Tag Archives: bend oregon

Race Report // Mastondon 10-ish Mile Trail Race

Boy it feels good to be back racing.  Especially right here in Bend.  Sunday was the unofficial start to race season, and running a Superfit Productions Race always feels like coming home.  Not only are the races super low-key and a good time, but I always get to see some of my favorite running compadres.  This was only the second annual Mastondon 10-ish Mile Trail Run (last year it was 12-ish miles), and I was happy to get in early enough before it filled up.

Maston Trailhead  Photo: Cory Smith

Maston Trailhead Photo: Cory Smith

The Maston Trail system is uncharted territory for me – so wasn’t sure what to expect besides lower than the average elevation gains compared to the other trail systems in and around Bend.  Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

The skies were bluebird, and the sun was blazing.  Trails were compact – hardly any mud or ruts to navigate – which meant this race was fast.  Flat too.  The first five miles seemed to cruise – mostly flat or even a little downhill.  Once we hit the sole aid station at mile five (no others were needed), the course climbed a bit.  But that was it – a brief climb that put us along the Deschutes River Canyon which, while beautiful, was hard to enjoy while navigating the rocky trail along the edge.  Once we were beyond the Canyon, we were offered stellar views of the three Sisters to the west.

Me running Mastondon. Photo:  Cory Smith

Me running Mastondon. Photo: Cory Smith

I was happy with my 1:26 finish for 10+ miles.  My hamstring had been bothering me for about a week, and I wasn’t sure how it would hold up while racing.  There were only 81 finishers (the race gets capped around 100), but it was a good crowd with awesome volunteers.  Fearless Baking breakfast sandwiches at the finish, along with a finisher’s mug made this an ideal event.  Superfit knows how to do it right.  There was even a keg of Deschutes for those who prefer their suds in the a.m.

A big thanks to Super Dave and all the volunteers.  Great times were had by all.

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Race Report // Portland Marathon 2014

Oh Portland, how I love thee.  On a sunny day, you are my city – the place I could move in a heartbeat and feel like I was home. Your coffee, music scene and population of runners remind me of this every time I visit. So why did you have to hurt me so? Apparently, Sunday, October 5 was just not my day to run a marathon.

Let’s back up a couple days to Thursday, October 2.  I had just bathed the kids and was upstairs draining the bathtub and doing a load of laundry, when I hear my husband telling the kids, “Go get mommy! Go get mommy!” As I’m coming down the stairs, all I can see are their naked bodies backing up towards the front door, their eyes widening while looking down at the ground, and panic on their faces. All I remember thinking is “you can’t go outside – you’re naked and it’s too cold!” But the gushing water coming out of the toilet wasn’t stopping.

Yes, our main floor with our kitchen, dining and family room flooded when the toilet in the powder room next to the kitchen started overflowing with water.  And would not stop.  No one flushed, it just so happened that it was a blocked sewer pipe in the front yard that had finally had it and wasn’t going to let any water through. So the bath water went down and came back out the toilet. And went all over our floor. And through the floor into our newly carpeted basement. Ugh.

Time for a reconfiguration of the weekend, if you will. After a long night with the plumber and calming the kids, we packed up on Friday leaving my husband to demo the damaged parts of the house, while the kids and I drove to Salem to stay with my parents. I was a little stressed and could feel it winding its way through my core, but I was trying so hard not to let it get to me.  My friends were running in Portland with me, and I was so excited for the race this year.

Saturday we headed up to OMSI so the kids could have a little fun. We probably would have been better off riding the OHSU tram, given all they wanted to do at OMSI was ride the elevator.  Most of the exhibits weren’t really age appropriate, and if they were, they were occupied or broken. Oh well. Next time.  We ate lunch and my parents took the kids back to Salem for a little ride on the carousel – which is ALWAYS age appropriate.

Checking out bones at OMSI.

Checking out bones at OMSI.

I stayed in PDX, checked into my hotel, and finally met up with my friends, Rainie, Kristen and Glenn at the Marathon Expo. I was finally feeling a little less stressed and lighter on my feet. Truly happy to be in Portland on such a beautiful day.  We shopped, ate ice cream and got to join our former Cascade Lakes Relay teammates, Ed and Martin, for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory that evening. Rainie, Glenn, Ed, Martin and I had all been in Van 2 of the relay this year – and had a wonderful time together.

Views of Portland from my room.

Views of Portland from my room.

