Lucy Goes Wandering… It’s the Final Countdown!

 

A period in which we made last minute changes, drove a lot, watched a lot of Arrested Development, made a lot of Arrested references, counted down days and hours, reunited with old friends and made new ones, and finally packed up the tent for last time (at least for a few months). It’s been a long road- 2 months and 2 days- and I have to admit, there were some tears shed. But there’s adventure ahead, and so far in life, big leaps of faith have worked out well for us. On Wednesday we fly to Australia, for weddings and family and more reunions, and then off to Thailand/Malaysia/Indonesia for 2 months of relaxing and finding different things to do besides run all the time. The road continues on, it just gets sandy for a little while.

August 18- After a lazy morning of coffee shop and editing, we headed to the Bozeman Hot Springs for some relaxation (okay, and a real shower). For $8 each, we had access to a dozen or so pools of varying temperatures, both indoors and out, plus saunas, steam room, showers, and a big screen above the indoor pool showing the Olympics. It wasn’t Scandinave at Whistler luxury, but overall a cheap and happy way to kill an afternoon without any serious physical exertion. We napped on big chaise lounges in the sun, dipped, soaked, and enjoyed. Then we decided driving sounded too strenuous, so we headed into Bozeman to catch their Thursday night music in the streets thing; it was awesome! Hit up a divey place for cheap happy hour drinks, took them with us to enjoy the band outside, grabbed some dinner and headed off into the sunset towards Idaho.


A last minute change of plans found us skipping McCall and going straight for Bend, OR instead (a 500 mile detour). Why? Well, when we realized McCall wasn’t going to work out, Justin immediately brought up the fact he hadn’t gotten a sticker in Bend. Also, his good friend Nick lives there, and I think he was jonesing for some adult company that wasn’t, well, me. 2 texts later and we were on our way. We slept in Idaho Falls, at a city park that allowed overnight parking and also apparently a lot of on the DL M4M hook ups for the LDS crowd (according to Craigslist). We got out early.

August 19- This was a boring day! We drove 600 miles or something stupid like that. We got annoyed with each other, got annoyed with driving, ate some good pizza in Boise, and continued on to crash at an RV park in Burns, home of that silly armed occupation early this year.

August 20- Went for a run in the high desert on our way into Bend, and it was hot and sandy and flat and borrrrring. Probably enjoyable mid-winter when all the trails closer to town are snow-covered, but not so much on a nice summer day. Then we caught up with Nick and his amazing girlfriend Katie, who was generous enough to host us for the second time this summer. Beers on the back porch, then a float down the Deschutes, a barbecue, then hopped on bikes to check out some of the breweries and night life scene around the Bend area. First night in a bed since we left the exact same one back in early July. It was as satisfying as it sounds. 


August 21- Woke up at 9 to a fancy breakfast and some really really nice coffee (told you she was a great hostess!) and then the four of us headed out to the National Forest to do some mountain bike riding. Rode some easy singletrack from Big Eddy to the village at Sun River, then road back. It was my first time on a mountain bike, and after working out the jitters and the capabilities of the bike in the initial miles, I was in love! I think if my knees ever blow out, I could get seriously into endurance mountain biking. After our ride, we dropped the bikes back at the rental shop (Pine Mountain Sports- nice and helpful except when the tech isn’t hung over and forgets to attach your pedals and they fall off on the side of the road). Showered back at the house and headed over to catch Lord Huron and Trampled By Turtles in the oddly-awesome venue of the local fancy athletic center. 


August 22- Said goodbye for now to our sweet friends and after a few errands around Bend (groceries, hostess gifts, fuel, magic ginger beer), we headed north towards Hood River. After a few hours of driving, a mildy-annoying search for camping, we ended up at a trailhead and relaxed for the afternoon. Of note, while searching for camping, we stumbled upon a photo shoot for some outdoorsy company/venture- a guy coiling rope, a girl stirring an (empty) pan, with lots of products lying around for future magazine identification. It was like our lives, but commercialized and reenacted over and over with big reflectors all around.

