I spent all of Tuesday on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
We hiked 13.4 miles total: Hamilton Mountain (and Rodney Falls, pictured, one of my favorite waterfalls to date) followed by Cape Horn. The day started sunny but it’s pretty obvious we go fogged in quickly! You can’t really tell from the photos but a lot of this hike was very exposed - on cliff faces and such. Highlight: scrambling/crab walking/sliding down into a deep, mossy, steep crevice near the summit of Mount Hamilton (don’t worry Mom - I was careful :) )
About once a day I’m blown away with how lucky I am, how beautiful this world is, and how much there is yet to explore.
Slowly getting back into it (after about 3 weeks off)! Ran 5 miles yesterday (average pace around 8:45, but being the perpetual klutz I accidentally stopped my GPS) and a Zen 5K today (average pace 8:47).
As anyone in this part of the Willamette Valley can attest, today was MAGNIFICENTLY BEAUTIFUL! The morning started out foggy with frost shimmering on everything, then the skies cleared and we had an amazingly sunny day. A rare thing ‘round here this time of year.
While it isn’t ‘til July, having another half coming down the pike should be good motivation to keep me on track for the Portland Marathon in October.
And I’m not sure what the final consensus was, but I’m completely willing to register for that V-Day 12K (@westcoastrunner !) as I’d love to get the miles in/meet up with some of you PDX folks!
28:00/9:03 average pace
After 8 hours of moving shit around (literally, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way - it was beautiful here today - started overcast and foggy, but the sun burst through in the late afternoon and the skies cleared enough so I could get a peek at some of the mountains) I ran an easy 5K to loosen up my body/get the blood movin/meditate a bit. Kept it short because the sun was setting; no photos this time for the same reason.
Came home, took a hothothot bath, and now some downtime before dinner.
Have a good evening, Tumblrs!
SO! This past Saturday was the Monster Dash.
The day started at about 7:10AM when my friend Steve showed up on my doorstep, having already biked a dark and below-freezing 3 or 4 miles to my house (despite our best efforts we couldn’t convince him to take a dip in the Mississippi to turn his day into a modified tri). A few minutes later Jade came by to pick us up, and we were off to St. Paul.
Somewhere along I-94 in St. Paul the quick-moving traffic stopped suddenly; Jade slammed on the breaks and did some amazing maneuvering but was unable to avoid hitting the car in front of us. We waited for the impact of a car rear-ending us, but luckily it didn’t happen. Jade, as composed as ever while Steve and I were still sitting in shock, pulls over to the shoulder and jumps out to talk with the other driver. The other driver gets out and is wearing (dun dun!) a Monster Dash tech jacket!
There was no visible damage to the cars, all passengers were uninjured, and the other driver in particular seemed anxious to get to the race. Numbers were exchanged and we, remarkably, all went along our merry half marathoning ways.
After getting our costumes together (Jade was a ladybug, I was a bee, and Steve was a butterfly) we made our way to the starting line. It was about at this point that I realized just how many people were running this race. Since then I’ve read that there were some 14,000 participating in the events that day, so of course the starting line was crowded.
We made our way to a spot between the 9:30 and 10:00 pacers and waited for the gun. Interestingly, I saw ZERO PACERS on the course the rest of the morning.
We started at a really even, comfortable pace that Jade and I maintained throughout the race. All three of us ran together until about mile 8 when Steve got delayed in the bathroom line. He’s speedy so we assumed he would catch up, but we didn’t see him again until after the finish.
The course itself was beautiful and, honestly, pretty kind - mostly flat, with slow downhills. Running down Summit Ave and along the Mississippi River Boulevard in late fall like this was stunning and a great distraction from any fatigue, muscle soreness, or boredom. There were two hills: a gentle one around mile 8 or so, and a much longer one on Shepard Rd at mile 10.5ish.
Through running this race and the prep leading up to it I’ve realized that distances are, for lack of a better way to put it, my thing. I’m not a sprinter. I’m not impressively fast (although I’m going to be putting in some serious speed work this winter), but hell, I can keep a steady 9:00/pace for mile after mile after mile after mile after…you get it.
Also through running this race I’ve learned something far more important, and I think it’s one of those things that every runner learns, some more painfully than others: it really is not all about your time, your PR, negative splits, or any other number we use to quantify and grade our runs. It’s about the experience, and most importantly, the shared experience.
Crossing the finish line in step with close friends who have seen you through ups and downs, and who you have seen through ups and downs (and hopefully will for years in the future)…there’s no number in the world that can even come close to replicating that feeling. We crossed the finish line at 2:04:37/9:25 average pace, together.
Blahblahblah finish line adrenaline blahblahblah hey! that’s a finisher’s medal! blahblahblah where the hell are they giving out the damn bananas?! blahblahblah hobble up the hill to the car.
I went home with my parents, packed up my room, and settled in for a 4.5 hour drive to Wisconsin. Following up a half marathon with 4.5 sedentary hours does not lend itself to a quick recovery, just FYI.
tl;dr: The Monster Dash was awesome, I love the distance of a half and will be running many more, and most importantly: friends are the best.
I’ve done some “naked” recovery runs since - not timed or GPSed, along with a little weight lifting. I’m looking forward to running without a race on the near horizon - it’s liberating. I am hoping to work up to a full this year (spring, maybe) so I’d like to start on that path once I’m in Oregon.
