To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
-Steve Prefontaine
Make it simple, but significant.
- Don Draper

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Post Where I Babble

Our favorite teacher from junior high!
Of course I'm in a running skirt - you hear me,
Adidas?? I'm still available!
I feel like my lack of blogging is because I've actually been kind of doing stuff! I don't know what, but something.

I've been swimming in the river a lot lately. My mom has the beautiful North Umpqua River in her backyard, so I get to go out at my leisure and swim in our little lagoon any time I want. I enjoy saying "at your leisure."  I bought myself this heavy duty noodle at Costco so I could do some of my exercises that I used to do in swim class at the YMCA. It's been pretty fun! I think I'm going to get 2 more so my mom and Man Friend can have a noodle, too!

I get a little stir crazy if I don't travel. Not racing all the time means I'm not traveling as much - and that leads to trouble. This time it is trouble in the form of, "Hey, let's go to Las Vegas and see Jimmy Buffet!" So that's what we are doing. It isn't until October, but I still got to enjoy the adrenaline rush of booking a vacation. The rush of booking a VEGAS vacation. And the incredible high of buying concert tickets to THE coolest man on the planet. I just love him and cannot wait to see him again!!

Mine is the upper left, my friend is
below me, and that's her mom
My Dumbo Double Dare costumes are complete, aside from grabbing a blue ribbon for my hair. Man Friend's are almost done, too. I think we just need to do his 10K shirt and we are all set! Who else is running in a costume?!?!

One of my dearest friends (since 1st grade!) was in town from Oklahoma last week. It was awesome! We got henna tattoos together, caught up on life, dished gossip, stalked our junior high music teacher (he adored us, I swear!) and got to have a mini reunion with some other classmates (one I've known since kindergarten even.) I miss her. I want her to move back home - but in the mean time I'll start picking out an Oklahoma race to do so I can go visit and hopefully not end up in a tornado. OH!! And for the first time in years we got asked if we are sisters! This used to be a daily occurrence growing up. People always thought we were twins. It was such a thing that I still refer to her as my "twin" and call her parents "mom" and "dad". We were pretty cool back in our day. The stories we could tell. Oh hell, the stories we DO tell! 

Reunion ~ Class of 1996. We're old.
I spectated a 5K also. That will be a post of it's own. I ran over 7 miles over the course of my cheering efforts!

While visiting with family at  park I was minding my own business. My left hand was resting on the chair of the arm. My right arm was busy looking into Vegas trips on my phone. Then all of a sudden SPLAT. I got pooped on. As I squealed for my mom to help clean it off I naturally got a photo, that I am now sharing with you all.

Remember that adorable dog my mom and I adopted and she kept as her own? Yeah, he needs a home, if you are in need of an incredible cute, yet needy dog. Poor Bogart. He had the sweetest face, but waaaayyy too much energy for this family. I'm sure someone will snatch him up soon and he'll be a better fit. Bummer.

That might be all. I think I'm hot and want to go outside and help MF set up our pool. Oh, he's cleaning it first. Hm... I'll go do something else. Maybe some Yoga Booty Ballet! Bye!

Butte to Butte 10K

In the old days I would register for races well in advance and have my calendar pretty much constantly booked. 2013 is my "rest year" where I'm not forcing myself to run all the time and I'm only registering for races as they come along if I feel like it. With the Butte to Butte 10K I procrastinated like never before, registering less than 24 hours before the race!  I had done this race before in 2010 when I was still very much a race newbie, so I knew what I was getting myself into with this registration.

It was on the Fourth of July and we were up early, on the road around 5am to get to Eugene. I easily found a place to park and hopped on a bus to the start line. Getting my bib was a cinch, and I was left with plenty of time to hang out, people watch and use the potty. Eventually they started the race and we were off!

For those of you that aren't from around here - this race is not exactly the easiest thing. I told Man Friend that I consider it a 2 mile race with a 4 mile stroll to the finish. Mile 1 .... uphill.  Mile 2 ... downhill. And when I say UPhill I mean it. Here, let's see the elevation chart, shall we?

This year I ran farther than in 2010 before I gave in to walking. I think I got to .7 this year, only walking the last 2/10 ... ie. that ridiculous steep part. I kid you not I wanted to just stop and quit right before that first mile was up. 

For mile 2 I then pushed it as hard as I could, and that felt great. For the rest? Yeah - um, I just didn't even care. We were enjoying being in a holiday race, people watching, treating it as a training run, and being lazy. It was so flippin' hot for this wimpy girl, so my strategy became "walk in shade, run in sun". And that's what I did for the majority of the race.  I did get my second wind near the last couple of miles and found myself determined to not let the overweight wiener dog beat me. *I DID beat the dog, phew!

"Tew Legit" - every couple has their own team name, right??
Not much to report really, just an enjoyable race that I'll probably take a couple years off from like last time.

