Tag Archives: Oregon

LITHIA LOOP TRAIL MARATHON RACE REPORT

They are going to kill me! But this is way too funny not to post!”
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(warning – this is a super long post but a fun one)

The Thursday before I left for Oregon, my coworker and I were discussing the fact that I was going on a road-trip with two friends (also moms) and how we were headed to do a trail marathon put on by race director and all around ultra-running legend, Hal Koerner. One thing led to another and within minutes the above photo was created and shared on Facebook.

Hal was tagged and my friends laughed. He seems like he has a good easy going personality, so I hoped he didn’t mind. 🙂

First, let’s step back just a bit shall we? How did this all come about? Well, quite a few months ago I decided that in my final year of being 39, I wanted to do races that I have never done and go places and have fun! So I registered for the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon which takes place in Ashland, Oregon and I booked a hotel.

Vans and I have been to Ashland before and we loved it. He told me that he’d go with the kids but that I should really take my friends. So, I did.

My wolfpack was set free!
The wolfpack was set free!

Vans tagged us as “the wolfpack” on Facebook and the name has stuck. My girls and I hit the road ready to explore, live and just laugh our bums off!

Mt Shasta
Mt Shasta

The drive up was easy. We stopped along the way for photos and rest-stops but we made really good time and were in Ashland with lots of time to explore.

We stayed at the Ashland Springs Hotel which was the race host hotel and is conveniently located across the street from Rogue Valley Runners – where packet pick up was located.

We grabbed our shirts and bibs. We saw that Hal was there but he didn’t seem to “recognize” us from our photoshopped post on Facebook. Whew! Saved (or so I thought).

Standing Stone Brewing
Standing Stone Brewing Company

We walked down the street and had drinks and snacks at Standing Stone Brewing Company. We toasted our weekend freedom and talked about the race.

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Lithia Park

Then we walked a block or two over to Lithia Park to find the race start and finish area. This park is mind blowing and GORGEOUS!

Feeling so lucky
Feeling so lucky

We wandered the park, taking photos and then came across a little park with THE coolest climbing structure ever.

When in Rome right?
When in Rome right? (photo by Burning Girl)

Stonegate and I couldn’t resist. We had to climb to the top. My kids would love this!

Since we were racing, we made it an early night and grabbed whatever food we all needed and headed back to the hotel to settle in and get ready for the race.

We felt kind of lame going back to our hotel when it was so early but we wanted to be rested for the race.

The race started at 8:00 am which for us, is extremely late. We were sort of thrown by the late start time but realized the next morning that it doesn’t get light out until about 7:45 am. Aaah, now I get it. 🙂

Burning Girl, Me and Stonegate at the start.
Burning Girl, Me and Stonegate at the start. (photo by Stongate)

The best part is that we could leave our hotel and walk to the starting area. I love being able to do that.

As usual, we arrived a bit too early and watched as the race directors and volunteers helped put up the starting arch.

The start. Photo from Facebook.
The start. Photo from Facebook.

We knew this was not a huge race but we also knew that it was filled with mostly Oregon locals. Locals who looked like they could crush this course.

Promptly at 8 am, Hal counted us down and the race started. The first 10 miles are on a partly paved and partly dirt fire road. TEN MILES … UP HILL.

Course profile
Course profile

We all started out together and then quickly realized, that NO ONE walks. No one. Everyone was running. Mile 1, mile 2, mile 3 … no one stopped despite the fact that we were climbing some serious hill.

Burning Girl said, “I’ll catch ya later! Good luck!” as she stopped to walk. I must add, that Burning Girl’s farthest run to date had been 12 miles, once. This girl’s life has been hectic to say the least and yet she traveled to Ashland and made a game day decision. She started the race and would see how the day would unfold. Stonegate and I had our fingers crossed for her but to be honest, the odds were against her.

Stonegate and I ran a little further and then she stopped. I kept going but eventually stopped too. Stonegate caught me and we did a run walk combo up that hill. Everyone was looking at us as they ran past but we knew we wanted to be a bit conservative as we still had a lot of climbing to do!

Good morning Ashland!
Good morning Ashland!

The weather was perfect. All week they had predicted that it would be down pouring rain – first it was for the entire day, then it moved to the second half of the race and then, it wasn’t supposed to rain until late that evening! It was beautiful out. Not too cold. Not too hot.

Trail selfie
Trail selfie

The fire road was getting a little tedious. It wasn’t ugly but it had this gravel that was just very hard for me to get footing on. I would slide back an inch every so often. The tread on my shoes are also pretty worn so that didn’t help.

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Finally we made a sharp right turn onto a single track. I don’t think Stonegate and I could be any happier. The funny thing is, all the people who had ran the fire road, walked the single track. That just made me laugh. I was ready to run at this point!

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The trail was well marked and it smelled like pine! It was awesome.

I am not quite sure when it was, I think it was mile 8 or 9, Stonegate told me to go ahead that she needed to walk. So I ran thinking she would catch me eventually. I never saw her again.

This sign just makes me laugh.
This sign just makes me laugh.

I just kept running. I was starting to feel good. My legs were no longer tired from the climb and my lungs felt okay. We had reached the top of the hill and I knew that the rest was just a super flat-ish section until about mile 19 or 20.

