This past week has been brutal on the training front. I have hammered the legs with weights, lunges, spin that darn near kept me anaerobic for a freaking hour and a track workout that made me want to write bad checks. I was going to have to be travelling to Portland Oregon on Sunday Morning for business and between balancing birthday parties and my wife’s schedule, dictated that I do a long run on Friday night. I was tired from work, my legs hurt, and when I determined to go long on Friday, it took all the good’ol Marine Corps motivation to get it done.
So at 7:30 pm, I was off to Erwin Park for a 20 to 25 mile trail run…most of which would take place under the cover of darkness. It was hot and muggy, but the only easy day was yesterday so off I go. At around midnight, when most normal people are dreaming of winning the lottery in deep slumber I was off in the woods attempting to stay hydrated. I had decided after about 15 miles on the trail to take to the rode and attempt to get a breeze that may offer some mild semblance of relief. I run down the road to the park entrance and head out on the road going north. It is where most Texans would call the country with various homes situated off the road. Most homesteads have elaborate gate systems guarding the roads up to each man’s castle. So as I turn off the road to head north, I hear a sensor start to beep on the gates and realized it was sensing movement. A minute later I hear a man call out and immediately fire 2 warning shots…at least I hope they were warning shots. Two thoughts ran immediately through my mind. One, get the headlamp turned off and why did I wear running stuff with some many dang reflectors…and two, get the heck out of Dodge for crying out loud. I turned immediately onto the park road leading back to the trail and went anaerobic. A little speed work on a long run never killed anyone…but not moving fast enough tonight may usher in results I wouldn’t be real fond of….And so, a lesson learned, don’t go that dang road at night unless you want a little excitement for the evening…I really need a life. Back on the trail proved relatively uneventful. I did happen upon two different skunks at two different times. Both times we made our acquaintance at about 8 feet. I nodded to them a good evening and they responded with a look that made me think they realized I had a screw loose and took great pity on me. They would scamper off the trail and once again I would go into Oxygen debt. It was a long, hot night. The legs took a beating, I walked more than I wanted, but did have a quality “on my feet” training run. Saturday morning at just before 2 bells in the am…22 miles done.
Saturday was a great time with the family and on Sunday I was off to Portland Oregon.
Never been to Portland…never been to Oregon for that matter. But Olga, Ultrarunner phenom and recent Hardrock 2009 100 mile finisher, had recently moved from Portland to Austin Texas. Poor girl is probably suffering a nominal, daily heatstroke after residing in Oregon and growing up in Russia….but I digress. In a email, she told me to contact the trail running club in Portland. I did….and they responded. Rick was up for a Sunday afternoon trail run, I would be landing at a little after noon...it’s a go. I changed into running stuff in the airport….took the train down town and literally 5 minutes later had grabbed a chicken gyro at the Sunday market in the square, and then jumped into Rick’s white Corolla. We introduced ourselves to each other. I ate my gyro and we made our way to Forest Park. An intensely wooded area with over 40 miles of trails….a true paradise. Rick was too kind. First the hombre can run a sub 8 hour 50 miler and second, he suffered my slower pace making sure I was having a good time. Eight miles and a hour and half later, we where back at the car, with Rick taking me to the hotel. What a great guy…and we had a great time. I will say this though, the first mile was all uphill with about a 600 feet climb…you just can’t do that in North Texas.
Rick showing Forest Park
When we were flying into Portland I realized a huge peak out the starboard side. There was Mount Hood in all his glory. OVER 11,000 FT!!! I began to imagine a route to the top as it beckoned. I asked Rick about it. He had summited Hood, I believe, 3 times. I asked the locals about it. I was intrigued. I made a special stop by REI to inquire about mountaineering equipment. I priced up alpine boots, and crampons…ice axes…I asked about schedules…when was the best time to summit? Early spring? Start a midnight? Got to get down before the glacier heats up and rocks start to roll? Yep, it’s definite! I have put it on the list.
I am now writing this on the plane ride back to Texas. It has been an incredible week of training and travel. Couple that with a productive business trip…I am ready to get home…and maybe work on a timeline….you only live once, make sure it’s enough! Stay Thirst my friends.