Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your friends and family! We are going to stay in Portland for Christmas and spend the weekend relaxing at home. A couple of friends are coming over for dinner Christmas eve but besides that I’ll probably split my time between PJ’s and running clothes.

I really love Christmas and after a rough start ended up really getting into the spirit. Our apartment is all decorated with lots of presents under the tree. We’ve had a bunch of fun get-togethers with friends over the last couple of weeks. Plus of course all the holiday music, the twinkling lights, the classic Christmas movies, and plenty of egg nog and cookies.

The best part of this Christmas is that our family is all well. William and Melanie in San Diego are making great progress in their recovery and we look forward to spending time with them soon. And our parents in Montana are doing good, toughing out a cold and snowy winter like it ain’t no thing. Zach and I come from really good stock, I’m proud to say. :)

We are extremely blessed to have such amazing and inspiring people in our lives. I’m really savoring this Christmas and letting myself soak in all the love and hope I can.

Have a Very Merry Christmas everyone!



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Thursday, December 16, 2010

2011 Winter/Spring Race Schedule

I went on a registration binge this week. Zach and I were decided on a couple of races and wanted to sign up before the prices go up on January 1st. Then there was one impulsive registration that was done before I knew what was happening. But it is all good.

Ladies and Gentlesirs, the spring race schedule!

*cue fanfare*

January 29 Willamette Mission Trail 5k

February 20 Lost Dutchman Marathon

April 10 Peterson Ridge Rumble 20 Mile Trail Race

June 4 Newport Marathon


The Arizona marathon is the one that was an impulsive registration. I had already booked a trip to Phoenix that weekend to visit my super bestie Inga, and thought I’d check to see if there were any races I could do that weekend. Yada, Yada, Yada, marathon. It’s in 9 weeks.

It just so happens that I’ve been doing long runs every weekend and even hit 40 miles total last week, so actually I’m in a decent place to run this marathon. Even though I have time to cram in a shortened training plan, I’m not really going to. I am just planning on doing what I’ve been doing and run the race for fun. I know I’ll be plenty prepared, I wouldn’t do it otherwise, but I’m not going to make a big deal out of it. I’m running 4-5 times a week with one speed session (running with Zach) and one long run (16-20 miles). It’s certainly an experiment, but I think it’ll be ok!

The 20 mile trail race is going to be crazy and fun, and sort of an introduction to long course trail running. The goal is to survive!

Newport will be more of a “GOAL” race where I put more thought into training. Zach is doing it too so we’ll be crazy marathon training together. Yay!

It seems like a lot, and I gotta admit I’m a bit nervous. I think my year (well, half a year) off from racing has built up and kind of exploded. I hope it is not a mistake! I think as long as I keep my life balanced and don’t put too much emphasis on my finish times it will be fine. I intend to stay active with yoga and climbing, and I’m not going to let myself get even close to burn out! If it stops being fun, I’m out.


Unrelated picture time!

Rainbow climbing crop

 kitty party18 miler

Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays Gang!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Where I’m at

Now that it is December, holidays approaching, I have been reflecting on this past year and looking forward to the next. I am trying to summarize to myself how the last 12 months have gone, and how I have changed. I am trying to visualize the good things to come in the new year and determine how I am going to make that happen.


2010: Surrender

2010 certainly was no joyride. It will go down in the books as one of the shittiest years of my life. It started with my mom getting cancer, and ended up with my in-laws seriously injured in a horrible accident. The people around me struggled too, my best friend got divorced, a close friend lost her babies, another friend’s mother also got cancer. Throughout the year I struggled with depression and anxiety. I fell apart.

It wasn’t all bad of course, there is a bright side. My mom (and my friend’s mom!) beat the cancer, my close friend got pregnant again and is about to give birth, and so on. We made it through, and we grew closer. My family and my friends, we all clung to each other through our tragedies and drew strength from one another.

This year was very Real. It’s hard to explain what I mean by this, maybe you understand. Life has the potential to deeply, profoundly, suck.

This year I became a Grown Up. I learned the fragility of life. I lost my innocence. I was forced to be responsible, to take care of things.

In therapy I learned to appreciate myself exactly as I am. That I am special.

I discovered a love of yoga. And of climbing. And I rediscovered my love of running. I retired my desire to impress people with my accomplishments.

After I was knocked down, I rebuilt myself from ground up. The events of the year forced me to look at my life, my values, and decide what stays and what goes.

