Sascha and I have been busy the last couple weeks with lots of runs, races, and adventures. On Oct. 18, the first annual Pilot Butte Giants Gallop 5k was held. I absolutely love doing PBRs (Pilot Butte Repeats) as a workout. I run the one mile road up gaining 500', and run the .8 mile trail down losing 500'. I try to do this workout once a week, with four repeats. So when I heard about this race, which was a fund raiser for Pilot Butte Middle School, I definitely wanted to run it. We started on the track, ran to, up, and down the butte, then finished back on the track. It was fun racing so I could get a new p.r. going both up (7:26) and down (4:15). Although definitely not a stacked field, I did win 19:18 (course record, baby!) and was challenged the whole way by a speedy masters runner from Bend. And I got to help the Giants raise $3500! (Click here to see PBMS's most famous alumni!)
That night was Poker Run Eve, meaning I had some Poker Runners at my house for a slumber party. Since it was a party, alcohol was definitely consumed. Apparently a bit too much for some...but I thought the Jose Black was pretty good. Well, until somebody decided to plug my nose while drinking it. But that person has apologized and will remain anonymous. A word of advice to those who do sometimes overindulge: pound a bottle of nuun before bed and another 2-3 bottles within an hour of waking up. It works.
Fatboy hosted the annual Sisters Poker Run on Sunday, Oct. 19. I think there were about 35 runners this year, most opting for the 34-turned-into-37/38-miler, while some missed out on the best part of the course and ran 21. Some jerkos vandalized the course, which made the adventure even longer for a few. I spent parts of the day running with Sascha, Darla, Chris, Maeve, Michael, Nate, Tyler, Dave, and Krissy. Since it was a poker run, we obviously enjoyed a few more shots and poker girls at the aid stations. As for the run, I was playing pretty well through the first 4 aid stations, sporting 2 pair. I got hopeful for a possible full house, but ended with my 2 pair, which put me in 9th place. Hey, that's my best showing at the Poker Run. I'm getting good! (That's me enjoying a shot of Jose Black and getting a little kiss from the lovely showgirl!)
Immediately after the Poker Run, Gina, Sascha, and I headed to my favorite place on the Oregon Coast for some fun on the beach - Pacific City. A pretty, late-night walk on the beach was in order before going to bed so we could get a full day of fun in the sand on Monday. After checking out the tide pools in the morning, the big dunes were calling. Sascha and I absolutely love hiking up and running back down the big dune in Pacific City. It's super-fun and as an added bonus, it's a great workout. We did this a couple times before continuing on our walk up the beach toward Tierra del Mar. After a couple hours of frolicking on the beach, rolling in stinky stuff, eating dead stuff, and a couple more assaults on the dune, it was time for some chowder, salt water taffy, then the drive home through a snow storm (which I slept through). Quite a nice day at the beach. (This is one of my favorite pictures of Sascha and me.)
Thursday was the Sky-Em District Championship Cross Country Meet in Eugene. I rode the very full bus over with the Sisters team. Before we left, they presented me with a team sweatshirt, t-shirt, and long sleeve tech shirt. I love these kids! Once on the bus, it was my turn to give them something: nuun graciously donated a tube of nuun, water bottle, stickers, and tatoos to all 50 kids on the team. Thanks, nuun - the kids loved it! They all hydrated up on the drive over the mountains, while many also put their tatoos on for the races. The heavily-favored boys team dominated the 7-team meet, with their 7th runner placing 13th! They're headed to State as the #2 ranked 4A team in Oregon. The girls were in a tough, tight race. They battled their way to 3rd, with top 2 teams advancing. However, Sisters' top-2 girls advanced as individuals, so that was cool. This Saturday is the State Cross Country Championships at LCC in Eugene. Stop by if you have a chance. There's nothing quite like watching kids giving it their all.
Sunday, Oct. 26, was my 7th running of the McDonald Forest 15k in Corvallis. I absolutely love this race. In fact, it's my favorite sub-marathon race (and I've run a lot of races)! It's hilly (1,500' vertical), it's challenging, it's fast, it keeps you honest, it draws good competition, it beats you if you go out too hard, and it's a cross country fund raiser (I'm a sucker for this). Typically I finish in the 1:01-1:03 vicinity, with a best of 1:00:55 from 2004. After the marathon 2 weeks ago, Ness said I needed to go sub-60 at Mac this year. Great idea - so that was my goal. I usually start out pretty conservatively then pass lots of people going up the hill from 3-6. While it's obviously fun to pass, I knew I could do better. So I did a nice, long warm-up so I was prepared to start fast. Hitting 5:26 for the first mile sure was fast, but I felt controlled and good. I cruised through 2 in 11:27 and 3 in 17:36 before starting the climbs and pretty much settling in to 5th. I hit 4 in 23:53, then the real climbing started. I seriously felt like I was going faster, but my time at mile 6 showed different, 39:55. Oo, a 16:02 2-mile split. I knew I could get the sub-60 if I kept the pedal down. Mile 7 was 45:57, then 8 was at 50:29. Okay, a little quick math here says I ran the 8th mile in 4:32. Nope, not possible. Yes, it is a screaming downhill, losing 500', but I don't run 4:32 miles. Mile 9 at 57:30 confirmed this, as I know I was running faster than 7:01 pace. But I'm pretty sure the two together really were 2 miles. I was pretty excited knowing I had 2 1/2 minutes to run .3 downhill miles. I pushed hard through the end, finishing with a smile in 58:50, blowing away my time goal. I was pleased that I was able to go out hard and maintain a strong, steady effort throughout the race. Yet another positive racing note in the last 5 weeks.
Sascha and I haven't done a cool adventure in the mountains for a while. So today, we decided to head to the mountains and play on Mt. Washington. Never having been up it, we didn't have any expectations as far as how high we could go. With some sore quads thanks to the Mac, and the steepness of the climber's trail, we definitely did a fair amount of hiking. But that was okay. It was a beautiful fall day - sunny, warm, some foliage, and I was hanging out in the mountains with my favorite training buddy...it doesn't get much better.
The next few weeks will be about getting ready for CIM. Two senior guys on the Sisters XC team even asked if they could go with me and run. Awesome!