Thursday, August 18, 2016

Crater Lake Rim Run 2017

Three years ago on August 17th after I finished my one and only marathon, I posted this on Facebook "A great experience, a very satisfying accomplishment..but boy am I glad I don't ever have to run 13.1 miles again." (It was pretty convenient that it popped up in my Timehop yesterday!)

So how wonderful it is that I did not have to make a fool of myself by contradicting that statement when I completed the 13 mile Crater Lake Rim Run last Saturday. Not a half marathon, just a 13 mile run. I wondered why they didn't call it a Half, but I think I now understand that it was just for me, to preserve my dignity and veracity. (Here's a link to the blog  My First and Last Half Marathon). Strangely, I not only enjoyed most of my long training runs much more this time, I also did not find the race itself as tedious and difficult. Location, location location?! 

My Canadian nephew Steve and I enjoyed running together in Maui back in January 2015, and he's been running all kinds of races. When I learned about the opportunity to run at one of my favorite gorgeous places, I invited him to come all the way down from northern BC to join me. Thus we found ourselves together at Crater Lake last weekend. 

We drove the course on Friday, and I was horrified to see that the first two miles were on gravel (because of road construction). Argh, my feet had nearly killed me a week earlier when I did a carelessly rambling 8-mile loop around my local country roads and found myself on gravel for several miles of it. After a gentle little uphill start, most of the gravel was a gradual downhill, followed by a hill, but most of the first six miles were mainly a nice down hill, then it went up and down again, and then the last four miles were uphill. And we're talking uphill! The marathoners had to continue uphill for at least another mile for the marathon. It was hard to tell where the marathon ended, and since that was the route Steve would be taking, he was interested in finding out. It appeared to end at a small campground down the Pinnacles road, and after talking to several other guys who were either camping there or scoping it out, it was clear no one really knew where it would finish. We went to the Steel Visitor Center on Friday evening to see a video that was supposed to be showing, but the only thing we saw was other runners standing around wondering why the place was locked up!

On Saturday morning, Will drove us to Rim Village, where the race would start. We left our fancy motel rooms at Diamond Lake at 6 a.m. to be sure any traffic delays would not hinder our 7:30 start time. Whew, there was no traffic whatsoever, so we had plenty of time to meander around, enjoy the view and talk to other runners, who had come from far and wide. What a beautiful morning, with temps in the low 60s.
We are ready!

Runners on the rim overlooking the lake.
With a depth of 1949 feet, Crater Lake is said to be one of the clearest lakes in the world. The morning reflections are awesome.
Was Steve really as relaxed as he appears?! He started out running with me for about the first kilometer, which is so sweet of him since his pace is about twice as fast as mine! But he says he likes to start out slow to warm up.  When we started running, the elevation made the heart rate rise ever so quickly! 
When it was time for him to take off, his neon shirt was almost out of sight by the time I had a chance to raise my phone and take a running picture!
I was so excited when the lake was in soon in sight again!

 Seriously excited! I was feeling so good, because the gravel was nicely graded, not too heavy, and didn't hurt my feet at all!
Off the gravel, about ready to turn right and go uphill.
Oh the views.
I was more than ready for water when I got to the three mile point….but they were out of water. OUT OF WATER!!! I was thinking they had water stations every mile after 3, and there was nothing at 4. I spoke a text to my husband, informing him that I might need him to bring water to me. There was nothing at Mile 4. There was nothing at Mile 5. I sent a more urgent text. Then at 5.2 (according to my Runkeeper) oh thank you Jesus, there was water!! I sent him this picture.
Of course, there was not enough service for the picture to go through! I sent a text instead, cancelling my water Mayday!
Despite my water scare, the miles were flying by.  This is so fun, people!
I couldn't believe it had already been 6.7 miles when I reached that finish line. Seriously the most awesome and easy 6.7 miles I've ever run! Oh, the real joy was about to begin!
A kind runner at the water station offered to take a picture of me. She may have spotted my inept attempts to take a selfie with the view.
I paused momentarily to take pictures now and then.
I was inspired by a women's retreat speaker, Laurie Smucker, about a year and a half ago, to pray when running. Since then, running time is prayer time. I admit I admit I am easily distracted and don't focus as well as I'd like,  but this has become another reason to love running!
However, when you're surrounded by this kind of beauty as you run, it's pretty easy to thank and praise the Creator!
Toward the end of Mile 9's uphill rigor, I fell into step with an older gentleman who was travelling at my pace (slow!).  The gal below was standing by the truck ahead of us, calling out encouragement. He called back, "You are one hot cheerleader."  Without thinking, I asked, "Do you know her?" "Oh yes," he replied. "We are a Match dot com success of 7 years!" 
He told me that it was his 67th birthday, and running the marathon was his birthday gift to himself. He was retired military and always worked to be fit. He had previously run the Crater Lake 13 mile and had always wanted to do the marathon. He said he had to overcome many obstacles along the way, including an injury that prevented training for five weeks and most recently, his father-in-law's funeral in Iowa the day before. They had taken a late flight in and he'd had only a few hours of sleep the night before. He didn't care how long it took, he was determined to do it! He congratulated me for being 57 and running a half marathon and encouraged me to spread the word that being active and fit adds joy to life!

