I started.
 
I don’t know how to explain this urge, this “need,” I felt to run.  I had been walking for quite some time at time I started running and it had gotten to be a stale activity for me.  It wasn’t “exciting” enough for me, if you will.  Not that there’s anything wrong with running.  Nope, I still occasionally go for nice long walks and completely enjoy them.  But, at the point where I figured running was the thing for me, walking just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. 
 
I can sit here and honestly type that running is just as amazing as I hoped it would be.  I did have an obstacle to overcome before I could become a full-fledged runner.  I had HORRIBLE shin splints.  I couldn’t even go for a ¼ mile jog/run without extreme pain in my shins.  I went to a doctor that specializes in soft tissue damage repair and 4 extremely painful fascia smoothing treatments later, I was running pain free!  (I don’t know if the company is just in Texas or if they’re nationwide, but it was Airrosti).
 
So, the reason I started running is just, simply, I wanted to.  It doesn’t get any easier than that, really.

Why do you run?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Vacation Exercise Recap




I want to do a recap of my runs that I did while on vacation!  I am very proud of myself for following through and doing every single run I had planned to do while I was off having fun in Oregon.  So, here we go!

• May 10th: we have my first run while on vacation here.  I had just flown into the Portland Airport the day before and wanted to make sure I had a great chance to really stretch my legs from the flights that took me over 2500 miles, so I had planned to do a 10 mile run, I just had to map out the route, which I did with MapMyRun.  My home town is relatively small, a population of less than 15,000, and not all of those are “technically” within the limits of the “city” proper.  I managed to map out a 5 mile route that I could just run twice for a total of 10 miles.  It went great.  Usually I don’t exactly like doing multiple loops, but after I ran passed my parents’ house and started the 2nd loop, it was like hitting the reset button and I felt refreshed, like I had just started running.  This 5 mile route took me passed my high school.
• May 11th: went for a 5 mile run this day.  Nothing “special” about this run.  Just did one loop of the 5 mile route I mapped out for the 10 mile run I did the day before.
• May 13th: this was a fun one.  I was staying with my best friend, Patricia, and she lives at the coast.  I had planned a beach run for while I was staying with her.  Her and her hubby are self employed so, while she can take MOST of the time off work while I’m there, she does occasionally have to do a little work.  She had to do a little work on this day, which worked out perfectly for me to head to the beach for a 4 mile run.  I have never run on a beach prior to this run and have heard so many different things about it.  I found that if I ran along the water line, where the sand was still packed from being under water during high tide that it really wasn’t all that different from running down the street, just softer.  The amazing thing about this run, aside from it just being cool to run on the beach, was I saw a bald eagle!  It was so amazing.  I felt so blessed by this wonderful creature’s presence and that it let me get fairly close.  I was probably about 50 feet away from it, if that. 
• May 15th: I knocked out this run before making the 4-ish hour drive up to middle Washington state to visit with my grandma.  I knew I wasn’t going to be moving around a lot this day, so I definitely wanted to get a run in.  I just did 4 miles, a modified version of the 5 mile route from earlier in the week. 
• May 17th: this was the Portland Rock’n’Roll half marathon.  A super great run.  I wasn’t expecting the hills that happened during the run, but I didn’t let them stop me.  I never stopped once to walk, I just powered through.  (recap will be posted as soon as I get the official photos in the mail…I don’t fork out for the digital downloads)  As I was running this race, I decided that Portland is a great city to run through and mentally added the Portland Marathon to my running bucket list.
• May 19th: not a run, but a great hike with my dad and both of my brothers.  The hike was at least 9.25 miles.  I say “at least” because there were a couple time we stopped to rest or check out something that nature was displaying for us that we wanted to look at more closely and then forgot to unpause my Polar until a ways down the trail.  Oops.  The total that my Polar said was 9.25 miles, but I’m sure it was over 9.5 miles total.  This was a very technical hike with over 2700 feet in elevation gain!  My upper butt muscles and the entirety of my hips, and my calves were all super sore the next day, so I postponed the 6 mile run I had planned for the next day.  Overall, I la-la-loved this hike.  It was so amazing and we saw so many wonderful things.
• May 21st: another first!!!  I went for my very first trail run.  I had asked my brother (who has a fair amount of trail running experience) to recommend  a good trail for me to run.  He recommended the trails of Peavy Auditorium in the OSU College Forests.  He gave me a map and instructions on which trail routes to take.  He told me the run was probably about 10 miles, but it was less than 7.  And since I had my heart set on 10 miles, I ran seven .4 mile loops around this little trail to make up the difference so I could hit the 10 mile mark.  I loved this run, but because there was about 1300 feet of elevation gain during this run, it used the exact same muscles as the hike, so I was even MORE sore the next day, so the 6 mile run I had rescheduled from the day after the hike to the day after this run, got postponed yet again.
• May 22nd: as I mentioned, my upper butt muscles, entire hip area and calves were extremely sore and I was pretty much waddling as opposed to walking.  I decided the best way to loosen things up was for a walk around town.  I was meeting a friend for lunch about a ½ mile from my parents’ house, so I walked to meet up with her.  She dropped me off at my parents’ house after lunch because I didn’t eat all my food and had take away containers.  So I stashed those in the fridge and headed back out for another 4.75 miles.  It was a really great walk and really did the trick for me.
• May 23rd: there was supposed to be a hike in the Opal Creek area with a friend, but her son got really sick the day before and she had to cancel.  While I really wanted to go on the hike with her, it gave me the opportunity to catch up that 6 mile run I had postponed twice already.  I wanted to run the hike/bike trail that runs along the side of Oregon State Hwy 22 between Salem and Rickreall.  I parked in the Safeway parking lot in West Salem and started my run down the highway.  I was just going to run 3 miles out and then back.  I hit the 3 mile mark and did not feel like turning around.  So I went to 4 and turned around.  I was a little bummed because I had decided not to take a gel with me to run (there was one in my car).  Why was I bummed?  Because at mile 4 I still did not want to turn around, but if I’m going more than 8 miles, I like to be able to refuel as I run.  So, I reluctantly turned around and headed back to the car.  It was a really great 8 mile run (that I wished had been a 10 mile run).