In 2010, life had its way with me. I had no choice but to surrender to the events and the feelings and let it wash over me. It tossed me around and spit me out. And yet here I stand.

I learned I am unbreakable.


2011: Promise

2011 is going to be great. It just has to be. I am going to make it happen! I know there will be challenges and it won’t all be rosy rainbows, but I am prepared. I have a tool box and a first aid kit and I am a Strong Grown Up Woman.

I am going to stay close with my family and friends and nourish the bonds we created through last year’s shitshow. We are going to have dinners, adventures, game nights, vacations, and hours-long phone calls. I am going to tell them I love them as often as possible.

I will stay positive and hopeful in the face of whatever comes my way. I am going to keep my stress and anxiety at bay with yoga and running and by being open about my feelings. I won’t let things build up.

I’m going to have fun! Although I am officially a 30-year-old Adult I am going to play, laugh, and be silly.

After taking a much-need break from competition and racing and getting my head straight about what running means to me, I am ready to get back out there! I definitely still don’t want to get crazy with training and I’m not going for any PRs or anything, but I am ready to have Goal Races again. Nothing is final yet, but I’ll keep you updated. At this point it’s looking like a 20 mile trail race, a marathon, a relay, and a 50k.

Zach and I are going to spend lots of time outside having adventures in nature. Trail running, hiking, climbing mountains. We’ll spend as much time in the outdoors as possible because it refuels our souls.


So, that’s the plan. I have three weeks left of 2010 and I’m going to make the most of it. Consider it a “warm up” to my great 2011 ahead. I am going to enjoy the holidays and keep my spirits up. On January 1st I am starting it all off with a nice long run and a big yummy meal with friends to set the tone for the year.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Happy Holidays.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Shellburg Falls Trail Race Report and Pics

Zach and I signed up for the Shellburg Falls race right after finishing the Silver Falls Half Marathon. It is put on by the same group and was sure to be just as fun. Plus it was only 7 miles! Ha! Well, it turned out to be MUCH harder than the half marathon, even at about half the distance.

Check out the elevation profile!


The big climb is clear, but even this scary looking graph doesn’t reveal how huge the climb was. Omg it was incredible. Everyone walked up it, even the fast guys up near Zach (he doesn’t often have to walk even on steep climbs!). It was so steep I was kind of crawling using my hands at some points. I think that mile took me 18 minutes, no joke. :O

The course was beautiful, but every single step of it was challenging. When we weren’t going UP we were descending steep, slippery downhills. There were stretches on gravel road that were also super steep. Oh and we had to hurdle about a dozen trees in the first mile!

It certainly was a tough run! I thought it was far more difficult than the half marathon and in my opinion, not quite as fun. I just never got into a groove. But it was an adventure and I loved that part of it. Zach did so good- he is amazing. He finished 16th overall! So speedy. I was happy with my time too:

Official results:

1:13:34 (10:30 pace –not bad given the 18 minute one-mile hike/climb in there!)

9/30 30-39 Age Group

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A few more pics from the day:

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One of the roads we ran down:


After the race:


After the race, we drove by a U-Cut tree farm and picked out a cute tree for the apartment:

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Will post a picture when we finish decorating it. I’m finally starting to feel in the Christmas spirit. :)

Thanks for reading. :)

Monday, November 29, 2010


We got back last night from a week and a half in San Diego. It was a really tough trip with a lot of really difficult stuff to deal with. We are back home and life goes on but it is all still weighing heavily on me. It’s going to take some time to get back to normal.

The short story is that William and Melanie are “ok.” William is in good spirits and it was great to see him. He is busted up pretty good but will recover soon. Melanie suffered a serious head injury and it will take her a very long time to recover. We are all very hopeful and thinking positive. I honestly don’t really want to get into specifics of their injuries beyond that. Please keep them in your prayers.

It’s been very hard for all of us.  We are very thankful we didn’t lose them, and that was really brought home after attending the funerals of people that did not make it. Things could be much worse. Even so, this has been really tough to deal with. I am holding up ok. Zach and I are leaning on each other and we have the support of an amazing group of family and friends. We are trying to think positive, stay busy, and celebrate the holidays as best we can.

Something I really do want to talk about is how I have found my escape in San Diego and now back home out running. I didn’t do any yoga, which I plan to resume asap (in fact, I need to finish this blog later and head there now!) but I did run. And it was great. I had several good runs in CA and today I did a long run back home. Running was a nice break from the stress of the long days at the hospital and will continue to keep me centered back home. It’s weird- when I’m out running, it is hard to put my finger on what is so great about it. It isn’t EASY… in fact most of the runs have been pretty hard. It isn’t even that distracting… I tend to let my mind wander to all kinds of serious things and it’s not like I forget what’s going on. It just feels right. It feels like – this is what I know how to do. This is how my body wants to be moving right now. It’s therapeutic somehow.

