*Consider “Oregon” your warning word. J
By Exhibit A (aka Jen)
This run was to be a 20-mile “run” in the Multnomah Falls region, along the Columbia Gorge.
I am fairly certain we all knew that, since the route had a 4,000 ft. elevation gain, it would be more of a run/hike/walk/crawl/roll. I prepared for it! Like for one day!
Chris, Mike and I rode together – in Mike’s car. That meant, in order to get there on time, I was going to have to employ my “Mike Prep Time” strategy, since he is Mr. Late. Normally this is not a problem when just he and I run together, since I am also Ms. Late. So when we say we are going to meet to run at 9 in the morning, we know that is really “code” for 10. But since five of our running buddies were prepared to die in the mountains, I figured we had better not be late.
Since we needed to leave Mike’s at 9 a.m., that meant prep time had to start at 6 a.m. Yep, 3 hours early –welcome to “Mike’s Time” (kinda like Wayne’s World). I dialed his number at 6 a.m. and unleashed the “screaming banshee mating call” in his ear, to wake him up! I then went over to his apartment at 7 a.m. and checked to make sure he had started his requisite Pooping Sessions. Luckily, Pooping Session #1 had already been completed, which meant Pooping Session #2 was just around the corner! I had told Chris to be to Mike’s apartment by 8 a.m. He was a bit perplexed about why he was there so early. I explained to him that, two people sitting in Mike’s apartment staring at him, would be a good, continuous, visual reminder that people were waiting for him. So, for the next hour, we stared at Mike. It worked. And Pooping Session #2 was also completed during this time!
At 8:45 a.m. it was time for my Mike’s Mother Hen Check. “Did you bring your camelpak? Did you bring food? Did you bring water? Did you bring food? Do you need your heart rate monitor? Did you bring food? And one last check –did you bring food? Yes there is a theme going on here. Mike goes psycho when he is hungry – which is why, on the t-shirts I made for the run, I drew in one stick figure running after another with a fork and knife in their hand. I wanted to give our running buddies time to prepare to possibly die by way of Mike killing them and then gnawing on their butts, should he become hungry (butt gnawing, courtesy of the movie, “Alive”).
Amazingly we were driving out of the parking lot at 9 a.m.! Yes, you are all welcome!!! J
I had to add some finishing touches to the t-shirts so I sat in back, so I would have more room, and Chris sat in the front. I had warned Chris about Mike’s driving, suggesting the safest place for him to sit would be in the trunk. I think he thought I was joking, but he found out soon enough –I wasn’t. Amazingly, we made it there alive, though I am fairly certain that Chris had taken my other advice by then, which was, close your eyes.
I handed out the t-shirts, we got all our stuff on, and headed out. I put on a buttload of 50 spf water-proof, sweat-proof, sunblock – I did not have room to bring any with me, and I got a moderate sunburn anyway, not surprisingly. I had a 100 oz. camelbak (Lobo) with me, and had managed to fit in it mosquito wipes, eyeglass wipes, hand wipes, caldera lotion (for skin stuff), tweezers (for slivers), tuna fish, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit, antihistamines, herbal anti-inflammatories, oxygen/enzyme/mineral drops for my water, cell phone. It took like 30 minutes the night before to figure out how to arrange everything so that it all fit. Next time I need to get a little pocket to Velcro on the front to keep my cell phone and drops in. I ended the 9.5 hour trek with 6 oz. of water still left, which is pretty good. I was surprised at how little food I needed to eat along the way. I did not eat anything for the first 9 miles. I ate three times and I probably did not consume much more than 500-600 calories, total. I didn’t even have to get out the tuna fish. What I did not have, that I should have had, was a map and a compass.
Footwear and Terrain
There was a little bit of every imaginable terrain throughout these trails. We were on smooth dirt, gravelly dirt, sharp rocks (in some places there was zero dirt), streams (up to my upper thighs), paved trails, the road, wooden stairs/bridges, mossy/pine-needle covered trails -you name it! I brought along my Lunas, Brancas (which I had never used before) and my feet. J The initial part of the trail it was pretty gravely so I kept my Luna’s on for most of that. Eventually we got into the really rocky areas, near the water falls, where the rocks were pretty sharp. When I started feeling them through my Lunas, I switched over to my Brancas and WOW. The Brancas were like wearing slippers! Perfect for that terrain. Eventually we got away from the waterfalls, and into the woods, where I did run barefoot for awhile. However, after stabbing my feet on the stickery sharp seeds, several times, I put my Lunas back on. I rotated through my Brancas and Lunas a couple more times. I did a fairly good job of keeping the laces on my Luna’s adjusted properly, though in the end the laces did dig in between my big toe and 2nd toe, on my right foot. I really need to work on the lacing system and add some parts to it to keep it more comfortable, namely a long thin bead to keep the laces between my toes, as one piece.