That evening I relaxed in my hotel room by watching as much cable TV as I could soak up – and had complete control of the remote.  I honestly don’t remember the last time I had control of a remote. I also laid out all my gear and food for the next morning. Had to make sure I remembered everything, because I was all alone – no one to help me remember to pin my bib on.

Ready to run.

Ready to run.

Race morning came quickly, but after 12 of these, I am finally getting the hang of them.  I put on my gear, made sure everything was tied, packed, pinned, and secured with rubber bands (pony tails), then quickly ate a bar and an apple. A Japanese runner who shared the elevator with me was quick to take off and run his warm up after leaving the lobby.  I jogged a bit and my legs felt good, so I walked the rest of the way to my corral.

Soon we were off, and the sun was up.  The drums from the marching band overtook downtown as we ran by in the early hours – one of my parts of the Portland Marathon.  I started off with the 3:40 pace group, and was feeling good – even pulled ahead of them for a while.  But too soon, I started to feel like I was working too hard. I was sweating too, which meant it was humid. Not good.

Around mile two, I passed Ed and Martin cheering us on from Waterfront Park – so great to see familiar faces.  I ended up seeing them again at miles 17 and 26. They were such an amazing support team. Throughout the first half, especially the out and back section of the course, I was feeling like I needed fuel. Unfortunately, I was taking it and not feeling any better.  I made the mistake of trying something new and wearing two sports bras (extra support, which I really didn’t need), and was struggling to breath deep enough.  I popped in a porta john around mile 11 and took one off, thinking it would help. It didn’t.

I then got a uni-side stitch, meaning it surrounded my core.  And it didn’t go away.  Through the half way point at 1:49:50, I knew if I didn’t get a second wind, things weren’t going to go well.  I had the strength, but really needed something to kick me into another gear.  My stomach also wasn’t handling things super well.  At this point, I’m not sure if it was the Ultima they were handing out on the course, but it was the only thing I did differently.

On the way out to the St. John’s bridge I was suffering.  Desperately looking for any aid stations I could find that would offer water or electrolytes.  Fortunately, I ran into my friend and running partner, Glenn.  I informed him that this just wasn’t my day and to go ahead.  But it was sure good to see a familiar face.  That is a tough stretch to go alone.  Finally it was up to the bridge. While I ran up to the top, going across the sun hit me and I had to stop and walk. This is my favorite part of the course so I didn’t mind soaking in the views.

St. Johns Bridge

St. Johns Bridge

Over the next stretch, my body was just not coping well with the heat and direct sun. I tried GU and water, but never got the extra kick I needed from the caffeine in my gel. I continued to struggle with an upset stomach, side stitches and an uncomfortable fatigue from the heat. I even stopped at the beer aid station around mile 23 to see if that would settle my stomach. Couldn’t hurt at this point.  And I must say, it wasn’t bad.  Finally, after making it over the bridge, I was able to cruise in on almost all four cylinders, all the way to the finish. Finally, it was over. 4:06:18 is my slowest time in years. Number 13 was definitely an unlucky one for me.

Finished. Happy to be headed home.

Finished. Happy to be headed home.

Fortunately, I am feeling good. I am convinced that it was a combination of stress, heat/humidity and maybe making the mistake of drinking Ultima. I had run the Sunriver Marathon a month prior and felt great.  Heck, I felt great up until we started. But life happens.  I used to plan an entire year around one marathon hoping that I wouldn’t get sick or injured on, or before the event.  Now I’ve gotten wiser and have decided that running two or three marathons a year is a much better plan.  Life’s too short.

My friend Rainie ran her very first marathon that day, and had a GREAT experience. That’s really all you can ask for, right? Coaching a friend to find the love of marathoning? Made it all worth it.

So guess where I’ll be next year in October?  In Portland, ready to run and have a much more fulfilling experience than last year.

I love you, Portland. And I’ll be back again next year.

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Race Report // Sunriver Marathon for a Cause 2014

On Sunday, August 1st I ran my 12th marathon in Sunriver, Oregon.  I completed the same marathon last year, but had a rough race due to high temperatures. The entire 26.2-mile course is peaceful and breathtaking, and I was determined to have a great race this year.

Fortunately, the forecast called for cooler temps throughout the weekend, and that was certainly the case on Saturday.  We made the quick drive from Bend out to The Lodge to pick up my packet, and decided to stay and eat lunch.  The cloudy, cool weather was not keeping the Labor Day crowds away, as the Resort was packed with families.

