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 by.....man, I don't even know how to describe it...you 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.