Friday, October 20, 2017

Nos. 38, 39, 40, 41

I have this habit: I find a good author and then I read ALL her books in a row. Then I'm sad because I don't have any more to read. It's like the sadness that hits after binge-watching Netflix and coming to the series end.

I discovered Ellie Alexander at this summer's THS Band garage sale. I bought all they had and then found some more at the library. And that's all there are! It's a newer series, so I'm hoping she writes more ASAP. 

No. 38 was A Batter of Life and Death:
No. 39 was On This Icing:
No. 40 was Caught Bread Handed (finished in front of a fire):
No. 41 was Fudge and Jury (also finished by the fire!):
I have a hold on the last in the Bakeshop Mystery series. Hopefully it comes available soon :)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Harvest Century (9/24/17)

Earlier this summer, Dad asked me to join him at the annual Harvest Century. He was paying, and I love to ride my bike, so it was a "yes!"

We rode the 45-mile course in 2014 (was that really 3 years ago??) and had a great time. Because Dad's been out of the saddle for a bit, he opted for the 25 miler this time.

Ready to ride:
The 25-mile course had one rest stop about halfway through, filled with all kinds of yummy treats! We refueled (ha!) and hit the road for the return. 

It was an absolutely gorgeous day on the country roads outside Hillsboro. The course was almost totally flat, nice for an easy morning ride.
Mom surprised us at the finish line:
 
 
 Dad's pretty, new bike:
The after party included a lunch buffet and live music by The Jamblers, my friend Gene's band:
This is such a great event, and I'd love to do it again -- hopefully the 75 or full century some day :)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Molalla River Trail Race (9/22/17)

The Molalla River Trail Race 10K has become a tradition!

It's a friendly, well-organized race on a gorgeous trail system outside Molalla. It used to be in October, but last year's huge windstorm moved the race to November. This year, it was held in September to avoid fall storms. I was a bit bummed because I thought we'd miss the fall colors, but the forest didn't disappoint :)

After last year lazily scanning the instructions and missing the shuttle, we arrived nice and early at Foothills Community Church to jump on the bus. The long, bumpy, windy ride into the hills is a little rough for people with motion sickness. Urp.
We had plenty of time to use the potties, jog around, and ditch our warm-up clothes before walking up the hill to the starting line.
The first part of this course is a long uphill. I went out a bit too fast, not realizing how tired my legs were from my half marathon the weekend before, and had to walk up "the wall" ("a monster 500-ft hill over 3/4 of a mile").
Unfortunately, I didn't have much left after cresting and heading into the very narrow, windy, rolling back half. I didn't feel nearly as strong as the previous years, but it was definitely because of that half marathon in Newport just a few days before. I can't get too upset about that :)

As in previous years, I fell into a pack of runners, all struggling toward the end. It's such a friendly race. We joked, laughed, and encouraged each other as we neared the finish.

Then we took a hard left off the single track and onto the downhill gravel road, the finish line ALMOST in sight. I was running right next to a guy with whom I'd been leapfrogging for a while, and we both kicked. Really hoping to beat him, I kicked a bit too soon and too hard and couldn't maintain. Then a woman in a pink jacket found another gear and zoomed past me really fast! I hate it when I'm the one getting passed at the finish line :)

This handsome guy was waiting for me at the end :)
Volunteers handed me a water bottle and my medal as I tried to catch my breath. Then I spent a few minutes chatting/commiserating with my little running pack as we all finished - congratulations all around. Such a friendly race!

My official time was 1:10:13, an 11:19 average. That earned me 53/129 overall, 19/72 females and 2/12 in my age division!
My GPS had the course long at 6.34 miles (instead of 6.2), so my watch average was 11:05.

Last year, Dad and I reached the final stretch at the same time, and I chose to finish with him at his speed. But this year's 1:10:13 is a tiny PR over the first year's 1:10:56 - YAY!!!!!

We walked down to the finish area, grabbed our clothes from the bag check, swapped wet clothes for dry (just from sweat - the rain held off!), ate some amazing hot, salty chicken noodle soup, bread, and candy, hung out for a bit in the woods, then boarded a bus for the return to town.

Oh, and photos with Bigfoot - a must!
This is a great race - can't wait for next year :)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Twisted Pine Half (9/16/17)

In September, the McKee side of the family gathered at the coast to spread the ashes of Grandma and Grandpa. It was a good family time, hanging out, remembering, and eating :)

Since we were spending the weekend at the coast, I checked to see if there might be a nearby race - you know, just for fun. That's what I do.

