In August I drove up to Portland, dropped George off with a friend, and continued on up to Washington. It was hot, there was smoke in the air, and the hotels in Packwood, WA were all out of rooms. They mostly looked like meth dens, so I wasn't too disappointed; I was only looking for a room because it was so hot. Thankfully, it cooled off, and thankfully I had an umbrella, which I used in the heat of the day to run through the Mount Saint Helens blast zone at the beginning of the Bigfoot 200.
|Johnson Ridge Observatory in the Wrong Direction|
|Second Morning: Less Haze|
All day two (Saturday) was uneventful. It was hot, I was running on motorbike rutted trails, and there were motorbikes. I didn't enjoy it. The night happened, and I slept for a few hours. Saturday night/early Sunday morning it rained and I was very cold and constantly got wet from the overgrown brush along the trail. Sunday afternoon I almost quit because I was bored. Instead I just spent 3-4 hours at one aid station in the middle of the day. Sunday night had a few river crossings and was mildly interesting. Monday morning my feet hurt and I took several naps in the dirt.
|Chicken of the Woods|
|Me and Chicken of the Woods|
I kept going. After the Sunday afternoon delay (where thankfully I was able to recharge my iPod and borrow another iPod from a friend) I knew I'd finish.
After the second to last aid station I finally starting running with someone, having a decent conversation. That friend (Rick) momentarily dropped me after the last aid station at the beginning of the 9.5-mile paved finish, but I said hell no and ran 8 or 9 minute miles the whole way. No one can wallow in self pity for days and then lay down the hammer at the end quite like I can. I finished the 206.5 mile race in 83 hours and 10 minutes.
A couple days later I was back in Portland to pick up GF. We ate great vegan food, and then I ran another race.
|View from Fuji Mountain|
After Waldo we drove to Eastern Oregon for the eclipse. We looked for public land at the center line of the path of totality and went there, which happened to be Malheur National Forest near John Day. It wasn't very crowded, and it was incredible. We were hoping to be at the top of a mountain so as to see the shadow of the moon racing in, but we ended up in a beautiful meadow. Two elk wandered through as we were setting up our camp chairs.
The event itself wasn't crowded, but the drive home was. A McDonald's cashier with a sense of humor ("I can only do this because I'm dead inside") made it a little better.
Back home, I would have very much loved to run the Castle Peak 100K the next weekend, but instead responsibility called and we moved to Oakland. It's a cute old Victorian fourplex in Pill Hill with a walkscore of 89 that's absurdly expensive. No guest room, but you're welcome to the living room couch, friends.