When I drove up to Oregon last June, I did all but one of my runs.  I didn’t do that one run because when I stopped for the night in Flagstaff, AZ I woke up with my sinuses just completely packed and I felt miserable and not one bit like running, so I didn’t.  I had only planned on 3 miles, anyway, but still.  This year, I did EVERY SINGLE RUN I had planned to do, even if there was some shuffling done with what days I did the runs on.

Total miles run while on vacation: 54.5.  BOOM!  I’m very proud of myself.  Running in Oregon is just plain awesome.  I plan to be in Oregon over Thanksgiving next year and am in the marking for a turkey trot and also a half marathon while I’m there, anybody have any suggestions for such races in Oregon (or even southern Washington) at that time?  Thanks!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Peavy Auditorium Trail Run



Today I went on my very first trail run.  My brother has a background in trail running.  He will run on pavement, but I think he much prefers the trails and being close to nature.  He is also an avid hiker and camper and dabbles in rafting as well.  It’s what he does when the world around him is closing in on him and it’s just too much.  He takes a hike…literally.  It is definitely one major thing (aside from the obvious of my family and friends that are here) that I seriously miss about living in Oregon.  Camping and hiking options in Texas are severely limited and definitely don’t include the flora and fauna that there is up in the great Pacific Northwest…Oregon: Pacific Wonderland indeed!

Before I came up here, I had messaged my brother on Facebook and asked for trail run recommendations and he said he would hook me up.  When I got up here, I texted him to remind him that he promised me a trail run of at least 6 miles (that was my only requirement).  A couple days later he emailed the map of the area for the trail he had in mind, plus directions on how to navigate the trails so I wouldn’t get lost and would get the longest run out of it.  He told me that (he doesn’t wear any GPS devices when he runs, he runs “naked” as us runners call it…no technology.  I’m quite sure that he does not listen to music as well) it was about 10 miles because it takes him roughly an hour 45 minutes to 2 hours to complete the route.  So, now I had my heart set on a 10 mile trail run.

