Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kilian's Quest

If you haven't been following this, you're missing out. I'm on the pacer team...and it's incredible!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tetons, Dufur, Seattle, and Tahoe...busy September!

I had started a post a couple weeks ago about my sweet week of running and playing in the Tetons early this month. Well, ever since I learned of Dave's passing, I haven't been too motivated to finish that post. So I'll just summarize it:

I suffered through the Grand Teton 50 miler, was supposed to crew Ashley her last 25 of the 100 but was too pooped after my race so I found another pacer and then was able to crew for Ashley, Ellen, Ty, and others in the 100. Plus I got to enjoy some really good bacon from Jason at the aid station at the top of the paved road! I had a great time hanging out with some of my very best friends. Sunday night's bonfire with Ashley, Bryon, Ellen, Jamie, David, Morrison, and Lane was a perfect way to end the weekend. Thanks.

After the Grand Teton Races, I got to play for a few more days in the Tetons. Bryon and I ran up Signal Mountain, then my brother and his friend joined us and we all enjoyed Signal Mountain Lodge nachos and blackberry margaritas while watching the beautiful sunset across Jackson Lake and over the Tetons. That is one of my all-time favorite ways to end a day in the Tetons! The next day Bryon joined me for most of the way on an adventure run up the Middle and South Tetons...spectacular Teton day! And finally on my last day, I planned on my all-time favorite 25 mile loop - up Static Peak, across the Death Shelf, and down Death Canyon. But when I got up to Static Peak, I was uncharacteristically satisfied with just hanging out on the summit to enjoy the warmth and beauty of my surroundings. After a 30 minute hang out, I ran back out the way I came, and I was very happy.

A great weekend in the big town of Dufur, OR, for the wedding of my good friends Jon and Alicia followed shortly after the Tetons. The festivities took place at the coolest little historic hotel, The Balch Hotel, right in the middle of downtown Dufur. I really enjoyed haning out with lots of great college friends - Jon, Ryan, Scott, Troy, and professors Nick and Ed.

The next weekend was a fun one in Seattle. The highlight was going to a Seattle Sounders soccer game that my friend Ellen generously donated tickets for. I think I vaguely remember watching the old school Sounders play a game in Spokane in the late 70s or early 80s. That night we went to one of the coolest restaurants I've ever gone to, Yanni's Greek Restaurant. If you've never been to an authentic Greek restaurant, put it on your to-do list. The menu was a bit overwhelming, but our waiter helped us pick out some great food to share that went well with our wine. Sometime during dinner the belly dancing began. It was so cool! The woman did her cool dancing, then went around and gave each group a silly hat to wear, then got most of the customers up to teach us a few belly dancing moves. My belly did good! It was just a great, entertaining evening at the Greek place. Again, highly recommended! The next day I played tourist for a while at Pike's Place Market and along the Pier, then Ellen took the dogs and me for a run through Discovery Park. It's a beautiful little park that's super busy on nice weekends. Sascha ended a bit gimped up after her 4.5 miles, so she's on a bit of no running for a while. Then the most exciting part of the weekend was when I got to break up a dog fight between Beno (Ellen's dog) and Sascha. I'll just say that Ellen is a great nurse and even convinced me to go to the ER. Although the bite (on my hand) was deep enough for stitches, the doctor said they don't like to stitch dog bites because of possilbe infections. Like most ER stories, we were there quite a while into the wee hours of the night.

The next morning is when I heard of Dave's passing. It caught me waaaay off guard. It was a really hard one for me to take and I have definitely been sad about the whole situation this past week. While running up Black Crater on Wednesday, I thought a lot about Dave...mainly just how great of a guy he was. And I'm sad I'll never get to share a run, or conversation, or meal with him again. He was a great one.

Still thinking about Dave, driving home from Black Crater down McKenzie Pass, I came upon a cyclist crashed in the road. I was the second on scene, probably 2 minutes after it happened. It happened to be Dave Clark from Bend, Summit High School cross country coach and math teacher, and all around great athlete. He was messed up pretty bad and didn't have a clue as to what happened. The guys in the other vehicle saw a deer broad-side Dave...craziest thing they had ever scene! After trying to keep Dave as comfortable as possible, medics finally showed up and he was whisked away first in an ambulance to the Sisters airport, then via Life Flight helicopter to the hospital in Bend. He ended up with a shattered clavicle, broken ribs, a punctured lung, lots of painful road rash, and one heck of a story to tell his cross country team.