His wife was cheering him on as he passed, then driving the pickup to the next side spot in the road and waiting for him again with a bottle of water, a smooch, or an encouraging word! She had a pickup full of water and was sharing it with everyone. I appreciatively accepted a bottle and asked if I could take her picture and put her on my blog! She saved me, because I sure didn't see water every two miles! (The next morning at breakfast I overheard the people at the next table talking about this couple, and one of them said that she's a Christian lady and she prays for runners as she waits at the turnouts. So sweet!)

By this time, most of the people around us were walking but he and I were still running. (Hey we were slow but we were running!) He said he told himself he could not walk until mile 10. When we got to mile 10 and the uphill seemed steeper all the time, I could not see anyone ahead or behind me running. My feet were killing me, and I found that walking magically made them feel better, as the pressure was on different points. So I blame both peer pressure and foot pressure, but I walked (as fast as I could) most of the last 3 uphill miles. Truthfully, there was no way I could have run all of those four uphill miles, especially at that elevation. I did a good bit of hill running to prepare for this (including Washburn Heights!), and were I to do something like this again, I would train on Washburn Heights regularly instead of once!

I fell in with a group of people and enjoyed talking and hearing their stories as well. It was pretty funny to hear a couple people say such things as, "This is killing me. I didn't run any hills to get ready for this cause I hate hills!"  And "Surely this hill is going to end soon! It can't go on forever." To which I would say, "Do you really want to know when this hill is going to end? Are you sure?…..It is not going to end until this run is over!" Oh there was wailing! And I snickered silently.
We are approaching the end…the road will curve to the right up ahead and we will see the finish line  and start running again!

This was not a high tech race by any means. When I ran across the finish line, a young man there said, "You're time is 2:52.36." Then we tore off the bottom of my bib and it got posted on this board.

 I thought this meant that I came in 39th, and I assumed there must have only been around 70 13-milers. Ha ha. I'm glad I didn't run around bragging that I came in 39th. I looked at the results page tonight and see that I was 142 out of 167!
There were snacks…fruit, cookies, bagels with cream cheese, and peanut butter sandwiches. A nice man and his two grandchildren were manning the station. The kids were placing the bagels directly on the picnic table to spread them. (I'm sure it had been sanitized!) They were really enjoying helping and working together. Really sweet.
I had some Gatorade, and then I went back and got a Pepsi in honor of my sisters, who are serious Pepsi lovers. Here's to you, Hope and Jean. Maybe we could find a pretty place to walk a 5k someday?!

I didn't lollygag around, because there was a bus just up the hill which according to the schedule was headed back to Rim Village at 10:30. But no, after hurrying up there, I learned that this bus was heading to Klamath Falls. No one seemed to have any idea when our bus was coming. About 45 minutes later, two buses finally arrived. 

After we took off, listening to their radio chatter, I learned that the other bus took the direct route back because two lane traffic had re-opened, but our bus driver didn't know she could do that so she drove all the way around the lake. Oh well. The bus driver heading out to pick up marathoners was asking where he was supposed to go. Oh did I mention this whole race seemed extremely well organized?!

I was sitting by a fascinating young woman from Indiana. She and her best friend moved to Seattle after college and she works for Boeing. She loves to explore the Northwest, and is celebrating the 100th anniversary of National Parks by running at Crater Lake and also a half marathon in the Smokies this fall. She ran a half in London on a whim when she was visiting a friend there. Her two roommates drove down with her the day before, and since one of them had to work til 4, they got stuck in traffic and spent many hours on the road, so she had a short sleep at a motel before getting up early and getting dropped off by her roommates, who were going to try to find a campsite. I really enjoyed our visit and only bragged about my grandchildren a little bit.