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There were six aid-stations throughout the course and I just took them one by one. I didn’t really need much as my pack was pretty stocked but the volunteers manning the aid-stations were SUPER nice!

One aid-station was crewed by a mountain biking group.
One aid-station was crewed by a mountain biking group.

The only downfall with this race is that there is no where, and I mean no where, to pull off to the side of the trail when nature calls. You have a cliff on one side and a wall or mountain of dirt more or less on the other.

This kind of stunk as I had to go twice during the race. Both instances I had to literally climb over a cliff and down an embankment one time and then climb over some downed trees another. That took a lot of time.

Finally I came to the last aid-station at about mile 19.5. I just said hello and was ready to keep running. I almost went the wrong way until they pointed me towards some single track trails. Yes!

It was a short single track that then dumped you onto a short fire road that then led you to Caterpillar Trail. As I understand it from the locals, this trail was newly built and this was the first year the course was running on it.

I hit this trail and it was like a fire had been lit inside me!

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

I just ran and ran and ran! I felt no pain. I was in heaven. I was smiling ear to ear cheering on runners as I passed them. I think I passed about 10 people on this section of the trail. I had passed about 8 on the fire road the last few miles as well. My energy was strong.

Photo by Stonegate
Photo by Stonegate

Up, down, up, down the trail was full of little rollers that weaved in and out of trees. There were downward switch backs and tight corners. To your left was a cliff. The trail itself was only a foot or two wide and to your right was a dirt wall. I prayed no mountain bikers were out there (as it turns out, mountain bikers have their own section of caterpillar to ride on that is just for them, how cool!?).

Runners cheered me on as I passed them. Finally at mile 24 I came to this …

Cause why not add stairs at mile 24 right?
Why not add stairs at mile 24 of a marathon right?

I had to laugh and take a photo. Always throwing in stairs for good fun.

Finally the trail dumps you out onto a paved road. After a turn, you realize that you’re on the same road you started the race on and that we only had a mile to go.

I ran hard. I knew the race had a 6 hour cutoff and I had no concept of time. I never once looked at my watch for time. I’d occasionally look at it for mileage when it beeped to see if the mile markers were accurate (they were) but never once did I glance at the time or the pace I was running.

I passed about 4 more runners on this road (they looked like they were hurting). Locals were sitting on their curbs cheering us on! It was so cute.

Then I see the finish arch ahead. I was so happy but then something to my left caught my eye. There was a  HUGE buck just standing at the curb, not five feet from me. Four feet from it, was a woman just sitting and cheering.

I looked from the buck to the woman and from the woman to the buck thinking, “Does she not SEE that? Am I imagining this? He is RIGHT there!” I wanted to stop and pull out my camera but I was literally just 30 yards from the finish.

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As it turns out, when I did finish, there had been a family of deer to my right as well! Crazy!

I finished in 5 hours even. I apparently snuck past everyone as they had to chase me down to give me my medal and race swag.

I then waited for Stonegate and Burning Girl to finish. I hadn’t heard from either of them throughout the race. The cell coverage was spotty most of the day so that was understandable.

Stonegate coming down the hill!
Stonegate coming down the hill! Deer to her right!

Stonegate finished and was smiling ear to ear. Her time was about 5 hours and 30 minutes and she was feeling good.

We quickly walked down the street to Pioneer Hall where the post-race food was located. Here they gave us growlers!

How cool is that?!
How cool is that?!

My very own growler! I was so excited. Stonegate grabbed a burrito. I took a photo of all the local beer being served to send to Vans back home.

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Then we went back to the finish area to wait for Burning Girl. Neither one of us had heard from her. I talked to the guy manning the finish area and he said no one had dropped at any of the aid-stations that he was aware of.

Then, we saw Hal, the race director. I wanted a photo so I grabbed Stonegate and we wandered over. We asked if we could have a photo with him.

At first he laughed, then said, “Yea, I think I saw a photo or something Facebook already … that took a lot of work.” 🙂

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I assured him that it really didn’t take much! hahaha It was so funny. He truly was a super nice guy and a good sport about it. He shared with us some places where we could go and hang out tonight post race.

All of a sudden, Stonegate gets a text from Burning Girl that she had HIT THE PAVEMENT! She was on her way into the finish! There were 5 runners out there and she was one of them.

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Down the hill she came! She looked amazing! She did it! She freaking ran that hard-a$$ marathon with little to no training. Mind over matter she did it! I am so damn proud of that woman. She is one helluva strong runner! Sadly, we did NOT get a post race photo of all of us! Grrr!

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But we did stop on our walk back to the hotel at Standing Stone Brewing Company again to fill up our new growlers!

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Photo by Stonegate

Then it was back to the hotel for a mini celebration and showers. Despite being a little sore and tired, we were anxious to get out and really experience downtown Ashland.

We had drinks, followed by a nice dinner in a great place with locals cheering on the Oregon football team. We told stories of what we all experienced during the run and how we felt at certain points. It was pure bliss.

Alas, we are moms and we were tired so we called it quits pretty early and headed back to the hotel (in the pouring rain). We had our growlers and were eager to get foam rolling! haha

The next morning was day light savings. The time change didn’t really help us, our internal mom clocks had us up the normal time. We grabbed coffee and breakfast from the hotel and went back to pack up and hit the road.