At the finish it was chaotic trying to find water, and I was thrilled when I finally did find it. I found my way to the merchandise area to buy myself the race shirt since I wasn't able to during my late registration. It's nice I think, I haven't tried it on yet.  We wandered back over to the main stage area where they were giving out awards. At the conclusion they had random prizes... I was on high alert! Nobody was celebrating a birthday that day, so they brought up how it was the 40th birthday for Butte to Butte and asked if anybody was 40. They barely had "forty" out when I was raising MF's hand and pointing to him. I told him "We need to do this race for one reason, it's 40 and so are you!" So.... for no reason other than his age, Man Friend again won a post-race price - another "shoe bag"! Yay!!

I won nothing.

And that's my report. As for now I have nothing on the calendar until Disneyland Half Marathon weekend, but I am eyeballing a 10K in the future. We'll see. I'm kind of pre-occupied with life right now, so .... we'll see!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Grapes of Half

While browsing for a half marathon to add to my schedule I came across one promising a medal, shirt, wine glass and wine at the finish - after running through three wineries. Yes, sign me up! It was the Grapes of Half half marathon, and inaugural race set in a rural, quiet part of Oregon just south of Eugene. I cannot say enough good things about this race. It was all around the most pleasant race experience ever - despite the killer ending. And the biggest draw is that it would be my 23rd half marathon -- on June 23rd! But let's get back to the start!

I was up very early and heading north on winding back rounds that I had never seen before. The drive made me a little car sick, but what's a race without me wanting to vomit at some point? Around 5:45am we arrived at the finish area to park the Jeep. First ones there! Too bad there's no award for that. We took our time, had some breakfast and eventually wandered up to the winery to catch a bus and mingle with other runners. It was just so lovely. A beautiful setting; nice, cool weather; and very friendly runners - some I knew, some I didn't. Soon we were on a bus to the start line at the Noble Estate Vineyard where we got our bibs, shirts and packets. We had an hour to wait so we spent it having a lovely conversation with three other runners. I enjoyed it so much, I was kind of disappointed when we had to actually line up to start!

View from the start line
The start was on a gravel downhill road, which then made me back off a little bit so as not to fall. But once on the road Man Friend and I let our legs relax and power through it all until the first of many rolling hills. *I even passed Endorphin Dude at the start!* The race had only 95 runners, so the majority of the race we were not passed, nor passing anyone. Anytime runners did pass/get passed we'd all actually talk to each other and remark on how nice the run is or other things about the day and the course. It felt like just one big group training run with everyone supporting each other!

My new race friend
There were four aid stations along the course, all offering water, Gu Brew and Cliff Shot blocks, my favorite!  Volunteers were fabulous as well. Seriously, such an enjoyable race! ... and then we hit mile 6.5.

We thought mile six was the first hill, but in retrospect that wasn't a hill at all! We did a lot of walking on that hill, and then running once in a while. At the top we had a sigh of relief and then got back into running. That relief disappeared when we hit mile 8. Ay carumba! It was longer and steeper, and on a curving road, so you never knew when the end was near. Fortunately this is when some light rain came down on us and cooled us off. It was a very humid day, so getting actually rain was such a blessing! Once we reached that peek we were so happy to just run, and run fast. Woo hoo!! Up until then we had been on track for a potential PR, even though we had done zero training for it.
It was in the last 5K that my body gave out. Running on the shoulder took its toll on my hip and ankle and I was hurting. MF also had tweaked his knee somewhere along the course, and he was not feeling the love of running. We decided to just not worry, back off, walk as much as we wanted and enjoy the scenery and smell of the fir trees.

The party bus!
Just before mile 12 we hit Sweet Cheeks Winery. As we turned to enter the gates, volunteers welcomed us and told us they had a lovely hill as a parting gift for us. They weren't joking! MF and I split at this point and decided to meet at the end, allowing both of us to tackle this climb in our own way. It was the absolute steepest hill I've ever done in a race. It wasn't even that it was long, it was just crazy steep in this short distance. A water station and incredible view were waiting at the top. I took the opportunity to get some photos before trying to run down. It was so steep that running down was even difficult. But soon enough I was crossing the street and running up a minor hill to get to Silvan Ridge Winery and the finish line.

My medal and wine glass we were waiting for me, and as soon as I had those in my hand I was able to turn around and cheer for MF as he crossed the finish line! The post race area was wonderful. People were relaxing with their wine while I opted for water. We had so much choose from, fruit, hummus, crackers, bagels ... it was one of the best!

Age group winner! Yay!

I checked the results list and told MF we had better get our stuff together and grab the party bus. When he asked why I had the pleasure of telling him he was 3rd in his division and we had to go back to Sweet Cheeks Winery for he awards! Yay! *I left out that there were only 3 in his division, but an age group win is an age group win!
He won a "shoe bag" that I call a backpack.
If you are ever wanting a challenging, peaceful, well run race through the country ... and enjoy wine, I will totally recommend this race! I can't say I won't do it again. I don't like to repeat races, but this was just such a really positive experience, even with climbing the Empire State Building at the end!