The Twisted Pine was set for Newport, just a few miles south of our campground. There was a 5-mile trail run and a half marathon, half on trails, half on roads. My training schedule called for 10 that weekend, so I picked the half. Eryn signed up for the 5. Brad decided to do his own run.

We woke early Saturday at our Beverly Beach campsite, prepped, and drove to South Beach for the race. It was just the second year, so we knew it would be a small race. (Just 33 people ran the half, 21 ran the 5 miler)

The half started first, so I got ready to go!
Free race pics are my favorite!
The first part of the course was the same:
Through the woods and over some dunes at South Beach State Park on our way to the jetty:
We popped out of the woods and ran east toward town. Pretty nice view!
The course went along Yaquina Bay, past the aquarium and the NOAA facility. Then we ran out to Idaho Point, which provided a surprise hill. But I've been training on hills for my next half, so I just powered up. No problem :)
Back down along the bay:
The course description was vague, intentionally so, according to the race director. And since I'm not from the area, I just went with it. I ran a bit hard on the in-town sections, staying comfortable but taking advantage of the flat pavement.

We returned to the jetty and ran straight onto the beach. Oh, man - that was really challenging! We first went over the dune, which I had to walk. Then we had to "run" through really thick, dry sand to reach the hard pack near the water. It was brutal. Then we ran a 2-mile out-and-back on the sand. I kept thinking, "I'm from Portland. We don't have sand in Portland!!!!"

Exiting the beach required climbing another big dune. A photographer was stationed at the top and captured Brad run past:
Eryn had to run a bit on the beach, too, but not as much as the halfers:
FINALLY off the beach:
Look at that loose sand!
After leaving the beach, the course took a hard left off the asphalt onto a very subtle, narrow, dirt trail. There were signs, but I absolutely didn't see the trail. I blew past it and ended up in the ground ground loop. I turned around and returned the short distance, but two women who I'd passed early on got in front of me. BUMMER! 

The final 2 miles were on hilly, twisty, sandy single track. The relief I was hoping to get after the beach was not there! I think this was the hardest part of the race. Part of that might be because I wasn't really trained up to half distance. But part was the course. 

I had to walk portions, and another racer got past me. I really hate it when I can't hold off the competition in the last half of a race.

I passed Eryn in this last section, and she may have yelled some curse words at me for suggesting she sign up ;)

Finally, I emerged from the woods into the finish area:
Eryn wasn't too far behind:
An amazing meal of homemade tacos was waiting! Also, my parents surprised us at the finish line! I didn't know they were coming.

But the biggest surprise was when they announced the "Female Masters" winner: Liz Wood! WHAT? Oh, the beauty of small races :)
The plaque was gorgeous!
My official time was 2:24:44, an 11:03 average. I was 18/33 overall and 6/18 female. I wonder if I could have held off those two women if I hadn't missed that turn.... maybe, maybe not.
This was a much tougher race than I was anticipating. But, it was a beautiful course with tons of variety - trails, sand, ocean, bay, asphalt, streets, paths, wilderness, flat, hilly. It was also super organized! I would do this one again - and I recommend it to anyone :)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tigard Family Fest (9/9/17)

A $5 race right in my community? Yes, please!

September's Tigard Family Fest Fun Run started at City Hall and ended at the Street Fair in downtown Tigard. Eryn joined me - we had to run anyway, right?
The route took us along the Fanno Creek Trail to North Dakota Street and then back on the new rail-trail along Tigard Street into downtown:
It measured just 2.69 miles on my GPS - just a short little run :)

Eryn's big finish:
 
Obviously not a timed race:
Still, it was very well marked and supported! Well done, City of Tigard!

Then we got free tacos from Koi Fusion:
After running and eating, we wandered around the street fair for a bit, checking out the booths and supporting some local businesses. Our cars were parked at the start, so we walked the trail about .7 miles back to City Hall, collected our goodie bags and headed home. Looking forward to next year :)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

5 on the 4th - official race pics

I just found a bunch of pictures on my computer from our 5 on the 4th race in Wilsonville. Apparently I never posted these beauties. Oops! But late than never, right?!

These are official pics from the course:

 Eryn:


Dad: 
YAY :)