To recap my running a little: I ran 35 miles while I was in San Diego including a 17 mile long run on Coronado Island with Zach (yes, he ran slow with me!). Back home I did a 20 mile long run out on the snowy Banks Vernonia trail west of town. It was beautiful and hard and took forever and I loved every second of it.

I’m going to keep up the running because I know I need it. I also need to get back to yoga, which has an important role in keeping me centered too. And I can’t wait to go back to the climbing gym, it has been so long!!

Thanks for reading and for all your support in this difficult time. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! Here are a few pictures from our trip.



Long run on Coronado Island



Wine tasting with my bestie


Mission Beach


Back home – Long run on Banks Vernonia trail

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Monday, November 15, 2010


It's been a crazy couple of days. There was a horrible accident on Saturday outside of San Diego and Zach's dad and stepmom, William and Melanie, were seriously injured. They are going to be ok, and I am so so so so grateful for that.

There is a news article below with all the details, it is so scary. Zach's dad is an experienced motorcyclist and Melanie was riding on the back of the bike. We are so grateful they survived and our prayers and condolonces go out to those families who lost someone.

We were already planning on going to San Diego for Thanksgiving, but now we have moved up our flights several days and will be spending some time down there. There is nothing we can do but we just have to be there.
Right now, the latest is that they are both doing ok, all things considered. William had survery on his wrist and foot and has some small breaks in his ribs and pelvis. Melanie had a head injury but is improving and will be ok. She also has a broken leg. They will both be in the hospital for a while, but William will probably be out in a week or so. I just can't wait to see them and hug them (gently) and help out however we can.

This really has been a shock but it has also made us count our blessings- they are alive, they will be ok, and they will be around for future Thanksgiving dinners and Turkey Trots for years and years. This Thanksgiving holiday will be a strange one, but we will be more thankful than ever.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Forest Park Run

Just a quickie post about my long run today. I went up to Forest Park and ran 15 miles on the Leif Erickson trail. It’s one of my favorite places to run because it’s a nice dirt path in the forest, so much better than any concrete run. But, it’s not very hilly or technical so it doesn’t require as much concentration and I can let my mind wander and listen to music.

It was super foggy and cold, like 40. I was comfy in tights, a couple layers on top, and gloves. The trail was very muddy and squishy with fallen leaves. The fog settled on my eyelashes and I could see my breath. It was quiet and lovely and I was lost in my own world as the miles flew by.

I kept the pace pretty easy for the first few miles and at two Gu’s along the way. My pace for the first half was 9:29. I picked it up a little on the way back and then really cranked out the last couple of miles. The last mile and a half or so of the trail have a nice decline and it’s fun to hammer it out. I ran a negative split with the second half at a 8:40 pace (last two miles at 7:30)! My feet were a little sore but I finished feeling great and on a big runner’s high. A great run!!

Here are a couple of pictures. Thanks for reading!! :)

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Silver Falls Trail Half Marathon Race Report




This was the inaugural  running of this race and the folks at Run Wild Adventures nailed it. What a fun event! The course was so extremely gorgeous, very challenging, and well marked and supported. They limited entry to 400 runners so it was never crowded, but I was never alone either. Everyone was super nice and I’m so glad I ran it.

We signed up a few months ago (which is good- it sold out fast!) and it kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been doing a lot of trail running, but my overall mileage is low and I certainly haven’t been “training” for anything. I haven’t run a race since the Helvetia Half in June, so I’ve been taking it pretty easy! 

My only goal was to finish and have fun. The morning of the race I said if I could finish under 10:00 average pace I’d be very happy- my pace on trails varies a lot but I usually average 10:00-11:00 ish. I didn’t know what to expect- I had seen the elevation chart but didn’t know what that would really look like out there. Also, due to my lack of racing lately, I wasn’t sure how hard I would push myself.

We drove the hour or so down to Silver Falls State Park- truly one of the gems of Oregon. It was misty but not really raining and a comfortable 50 degrees. We arrived and got our numbers and used the park’s nice facilities a couple of times. We saw Marya and her husband! We sat in the car for a while to stay warm and then made our way to the start.