August 23- Woke at our unscenic trailhead and drove into Hood River, so we could cook some breakfast somewhere nice with access to bathrooms and water (this has become the daily grind). Went for a walk, stretched in the soft morning sun and watched the people walking along the Columbia. Across the river was Washington, and seeing our home state stirred excitement for the final leg of the journey. We’d planned to run with our friend Ben, but he was stuck waiting for a fridge delivery, so we headed to Punch Bowl Falls for what turned out to be a 10/10 run for both of us, with a great swim on top of it all.


On the way back to Hood River, I suggested Justin could climb Mt. Adams, and he said he’d been thinking the same thing. After grabbing a coffee and doing some research into the climb, we wandered around town for a while and finally caught up with Ben at the distillery/bar where he works. He made us some very incredible cocktails (perks of knowing a real professional), and we schemed an Enchantments run next week (with me as shuttle driver, since someone has to and I’m the one doing 100 miles this weekend). We took off when business started to pick up, cooked up a quick dinner in the same spot we made breakfast, and then drove up to the South Climb trailhead. 


August 24- An eventful day for Justin but an uneventful one for me. He climbed Mt. Adams and was back to the car before I’d even finished my campsite pedicure, and way before I’d made lunch and cleaned up the camping stuff. 6.5 hors roundtrip to climb and descend 6700 feet with snow fields and talus and scree and all that. I was shocked, and super impressed. All I did was tie flies and go for an hour long walk and drive. Camped in the Yakima Canyon (one of the most underrated spots in this whole state), in the same spot we’d stayed for my birthday weekend and just a few miles from our first solo night camping on the road trip. It felt very full-circle and warm and comforting. 

August 25- Made our way up the canyon and out to Easton, but way too early in the morning and ended up with an entire day to kill. After an unsuccessful fly fishing lesson (I’m a bad student), we made some lunch, Justin napped, and I hung out at the beach on Lake Easton. Several swims and hours later, I got my butt kicked at handball (a great reminder of why I’m a runner and not a tennis player) and then we paid a visit to the always-delicious Dru Bru for some editing/reading /imbibing time, and finally out to the camping spot so kindly secured by the race organization for runners to use this weekend. Sure, it’s a weedy gravel parking lot, but there’s a toilet, and some shade, and we don’t have to move ourselves for 4 days, so it’s about as good as it gets.

August 26-28- Cascade Crest weekend, detailed here, but we ended the weekend with Thai food and beer and a shower at Joel and Liz’s place in Bellevue.


August 29- Lazy morning, hobbling around, petting Molly and drinking coffee, then I went to one last XC practice and said hello to Miles and V and Silver, and of course all the kids. Beers at Chucks with Liz and Joel and Colton and Margo and Andrew, which was as amazing as it sounds, except I tried to eat everything and ended up sick. Stayed with Margo and Andrew and gazed out their awesome window at our pretty home city.

August 30- Made our way out to Leavenworth, slowly but surely, stopping for errands and coffee and such along the way. Got our site, got beer and a pretzel, and then made a delicious curry and tucked in for the evening before the sun even set. At some point I had wanted to hike, but it was smoky and cold and my legs still hurt.

August 31- Ben drove up from Hood River late on Tuesday night after work so he and Justin could do the Enchantments, and I played shuttle driver and tried to amuse myself in between drop off and pick up with restorative and productive activities. I was not very good at this, and would make a terrible stay at home mom. I did get two new books and lose a fly up a tree within 10 casts of getting to the river. I drove back to the trailhead, went for a walk up the Snow Lakes trail, got rained on, so I ran down, then stretched by the river and wrote a long term training plan for Hardrock 2018 (I clearly had too much time on my hands). Then we went out for a nice beer and dinner and said goodnight.

September 1- Early wake up for a long trip out to Orcas Island- left at 7:45 and got to Moran State Park at 2:30. After some silliness with campsite assignments, expertly handled by Ranger Jeff (who we knew from Orcas 100), we settled down and went for a short run around Mountain Lake. Legs felt a little tight but better than expected, and a good stretching session afterwards got rid of all the long car ride stiffness. It was drizzling slightly as we made an early dinner, but our last night in camp, so we didn’t mind. Chatted with a lady next to us who was celebrating her 70th birthday- she took up climbing in her 50s and still climbs Mt. St. Helens every summer and still plans to do Mt. Baker! She was full of life and lamented having to put a 7 in front of her age, because she said “I’m not really 70!” Drove into town to watch the start of the Seahawks game and get out of the rain, but made it back just at dark to crawl into the cozy tent one last time.

