Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Weekend Adventures

When last we left off, I was going to murder my husband and move into a Unibomber style cabin in the woods to curb my post-event depression. Or something like that.

Fortunately, my funk didn't last long and my hubby is still alive and kicking (...himself for marrying a running addict??). I only had to make it through three (tedious) days at work before I was off for another adventure. This time it was Hood to Coast, a 199 mile (this year 201 - more later) 12 person relay. Our team was the Salty Sistas. Despite our gangsta spelling of the team name, the only thing keeping us from being the pastiest group of white girls you will ever find is our token Asian! But then I was pretty much the only one on the team that seemed to find this amusing. Fortunately, there was plenty else for amusement.

Van 1-Ready to Rock

Sistas in the Hood...Mt. Hood
 Due to re-organization this year, we got a pretty early start time at 1:30 on Friday. The good news was that we had LOTs of slow teams around us to keep us motivated. I passed 102 (to my best count) people on my three legs alone (and was passed once by a guy who completely decimated me while I was doing 6:20's). The bad news is that we really had no idea where we were in comparison to our competition, so really all we could do was go out and run.

I had leg 5/17/29. My first leg was 6.1 miles with a 2.5 mile uphill finish. Total weenie of a hill, especially after being in the Rockies for a week, but it was in the heat of the day and I could feel the leg fatigue. I totally died and was about a minute slower than projected (40:41). And then right as I finished with my legs feeling fried, we learned there was a tire fire at Les Schwab and 1.7 miles was being added to the course, all in leg 17, bringing the distance to 8.82 miles, a whopper by Hood to Coast Standards. But it was super flat (until the detour at least) and the night temps were very pleasant, so I was able to get some good leg turnover and I felt much better (except for when Mr. Speed Demon went past) for a 56:35 (6:25). My last leg was a 650' gain over 3.6 miles followed by 2.5 down. My projected time had me at 6:40 pace, but I was more like 7:10 on the up. I didn't think it was looking good. But the downhill was the perfect spin your wheels and let it rip grade, plus I was anxious to be done, so I hit two sub 5:30 miles and came in under pace! Yeah, that was fun! But I was so glad to be done. It is a fun event, but there was A LOT of traffic at the second van exchange and we only got in with about an hour to spare which didn't allow much time for sleeping. The three legs of running are hard, but the most draining part of this event is the lack of sleep and lack of decent food!
Lisa, Nikol, Evey, Jenni,Kari, Debbie,me, Denise,Mariko, Judy, Terra and Tonya
Time to be silly!

After Tonya finished the final leg for our van we headed to the beach. Soon after checking in to the hotels, showering and getting some food, we found out Run With Paula, our closest competition in the women's sub-masters category, had finished in 24:18 and our last runner had set off to do 5 miles at 23:22. In the bag! However, Minnesota's Babba Yaga threw down with a 22 hour finish, leaving us in second for sub-master's and third fastest women's team time overall.

The following week I was toast! TransRockies followed by Hood to Coast five days later was pretty much the limits of what I can handle. Fortunately, I got to race vicariously through Megan, my seven year old daughter. (Warning: proud Mom bragging ahead). Megan has been participating in the Thursday night Bush Park cross country series every week in August, steadily lowering her mile time to 8:52, but unable to podium except on the 99 degree night with few competitors. The last Thursday in August is trophy night with lots of extra people out and so I had already given Megan the "We run for fun not prizes" speech, when she tells me she'd like to run the 3k instead of the mile. Unlike the mile, with 2 year age groups and ribbons five deep, the 3k only has one kids age group (12 and under) and rewards for the top 3. But Megan rocked it, finishing in 17:55, for second place and a silver medal. I asked her if she walked at all. She proudly shook her head no. "Not even on the two hills?," I asked her. "Well, I was tempted," she admitted. Yes, I am just loving that she got better as the distance got longer!


Then Labor Day weekend we set off for a family adventure: our first ever Smith family back-packing trip! We tackled the uber distance of 2.4 miles to Pamelia Lake on Saturday after first stopping in Detroit Lake for lunch and ice cream. The kids carried all of their own clothes and "loveys" in my emptied out bladder packs. Meanwhile, Mac and I appeared to be carrying enough gear for a two month trip! But heavy gear isn't really an issue for a short distance at a kid's pace.
Ready to go at the trailhead. 2.4 miles to camp!

Nine minutes in, Liam asked how many more minutes till we get there. Ten minutes in he fell on his face. But we told him he got tripped by a trail troll and then he happily ran down the trail from there on out, shooting trail trolls and launching pine cone dynamite into the woods. Plus, we had a secret motivational tool:

Megan "needed" Rusty, but she carried him without
complaint and had the comfiest pillow for the night!
Some "fun guys!"

Is that another trail troll awaiting hikers?

Liam bravely gets wet

We stopped a lot on the way out. Liam liked to touch the fungus. ("Liam, do you know what fungus is?" "Stuff that makes you itchy.") Megan liked to take pictures with her camera -thank goodness for digital! We pointed out how the baby trees like to grow on the fallen and dead trees to get extra nutrients ("And the baby trees can get lots of fiber, too!" pointed out Liam). We needed Mike and Ikes and Lemon Heads twice. But we made it with almost no whining. 
Pamelia Lake
 We spent the afternoon playing in the mud and throwing rocks in the lake and Mac even got in a run (I did mine before we left so I was free to lounge on the beach!)
Six hours of dirt!
The only bad part was that Megan got quite cold at night and woke up several times. but wouldn't you know it, that stubborn wiggly front tooth finally popped out at 3 am!
Guess what Megan wants for Christmas?? 
 Sunday morning we had oatmeal by the fire and then we were ready to head out. One hour and three minutes later we were back at the trail head!! Our first family camping trip was such a success, it was Bolt-worthy!
Doing the Bolt (or possibly the monster mash ;)
The weekend running adventures continue as Mac gets this weekend off parenting duties to run the MacKenzie River 50k and the following weekend I am returning to Colorado for the Run Rabbit Run.
Yes, I guess I can manage to endure my work week as long as we get to have great weekend adventures!


Trisha said...

Hi Pam,
Congratulations with your results in Hood to Coast. It sounds like a great race to participate in. I hope to one day take part in a relay like that.
The trip looks like a lot of fun.
Thank you for being such a great inspiration for my running aspirations.

Goes On Runs said...

are you guys coming for the reunion?

Pam said...

Thanks, Trish.

Goes On Runs- yep, headed to reunion. Hope to see you there.