Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Timberline Marathon

Whew! I finally have a chance to write a report! A whirlwind trip to Mt. Hood and a visit with friends. In the bag.

I did manage to stop off at the bike shop for some Nuun before heading out into Friday night traffic and a long drive south. We left at 4:30pm and pulled into our friend's home in Underwood, Wa. On the Washington side of Hood River, Oregon at 8:30pm. We kept checking in with them as we drove because there was a fire in Hood river along highway 84 and they kept thinking they might have to close the road and we'd have to take The Bridge of the Gods closer to the Bonneville Dam than the toll bridge in Hood River to cross back over into Washington. Anyway, no roads were closed, but we did get to see the fire up close and tons of firefighters working to contain it.

Once we arrived, essentially we said hello and worked on getting all the kids to bed. I laid out all my gear for the morning and went downstairs to hang out with our hosts, Jim and Mari. At about 10:50pm Mari and I called it a night and left the guys to go to bed. I set the alarm for 5:30am. I slept well, which you never know about when you are in a strange bed.

I awoke before the alarm went off and got myself ready and went downstairs to eat and wait for Jim to take me down the road to meet my ride. Jim works with a gal named Anna who was also running the marathon so he hooked me up with her to carpool. I ended up with some new running buddies, Stan and Ester Holman and Anna Bates. Cool people. As with most crazy distance runners, we were fast friends. Photo of Mt. Hood as we crossed the Toll Bridge from Washington into Oregon.
Top of Mt. Hood from parking lot outside Timberline Wy'east Day Lodge before start.
Me before the race. It looks warm out, but it was chillly at 6,000 feet! I started in sleeves, beanie and gloves!
Runners heading up to the staggered start. One runner started at a time every 30 seconds or so. More waiting in line to get to the start.
This is the trail at the start...the rocks are just some of what's to come!

Just after the start was this barren moonscape where it was basically sand and a fast downhill (with an amazing view).
Linda from the Y run club is in the pink.

Looking back up at the mountain.It quickly gets too rocky and rooty to have my camera out, but every once in a while I'd take it out and chance a look back towards to mountain for a beautiful view.
It seemed as if we had run so far from the mountain here, but it must have been only about 10 miles or so. I kept the camera put away until the end. Once in the trees it just became too difficult to run with a camera in hand for fear of falling and breaking it. The course was gorgeous, but tough. There is a 3000 foot net loss in elevation, but there was still climbing to be done. I think I may have gone too fast on the initial downhill section and my quads were not trashed, but very tired during the climbs. I preferred the flats and downhills still because they made it easier to maneuver around all the rocks and roots. I never fell, but came very close about 6 times. I think I caught myself each time by taking my knee in the chest and then regaining my balance.

Linda and I ran together off and on as well as another woman, Tracy I think. It was nice to have solitude as well as some chatter those rough last miles to get to the finish.
Linda and I crossed the finish line together in 5:08, slower than I would have liked, but it was a tougher run than I really anticipated.
Finishing with Linda. Photo courtesty of Rich walter, Linda's husband. Thanks for your volunteering out there too! It was nice to hand off my hat and gloves to you!

Marathon finish at Clackamas Ranger station.

I got some food and drink and then went to watch the finish and was able to see a friend from high school finish her first marathon! A tough first effort! Well done Jen! Soon after I ran in to Anna again who ran a fast 4:18, but she was bummed because she got the same time last year! I asked her to direct me to the nearest COLD water to sit in. She walked with me over to the creek where there was a waist deep pool and I went right in! I stood there for almost 15 minutes, until my toes were about to freeze off! But it felt sooooo good.

Just before I went in another runner was going all the way under! I couldn't barely even put my hands in and I was wishing I had my sleeves! The sun helped, but not too much.

Overall I had a great time. I went for a long walk the next day, was able to run on Monday a few miles and took a yoga class on Tuesday. I was pretty sore going down the stairs on Monday, but am fine now.
Here are some photos from the long walk on Sunday with the God family. Left to right, my daughter Annika, God Daughter Sidra, Son Michael and God Son, Jed. We took a hike down a closed road towards the White Salmon river near a closed bridge and power house.

We tried to take several photos of the kids, Jed is in the "no photos of me" stage.

My family, Paul, Jenny, Michael and Annika. A very blessed weekend, Family, Friends and a marathon in a beautiful part of the world.

Grace and peace to you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting Ready for Timberline

Well, as the week has progressed I have looked more and more forward to the weekend.

School is super busy and I find myself swamped. I actually have more time to spend at school this year with both kids at the YMCA daycare after school. Which is good and bad. I can get more done, but who wants to stay at school beyond contracted hours and work for free?

Anyway, the kiddos are also keeping me busy. My daughter who just started 1st grade and my son in 3rd grade are busy with reading homework after school and other homework too. Annika, my daughter also started ballet and tap dancing lessons on Mondays and soon flag football will rule for my Michael. Ahhh, back to school.

Actually, I am really looking forward to running the Timberline Marathon this weekend. The family is coming down too and we are staying in Underwood, WA. It's on the Washington side of the Columbia a bit west of Hood River, Oregon. My husband's best friend and my son's Godparents are the host. My husband and I are also their daughter's Godparent's. So we call them our God Family. :) We are excited for the visit as we haven't had a chance to see their new house (they've lived there for a while now so it's not really new anymore, we are just slackers in the visiting department). Paul's best Friend, Jim actually works with another gal who is also running the marathon and hooked me up for a carpool. So we've been emailing and I am excited to meet her.