September 2- A lazy sleep in morning, then coffee and an emotional chat about leaving the mountains. I’ve been fluctuating between excitement and anxiety and sadness, but the closer it gets, the more the balance shifts towards the happier side of the spectrum. Cruised around for bit of baby/wedding shopping before meeting up with others out on the island for the wedding. We’re sharing a lovely little house with a peek-a-boo view out to the bay, walking distance from Eastsound, and more importantly, it has a great kitchen! Hosted a barbecue that started out little, got big, got silly, and then got little again. I finally drank some Rose, which I’ve been craving since about Aspen. We slept in a very soft, very plush bed (actually, two beds, two twins, which meant so much space compared to sharing a tent or Lucy!)

September 3- A morning yoga class, a solo brunch at the co-op and a lazy afternoon before a gorgeous sunny wedding by the bay.. a pretty perfect day. There was dancing, drinking, and all sorts of bread and butter eating.

September 4- Post-wedding recovery meant sleeping, running, and grabbing a good coffee and slice of Spanish tortilla in town. Headed back to Seattle on the late afternoon ferry and crashed with Lara and Jeff after a good catch up.

September 5- Labor Day! Had plans but everything was closed, so we ran and shopped and barbecued with friends instead. Tried to polish off the last of our bar box, and although we didn’t quite succeed, we put up a good effort. Ate a ridiculous amount of ridiculously good food.

September 6- Hustled to get everything done (everything meaning move out of storage unit, pack half of worldly possessions to Australia into four bags under 50-lbs, put the rest into the back of Lucy, pick up Garryana bottles from Westland, get a Seahawks jersey, and not kill ourselves).  Amazingly, we finished up at 2 pm and had time to relax and go say goodbye to a few pub friends before a bittersweet dinner celebrating Margo and Andrew’s new apartment (and our departure). Hugs and a few tears all around, but good plans made for future fun reunions!

September 7- Breakfast of crepes on the first day of school for Jade and Lara and breakfast again up in Marysville. And what a breakfast. And then we said goodbye! And airport! And tears.

 

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Big Fat Slice of Humble Pie- Cascade Crest 100 Race Report

First, I have to give some thanks. First and foremost, to Justin, who not only drove around all night and day just so I could rush throughaid stations, but put up with countless long run logistics and SNAFUs, made sure I stretched all summer, tolerated my taper tantrums, and was my sole outlet for pre-race anxiety. There aren’t adequate words to thank him. To my pacers, Liz and Alicia- such positive people!! There was no one else I’d rather have out there trying to force food down my throat and playing me old pop songs off their phones. To Meghan and Joel, your crewing and support were so appreciated, and sorry for making you take my food orders and pick up my sweaty pack! Phil and Glenn and Elisa and everyone else at Seven Hills Running Shop- you guys kept me in good gear and well fed all summer long and throughout the race. Proud to represent Team 7 Hills! Thanks to the race organizers and volunteers- Rich, Adam, Kelly, Rachel, etc. etc. etc. and all the runners out there, those with whom I shared miles or just the same silly goal: get it done!  Thanks to every person who came out to cheer and support- there’s too many to list but every darn smile was appreciated! More than anything else, Cascade Crest is about the community, and I needed you all this year, so thanks for being there. Emotional part over.

Second, I want to acknowledge up front that I had a good race at Cascade Crest, and that the stats (24:01, 6th female and 21st overall) are NOT a real problem, so I have no room to complain. But here’s the the other thing: I didn’t just want a good race. I’d run two 100s, I had proven to myself that I could cover the distance. And I’d done pretty well despite going into the races totally clueless. This time, I wanted to see what I could do with some experience. I had confidence that I’d cross the line, get my buckle, my Hardrock ticket, all of that, but I wanted to see if I could do it better (aka faster). I let my past performances and the relative ease with which previous races went by lull me into thinking I could race better just as a fact of knowing a bit more about what I was doing. In short, I got kind of cocky.

And then I got my butt kicked.

Continue reading “Big Fat Slice of Humble Pie- Cascade Crest 100 Race Report”