“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennet

Posts tagged ‘southern oregon’

Pear Blossom 2018 – A Race Recap

Three times a charm, right?

Going into this race, I had far too much adrenaline rushing though me. For the entire week leading up to it I was jittery and could hardly sleep. I always feel so undertrained, so amateur. I run with a stroller and barely hit forty miles in a week.

And I have other aspirations. This month I tried to start my schooling, and it didn’t end well. I lasted two days with Ezekiel hanging on to me as I tried to do my homework. It didn’t help that I was incredibly sick that week and lost five pounds. With no energy and no way to do my work, I gave up. The only attention Ezekiel was receiving was negative, get off my lap, let go of my pencil, give me my book, don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that…

There is always next semester, and my son needs me as he grows, far more than I need to start my career. We have Nate, after all, and I have a job, and I have my art.

Back to the race:

The only test run I did was a short four-mile loop with a big hill. With the last two miles clocking in at a 5:15min/mile pace, I felt buoyed for the race.

Then Thursday hit, and I was called up for a phone interview. Since the reigning champions weren’t attending this year, I was the next “obvious winner”, as the writer put it. Cue jitters x3.

(last year’s run)

The day of the race, Nate and I bundled up and headed to the start. It was pretty cold out and I was reluctant to strip down to my shorts, but when the time came, I stood shivering at the starting line in the 6min/mile corral. I tried to find Nate, but apparently he was stuck in the bathroom line for nearly ten minutes. We had time for a quick high-five before the gun went off.

The first mile went by quickly. I felt strong and ran it in 5:29. There were four guys ahead of me at the time. I ended up passing one and then he came back to pass me at mile 7. Ah, well.

The cyclist eventually found me. He had been leading the wrong woman for the first two miles. I kinda wish he had stayed with her because he was rather distracting. He would yell to me the mile times and, while I had felt strong in the first half, once we started back and ran into the crowds behind us, his incessant bell-ringing was a needle in my brain. I lost focus and slowed down from 5:35 miles to 5:55 miles.

I would start to gain momentum and then we would hit a group of onlookers and there that bell would go again. Maybe I somewhat blame the guy, but I also need to learn how to focus better. As a lone runner, I’m not used to loud noises or people talking to me when I’m trying to focus.

My body felt strong, and when I felt it tiring I would pull myself up a little taller and would feel a little lighter. It was fun to watch the people go by as they headed to the halfway point. There were two guys dressed up as Minions, a guy in a suit, my husband passing people right and left. When the last of the runners went by, I focused on the road ahead and when I turned the final corner, I came in smiling and confident in the race I had run.

I didn’t know my final time for about 20 minutes after the fact. People were shaking my hand, telling me to wait around for interviews. I sounded like a complete airhead during all of them, but I had never talked into a camera like that before. I had to tear away in order to catch my husband racing in to the finish, beating his previous time by 2 minutes.

With a final time of 57:57 in a 10 mile race, I’m feeling pretty good. I hold the new record for my age group in women’s, and was less than a minute off the actual course record set by Marci Klimek (an Olympic trials qualifier). Next up: the Eugene half-marathon in ten days.

Also, sorry for the screenshots.

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Siskiyou Outback 50K 2017 – A Race Recap


It’s a pretty cool thing to find your face in the morning paper. When I started the morning l was tired to the bone from keeping a baby happy all night long. I was having trouble getting my head “in the game”, so to speak. My loving husband made me pancakes while I tried to get everything ready. The race was a 40-minute drive away and started at 7 o’clock, sharp. We had fifteen minutes to get ready and go, and Ezekiel was still fast asleep.

The night before, I had filled the bladder for the hydration vest with water and had frozen it. In the morning, I let it thaw just enough to yank it open and fill it up to near-overflowing with water. I had two bison bars in Ziplocs stuffed into my vest, as well as dried cranberries and some homemade peanut butter Rice Krispie treats. I also had two more water bottles in the front. I was set, but nervous.

We arrived with 20 minutes to spare, but every runner knows that the line for the bathrooms will take all the time. There were about ten people in front of me, I still hadn’t picked up my bib, and Ezekiel still needed to nurse. Cue the rising panic.

I had to hurry back to the car to quickly sunscreen up after getting my bib. I remembered that two years ago I had fried in the beating sun and I had no intention of experiencing that again. The five minute call rang out, and Ezekiel still needed to eat.

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(He doesn’t realize I’m about to leave him for several hours.)