The first mile is on the road through the parking area and campground which was nice- this served the purpose of sorting everyone out by pace so by the time we hit the trail we were somewhat seeded. Unfortunately, I probably started out way too fast and was too far up front when we hit the trail, which resulted in me getting passed quite a bit in the next couple miles. That’s not fun! I need to start lining up farther back and starting off easier. Ya right.

The trail was pretty muddy in places but not bad. I wore my trail shoes and my feet stayed nice and dry. I could tell I was running hard, probably too hard, in the first couple of miles so I tried to back off. I was sipping water and trying to pace myself.

There was a big hill just past the mile 4 marker which slowed me a lot. I walked a bit of it. Then the course was flat to down hill for several miles. It was so beautiful out there. I was running with no one ahead of  me but the course was well marked at trail junctions. I did have a little trail of followers though- about 4 runners who were pacing themselves off me. I chatted with them a bit and told them I was glad to hear their footsteps to remind me I was in a race, and not just out on a fun run! They stayed right behind me miles 8-10.

There was a steep hill leading up to one of the waterfalls (the trail goes behind two huge waterfalls) and the gang passed me. Apparently I am not a great climber. Right after the waterfall there was a HUGE set of stone stairs that was labeled “House of Pain” in chalk (flour). HA! I got in a new line of people and we walked/jogged up them. Dear Lord were my quads burning! There was another huge climb in mile 11 which I walked some of. I was amazed at the people running up it. It was steep and long!

I was still feeling really good and not too tired, which was good because there was a final big hill in the last mile. I leapfrogged with a girl Summer and we encouraged each other. We flew down the last steep and muddy down hill and into the finish area. I couldn’t catch her but she helped me push! I finished with a big smile on my face. Easily the most fun race I’ve ever run!!

1- 8:06
2- 8:40
3- 8:14
4- 9:07
5- 10:17 (big hill)
6- 9:45
7- 8:36
8- 9:46
9- 9:42
10- 10:55 (Stairs)
11- 11:16 (big hill)
12- 8:55
13.1 8:52 (8:04 pace)

Official Finish time: 2:02:16 (9:20 pace)

Yay! I was very happy. I hugged Zach and we talked about our races.

Can I just take a minute here to discuss that guy? He is REALLY good at trail running. All those giant steep hills out there? He ran up them. He ran the whole thing! He kept pace with the second place female the majority of the race and finished right behind her. He averaged like 7:40 on this course. I couldn’t run that on a pancake flat course! He makes me SICK! He was 21st overall. He had a blast too and loved the challenge. I think he has found his niche because wow. He is absolutely incredible!!

While I’m sidebar-ing, I am also going to take a minute here to talk about age groups. This was my first race as a 30 year old and can I just say OUCH. These ladies are for real. The reality is, there aren’t THAT many 20-somethings into running compared to older AG (there were twice as many 30-39 as 20-29 here) So it’s way easier to place high in your age group. I appreciated this very much in my 20’s and collected some nice age group medals. In this new age group, I ain’t shit. Also I’m not exactly in peak running shape here, which didn’t help. On top of those harsh realities, this race decided to go with 10 year age groups, so I was extra screwed by the older-is-faster rule. Burn! 

17/84  30-39 Age Group

I played with the results in excel and if I may take the liberty of creating a hypothetical 5 year age group, I finished 5/39 in the 30-34 AG. Yay! That makes me feel better! Ha!

Zach’s age group screw-ed-ness is even more pronounced. He finished 21st overall but ended up 10th in the 30-39 AG. But really, he was 3rd out of 29 30-34 year olds. Very cool!

Back to the race at hand. They  had a great finisher’s area set up in the park’s shelter area with hot chili and bread, a fireplace, water and coffee. They posted the results as soon as they could which was nice. We hung out for a bit, scored some free shirts and hit the road.

Back at home we soaked in the hot tub for a bit, Zach made a big brunch, and then we met Emily and Josh at Goose Hollow for some Europe stories and a couple of beers. Zach and I went to Rogue for more beer and a burger and then we were done. We went to bed ridiculously early… set our clocks back before we crashed and so technically we went to bed at 7:00. Hilarious. Not surprisingly, I am typing this race report at 5:00 am on Sunday. Even after that big race, I do not need 20 hours of sleep. My legs (mostly knees) are super sore but I’m going to suck it up and go climbing later. :)

Here are a few pictures. There are my pictures from before and after the race, some official photos, and I put in a few pictures from Zach’s parent’s visit last fall and a couple others I found online.

Thanks for reading! :)

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