We basically ended up breaking into two main groups, the super-fast; Katherine, John, and Janson, and the super-slow; me, Mike and Chris –though Janson and Chris did trade groups for awhile. I was taking up the rear for most of it. Thank goodness Chris and/or Mike waited for me whenever I got too far behind, called out to make sure I was still alive when we were out of sight of each other, and actually came back to encourage me to keep moving -especially toward the end, when I was REALLY dragging. Thanks guys!!!
The mountain was absolutely gorgeous and I wish I had had more time to stop and enjoy it. The temperature was near perfect and very little humidity. The view at the summit was amazing! My favorite part about the woods was the smell –fresh and sweet. Saw a few squirrels and chipmunks. No bears, thank goodness, since I did not have room for my bear-repellant.
It was rather difficult for Mike and I to engage in a whole lot of hanky-panky when we were preparing to die for 9.5 hours straight (and we barely made it out of the woods before dark). However, I was surprised when Mike turned the tables on me, regarding peeing in the woods. For the last year, I have trying (and failing), to snap a photo of him peeing in the woods –to put on Facebook, of course. Threats of never running with me again, peeing on me, or just punching me in the arm, have kept me from succeeding. Once, I did get a shot of his arm flailing past the camera lens, and his chin. It must have been Chris’ presence that made Mike feel safe enough to whip around and stare at me, the first time I peed. It was no big deal to me since I AM an exhibitionist/nudist/all around pervert. The second time, however, I had a feeling he was going to do it again. So I gave him an eye-full by standing up and bending way over so that he could be traumatized by my glaringly white, wide, bare ass –while yelling out, “So I hear you’re a butt man!” I heard a strange (gagging?) sound coming from Mike’s direction, and I turned around to see him running really fast, with his arm on Chris’ shoulder –almost as if to push him out of the way. Hah! Take THAT sucker! Later, I told Chris that I knew Mike would spend the night fantasizing about my glaringly white butt, that he red-described as my “ginger-white a--!” That works!
The Extra Three Miles
So we took a wrong turn that added on 3 extra miles, but did not know we had taken a wrong turn at the time. And the two people that did have maps were in the fast group. So for the next hour and a half we went bushwhacking. And unfortunately, it was not the Urban Dictionary’s definition #3. We could not see in front of us AT ALL from the under/outer/overgrowth –we were, in essence, blind. It was so thick we could have seriously used a machete. In addition to not being able to see in front of us, below us was a mixture of a swamp, large slippery wobbly rocks, and holes to trip over and fall in. At this juncture the bottom of my feet were getting tender from all the slipping around on my Luna’s, but when I took them off, the ground was too rough and made them hurt even more. So I put them back on. Then the slippery mud kept causing my feet to grind into the laces, which also hurt. So whenever I approached mud, I would work my way around the swamp, by teetering along the edge of it, trying not to fall in. A couple times, I started to fall and grabbed on to the largest bush out there, which happened to be a bush whose branches were full of stickers. It didn’t take long for the Queen of Whining to start in. I was cussing and whining and all I could think about was how we were going to die in the woods tonight, cuddled up next to each other like sardines, while a bear gnawed our heads off –and my last super would have been a mouthful of mosquito-laden swamp water. Unbeknownst to me, Mike and Chris were trying to get farther and farther ahead of me to get away from the whining –perhaps even plotting my untimely demise. Chris says next time he runs with me he is bringing earplugs. I bet Mike was thinking more along the lines of gagging me. I only whined for an hour, I swear!
The original plan had been for the six of us to go to a brewery about 30 minutes down the road. But after 23 miles and 9.5 hours, of torture…that was out of the question. The fast group took off before we got back to the parking lot. Chris, Mike and I stripped in the parking lot to change into dry clothes, but sadly, no one stuffed dollar bills down our pants. Some dude with a camera had it pointed toward us on several occasions. He claimed to be a “train-watcher” – I don’t buy it, but whatever, dude. I proudly showed Mike and Chris since losing weight I had upgraded my grandma underwear to “hi-cut” grandma underwear. They did not look impressed.
I guess Chris had so much fun watching his life flash before his eyes on the way out to the mountain that he decided to sit in the front, again. This time there was a lot of engaging the “Oh sh--” handle as the sun had pretty much set and there was night-time road construction going on. Somehow Mike managed to avoid all of the construction cones, construction workers, and small animals and children. We stopped at the Rogue Brewery in downtown Portland for dinner and drinks. Mike got a parking place right in front, where a whole bunch of patrons were sitting outside eating dinner. We all stepped out of the car at the same time, and we froze instantly in pain and stiffness, simultaneously letting out pitiful moans and crouching over. Putting just one leg up on the curb took me a good 30 seconds and more grunting. I am fairly sure that everyone watching us thought we were already drunk. We all drank beer and ate fish and chips. And called it a night. No dancing on the tables, no trigger point massaging, no humping…strange. That being said, all six of us really need to get together next time Janson is in town, for a belated “after-party”.
The Oregon* Chapter’s First Annual “Prepare to Die” Run, 2012.
Blog entry posted by jldeleon, Aug 30, 2012.