Stopping at scenic over looks again.
Stopping at scenic over looks again.

The drive back was good. Again we made it a point to stop at scenic over looks for photos.

The wolfpack. Stonegate, Burning Girl and myself (photo by Stonegate)
The wolfpack. Stonegate, Burning Girl and myself (photo by Stonegate)

We stopped in Redding to visit Burning Girl’s mother-inlaw. She is the sweetest woman. We also stopped in Weed, California to have a little fun – gotta have fun in Weed!

Burning Girl trying to get the perfect shot of Stonegate
Burning Girl trying to get the perfect shot of Stonegate
I ran into Sheldon
I ran into Sheldon too. :)
Beautiful Mount Shasta behind me.
Beautiful Mount Shasta behind me.

All in all, it was one of the best weekends that I have had in a really long time. I feel truly blessed to have a supportive spouse who encouraged me to go have a weekend with friends and I feel truly lucky to know these two ladies who love to travel, love to run and love to adventure just as much as I do! So thank you Vans and thank you Stonegate and Burning Girl for being the two best adventure pals ever. I love that you are always willing to go on my crazy adventures and destination races.

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So the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon was my last trail race in my current age bracket. I have one more race of the season left in December and then I cross the proverbial line into a new age bracket, a new era. So far I have to say that I am not afraid. I am not sad about it. My thirties have been fabulous. I have been so very blessed and so very lucky thus far to have the family, friends and adventures that I have had. This year in particular has been one helluva year for me running wise.

I have met and talked with some outstanding runners and athletes this year and it is all because I love to explore. If my mom’s death taught me one thing (it actually taught me a lot) but most importantly I have learned to live life! There is no telling what tomorrow may bring. So grab life by the horns, and cherish it. Then, let it go and find the next big thing. Make memories (heck make waves if you can). Just do it. And don’t forget to smile.

I've been blessed to make many acquaintances this year.
The last year in my thirties hasn’t been too shabby. :)

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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PONDERING NOT DISAPPEARING

It has been a while since my last post. I feel like I say that all the time and maybe I do. Sorry about that. I know consistency on this blog isn’t my strongest asset. Most of the time it is due to the insanity that is sometimes my life but this time around, it stems mostly from me taking a step down. Backing away from some things and focusing on other things.

In all honesty, after all the pain I’ve endured just trying to keep this blog afloat, I seriously have been contemplating not having one. I know I will miss it and I know others will as well. I still haven’t figured out the problem with whoever is hosting my blog vs where my domain lives now. Apparently I need to do some kind of switch-a-rue with my “stuff” but I can’t figure it out and don’t have the patience (and time) to try and I don’t have the money to have someone else do it for me (sigh – woe is me right?).

What I have been toying with lately though is “vlogging” which is basically a VIDEO blog instead of a words and photo blog. I follow a few vloggers and I admire their ability to put it all out there. I’ve often toyed with doing one of these since they popped online quite a few years ago but I just never felt I was “vlog” worthy (I still don’t but I want to for other reasons – see below).

What mostly intrigues me about vlogging is the video editing process which is a small passion hobby that I have. Actually, that is what I was doing during most of my “away” time, editing a video or two from our trip to Oregon.

I’ve also been cooking. Or meal prepping. Okay, both. I’ve just felt the need to make sure we have healthy food. We ate well in Oregon so it wasn’t like I over indulged at all.

Edamme Pasta with a Red Pepper Basil Pesto
Edamme Pasta with a Red Pepper Basil Pesto

My pressure cooker has been on my counter almost consistently since we’ve been home. I’ve made and froze beans of various kinds and portions. I’ve also made potatoes which turn themselves magically into amazing little wedges.

Mmmm potatoes!
Mmmm potatoes!

I’ve also “deactivated” my account from Facebook. I’ve ignored Facebook for a while. I’ve also tried the “only logging in once a day” method and “only posting on weekends” trick but last week, I pulled the plug and deactivated myself. My intention was only to do it temporarily. Although, I have a big weekend ahead so I may have to reactivate my account in order to keep people posted on my adventures in Tahoe (pssst, Tahoe Rim Trail 100 is this weekend in case you were wondering – yes, I am crewing Pigeon again woot woot!)

There is nothing wrong with Facebook and I can’t say I was obsessed with it. I just, needed a break. I am already “online” via this blog, via instagram and who knows what else since I put myself “out-there” on the world wide web that I just really needed to take a step back. Facebook houses a lot of drama. It is also a great communication tool but that darn drama and the games people play, just made me need a break. If it wasn’t for family missing out on seeing my girls and me seeing what is happening with Dylan, I’d probably sign off for good.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing other things!

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Okay, so I really was just goofing around but secretly I’d love to be able to have the ability to skateboard. 🙂

Vans in action.
Vans in action.

Instead, I watched Vans skate with some friends one weekend. I love watching him skate and I love that photo above because his shadow reminds me of Peter Pan when he was chasing his shadow and made his way into Wendy’s room.

I have also been reading more which I started on vacation and realized I missed too much. So, I have made a point to try and read at least a few pages of a book daily.