While I walked to the starting line, I covered up (barely!) with a blanket and let my baby finally eat. I was in the very back of the crowd, wrestling with a squirmy, thirsty child. I had to hand him over to my husband, Nate, when the gun went off the crowd began surging forward. I quickly buckled my vest together and set off, trying to get past the bulk of the people. I wish I had started in the front.

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(The sea of fluorescent runners.)

The first mile was spent passing a lot of runners. I always feel awkward passing someone. Do I tell them “good job” or “keep it up” even though I’m running in front of them? Personally, I might find that condescending, but I know that oftentimes others enjoy encouragement more than I do. Sometimes I say sorry, but I honestly don’t know what the etiquette is. I’m still a newbie to this whole racing thing.

When we reached the first climb I knew I was in for a long few hours. I stopped and shook my legs out a couple of times. I regretted not training in high altitude. I regretted signing up for the race. Gosh, I was actually pretty grumpy for the first half.

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(Nate, my unofficial photographer, caught me in a bad mood. I told him to leave me alone here.)

I tried to eat my bison bars but they suddenly tasted like rabbit food. The cranberries weren’t much better. I ended up spitting out some of my food on the trail as it was turning my stomach. While my nutrition was sub-par during the race, I stopped at most of the aid stations and took in plenty of electrolytes and fluids. Without those, I never would have made it.

After hitting up the halfway aid station, Jackson Gap, I ran alongside a guy from Portland for a couple miles. He pulled ahead of me on the hills, but I kept my pace steady and would occasionally catch him on the flat ground. Unfortunately, I rolled my right ankle on a sharp turn and lost him completely. The next two miles after that were spent wondering if I would be able to finish. I knew that little roll had done something to my ankle and I was hobbling. Because I had slammed my right knee in a training run, that whole leg was somewhat compromised. When I made it to the next aid station, however, I just drank more electrolytes and my husband and baby were there to cheer (or cry) me on. I kept going.

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(Grimacing.)

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(Everybody at the race loved him.)

The next section had several miles of climb to it, and I admit, I was pretty low during this point. I walked often, sometimes completely stopping and doubling over, hands on my shaking legs and staring at the ground. The lack of food was really catching up to me, but I knew I had to continue. I arrived at the last aid station and took in more electrolytes. My contacts were clouded over and my eyes were itchy from the dry, grassy spots. Allergies are my bane. Someone gave me a sponge for my eyes. I tried to find something to eat that appealed, but someone told me that if nothing looked good, I might as well keep going since there were only five miles left.

The last five miles weren’t too terrible. I caught up with Strava Socks (his name is actually Kyle, but at the beginning I had been behind him staring at his labeled socks) and I followed him out of the trail and onto the road that led to the finish. There were campers and onlookers all along the road, yelling and cheering us on. I heard people yelling “first woman” and “here she comes” as I neared the end. Strava Socks pulled ahead for a sprint finish, but I didn’t feel like sprinting at that point. My husband was running alongside me, trying to get me to sprint. I said no.

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(My official time was 4:27:31 because I started in the back.)

It was such a relief to cross that line. Several runner friends that had done the 15K were there and congratulated me as I tried to find food. They all looked so fresh, wearing colourful leis and holding beers. In some ways, I was jealous that they didn’t run as far, but at the same time I felt pretty accomplished. Maybe next year I’ll do it again. Maybe not. Maybe I’ll be brave and do 50 miles instead. Runners have short-term memory loss, after all.

 

Tough As Nails

IMG_1719It was a brisk morning, a hard morning
I woke up at six, let my baby sleep a little longer
Eggs and toast my fuel, double layers my warmth

We made it out, eventually
Just a dirty diaper or two, just a tear or two
Just a typical morning, just a jog

We made it to the hill, not so much a mountain
I worried about mud, I was right
The ten miles became nearly eleven and a half, how dare they

I ran comfortably, at first
Was up in front, felt like a speed demon
Two caught up with me, way too soon

But I ran well, felt the burn on the uphill
Tripped a little, took some foliage with me
And made it third overall, first woman

It feels good to race, sometimes
Especially when free massages. free beer
Meet you at the finish line

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Medford, Oregon

Right here in Medford
There are two kinds of people
The East and the West

Forget South and North
That is where the middle lies
Rich, desolate mess

We live by homeless
They speak louder in the night
For we silence them

I am sorry the days
When I cannot look, for fear
Takes me by surprise

What is it I think?
That their woes are contagions?
Famine infectious?

I am not alone
Thinking irrationally
Most do avoid them

Insufficiency
Could take us all, and I’d say
Good riddance, blind eyes

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