But for today? Today I need to take apart and box up my bike, ship it, and finish my packing. Life just keeps movin’ on and on…
I just ran 4 miles, 37:41, 9:25/mile. Nothing to report at all on that…
EDIT!: I do have something to report (however silly or inconsequential) - after runs I’ll often stop at a store near my house to pick up chocolate milk and sometimes some kind of electrolyte-y drink, and the guy who owns the place recognizes me as a result of my repeated purchase of this kind of weird (normal for athletic people) combination of goods. Tonight when I walked in he yelled, “Hey! Runner girl! How’s it going?! How far did you go tonight?”…something about it made me feel really welcome in an otherwise really anonymous world, and he said to stop by on Saturday to let him know how everything went :)
But I’ve been missin’ Senegal something fierce this week so instead you get a whole bunch of photos of my previous life!
I woke up not-so-sore this morning, but still feeling like I needed to loosen up my legs after my half marathon (!) on Sunday. Ran a slow, easy, fun, and chilly 5K (9:27/mile average) around my neighborhood after work.
And I suppose now is as good of a time as any to make this known: I’ll be leaving Minneapolis at the end of October. It’s been a fantastic 8 months, and Minnesota has been the best landing pad a vagabondin’ girl like me could ever ask for. I’m planning to leave after the Monster Dash (Oct. 27), spend a few days with my parents in Wisconsin, and then, during the first week of November, I’ll be flying to Portland, Oregon. I’ll be working on my friend’s mother’s farm (about 40 minutes south of Portland) through the winter and early spring. I’ll miss Minnesota and all of the people I love who are here, but I’m also getting more and more excited each day about the move. I can only hope that Portland has as wonderful of a Tumblr running community as Minneapolis. :)
Hood to Coast, anyone?!
For quite a while now I’ve been intending to draft up some detailed description of my trip to Washington and Montana this past August. I feel comfortable now admitting that that might not ever come to be, but trust me: it was perspective shifting. Instead, I’m going to go all sentimental on you and gush about how truly grateful I’m feeling these days - a lot of which has resulted from that trip.
It’s been a tumultuous year, and in particular a really difficult summer. I knew transitioning back to life in America after 2+ years of Peace Corps would be turbulent - but I had no idea the level that it would, well, level me. Honestly, life here has been pretty jarring, disorienting, and generally overwhelming. I’ve been in the middle of trying to figure out what’s going to come next for many months now, and back in July I decided that a trip could prove to be both restorative and enlightening.
I had booked my plane tickets sort of on impulse - it was a period of ten days or so during which flights were the cheapest - my flights were in and out of Seattle. I stayed with a friend on Vashon Island for the first few days - soaked up farm life, went swimming in the Sound every afternoon, and had restorative conversations with friends both old and new.
Before leaving Minneapolis for Seattle I tried to come up with some ways to fill the second half of my trip - I was planning to visit some state parks in WA to have some restoration and reflection time. As I didn’t have a car I was limited to public transportation. Wallace Falls State Park is easily accessible by public transit and hiking, so I added it to my itinerary.
Still having some days to fill I posted a question on Ask MetaFilter, a phenomenal resource for those of you who haven’t heard of it. Balonious responded to my question with the (generally deemed crazy) advice of: take the Amtrak overnight from Seattle to Glacier, hike for a day, then take the Amtrak back to Seattle to catch my flight to Minneapolis. He had suggested it for a quick weekend trip, but I had a few more days to fill so I extended it to 4.5 days in Glacier itself during which I would both camp and hike.
My Glacier trip changed me, in a way. And more than in just the way that expanding your world by seeing new places does. It truly broadened me and my mind, healed my heart and helped it believe that it, too, would be able to expand again someday soon. I met some truly inspiring people on that trip, and saw some of the wildest and most beautiful vistas of my life.
And all because I posted a question on an internet forum on a whim!
Earlier in July I had the same experience with the MN Runblrs - I came across a post about a 5K that I had registered for at the last minute, and met up with Heather, Katie, and Jason. Later we had a full meet-up and I met Bob, Sheila, Jordan, Melinda, and Dale. Since then I’ve been so inspired by the sense of community and camaraderie that exists - and all on this funny little blogging site! It’s kept me accountable for getting miles in, and has kept me transparent and humble about my splits. More than anything it’s driven home this point: community is out there, it’s not too difficult to find, and with it comes support, motivation, and inspiration.
I didn’t expect that two simple internet posts would turn into these things, both of which have shaped this summer for me in different ways. Thanks for the experiences! I have nothing but gratitude for how all of this has grown.
I ran the Nickle Dickle Day 10K in pastoral Waconia, MN this morning. I’d estimate my time around 55 minutes, probably? We’ll see what my chip time is when/if the results are posted.
It was my first organized 10K, and felt nice and easy. One longer hill, and a few short ones as well, but a completely manageable (and honestly, not particularly interesting…) course.
A good friend of mine is from Waconia so she, myself, and her boyfriend spent the morning out there. Highlights included a library book sale, mini donuts, wild rice soup, and a DJ named “Chopper” who spins music behind a fake car facade.
Also! I went climbing last night and sent the most difficult long route (a 60 ft 5.9) that I’ve ever tried. Beautiful! And this evening I’m seeing David Byrne and St. Vincent, together, for free thanks to some incredibly generous friends.
And did I mention that it is an absolutely perfect day here in Minnesota?
5 miles, 49 minutes, 9:48 pace
So here is what I’ve realized this evening:
7 miles, 1:09:47, 9:57 pace.
Again, slower than anticipated…but I’ll take it given that this is probably the second or third run that I’ve gone on in the past month. Beautiful, beautiful morning. The cooler weather certainly makes it easier and the changing/falling leaves are making me excited for autumn (my first full autumn in quite a while!)…happy Sunday/long weekend, everyone!