All of this (reading, cooking, editing videos, kids, running, work) has made very little time for me to blog or figure out my blogging issues.

Don’t worry though, I will be back soon enough I am sure. Like I said above, Tahoe Rim Trail is this weekend so I will be out there with my camera taking race photos, crewing for Pigeon, supporting Stonegate and Burning Girl if I can and just enjoying myself in the amazing mountain air that is Lake Tahoe.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

***PS: I am conducting an experiment and not TOUCHING my photos above. If they are sideways (like the one of me skating appears sideways on my PC) then I am waiting to see if blogger/whoeveritis – changes the orientation if viewed from a mobile device.*** 

 

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DESCHUTES (TRAIL) ROCKS AND A PICKY SITUATION

This will be the conclusion to my Oregon blog posts. Do you see what happens when I take a million and two photos? We get a three part blog series! Consider yourself lucky (or unlucky) or as we say in my house, “You take what you get and you don’t throw a fit!” 🙂

Part one and part two of Oregon can be read HERE and HERE. And, if you are reading these posts on your mobile devices, I am fully aware that my photos are sideways or upside down. Not sure what is going on there but they are right side up on my computer so …. oh well.

So I left off on Sunday where Vans and Be-Well-Run had run a 10k and later that evening, Vans and JD had done some mountain biking to check out the trails near our house and the kids ran around hot tubbing a lot.

Monday the men woke up bright and early (truly early for Vans) and hopped on the Deschutes River Trail for a mountain biking adventure. They were biking to Bend (which is about a 15-20 minute drive from Sunriver) where I was supposed to go and pick them up. Distance wise, it is about about 15 miles or so for biking but they explored a bit and managed to find about 38 miles worth of mountain biking trails before finding me and my girls in the Old Mill District.

While we were there, I had done a little research and discovered that we were not that far from the Picky Bars Headquarters! I am a huge Picky Bar fan. I always have been since finding gluten free bars used to be struggle for me back in the day. When I stopped working at various running stores, I became a Picky Club Member and have enjoyed my monthly shipments delivered right to my door. I use them for pre-race fuel and even sometimes mid-race fuel. I even got Stonegate into them and she too now is a Picky Club member.

Picky Bars was started by three amazing athletes (Jesse Thomas – Triathlete, Lauren Fleshman – pro-runner and Steph Rothstein – pro-marathoner). Steph Rothstein has Celiac like myself and I like knowing that because I am super picky about cross contamination and I trust their process.

Anyway, back to Monday. JD and Vans insisted that since I was SO close, that I had to swing by and check the place out. I follow Picky Bars on Instagram and I had a general idea of what their headquarters looked like.

We found it and I hopped out of the car with good intentions of just getting a photo in front of their building. Instead, I got a little curious ….

Let me just see if the door is open ....
Let me just see if the door is open ….

Low and behold the door was open and there was no turning back. All four Picky workers turned and looked at me and all I could manage was, “Hi!! I am clubber and I had to come by and see the place for myself!” I was a total dork but I didn’t care. They were SUPER nice. I recognized Sarah from OUAL and she is super sweet (and tall) in person as she seems online. She welcomed me inside and suggested we take a photo. Luckily Vans followed me inside too and was able to snap the pic.

The awesomely nice Picky Crew!
The awesomely nice Picky Crew!

Thanks again Picky Crew for letting me crash your Monday with a random out of the blue unannounced stop!

Ah, Fudge Nuts! = Best Flava
Ah, Fudge Nuts! = Best Flava

On a complete and total high from seeing Picky Bars Headquarters, we headed back to the house where I changed into some running clothes and decided to battle the heat of the afternoon for a trail run.

The Fam dropping me off at the trail head! See ya!
The Fam dropping me off at the trail head! See ya!

The rest of group wanted to head to the lake for a swim (why not, it was a million degrees outside) so I was solo on my run. I had my phone and I knew where to meet them … but this trail was so unbelievable that I had to stop and take about a million photos (of course, right!).

It was HOT! But a nice trail.
It was HOT! But a nice trail.

I’d run for a while, but slow because I was totally soaking up the area around me. I remembered that I had my phone with self-timer and tried my best at taking some cheesy trail selfies!

Not bad for my first one huh?
Not bad for my first one huh?

I knew the Deschutes River was to my left and that the highway was to my right so there wasn’t too much risk of me getting myself lost. The lava rocks along the river were pretty awesome.

Lava!
Lava!

I was in total trail heaven. It was a beautiful day and my legs, although tired from the marathon, were enjoying the soft trail dirt.

TOYOTA?! No, just a dork on the trail
TOYOTA?! No, just a dork on the trail

Eventually I came to a spot where I could see the actual river. I knew the views would only get better so I kept running.

The Deschutes River and a trail dork
The Deschutes River and a trail dork

I had good cell reception and was receiving texts from Vans telling me about how far down the river they were. I’d run into them shortly.

Freaking amazing. #beauty
Freaking amazing. #beauty

Some of these photos I had to climb off the trail and onto some rocks just to take them. It was totally worth risking my neck on some precarious rocks.

More Lava Rocks!
More Lava Rocks!

