Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Finish part 2

Yes, proof that I did actually survive. But not without a little excitement along the way.

Friday night, I set the coffee maker in the condo to start automatically at 4:30, then set my alarm for 5:00 planning on a 6:30 start from Mosier.

At 4:30 we were startled awake, I don't even know how to describe know, in movies when there is the live electrical wire flying all around with sparks flying everywhere....this is what it sounded like in the kitchen just below the loft we were sleeping in at 4:30 AM. I jumped straight out of bed and went racing down the stairs, the sound was obviously coming from the coffee maker but as I got close to it, everything seemed fine....and it was fine......just the noisiest coffee maker on the planet, Black and Decker model as non endorsements go. Realizing everything was fine I turned to go back up the stairs, and my right knee was almost locked up. That is the most pain I've felt in my legs in along time. I could barely make it back up the stairs. Spent a little time trying to loosen it up with no success, checked the temperature, which was already 73 in The Dalles at 5:30 and told Jeanne I needed to get going because this may take me a long time to finish. The whole drive to Mosier, I'm trying to calculate how long 19 miles will take me if I have to hobble it. And also wondering whether I'll be able to think of this as a success if I have to walk it in. So after a very quiet car ride, I get out and ask Jeanne to just go 3 miles up the road. The first 6 miles up and out of Mosier are up a pretty big hill. I tell myself give it three miles to loosen up before you start making bigger decisions. By mile three it was starting to loosen up, so I told myself all the way and then the steep down will get you almost halfway, get to that point and you should make it. My knee held together the whole run. It hurts like hell today though.

Over the 4 days I probably saw a dozen deer, rabbits, squirrels etc. The most common wildlife easily was vultures which seemed to be circling above me constantly, the last 2 days. The most exciting wildlife was one I only heard but didn't see....a rattlesnake as I was coming down the hill into The Dalles. Growing up in Southern California, I've heard that sound many times. It had been a long time but it isn't a sound you ever forget and it made me jump about three feet sideways!!!

When I was planning this run I knew I wanted landmarks for the start and finish. As I was running up the amazingly steep hill to Sorosis Park at the end of 90 miles I realized that ending this run at Sorosis Park was a little like eating the worm at the bottom of a bottle of Mescal. You've already established poor judgement, now you're just being crazy!! There were, of course, other landmark options that I realized I could have used along the way. I could have run from the Willamette River to the Deschutes River.....or from one adult book store to another....or something like that.

I've learned many things along the way, probably forgot a lot of them. I learned that a dell is a small wooded valley and a dalles is a river going through a narrow canyon. I've also learned that we are all, always, a little tougher than we think we are.

....oh, and I learned that Rooster Rock used to be called Cock Rock before civilization moved in.

I'm not sure what next years birthday adventure will be, but it will be hard pressed to be anywhere more beautiful than the Columbia Gorge. Thanks for all the texts, tweets, facebook posts etc.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Finish

I made it! It was not without some drama. More later on electrical fires, rattlesnakes, mescal, final destinations, roosters and other oddities. For now, I'm gonna go celebrate with all my kids. I'm pretty certain I'll end up drunk tonight....we'll see how much I remember in the morning.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 3 part 2

Not sure how well I planned today's route, but the first three miles went straight uphill. That was a lot of heavy breathing early in the morning!!!! Managed the adrenaline rush of I-84 without much shoulder and got to Starvation Creek safely. I'm always hungry when running, not at Starvation Creek though....go figure?? Met a guy named Neil who was camping nearby and we ran together for a bout a mile. Nice guy, from Saratoga Springs, NY....comes here every year to windsurf. He ran with me until I met up Jeanne at Viento State Park for my first water break, she asked me if "Stuart caught up to me"....yeah, she's funny. I was glad to get off the I-84 shoulder and even happier to be in Hood River. I told Jeanne Hood River reminds me of Ventura, fact, if you replaced the Columbia with the Pacific Ocean and deposited 2,000 homeless people in Hood River it would be exactly like Ventura!!!

The gill netting thing really bugs me. Like so many things in life, I wish our society was capable of honest communication. This has zero to do with preserving anybody's natural heritage. I know it, the Native Americans know it, everybody knows it....It's just nobody can say it. In fact, it's a disgrace to the Native American people to suggest that building platforms around man made river barriers and netting fish, with no limts, that can then be sold in make shift road side "markets" like road side traffic fatality memorials for Salmon. It's welfare. Welfare that's paid in a natural resource that is not unlimited.

Ok, I'm done with that....for now. A big hill awaits me first thing in the morning. I'm really trying to not get over confidant, 19 miles is still a long run, I am feeling myself wearing down....I know my weight is dropping, though I intentionally didn't bring a scale.....and It's gonna be very hot still in The Dalles tomorrow....having said all that, I know that tomorrow, I don't need to save anything for the next tomorrow.....and I am REALLY looking forward to a cold beer or 4.