Anyway, we finally got off the bus. It was so fun to see my niece Faith, her husband Harold and of course my husband, waiting patiently there to greet me! Well, they were not exactly right there. I got off the bus, sure that they would be eagerly awaiting my return, but no. They had all wandered off and I had a few minutes of confusion worrying if they were at the right place or not. I was very happy when we connected!
We had plenty of time to hang out and enjoy the beauty waiting for the bus to bring Steve back from the marathon finish.
Steve had to wait more like an hour and a half for his bus but eventually it arrived and he came bounding down the steps, unlike the other poor souls dragging their aching bodies out.. 
Of course, the website results matched what Steve told us. He came in 8th place (out of 90 marathon finishers) with a time of 3:53 on a course that ended with some brutal steep hills on a dirt road. Woo hoo Steve! You are amazing!

We headed back to Diamond Lake Resort, where we snacked before they all left us to head home to spend time with visiting children/nieces.

Will and I enjoyed a wonderful relaxing early dinner on the restaurant patio overlooking the lake, a nice nap and some more runnig (on the classic 24" boxy TV in our luxurious resort room!)

and then back to the restaurant for dessert at sunset.
Thank you Will, for being an awesome supporter and companion. Love love love you!!!

We enjoyed a stop at Crescent Lake on our way home the next day. Our new Suburban looks all ready for adventure with a handsome man and a lake in the background!
We were way overdue for a selfie!

And on Monday night, the running twins were reunited at my niece Jewel's home! Neither of us would admit to experiencing any pain or soreness. Perhaps just a slight stiffness now and then when arising after sitting too long! Training definitely pays off!
Thank you Steve for coming and sharing the awesomely special experience with your loving old aunt! A memory we will treasure forever!

And to my other running nieces and nephews….maybe we should find a half marathon in Bend (or anywhere!) to do together? Or a 10K? 5K anyone?

Back to Crater Lake Race info - the website states that the elevation ranges from 5980 to 7850. Below is my Runkeeper graph. Our starting point at Watchman Overlook and the ending point near Scott Mount trailhead are actually both around 7400 feet, so those lucky marathoners were the ones who got to experience the highest elevations.  My Fitbit said I had 150 floors. :) 

(I don't know why it says 2,915 ft. Is that the total elevation gained and lost?!) 

This was a great experience and I'm so thankful we were able to do it. I don't think I would do this race again, partly because of the lack of organization and poor communication. Partly because there are so many other beautiful places to run…

And coming up next, I'm a last minute replacement for someone on the Hood to Coast Relay the last weekend of August!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Kam in May 2016

Kam begins to get to know his baby cousin Evy, who was born April 29th.
Our first family picture with our baby granddaughter! Kam is NOT into sitting around posing for a picture!
Nana and Uncle Craig make sure Kam gets a nice ride in the garden wagon.
Kam takes great delight interacting with Zeek, who is ever so patient and tolerant.
Both sets of grandparents were invited for pizza at Kam's house on his birthday. Kam got a birthday bike ride around the block with with his mama on his other grandpa's Harley. When Kam hears or sees a motorcycle, he says, "Papa bike. Hold on tight!"
Roller skates!
A drum set! "Drummin!" he says.
A t-ball set is essential.
On another Sunday afternoon, more time with Baby Evy and Papa.
He loves the hand-me-down car from my sister Jean, especially when Daddy pushes him!
So much to explore.
Driving a car on Zeek's back is fun. Especially with the sound effects.

A fun "Cars" birthday party on the weekend. Sadly, it was rainy but we had fun in the house.
His mama did an amazing job with decor and food.
The cake was sweet, decorated by my co-worker, Maria Martinez.

Stop lights, spare tires and other Car related items!
So fun.

Kam in his Lightening McQueen shirt, with Serena and Jamie looking on.
Molly made these fun deviled egg cars.
Kam could hardly wait to get his hands on those cars on the cake!

He has a good laugh with Uncle Dave and Aunt Sandy.
And he enjoys the company of cousin Duane and Rachel.
Among the friends attending the paraty, our baby Evy is the only girl!
One of Kam's favorite toys at our house, a tractor and trailer that his father and uncles played with as children.
Kam studies pictures of his grandpa and Great-Aunt Susie that he removed from a table.
Papa's getting ready to take the pontoon boat out for the first time this year.
 Papa gives a rowing lesson.
 Kam is more interested in stealing Papa's hat and playing with it!
 Fun at our park - but not quite big enough to do everything yet!
 On our way home, we see Brody in his back yard with his grandparents. Kam loves to visit the frogs in Terri's collection. They both look a little concerned about this one!

And Kam is now two years old! He continues to get cuter, smarter and more fun to be with all the time!