When I came to the parking lot my family was there and Vans informed me that I just had to keep going on the trail until I reached the waterfalls. I had only ran about 2.5 miles and was thoroughly enjoying myself and I didn’t want to stop so I welcomed the opportunity to keep going.

Bridge over the  Deschutes
Bridge over the Deschutes

I crossed that bridge, waved to the family who was splashing in the river and kept going. This section of the trail was more like a fire road and was actually quite populated with hikers.

No shade either.
No shade either.

The river now was on my right and who knows what was on my left. The water under that bridge was flowing pretty strong. Definite rapids ahead.

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I just kept running until I saw the signs for the “waterfalls” … which in reality are just crazy beautiful rapids.

Gorgeous!
Gorgeous!

I was in total heaven. I kept thinking, there has to be a place where I could take a #lifepoints photos for the Picky Bars “get on a wrapper” contest. 🙂

Nope, not it.
Nope, not it.

I clearly need to work on my “jump face” … obviously I cannot manage too many things at once here. Timer? Check. Jump on cue? Check. Make a normal face? Um, nope, can’t do it.

Once I hit the rapids overlook, I turned and ran back to the family. Overall the mileage came out to about 5 miles which was absolutely perfect for my tired legs and eager to trail run in Oregon mind.

Cooling off in the river finally.
Cooling off in the river finally.

I took a nice little walk into the river to wash of the trail dust and just cool my tired legs. While I was in the water (and Vans was trying to take the photo with some actual sunlight on my face), Be-Well-Run yelled out “JC PENNY POSE!”

I delivered on cue!
I delivered on cue!

If you are a long time reader of my blog, you’ll understand this reference and joke. If you are not, then well, you may have to go back to my posts in 2010 to understand. 🙂 My friends and I had a bit of an obsession with pretending we were JC Penny Catalog (remember when there were such things as catalogs?) models.

That pretty much sums up the whole trip. We enjoyed a nice clean out the fridge dinner that evening. Everyone was pretty tired from the day. We went on another family bike ride to a park for the kids which included more ice cream.

Tuesday morning it was pack up and ship out – we headed back to California with its massive heat wave.

Seriously, that says 114!
Seriously, that says 114!

On our long drive home we stopped at a few places along the way to get the girls out of the car for a nice leg stretch and bathroom break.

Old Tractor Place
Old Tractor Place

Overall, I think Sunriver 2015 was a success. It was full of challenges, excitement, trail running and Picky Bar crashing. The kids had a blast being all together and hot tubbing, biking, swimming in the river and playing games. Next time we go, I may forget the marathon and just decide to follow that trail all the way to Bend for a nice long trail run and have the boys come and ME. 🙂

Sunriver 2015 - DONE!
Sunriver 2015 – DONE!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

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I LOVE OREGON

As I wrote in my  Pac Crest Marathon Race Report, we vacationed in Oregon this year. One of my loyal readers (yo Padre!) commented that he loves the fact that we ran a race AND vacationed at the same time as a family. We’ve been doing that for as long as I can remember, definitely since the Peanut has been born.

Our first ever trip to Oregon was to Portland in October of 2009. Vans and I flew up there with the Peanut who was about 18 months old. I ran the Run Like Hell Half Marathon and he and the Peanut did the 5k race in the jogger.

We went back to Oregon in 2010 to run the Pac Crest Half and 10k and then again in 2012 to run the Pac Crest full marathon and Vans did the Duathlon.

2015 it was decided that we needed a return trip to Oregon. It had been too long.

Car packed and ready to go!
Car packed and ready to go!

We left on a Thursday afternoon with the intentions of driving straight to Ashland. I have wanted to stop in Ashland on our way but we never managed to make it work, this year we did and both Vans and I are glad that we stopped.

I hate stopping at rest-stops as they have crazy pigeons and seagulls that attack you
I hate stopping at rest-stops as they have crazy pigeons and seagulls that attack you

Ashland reminded me very much like downtown Berkley in California but with a more mountain-ish look and feel.

Window shopping in Ashland
Window shopping in Ashland

Our first item of business was to stop at the Rogue Valley Runner’s store which is owned and operated by Hal Koerner. I’ve been a “fan” of Hal’s for a long time and was super excited to see his store. I knew he wouldn’t be there as Western States was happening this same weekend and I knew he would be down helping with that race.

Me geeking out in front of the store
Me geeking out in front of the store

Thanks to social media, Hal recommended that when we come to Ashland, that we check out Standing Stone Brewing Company. Vans is always down with checking out a brewery so we headed there for dinner.

Taste Testing
Taste Testing

The girls loved it because Standing Stone provided cool little chalk boards with colored chalk for them play with at the table.

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I had a blackberry cider which was really good and an amazing gluten free vegan tempeh skewer dinner. Another highlight was that I spotted Jenn Shelton having a beer at the bar. That was pretty cool. I can’t recognize celebrities to save my life, but ultra runners? Sure can!

After Ashland, we drove to Medford where our hotel was located. Medford was interesting. We would have preferred to have stayed in Ashland and explored more but unfortunately there was a softball camp and a Shakespeare Festival happening all at the same time and so there were no hotels available.