Day 3

I was in much better spirits today....well, wouldn't take much to be better than yesterday 7 of today's 23 miles were on the shoulder of I-84. Going around Shellrock Mountain, the shoulder was only about 3 feet wide. I'm not sure how long that section was but I ran it in 3 minutes and 50 seconds, fear can be a great motivator. Actually the truck drivers were very courteous everywhere on the highway.....people driving motorhomes and pulling trailers....not so much.

We have moved the base camp from Cascade Locks to Hood of my favorite towns anywhere!!!!! Picture is today's post run foot soak, Columbia River isn't very cold though.

Body is holding up very well. Ate a huge breakfast, got moved into the new condo going to take a short nap, then prowl the streets of Hood River. Detailed update later, including my feelings on Native American Fishing.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 2 Part 2

I'll just get it out of the!!! I was beyond out of gas the last 3 miles of today. Very strong headwind the last 6 miles just killed me. I also erred and started a little too late, thanks that I think about open letter to


Thank you so much for the extra hour of sleep your erroneous weather forecast enabled me to get this morning. Your low temperature was off by 9 degrees and you swung and missed completely on the wind direction. It probably seems like piling on to also point out that your forecasted temperature for 11:00 was also off by 10 degrees. Please tell me there some scientific evidence that you based this forecast on, because I have a sneaky hunch it was a little more like "surely it can't be that hot again tomorrow". Hey, we all have bad days, better luck tomorrow.

I did survive. I'm feeling better with some rest and some pizza in my belly. We'll see what tomorrow brings. If you haven't taken the time to venture off I-84 and explore the Historic Columbia Highway, it is on a very short list of the most beautiful places on this planet. Tomorrow I'll have officially "crossed" the Cascades, with the help of the Columbia River's stone cutting abilities. Yep, for better or worse, I'll be in Eastern Oregon by days end tomorrow.

Day 2

Latourell Falls was beautiful but much warmer than forecast for 6:30 AM....more on my feeling about weather forecasts later today. The Columbia Gorge is absolutely beautiful, and the historic highway is amazing. the scenery was a great distraction for much of today's 23 miles. I knew the Gorge would counter punch today, and it hit me with a left hook at about mile 17. I was on empty from 17 in, and the worst part of this was running right past my hotel at mile 19 with 4 miles still to go. The wind was very strong and right in my face for the last 6 miles. I've showered and had some lunch, which has me feeling a bit better, a nap should revive me so that's where I'm headed......more later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 1 Part 2

You think you're someplace unfamiliar, and it's amazing how familiar it can be. Running up Burnside, past the Jupiter Hotel, where Jeanne and I stayed after one of Jewelia's shows. A very cool hotel, not recommended for a good nights sleep, but very cool in all other ways. Then straight past Falcon Studios where Jewelia's Shame EP and A Quick Look Back CD were recorded. We spent a lot of time in this neighborhood. Past the great greek deli, and the tequila bar, the bass shop....yes Chad that still creeps me out too, I suddenly realized I know great coffee shops in this neighborhood, and coffee sounded really good.

The arches introducing Laurelhurst looked like a mini Arch de Triumph, and having just watched the Tour finish I was excited to be welcomed through the arch....Apparantly I was the first victorious person over five feet tall to pass through the arch because a HUGE spiders web was all over me!!!! There are some beautiful older homes in Laurelhurst, I wondered how many of them had Air Conditioning because it was starting to get hot.

I was crossing one of what seemed like a million streets on my way out of Portland, and noticed a guy running up the cross street. He must have been about 20 meters behind me at the corner and I then could hear him behind me. As he pulled up along side me I made room for him to pass.....I HATE getting passed, but I had reason to be taking it a little slow.....he said, "mind some company?".....I didn't mind so I said "sure". He introduced himself as Stuart and commented that we were running about the same pace and I told him my name, and took notice of the fact that he was breathing pretty heavy. After a pretty long stretch of silence he asked "how far you going?" I seemed to know this question was inevitable, but replied "Today?"....he stammered, "Um yeah"......"Bidal Veil Falls", I was a lie, I wasn't going quite that far but I'm not sure how to pronounce Latourell Falls and didn't want to say it wrong....."Jesus Christ" he said, "are you going all that way on one bottle of water?"....."No, my girlfriend is meeting me up the road a ways and give me a new one"......He dropped back and I never saw him again?????? I guess we weren't running the same pace after all????

