Wednesday, September 2, 2009

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.

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