I got up this morning, gathered all my things, ate some cereal, stopped at Dutch Bros and got me a large iced Americano and headed down to Peavy Auditorium.  My brother’s directions on how to get to the trail system were very clear and accurate.  

I find the trailhead he told me I would be starting at: the intensive management area. 


My brother had typed up a detailed list of directions on how to maneuver the trails.  He even included a warning about the “brutal hill” in mile 3.  He told me it was about halfway through the run, so I wasn’t expecting it that soon, but I knew it when I hit it.  I walked pretty much the entire “brutal hill” because there was no way I could run it.  I would have hurt myself.  This course is extremely hilly, in fact, according to my Polar, there was about 1280 feet of elevation gain to be had in the entire 10 miles!  Whoa!
that's some crazy elevation gain!
For the most part I was running along actual, dedicated trails, but there were portions that were on gravel roads.  Let me tell you folks, running on gravel sucks.  My calves are already sore from that little bit of the run.  There were quite a few areas that had signs and orange safety tape across them.
I went around all of these.  I neither heard nor saw any logging activity, so I just continued on with my run.  Well, then I got to just after the 5 mile mark of the run and there was machinery and it was active.  The trail near this was again closed off with a sign, but the trail went off and away from the machinery, so I went ahead…but also, I wasn’t going back the way I came.  So I chugged along.  Then, I got to an area where the felled trees definitely smelled freshly cut.  Then there were whole trees that had been recently cut lying across the trail.  At one point, I had to climb up on these trees that were a good 1.5 feet or more across, sometimes in bundles of up to 6 trees, and hop over the top of them.  About this time, there was a piece of machinery that was driving through the woods and seemed to be coming straight in my direction.  I neither wanted to get run over OR in trouble for being on a trail that was supposed to be closed at the time I was running on it (the signs said no closures due to activity on the weekends…this is Thursday).  My adrenaline shot up and I got scared, so I kicked it up a notch and powered through the area and soon, there was no more machinery sounds and I was in the clear.  Then there was no more freshly cut trees anywhere and I relaxed.
So, for the most part, my brother’s trail instructions were clear and accurate, but there were moments where they really weren’t and I had to make the best guess with the information given to me.  Thankfully, only once did I make the wrong guess, but I quickly figured out my mistake (I’d say well within .15 of a mile) and turned around and then when the right way.  That was right around where the active machinery was at…so I was also trying to not be seen.  But in the end, between my educated guesses and my brother’s 95% awesome, clear, and accurate directions, I made it to the end of the route.  Sadly, the route he gave me and said was about 10 miles was actually only 6.75 miles.  So, I found this .4 mile loop called the Woodland Trail and made 7 loops of it, then ran back to where I had parked the car and ran about .2 of a mile back up the start of the initial trail, took some selfies with my new selfie stick with the woods in the background, then ran back to the car.  Got my 10 miles!  Boom!
This was my slowest 10 mile run ever, I’m pretty sure.  But, you know what?  I don’t give a hoot!  This was my very first trail run and I was in it solely for the experience and it was an amazing experience!  I had decided days ago that I would be stopping to take pictures (as you can see, I definitely did this).  Also, I knew going into this that it was a super technical route with a “brutal hill” in it and all that meant that there would be periods of walking.  So, when I finished and had a time of 2:09:04 I was actually quite happy!
I loved this run and will do it again when I visit Oregon in the future.  Here’s the list of my splits if you’re interested:
Mile 1 – 11:19
Mile 2 – 12:43
Mile 3 – 18:22 (hello “brutal hill”)
Mile 4 – 12:29
Mile 5 – 11:24
Mile 6 – 12:57
Mile 7 – 10:19 (zoom zoom!)
Mile 8 – 12:50
Mile 9 – 14:11
Mile 10 – 12:27

Overall, I’m extremely happy with this run on so many levels!

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