I still can't get over seeing the Sandy River green and milky....not Steelhead Green, gross green. There seem to be a lot of people dying or flirting with dying on the rivers this week....Everybody is trying to escape the heat, I should find some wood to knock on, but I can't help laughing to myself how many people have told me I'm crazy for doing this run this week...or how many people I passed that warned me to make sure I drank plenty of water, or to "take care of myself". Running down the road seems about as safe as anything else these days.

Day 1

So, I think this is how this work. I'll blog something quick, in the afternoon, ok maybe earlier than this from now on, with the basic run details. This, along with with tweets, ought to at least tell people I survived and am still alive. Then, later in the evening, I can gather all my amusing anecdotes, like the meeting of my new friend Stuart.

Well, I must have checked Wednesday's projected temperatures about 1,000 times. Finally decided on a 5:30 start time. Still dark, with a hint of morning on the horizon, I headed over the Burnside Bridge. It was already warm. I gave Jeanne instructions to NOT let me know what the temperature was until I was done running each day, all I know is it was 73 at start.

Running on the same street that crosses numbered streets, that start at 1 and you know they will get over 220 before things change can be maddening if you focus on it. Crossing I205 seemed like the first milepost for the day. As I crossed it, I decided on the rest: Turning from Burnside onto Stark, crossing the Sandy River and Crown Point.

I felt really good the whole way. Jeanne went back to the hotel after dropping me off at the start and packed up our stuff. I've learned from other runs, that I don't like a "road crew" the whole time on a long run. Having the first hour and half to 2 hours to myself, works really well for my head. She caught up to me around mile 13, refilled my water bottle with, here comes the first of my unpaid endorsements, Infinit. I am so in love with this product I may do a whole blog on just it.

Crossing the Sandy River was a shock. It has been so hot the Sandy River was algae bloomed!! I haven't looked this up yet, A truck with green paint may have crashed into it and I just don't know about it but it was shocking to see, and very sad too.

The wind and temps were really picking up now and the 6 miles up hill out of the Sandy River canyon were straight into a strong headwind. As good as I felt, and I did feel really good it took a while to get up that hill. Crown point was beautiful and WINDY, thought I was going to take off! Jeanne took some pictures at Crown Point (above). A few miles down hill to Latourell Falls and all done for the day. Soaked my feet in some unknown (to me anyway) creek. It was 90 degrees at quittin time!!!!!

The only downside to starting so early; had to kill 3 hours, tired, hot and sweaty waiting for our room to be ready ;o)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Shorts and Shoes

10 mile tempo run felt really good today, I'm really anxious to get going. I'm making lists of things to not forget, knowing that I will forget something really important.....shorts and shoes, shorts and shoes....I can improvise from there.

Just had the thought over the weekend, I bet that way too good to be true vacation house I reserved in Hood River doesn't have AC. Just!!!!! All of their other properties are booked, and canceling now means losing my deposit. Jeanne found a place that they are just finishing putting in new carpet that might be ready in time (I'm already writing the script in my head for why the other blood soaked carpet had to be removed). If we can get that, we will.

When I reserved the no AC place I specifically asked why it was so inexpensive...they told me it was up a steep hill and up steep stairs to the house???? yeah....oh and, no AC in August!!!!!! I'll let Jeanne go to war to get the deposit back.....she's really good at that sort of thing.....and I'm really bad at it.

Shorts and Shoes, Shorts and Shoes, Shorts and Shoes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Set up to fail

I hate the phrase "set up to fail". More importantly, I hate the notion that failure is so horribly wrong. There was once a time where failure was how our "herd" was thinned. Now, it's barely an opportunity to learn. We have become so terrified of failure that we have a zillion symptoms to excuse and explain failure rather than acknowledge it.

I wonder how many potentially great distance runners we are destroying with behavior modifying stimulants. The symptoms of ADD and ADHD are blueprint behaviors for good distance runners. Seems we no longer try and channel energy into productive directions, rather we try and medically prune off whatever is undesirable.

It's sad, because it really is the potential for failure that makes life interesting.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

5 Days Away

This is Chris' official Run the Gorge 09 blog.

Starting Wednesday July 29th, I'll be running from Downtown Portland to Sorosis Park, overlooking The Dalles, Oregon. 90 miles in 4 days. The daily itinerary is:

Day 1 to Latourell Falls 25 miles with hills
Day 2 to Wyeth Road east of Cascade Locks 22.5 flat
Day 3 to Mosier 23 miles a few hills
Day 4 to Sorosis Park 19 miles with hills

A map of the route:

I'll update the last few preparation dates as well as each day of the run. I'm also going to Twitter occasional updates with pictures and map can follow me on Twitter @repomanx

Feel free to leave comments....I don't really need a lot of rah rah, but curious questions that may require a few hours of thought are always good!!!