Luckily, my nerves were non-existent the day before, which is new for me. But I had my clothes set out, fuel bottle full of GU, and proceeded to wake up every hour or so after 2 am until my alarm went off at 5:15.  And of course, I woke up with thoughts tainted by nervous energy. But soon we were driving to Sunriver, and I was ready to run.  Once we arrived, we made a quick retreat to the Lodge in an attempt to stave off the bitter, 39-degree temperature.

With five minutes until the start, we ventured outside and I knew I’d be OK with my attire of capri tights, short-sleeve Nike Dry-Fit shirt and gloves.  After a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem by a young girl who’d lost her mother to breast cancer, we were off. My legs felt fresh and I tried to keep my pace comfortable but strong. The sun was up and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky except a white layer of fog that had settled below the tree line, with Mt. Bachelor towering in the distance.

I was on pace and feeling good through mile eight, but definitely starting to need fuel.  My bottle of GU was full but not squeezing easily, so I started grabbing Clif Shots from the aid stations – which were also stocked well with water and Gatorade.

The course is mostly flat on roads, golf paths and bike trails with beautiful scenery.  The first half runs through Crosswater – an immaculate golf course near the Sunriver Lodge, along the Deschutes River.  Then runners meander through the Caldera Springs Resort Community – a quiet neighborhood – before re-entering the Sunriver community and crossing back through the Start/Finish area near the Lodge. The second half runs out to the opposite side of the Resort near the airport and stables, also along the scenic Deschutes River.

The aid stations were stocked and the weather was optimal (start in the low 40’s with a blue sky, warming to the low 70’s).  Once I started fueling regularly (after struggling to suck down a Mocha shot, which ended up giving me a major boost), I went from negative thoughts at mile 13, to a second wind.

The course markings were perfect, the volunteers were amazing, and even the Resort guests were great cheerleaders.  I had very few, if any, problems.  The second wind took me from mile 15 through mile 22.  Each mile marker seemed to fly by until I slowed down a bit due to typical fatigue at the end of a marathon, and I was stopping at all the aid stations to refuel, just making sure I got what I needed so as not to bonk (like last year).

Soon I came upon the SHARC (Sunriver Homeowners Assoc. Rec. Center) and knew I was close. I kicked it into gear and cruised to the finish line.  I finished almost 10 minutes faster than last year, in 3:48, and got 3rd in my age division, with an 8th place overall women’s finish.  I was incredibly happy.  The marathon was a good “warm up” marathon for the Portland Marathon in October, where I’ll be attempting a Boston Qualifier.

The Sunriver Marathon went all out with Nike Dry Fit long sleeve finisher’s shirts, a fancy finisher’s medal, draw string backpack-style bag, pint glass (with a free beer), and large post-race spread of snacks.  There’s no doubt I’ll be back – this little race is definitely an awesome one.

On the podium (far left) with my friend, and super-fast runner, Charmion in the middle (she finished 2nd woman overall)

On the podium (far left) with my friend, and super-fast runner, Charmion in the middle (she finished 2nd woman overall)

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Cascade Lakes Relay 2014: Race Report

My brain and body are still a bit rummy (pun intended – keep reading), but I am slowly recovering from last weekend’s relay. I ran with the same team as last year – We Thought They Said Rum – but in a different van.  The difference between the two includes new legs and different running/rest times.  Basically, you’re on when Van 1 is off.

Van 2 "We Thought They Said Rum": Martin, Jen, Amy, Rainie, Glenn, Kathy

Van 2 “We Thought They Said Rum”: Martin, Jen, Amy, Rainie, Glenn, Kathy

Our adventure began on Friday morning.  While runners from Van 1 were off and running at 7:20am, Van 2 was loading up gear, eating a quick bagel breakfast and traveling south to Exchange #6 – about a two hour drive. Members in Van 2 included two of my teammates from Van 1 last year, two teammates from last year’s Van 2 and “Jeeves” or “Maude The Motorhome’s driver” whom we got to know well during our rest periods in 2013. All in all, I couldn’t have asked for better Van mates.

Our first runner hit the road running at approximately 3pm. Instant support mode set in, and we stopped ahead during each leg to offer water or whatever our runner might need. The weather was hot and muggy, but soon cooled down with the evening hours approaching.  With a red ball dropping out of the sky, dusk turned to night and our van was headed back to La Pine High School for a quick bite and a couple hours of sleep.  My first leg was approximately seven miles, and while there were a couple of hills, the rest of the route was a fast one. I was happy I met my estimated goal of running 8:30/mile.

