Big congrats to my buddy, and local trailmeister, Sander for throwing down a stellar 18.01.24 and taking 5th place at the first [annual?] mt hood 100 mile race ("Hundred in Da Hood"), on the Pacific Crest trail between Mt Hood and Mt Jeferson. It was fun to see him cruise through at mile 70, where I was helping out at an aid station run by a bunch of the local Corvallis runners.
Working the aid station was lots of fun, but more than anything it left me wanting to RUN another 100 miler! By about midnight, after copius amounts of beer and "Rock Star" energy drinks (did I mention that working an aid station is a LOT of fun?), I could barely stand it, so I decided to run up the trail a bit, meet a few runners, and "run" them back into the aid station. "Run" in this case meant a fast hike, since these were mostly back-of-the-pack runners at mile 70. But it sure felt great to get out there with them, and I think the few runners I met were happy for it as well. On the last trip out I found my friend Linda pacing another runner for a few miles (the runner she had been pacing dropped, so she was helping a different runner for a few miles), so I hiked with them a while back to the aid station. Linda wanted to Pace the runner to the next aid station (3.5 miles up the trail) where he was to pick up a pre-arranged pacer to the finish. Linda volunteered to pace him to the next aid station so he'd have some company during the night miles, and I volunteered to tag along, and then run with Linda the 3.5 miles back to our aid station (so Linda didn't have to run back alone... and mostly because I thought it sounded like fun!). So I got to do another 7 miles, from about 1:00 AM to 3:00 AM, on a stunningly beatiful, starry night through the high alpine forests. That was a blast.
During the run I couldn't help but wish I was actually in the race. I would've liked nothing more than to run/hike/crawl all night to the finish line. Next year...some race, some where... yeah!
After the race I crashed on a cot next to the fire, under the stars. In the 5 minutes I stayed awake, I think I saw about 6 shooting stars. A cool end to a cool day!
So, if you've read this, yes, I'm running again! My calf finally seems to be healing. I'm running a few times a week, and every week I'm feeling stronger, and more confident in it. I've got a long way to go to get back to 100%, but finally, FINALLY, I'm making progress. In July I couldn't jog a flat mile without my calf seizing up, and I'd be sore for a week. In August I managed to push it to a couple miles. Today (end of September) I ran about 7.5 hilly trail miles and actually forgot about my calf for a while and just enjoyed it... I just RAN... until I was tired... and loved it.
Like I said... a LONG way to go still... and I'm going to be super careful to add miles gradually and not hurt myself. Right now my "goal" is to get to November as strong or stronger than I am now, so that when we visit New Zealand in November (did I mention we're spending most of November in New Zealand!??) I can go for lots of runs, "tramps", etc.
While I was off helping at the race, Jasmine was selling her art at the Corvallis Fall festival. She had a stellar weekend selling FOUR paintings in two days! Very cool. Congrats to Jasmine. :-) Also, my sources have leaked some info to me suggesting that she bought me a ring to replace the one that was lost to the Willamette river while we floated it some weeks ago. So that's cool. :-)