Now I sit at a library at Zephyr Cove at Lake Tahoe. This is my 9th year in a row being here for one of the Lake Tahoe Marathon events. 2001-05 I ran the Tahoe Triple, 2006-07 I ran the Tahoe 72, and last year I dnf'd at mile 45 of the 72. This year I decided to run just the one-day regular marathon. Yeah, after so many years of the Triple and 72, it kinda feels like the j.v. race to me, but I'm really excited to see what kind of time I can throw down on this tough course. My fastest for it on day 3 of the Triple was 3:11. Last year I ran 2:55 at the Crater Lake Marathon, which is a much tougher course than Tahoe. So I'm hoping to thrown down sub-2:50, hopefully closer to 2:45. Yeah, it will be tough, as that's not much slower than my p.r. marathon (2:39) on a much easier course at sea level. But as a friend just told me yesterday, "...you should run your heart out for Dave Terry." So that, Dave, is what I plan to do on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hood to Coast

After helping out the Sisters High School Cross Country team for 2 years at the Portland to Coast high school challenge, I've really wanted to be on a Hood to Coast relay team. I finally got that chance this year. This past weekend I was scheduled to run on a team, but first, I wanted to test my hip flexors post-Waldo to make sure I could run relatively fast. So last Tuesday I ran Max's coached workout, which was 8 x 800 on the grass at Drake Park. After averaging in the low-2:40s, I knew I was good to go for Hood to Coast.

Hood to Coast was an absolute blast! I was on the END team, made up of eight Portland-area fast guys and girls, 2 fast girls from Spokane, one guy from the Bay area, and me. They had won the Mixed Open division last year and were planning to do so again this year. I felt fortunate that they let this ultra guy on their team.

Meeting up with the van 1 runners in Portland was just like meeting up with running friends I already knew. There was no awkwardness and we all meshed together pretty fast. On the drive up to Mt. Hood for our 6:45 p.m. start (the last wave), I enjoyed chatting with my new teammates and getting to know them a bit. Laura is in residency at OHSU, is training for Ironman Kona, and can sleep anytime, anywhere; Tony is training to run a sub-2:30 marathon this fall; Jon runs for Bowerman Athletic Club, and therefore, is fast; Janet kicks butt in races in Spokane and throughout the northwest; and Sarah was just getting back into racing after a five year break to have 2 kids. I knew I was in fast company.

It was fun walking around outside Timberline Lodge, mingling with other teams, chatting with friends, and just being part of the whole HTC experience. Soon enough, it was 6:45 and Laura was off. As she flew down the hill, we drove past her, whooping and yelling, then got down to the exchange. I was the #2 runner, so I got in a decent warm up, then was off. My first leg was 5.67 miles with 1,500' of downhill. It was fast. My first mile was pretty slow (5:54), but then I got into it. Over the course of the next 4.67 miles, I ran at least one sub-5 (4:59), and I'm pretty sure I p.r.ed my two-mile time (10:12). I was able to average 5:09 the rest of the way down, finishing in 30:02, for a total average of 5:17. I was happy knowing that I ran fast, but also not giving everything as I still had 11.5 miles to go.

Jon killed on his 4ish mile leg, averaging 4:44...I can't even comprehend that. Sarah, Tony, and Janet all ran strong and we finished our first rotation happy. Although we were trailing our 2 main competitors (Popeyes and Olives Oils, and Tarahumara), we were confident.

A quick shower and rest at Laura's house while van 2 tore up the streets, then we were back at it at Portland's Hawthorne bridge at 1:30 a.m. Smiley Laura flew off into the night as Jon drove us to the exchange. Jogging around for my warm-up, my quads were a bit sore, but not too bad. I got the hand off and tried to run hard for 5.5 miles. It was right on Hwy. 30, so kinda boring, but as we were now catching up to teams, there was a lot of people to catch. I started counting, but lost count after 20. I finished in 32:02, averaging 5:49. Although about a minute slower than I hoped, for racing at 2 a.m., I was okay with it. Going through this middle of the night rotation was a bit tiring, but we made it fun by cheering for the runner as we passed in the van.

Handing off to van 2 around 4:30 was great because then we could get up to the next exchange and get some rest. That sounded great, but in reality, the traffic was horrible getting to the exchange. I was driving as everyone else slept, which was fine since it was my turn to drive anyway. It was light when we parked and I was awake again. I saw fellow ultrarunners Neil, fresh off from Waldo, and Darin, so it was fun talking to them.

About 8 a.m., Laura was off to the races again. This time we knew we were slightly ahead of the Popeyes and Olive Oils, and slightly behind Tarahumara. One of Popeye's fast guys passed Laura and their 2nd runner was off about minute ahead of me. I excitedly took the hand off from Laura and was able to catch and pass the Olive Oil pretty easily. When I went by her, I was confident that was the last we would see of that team. On the rollers of my last 5.77 mile leg, I was a bit disappointed to run 34:02 and average only 5:54, but was happy overall because I knew I had put away the Popeyes and had taken almost 2 minutes back from the Tarahumara lead. Jon then caught and put away the Tarahumaras.