The Marathon is point to point so there is a parking spot and a shuttle to the start at Timberline Lodge. The weather looks to be warm at about 75 for the high at the nearest town, Government Camp. That'll be a bit warm. I'll have to think about a tank. I'm not really a tank fan. I'll also have to decide between two 10oz. handhelds or two 20oz handhelds. The aide stations are about 5 milesish apart. I'll take both. OOHHH I just remembered I'll need to make a stop at the bike shop for some Nuun on my way home from school before we leave. Mental note made. Besides the water bottle and tank issues Everything else is ready, but of course I'll double check! I plan to carry the camera and take lots of photos along the course. I grew up skiing on Mt. hood and some hiking but I've never been on the Pacific Crest Trail on Mt. Hood as far as I can recall. So I am totally pumped! I don't really have a huge goal, just to be under 5 hours. I know this is not a problem in a regular marathon, but I've never been on this course and trails are slower. I'd really like to be under 4:30 But I don't want to push it too hard either. I've been having an issue with some medial shin tendinitis on my right leg and don't want it to flare up too bad as I do have a time goal for the Portland Marathon on Oct. 5th. So I'll probably tape up with my favorite kinesio tape before the run just for added support.

Okay- I'm rambling now so I'm going to go check on the kids and their chores.

Grace and Peace to you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Michelle's Grande Ass Marathon

It was Venti sized fun at the Grande Ass and post race BBQ.

I'll do my best to relive the run a few days late. School has begun and things are quite hectic!

I showed up at 5am to help Michelle and Eric out however I could. I ended up following Rick down to the second Starbucks aide station for him to leave his car after he ran 11.5 miles. Once back at the home Starbucks and race start, I helped Michelle check runners in while she used the facilities. I signed up two more unregistered runners! Whew! I think we had 35 runners with just a few no shows!

After the official race photo, I needed to drop my bag at the car, as I came back the official start cow bell rang and I had to scurry to catch up! After making way to into "sweep" position with Michelle, Rob, and Margaret we settled in to a nice conversation pace. It was fun to actually run down a few new roads through Puyallup and Sumner on our way to our first Starbucks aide Station in Downtown Sumner.

Making our way to the Downtown Fred Myers and the Starbucks there, we encountered a bit more drizzle. Nothing too heavy, just enough to keep us cool. It was great. The stop here took us a few more minutes as we refilled our bottles and chatted with the volunteers. We decided not to dawdle quite so much in the future!

I enjoyed the next section from Downtown Puyallup into Fife. We ran along the Levee road. It was pretty cool to see so many people salmon fishing along the river. Not only along this section, but into and out of Sumner as well. Coming into Fife you run through a myriad of landscape, from farm fields and neighborhoods to industrial parks and city. By this time, around mile 17 I think, my knees were beginning to feel the wrath of running on concrete and I tried hard to run on the asphalt road or in the grass/dirt as much as possible to give the knees a break. It was difficult but I was only achy. It was great to be greeted by Mike at the Fife Starbucks as he and all the other volunteers are always so eager to help fill bottles and get the photo of all the runners.

Arriving at the downtown Tacoma Starbucks was a welcome change from running along the seemingly endless Puyallup Ave coming out of Fife. Not the world's greatest neck of the woods and straight as an arrow. It also meant that we would hit the waterfront of Commencement Bay soon. Downtown Tacoma is really a pretty place to run. We were welcomed here by Eric and Michelle's son Riley and his roommate. They did a great job, especially because some of us made them carry gear back!

We headed out towards Dock street where there was a non-Starbucks aide station put on by Tony Philippi of the Marathon Maniacs and a friend. It was nice to have him out. Thanks TP!

Now, on to the waterfront! It was getting sunny and a bit warmer out now. We slowed a bit a Michelle was feeling tired. We chastised Rob for dawdling back with Tony at the previous aide station. He must've had to sprint (or run as fast as his hundred miler a week before legs could carry him) at least a mile to catch back up to us! He was ready to take it easier too! We were getting closer to the last Starbucks, which we had to pass by and do a 2.2 mile out and back to complete the marathon. Michelle needed to run/walk about every 50 yards now so we were taking it pretty easy. Michelle had been sick earlier in the week as well as having no sleep last weekend crewing for Rob during his 100 miler at Cascade Crest.

We made it to the fire boat turn around and headed back. I noticed a co-worker and her family taking a walk and she asked me "what is up with this grande ass thing?" I had to stop a moment to explain before catching up and heading to the finish. There were still plenty of people hanging out to see the Race Princess finish official DFL or "Sweep" as we like to claim. We received our precious medals made from Starbucks cup sleeves and had our finishers photo taken. It was time to get a cup of Starbucks coffee! I did, and we headed home to clean up for the awesome BBQ aat Cat's.

Here we ate and ate and ate and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was a fabulous time. I can't wait to do it all again.

On to Timberline Marathon on September 13th and then the Portland Marathon on October 5th. There will be others to come I am sure! I think Rob even heard me say I'd like to try for 50 at Autumn Leaves if I can get my husband to drive down too so I don't have to drive back!
We'll see.

Grace and Peace to you.