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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s trail running’

I have to admit, I love this photo of me. It’s got all my favorite parts of my personality in it: adventurer, trail runner, nature lover, smart ass.

If you try and make me laugh while getting into an “icier than a witches tit” lake after 24 miles of serious trail running and rock hopping complete with non-functioning Garmin, mis-fire-fueling, took-a-wrong-turn-or-two moments and epic underarm chaffe, I will make this all-too-familiar universal sign for, well, you know. BUT, I will also be smiling because, after all, it’s TRAIL RUNNING! Wahooo!

I’m not sure what I’m doing with my right knee or what she’s doing with her right hand, but we look ready to rock nonetheless.

I haven’t written about my running in a while. I’ve been kinda staying under the radar with it except for the in-person blabling I do about it with friends when we run. Running is a solo sport when you boil it down to step after step. It’s just you and you, especially on long trail runs. Even if you share it with friends, the decisions you make while negotiating the trail, fueling, making water stops, picking routes and talking with that voice in your head that says you’re tired,  hurting or higher than a kite are all yours. I’ve been trying to get more centered with my running, trying to listen to my body. Sit still and ponder all the pieces of who I am when I run. Still, some of you have wondered what I’m up to, so here’s the scoop… I’m running the McKenzie River Trail Run 50K on September 8 and the Silver Falls Trail Marathon November 3rd. Last Saturday was my final long run for the 50K.

My awesome running bud Leah who blogs over at Trail Smitten Mom and I headed out at 5:00am to explore 20 plus miles of the McKenzie River Trail Race Course. Our plan was to park at Carmen Reservoir and run the first 11 miles of the course around Clear Lake, grab water and nosh back at the car, then continue down to mile 16.7 of the course, then back up to the car. We planned to take it easy and get in at least 5 hours on our feet while enjoying the gorgeous waterfalls and the naturific glory that is this magical fairy world forest along the raging McKenzie.  We did all that, had a great time catching up, laughed a lot and ran our butts off. Some notables a la photos follow…

We didn’t realize how cute we looked in our Dirty Girl Gaiters! Cool Hawaii means hot racer.

Hey, we know you! We were thrilled to run into 4 sets of running chicas along the way. No dudes, just us gals out there doing it up.

Waterfalls are cool, fast, pretty and offer a wonderful mist when you’re hot and bothered in the humid forest. When I see a waterfall I always think, wow, this is going on 24/7!

Lava rock is wild stuff. This portion of the course is actually a paved path next to Clear Lake. Later we were treated to lots of lava rock on the trail. Can you say River Dance Trail Running? Hop Hop Hop

Yep, blue pool is really blue!

It wasn’t all groovy photos and pit stops, however. The run was a bit harder than I wanted it to be. For starters, we missed the trail that would have taken us back to our car at mile 11. Dammit, I had chips waiting for us! (From trail 3507, it said “waterfalls” not Carmen Reservoir, so we plugged along 2 miles passed our “exit.”)  Not wanting to back track, we kept going, figuring we had enough water to make it to Trail Bridge, our official turnaround spot. With both of our bladders sucked dry, we trotted into the outskirts of Trail Bridge Campground and filled up with water at the first spout, next to a couple making breakfast under their pop-up canopy. Feeling a bit shaken from missing our self-made aid station and slightly giddy, it was then that I realized I had really blown it with fueling. Last week my Garmin fell apart mid-run, so I was running Saturday with a borrowed, slightly fancier model. I had not clicked it on correctly at the start, so my usual plan of fueling at 4-5 miles, then 45 minutes there after didn’t happen. I had run about 17 miles on 2 Gu and that ain’t enough for this ol’ lady trail runner. It was also at the water spigot that I realized the chaffing under my left arm was getting pretty painful. I’m a sweater – big time! As I filled my Nathan pack with water I commented on how drenched and smelly I was. “Geesh, I’m sweating out the morning’s coffee even! Can you smell that?” Leah laughed and pointed to the couple cooking breakfast. “No, THEY’RE making coffee!”

Food. Must have more food. Brain cells are dying.

Epic chaffe!

After the laugh and the pit stop, we continued on with our relentless forward progress, back up the lava rock area, over bridges and through the woods to our beloved car with CHIPS and our icy-witch-tit-cold-lake bath. On the way back I hallucinated seeing 4 or 5 orange water bottles on the side of the trail and tried cussing out loud to keep myself moving.  Leah took a fall and banged up her leg, head and shoulder, but she’s a tough cookie and rocked on.   We made it. 24 miles and we’re ready to kick some ass on September 8th!

Obviously early in the run when I had energy and sass to pull this stunt and enough brain cells left to be thinking, “Gee, I need a cool Facebook profile photo.”

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Uber happy at the half-way turn-around point

My 6 year old daughter and I are reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. The latest chapter was about the chocolate room. I’m sure you remember from the book and/or movie, it’s the one where everything is pretty and sweet and eatable and a chocolate river runs through it. Can you imagine the delight?!! Well, those of you who know me know I’d rather be on tour in a cheese factory where the trees and flowers are made of cheddar, gouda and pecorino, where it rains shredded parmesan and the river is made of melted fondue cheese…. But I digress. What I’m trying to say is, I felt like a kid in a candy store on my recent trail run. Forget the Snickers, Jolly Ranchers and Reeces Pieces, however, I had single track, rocks, mud, rollers, lake-side view, birds, fern and yes, even a little poison oak!

Friend Aaron (better known as CrazyPants for the wild tights he wears on cold days), organized a group run out at Lookout Reservoir, just south of Eugene. I love that trail and know it like the back of my hand. When my hubby and I first got together, we would take our 3 dogs there almost every Saturday. We even found our cat of 13 years there as a kitten stranded up a tree and brought him home. My husband often reminds me that it’s where I first started running and “where I learned to breathe.” Anyway, when my coach Cathie from Eugene Running Club said my foot was ready for a mellow 6 mile trail run (if I promised to go slowly), my heart skipped a beat!

I carpooled with my buddy Danuta who planned to run 7 miles a bit faster than I. It was SO nice to catch up with her on the 30 minute ride to the trailhead.

It's been a while since Danuta & I got to hang out - pre-run chat is the BEST!

View from the parking lot at the dam. Is that blue sky?

Dead last but lovin’ every minute of it, my first couple miles were a wake up call. I had forgotten how quick on your feet you have to be to dodge rocks, hop over roots and pretend you have x-ray vision to see what’s under slippery leaves. By mile 4 I was back in the groove though and allowed myself some glances around and out over the lake. Popping in and out of sunlight from under the heavily forested trail, the air was cool and smelled delicious.

Waterfalls and little pools can be found every mile or so of this trail and in the summer, the clover is deliciously lemon-minty.

Who needs a chocolate river when you've got mud to play in?!!

The poison oak didn’t phase me much. I must have brushed by a leaf in that little band between where my sock ends above my ankle and where my long tights start. Doh! My poor hubby ended up catching it on his wrist. It sounds kinkier than it is. It was probably from doing my wash. Anyway, with my shoes full of mud and my heart full of joy, I look forward to my next romp in the woods.

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