We devoured our BBQ’d chicken prepared by “Jeeves” (most of us know him as Ed), who greeted us with a smile and warm hug.  While some of us elected to shower, all of us hit the hay to try and get a bit of shut-eye.  Unfortunately, my mind could not rest and therefore I did not find sleep mode.  We were up again just a mere two hours later – on the road with full bellies and a bit of rest to tide us over.

Our second set of legs was a stretch from the depths of the woods to La Pine.  Our first runner, Glenn, was decorated in bright lights for a “rave run” competition and continued his rave run -lights, music and all- for the first three miles. Surprisingly, he only ditched a few of the lights during his 8.5 mile leg. As the sky began to get lighter, all of us woke up (with a little help from coffee) and we were back in support/party mode. I say party mode, because at 6am on no sleep, you kind of get a little party going in your head and the adrenaline kicks in.  Our van had a seriously fun time with good tunes and great peeps.

This image doesn't do Glenn's lights justice.

This image doesn’t do Glenn’s lights justice.

Rainie Runs Her Heart Out

Rainie Runs Her Heart Out

On my 2nd leg, I once again ran at my estimated pace down to Elk Lake. I ticked off over 11 road kill (or passed 11 people, if you will), and felt strong to the exchange with Van 1.  It was definitely time to rest before we headed back out for our final legs, which meant a little free time at the lake.

Unfortunately, we were not welcomed at the Resort restaurant as graciously as we’d hoped. And the food we were offered for purchase was quite miserable. But beyond that, Elk Lake was calm and about as relaxing as you can get.  We cooled off our tired muscles in the water, *tried* to nap, and enjoyed the reprieve from the relay chaos.  Only a couple hours later, it was “Finish Line or Die” time.

We departed the Resort (and Jeeves) with a “Farewell Until The Finish,” as I prepped for my uphill leg. I was runner #2 this time, and my leg was all uphill starting at 5450′ and traveling to 6350′ in 4 miles.  It was hot. 2pm in the afternoon. 80-some degrees. But I kept a steady pace and even passed people.  Starting with a nauseous stomach, I certainly was NOT in race mode, but with the support of my Van, I finished. And it felt good.  It was all downhill at this point in the relay, and we couldn’t be more excited.  Lots of great spirit in our van and FREE BEER from 10 Barrel Brewing Co. made our descent into Bend just that much better.

Martin for the photo bomb

Martin for the photo bomb

Finally, our last runner was on her way just as a rain/hail storm hit the Old Mill.  Not to worry as we were all able to crawl under tents. As the clouds parted, Jen crossed the bridge and made her way over the finish line.  What a wonderful ending to a truly fun adventure. CLR 2014 is a unique experience that is truly a “team” effort, and I’ve got memories I feel honored to be able share with all my van mates for years to come.

Favorite Memories from CLR 2014:

  • Watching the truck of firefighters pull up at the first van exchange with “Where our hose at?” scribbled on the side of their truck. And a keg in the back.
  • Getting “skittled” by another team (we left our van and came back to find dixie cups of skittles in our front seat.
  • Watching the “red ball” sunset
  • Hangin’ with my awesome van mates, and rockin’ out to Nelly’s “Hot in Herre”
  • Rainie’s commentary on the scene at La Pine HS
  • The Rave Run competition – lights, music and the DJ at the van exchange
  • Glenn’s “ultimate raver attitude”
  • Running on Cascade Lakes Highway and all the support from other vans, as well as my own
  • Candy orange slices
  • Free Beer
  • Entrada pool peeps laying on their chairs cheering for passing runners
  • A rainy/hail-infused finish line
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Never Question a Runner

If you have ever watched the finish line of a marathon, you’ll see a lot of carnage.  Runners struggling those last few steps to reach the end of 26.2 miles. Strained faces, painful winces and arms raised in victory are just mere samples of body language spoken so often by marathoners. Dare ask an accomplished runner if they’ll attempt another marathon right after they’ve crossed the 26.2-mile finish, and you’ll get the anticipated answer, “never again.” But do not be deceived.  Because 20 minutes later, you can ask the same question and get a completely different answer.