Tony's last leg was the coolest of the whole race and I was defintely jealous of it. He got to run up to the summit and down the other side of the coast range. It was 3.5 miles up and 2.5 miles down and was just so cool. Although it only topped out at just under 1,300' in elevation, it just seemed so cool. Janet then rocked her last leg to the tune of 5:50s and van 1's running was over. So we headed to the coast via Astoria, stopped at Fred Meyer for some fried chicken to settle a not-too-happy tummy (well, at least I had the chicken), and made our way to the beach at Seaside.

We anxiously awaited anchor runner Peter and the rest of van 2. When we saw Peter cross the finish line without seeing the Popeyes or Tarahumaras ahead of him, we were stoked. We had finished the 197 miles of Hood to Coast in 19:38:34, for an average pace of 5:59 per mile (!!), placing 1st in our Mixed Open Division, 1st out of all of the mixed teams (mixed = co-ed), and 7th overall out of 1,000 teams. The 6 teams that beat us were all-guy teams. Sweet!

I am definitely pumped up about relays again and am very much looking forward to running my next one. Thank you very much to my eleven teammates: Laura, Jon, Sarah, Tony, Janet, Kristen, Allie, Dan, Larry, Erin, and Peter. You guys and girls rock! I highly recommend relays to every runner. You'll get no sleep (or hardly any), get in a great block of running, make good friends with your teammates, and have a blast!

Summer Running in the Mountains

A few weeks ago, we were fortunate to have a week of cooler temperatures. Normally I don't care for coolness in the summer, but this did give Sascha the opportunity to join me on a couple of 20 milers! The first one was in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, up to Camp Lake then Chambers Lakes, in the saddle between the South and Middle Sisters. This is a sweet run. It's very runnable, beautiful, and plenty of water for Sascha's drinking and wading pleasure. The only bad part about that day was the holier-than-though ranger who stopped me about 1/2 mile from the end to check my permit. He wasn't amused that Sascha was my party leader (even though she was in the lead), so he made me fill out another one. Hm, seems like a waste of paper to me.

That run was on a Monday, and Sascha was pretty tired for the next 2 days. Thursday came and when I got home from work, she was bouncing around, all excited and ready to go again. Which was great, because then on Friday, we met up with my friends Ashley and Josh for a 20-miler to Jefferson Park in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness Area. This is supposed to be a beautiful run. However, we were freezing for most of the run as we ran in a light rain, and got soaked from the wet brush on the side of the trail. And once we got to Jeff. Park, Mt. Jefferson was completely socked-in. The meadows and flowers were pretty, but we were a bit disappointed to have missed the up-close view of Jeff, itself. The weather was perfect for Sascha, as she didn't overheat and got super muddy. She loved it. I loved running two 20-milers with my favorite running partner in one week in the summer.

A week later and it was time for Where's Waldo 100 km. Only 3 weeks out from the Death Race, I knew it might be tough for me, but I love Waldo so much and after a 2-year break from it, I wanted to be back in the game. I went into knowing that my hip flexors were a bit tender and I wasn't going to do anything to screw them up.

The first 7 miles were definitely slower than I had planned, but I was okay with that. I started loosening up a bit on the climb up Fuji, but could feel my hip flexors. Coming down, they were talking to me. By Mt. Ray aid at mile 20, I knew something had to be done, but I wasn't ready to stop yet. So I tried running hard the next 6.6 miles to the Twins aid to see if that would loosen things up. It really didn't and in fact, it was getting more difficult to pick up my legs as my hip flexors were pretty darn sore by then. I should have dropped there, but I knew there was a 1.5 mile hike out. So I decided to just jog it in 5 more miles to Charlton Lake, where I knew it would be easier to get a ride back to the start/finish. I got to Charlton, said I was out, got a wonderfully painful deep massage on my hip flexors, drank a beer, helped crew some friends, chatted to lots of people...just had an all around great time there! I eventually got a ride back to the finish and was able to watch Erik smash the course record, and see everyone else finish. I have no regrets about dropping and was able to really enjoy the whole Waldo weekend.

Sunday after the race, Chris, Darla, Maeve, Sascha, and I took the scenice route home via the Aufderheide Highway. This beautiful stretch of road between Oakridge and Cougar Reservoir is extremely popular amongst cyclists and is a true gem. We got in a nice little hike and just enjoyed the lolly-gagging getting home. Sascha and I stopped on McKenzie Pass for another little hike around Dee Wright Observatory. Fun weekend with lots of great friends.