Friday morning we woke up and drove the remaining 3.5 hours to Sunriver. We decided to pass Sunriver and head to Bend to stop at Trader Joes and grab the food we’d need for the next few days. Be-Well-Run and her family were not expected to arrive until later in the day.

When everyone had arrive and unpacked we hit the race expo to pick up packets. Be-Well-Run signed herself up for the 10k and her kids for the kids fun run. Their races would be on Sunday morning. Pac Crest does a great job spreading out all the events so that almost everyone in the family can do something while being available to watch other family members race as well.

The kids also hit the hot tub.
The kids also hit the hot tub.

Saturday morning I ran the marathon. You can read that race report and see photos here. While I was running the kids were having breakfast …..

Outside table for four?
Outside table for four?

AND getting into mischief….

Bubbles!
Bubbles

When the marathon was over, we had lunch and then went for a bike ride all around Sunriver in search of a pool to swim in. Yes. I ran a marathon and then went biking. I figured it would help the legs (ha ha).

Squeaker had a cool ride
Squeaker had a cool ride

We couldn’t find a pool and instead found a spot where the kids could dunk their feet and jump into the Deschutes River. It was cold.

During our trip, we also took some time to visit Bend a few times which is absolutely gorgeous.

What we call the Rainbow Bridge ...
What we call the Rainbow Bridge …
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Watching paddle boards and tubing

While in Bend, Squeaker had her first ever “real” ice cream cone. The kind where you have to lick and turn, lick and turn to ensure you don’t have a huge mess. She did great but man was she in heaven with that cone! Her facial expressions had us laughing so hard.

 

Yum Ice Cream!
Yum Ice Cream!

We also went to downtown Bend and wandered around a bit … stopping at a few breweries of course.

Bend Brewing Company
Bend Brewing Company
Amazing sunsets in Bend
Amazing sunsets in Bend

We also had a lot of fun just hanging out at the house too in the evenings. The dads went on a night mountain biking ride one night to check out the trail situation.

Night Riders!
Night Riders!

The house was equipped with a bunch of board games so the kids loved playing those.

Twister anyone?
Twister anyone?

The adults found other games to entertain ourselves with …

Ping!
Ping!
Pong!
Pong!

Be-Well-Run and family brought their slack line which was a lot of fun but also caused a few tears.

Slack Lining
Slack Lining
Broom Sticks to help balance
Broom Sticks to help balance

I cooked up a storm as I brought my instant pot so I was content in the kitchen all weekend making everyone try my random dishes.

Sunday was a big day as Vans and Be-Well-Run had their 10k race. So we all loaded into one car (four adults four kids) and drove to the start of the race. JD and I would be in charge of the kids while the other two raced.

Racers are Ready!
Racers are Ready!

It was another incredibly hot day. Muggy and hot actually. Vans hasn’t been running much and Be-Well-Run said she hasn’t really either. Both were just going out there to have some fun and give it a shot.

While they were off running, JD and I tried to entertain the kids with bounce houses and rock climbing.

Peanut loved it
Peanut loved it
Monkey did too
Monkey did too

But the excitement of waiting for them was slowly starting to wear off …

Are they here yet?
Are they here yet?

Finally Vans came running into the finish line area, about the time I suspected he would (49-50 minutes). The first words out of his mouth where, “You are freaking crazy! That was SO hard. You are crazy. How did you run 26 miles?!”

He was happy to be done
He was happy to be done

Be-Well-Run came in shortly after that and was joined by her two girls as they crossed the finish line.

Finish!
Finish!

Immediately upon finishing, everyone headed over to the recovery tent and experimented with the compression boots!

Be-Well-Run was a fan
Be-Well-Run was a fan
Vans was a little unsure
Vans was a little unsure
Even I gave it a shot the day after my race
Even I gave it a shot the day after my race

Of course post recovery, everyone had to enjoy their free Deschutes beer in the Bier Garten.

Free!
Free!
Woo Hoo!
Woo Hoo!
Thank you Deschutes!
Thank you Deschutes!

So Saturday and Sunday of our trip was clearly jam packed with all things active and fun. I am going to cut this post off now and leave you in suspense for just one more that will be filled with amazing photos, a cool surprise and the conclusion of our vacation.

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Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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PACIFIC CREST MARATHON RACE REPORT (VACATION IN OREGON)

Have you ever said something along the lines of, “If I say I want to do this next time, remind me that I said I would never do it again.”  Those were the thoughts that were going through my head the first few miles of the Pacific Crest Marathon last Saturday.

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I ran this same marathon in 2012. You can read that race report here. I even re-read my race report before we left on vacation and recalled that it was a tough race mentally because it is two loops of a half-marathon course. You basically run right past the finish line and back out for another 13.1 miles. Also, because this race is in Oregon, specifically Sunriver, Oregon, one has no idea what the weather will be like. In 2012 when I ran the full marathon, it was 40 degrees at the start and it hailed. In 2010 when I ran the half, it was warm but not miserable.

This year the weather would be a force to be reckoned with and the nemesis in every runner’s side. I knew this when we left California as the temps were slowly rising towards 100 degrees. The weather in Sunriver was predicted to be in the high 90s or low 100s.