Runners are a different breed.  We push ourselves 26.2 miles, 50K, 50 miles, 100K and 100 miles. Hours at a time. One foot in front of the other. Mentally wavering from mile to mile. And then we cross the finish line, and it’s over. And all those memories of struggle, perseverance, pain, weakness and instability disappear before we can say lactic acid.  For many of us, the wheels in our heads begin to spin, dreaming up the next big challenge.  Let’s try this again.  After my recent marathon, a friend reminded me that once I finished, I was quoted as saying, “remind me why I do these things.” She reminded me because I am currently planning on running another in less than a month.

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The Footzone Dirty Half Marathon in Bend, OR. Photo courtesy of Megan Ann Photography

My friend Cory just finished his first 50K last weekend.  The day after, he was searching for potential 50-mile races. There is no question that running takes both physical and mental strength.  As runners, we seek to push our body to it’s limit, and then some. And we keep doing it.  Because the feeling of accomplishment is one so gratifying, it’s hard to replicate. And so, we keep running.

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Race Report: 2013 Sunriver Marathon

Yesterday I completed my 10th marathon in 3 hours and 58 minutes.  I finished fourth in my age division (and was given a 3rd place ribbon, but later discovered that was a mistake after reviewing the results), and placed 37 out of 111 finishers. 

This was my first marathon this year, after training for the Newport (OR) Marathon in June only to DNS due to an illness the day before . The illness, which ended up being a minor virus, hindered my running most of the month of June and finally gave way so I could train for Sunriver the rest of the summer. Training during July and August was stellar, without any major setbacks.  I felt strong going into this marathon, without having ever run the course or even in Sunriver, for that matter.

Race day nerves were plentiful, but I focused mostly on deep, full breaths before the start to keep as much tension out of my abdomen as possible.  The last couple marathons have been sabotaged by a feeling that I can only explain as a large rock in my stomach which sticks around for a good 17 miles.  Not the ideal way to run, and I can only attribute it to nerves since it never happens on training runs.  Fortunately, I was able to resolve that issue and the start was fairly smooth.  Being that there were only 100+ entrants, it felt like the start of a local 5K or 10K, and that threw me a little. The course was beautiful though, and I remained a couple minutes ahead of my goal 3:40 pace in the first half while traversing the bike trails around the golf course.  But my stomach had other plans after I downed a GU around mile nine.  After a little cramping, I tried to resolve the issue by downing only water for the next few miles.  That plan seemed to work, until my energy levels dropped around mile 17 and the extra GU I was about to toss was needed immediately.  I tore it open and downed it without any water, and it seemed to help.  Unfortunately after mile 20, the heat took a toll.  I was struggling to keep energy and motivation – walking a lot more than I had planned, and continuing to struggle even though there were plenty of aid stations.  Nothing seemed to help with the heat, which I never anticipated to be an issue.

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Somewhere around mile 20. Photo courtesy of Cory Smith.

I stopped to walk multiple times, which I remember doing maybe once in Boston because of a foot problem, but never before in prior marathons.  I definitely struggled on this one. My time was one of my slowest, but yet again, I am motivated to get stronger and beat my 3:38 PR.  Running one marathon a year puts a lot of pressure on marathon day, which in turn, puts a lot of significance on finish time.  I know that yesterday’s time was not proof of my strength, and will continue to pursue a marathon experience where everything goes great.  I have had a few, and know they exist.  But I also know that if I race more often, I will have more diverse experiences. Easy enough.

My upper body is sore today, but I am looking forward to getting back out there and running again.  Running on trails and up hills.  Running to feel happy and strong. Running to inspire and be inspired.  Here is a blog post I happened upon today via Ultrarunnerpodcast.com.

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Marathon Countdown

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My legs. Ready to run.

Thursday is coming to an end, which means my marathon is that much closer.  I’ll be running on Sunday, and I’m not exaggerating when I say every ache, sniffle and stomach lurch throws me into a panic.  Somehow I forgot about my last two marathons where stomach issues threw me for a loop – but all my memories flooded back this week.

Am I ready? 100%.

Will I survive? YES.

Can my legs make it 26.2 miles?  MOST DEFINITELY.

Will I do all I can to mentally prepare myself so that my stomach cooperates and stays calm. WITHOUT A DOUBT. 

I can visualize running the route and crossing the finish line until I am blue in the face, but if I don’t get enough fuel the week prior and morning of, I am setting myself up for failure.  And I refuse to let that happen.  I’ve done it before, and you better believe I can do it again. Only faster.

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