Mt. Shasta
Mt. Shasta

We stopped in Ashland, Oregon on Thursday. I have always wanted to visit Ashland as I hear it is an ultra runner’s dream. We stopped at Hal Koerner’s store, Rogue Valley Runners and did a little shopping and photo op’ing.

RVR Store!
RVR Store!

We also stopped and had dinner at Standing Stone Brewing Company, a recommendation from Hal himself (thank you social media) and I saw Jenn Shelton sitting at the bar having a beer.

Pre-race hydrating
Pre-race hydrating

We spent the night in Medford (interesting) and then drove to Sunriver on Friday morning. In the past, I felt that if I didn’t have enough time to acclimate to the elevation, then it was better to get there and just run the race right away. Sunriver is at 4200 ft above sea level. That’s a significant difference compared to my usual 768 ft.

We were vacationing with Be-Well-Run and her family again. In years past, we all participated in some kind of event since Sunriver hosts the Pacific Crest Sports Weekend Festival. This year however, only Vans and I had signed up for events (the marathon for myself and the 10k for Vans). Be-Well-Run signed up for the 10k at packet pick-up which was a nice surprise.

Expo Shopping
Expo Shopping

Walking around the expo I wasn’t really nervous. I kept telling Vans that I was more disappointed because I really wanted to do well and try and break my previous time at this race, but based on the way I was feeling … I just knew it wasn’t in the cards. I was tired, my legs were toast and I had a bunch of internal things going on that proved to be just really bad timing on my body’s part. Finishing became my goal. Or perhaps, this is just a “training run” for my pacing duties at Tahoe Rim Trail in two weeks? That is what I kept telling myself anyway.

Race morning I woke up and got myself dressed. It was warm already. Luckily, in preparation I made sure to bring a bandana with me. This bandana has saved me at many an ultra so I figured I would carry it with me (more on this later).

I had a Picky Bar breakfast and then sat with my legs up a wall trying to move the circulation around a bit. My legs just felt stiff and tired and sluggish. Riding in a  car for hours on end will do that I suppose. I tried to just relax. I tried foam rolling too. My right hamstring has been bugging me for a while. I can’t quite pinpoint what triggers it or what caused it, but I know when I think about it, it tightens up.

Soon it was time to head to the start. The thing about this marathon is that even though it is a Boston qualifying race, there is never that many people running it (in fact, I just looked, there were 73 people who ran). I think I finally understand why now.

The race started on time and we were off and running. It goes up hill at first and we were to expect aid-stations and porta potties every mile (not necessarily at each mile marker). I decided not to carry any water with me based on there being water so frequently.

Within the first few miles I just knew my legs were not working. They didn’t seem connected to my body at all. My pace was hovering around 8:50 which was surprising to me since I felt like I was a slug on the sidewalk.

After I passed mile 2 I saw some friendly faces. I put on my best smile and waved.

The kid posse
The kid posse

I just assumed that I would slowly begin to bounce back to normal and eventually get into a groove. Somewhere around mile 6 or 7 though, my paced started slowing and the heat started coming on strong. My 8:50s started hovering around 9 and then 9:10 … and then 9:15.

The last time I ran this, I only allowed myself walking breaks on the second loop and only when I was going through an aid-station. This year, the walking started early. “Oh, is that an aid-station I see way up there? Okay, that means I can walk now.”

That’s kinda how it went for a while. Part of the course goes past the Sunriver Airport where there is absolutely positively zero shade cover. Not that there was a ton on the other parts of the course but at least there we had some cloud cover … the airport seemed to make the clouds disappear.

The aid-stations were great. They had water and I was enjoying the mental break of knowing they were coming every mile. There was a bit of a mind game for a while as they were not at the mile markers but in-between.

Somewhere around mile 9 or so I started thinking, “There is no way in hell I am going to finish this race. Forget this. If the family is at the half-way point, I am stopping. Who cares if my first ever DNF is on a road marathon!? This is insane!”

Mile 10: “You can’t quit. You can’t! You’ve run 8 other marathons before this. You’ve run ultras for goodness sake! How can you possibly quit!?”

Mile 11: “Yup, you can quit. This is the pits. Can you feel this heat? It has to be 100 degrees outside!” (it was 97).

Mile 12: “Ugh, more rolling hills? What the hell? Why? This is ridiculous. Look! Those people are walking. You can walk too. Almost to the half way point. Almost to the point where you are going to quit!”

Mile 13: “Why the heck do they have to add a .1 to a freaking half marathon?! Why can’t it just stop at 13?! Okay, there is the finish shoot, where is my family?”

Course marshal: “Half marathoner’s go right, marathoner’s go left for your second loop!”

Me (in my head): “But, but …. I don’t WANT to do a second loop! Where are they? Where is my family? They have to be here. Sure they didn’t say they would be here but they have to know I am dying right?”

Off I go … on my second loop. They had no water at the finish area. The last water station was at mile 12. The next one wouldn’t be until almost mile 15 or 16 … in 97 degrees and in my completely fragile emotional state, that seemed like 115 miles to me. I think I started hallucinating.

Save me!
Save me!

I had been running with a salt tab in my hand since mile 13. All I wanted was a cup of water so that I could take my salt tab. I saw my family ahead of me. I started walking and blabbering about “no water, where is the water?” and “if you were at the half way point, I’d be done. I can’t do this. This is so hard.” I stole my 7 year old’s water bottle and I took my salt tab.

Be-Well-Run rode her bike up ahead to the aid-station and I think informed them that I was coming and desperately needed water. A nice volunteer ran up to me, “Are you Pam?” Me: “Yes, I am.” Nice volunteer: “Okay, you can do this, you can make this. Here is some water. Is this your first marathon?” Me (oh dear lord, it looks like I am dying doing my first marathon): “Um, no, more like my 9th.”

Vans told me how hot it was (gee, I hadn’t noticed) and informed me that I was moving pretty slow (ya think?). He said, “See you at the finish?” and I think I said, “Sure, but we’re looking at a 5 hour marathon here. I see a lot of walking in my future.” He assured me that I only had about 6 miles to go. I don’t know if he was trying to mess with my math challenged dehydrated brain or what, but I kind of believed him until I got a little further and realized I had like 10 more miles, not 6. Thanks honey. 🙂

I am not sure when, but they had run out of ICE on the course so all the water we had to drink was WARM. Ugh.  Around mile 10 however, they had buckets of cold water (guess that is where all the ice went) and I started using my bandana. I’d soak it in a nice ice-cold bucket and then wipe my face and wrap it around my neck. My saving grace. That bandana makes the world a better place.

The rest of the course was a ghost town. There were one or two guys who I had been playing leap-frog with. I had to use a porta potty twice so they’d get ahead of me but I’d eventually catch up and pass. At about mile 18, I started feeling way better.

When I reached the airport (mile 20) there was a kid manning the aid-station. I asked where his water bucket went and he said it was gone but that he had ice. ICE? What?! I had him fill my bandana (sorry other runners). I carried that bandana full of ice the rest of the race cooling my neck and face.

Where is she? This is taking a really long time Dad.
Where is she? This is taking a really long time Dad.

I wasn’t running 100% of the time, but I was running more than I had before. I had passed those two guys for good and a girl (who didn’t enjoy that). When I saw the 21 mile marker, I knew I could finish. Walk run walk run. Run run run run. Walk. Run.

Here I come! Told ya it was a ghost town of a race.
Here I come! Told ya it was a ghost town of a race.

When I saw the finish shoot, I tried so hard to gather up enough energy to just keep running. I saw and heard my family cheering my name. That gave me a nice boost.

Smile and it doesn't hurt right?
Smile and it doesn’t hurt right?
In my head I am thinking "oh thank goodness!"
In my head I am thinking “oh thank goodness!”
My girls joining me for the final few steps.
My girls joining me for the final few steps.

When I crossed that finish line I was filled with a bunch of emotions. There was a lot of “Oh thank goodness you are done,” but there was also the, “Holy crap, you did it!? You stuck it out!”

This is me telling Be-Well-Run "holy crap that was hot"
This is me telling Be-Well-Run “holy crap that was hot”
This is, "NEVER LET ME DO THIS RACE AGAIN!"
This is, “NEVER LET ME DO THIS RACE AGAIN!”

I was stoked that I had finished, shocked at my terrible time (4 hrs 40 minutes) and desperately searching for one thing ….

Yes! This is so nice in so many ways.
Yes! This is so nice in so many ways.

Post race massage by this guy … he was blown away by my right hamstring. I was too to be honest. It didn’t feel great but after he dug his elbow in it a few million times, it felt a lot better.

Upon completion of your race (any races in Sunriver), you get a free Deschutes Beer. Of course, being gluten free, I cannot drink beer but Vans was not about to let this opportunity pass so he rushed me over to the Bier Garten.

Free Beer!
Free Beer!

We hung around the race for a little bit but the kids were toast. My long marathon had taken up most of the day and everyone wanted to get moving on our vacation. So we left.

So bored that balancing rocks on her head was more exciting than waiting for me.
So bored that balancing rocks on her head was more exciting than waiting for me.

Overall, I wasn’t too sore from the race. My quads were pretty tight the following day but I didn’t stretch nor did I foam roll or anything (I know, I know, bad!).

In the end, I am proud of myself for sticking it out and not quitting. On the other hand, this is fueling me towards some serious marathon training for CIM in December. I am due. I want to get back to my sub 4 hour marathon time.

I say it all the time, but for me, road running is harder than trail running. They are both very different in so many ways. I am faster on the road but the endurance for running continuously isn’t there. I’ve been so mentally trained to be conservative on the trail because usually, you are out there for the long haul. You have fuel. You have aid-stations that are like a giant smorgasbord of everything you can imagine. When I passed my first aid-station in Sunriver my heart sank a little bit. Water?! Just water?? 🙂

I know that no matter what, I can manage the distance but I am getting tired of just “managing” … I want to do better. So, we shall see. I have some pacing duties to attend to in a few weeks and then, who knows, maybe I will start migrating to the pavement again. CIM training IS just right around the corner. 😉

Just because. :)
Just because. :)

Stay tuned for another post. I have a million photos and a few more stories to share about our vacation that involve more running but since this post is already almost as long as my last marathon time (har har), I figure I should end it here. 🙂

Happy Pavement Trails!

~Trailmomma

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