Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Race Report: First Trail Half!

The somewhat sloppy Sloppy Cuckoo Trail Half Marathon

Sunday was my first trail half marathon.  I posted a little about it the night before here.

With a 9am start and number pickup running until 8:30 I got to sleep in until a little after 7, which was fantastic. It's still hard to drag your butt out of bed when you're going to a race by yourself.  Running races and carpooling with friends, you know someone is counting on you to be ready.

The race was 40 minutes away, so my plan was to leave by 7:35 so I could get there for number pickup with a little time to spare. I had a typical pre-race breakfast of a banana and peanut butter on a slice of wheat bread in the car on the way, as well as a bottle of water.

Once I arrived I was able to find a parking spot in no time.  I changed into my running shoes (I drive to races in flip flops, and change back into them for the drive home) and picked up my number, some pins, and a ridiculously over-sized tech tee (size small?). 

 Logo, pre-race

 Super flattering photo of modeled shirt, post-race

This event had a very different, more relaxed vibe compared to any of my other races.  Walking through the parking lot there were several costumed runners (German-themed, just like the race: lots of lederhosen and dirndl-type outfits, someone with a plush bird hat, and a guy in a full banana suit immediately come to mind), but lots of people were also just sitting around in lawn chairs, hanging out by their cars, waiting for race time to roll around.

I brought my stuff back to my car, pinned on my number, stuck 2 gu in my water bottle pocket, debated whether or not to wear my sunglasses for probably 5 minutes, and sprayed bug spray on my legs then headed over to the start area.

Luckily after a couple days of rain, the rain had stopped Saturday morning (despite the forecast predicting rain all day Saturday and Sunday), and I was happy to not have to run 13 miles in the woods in the rain.  It was 67F/91% humidity at the start...and 79F/65% humidity by the end.  Hooray for a mostly shaded course!  That made it feel much cooler, I think.

After some explanation of the course, from a lederhosen-clad race director, we were off at only a couple minutes past 9am.

Less than .2 mile in, there was a backup and people were walking/standing on the sidewalk here to enter the trail.

 Clearly these pics were not taken DURING the race.  
This was very close to my car, so I went back to snap a picture at the end.

I guess despite having "the widest starting line in PA" there's a little bit of a bottleneck when you unleash 200 runners onto a narrow trail head.  While this was my first real trail race, I knew it was much different than road races (particularly the one I ran the previous weekend).  I didn't freak out about stopping 3 minutes in.  However, I heard several comments around me such as, "can I pause my Garmin?"  and "Are they going to subtract this from our time?"  Clearly they were also new to trail running.

Soon after entering the trail there was plenty of mud, which I was expecting.  Everyone near me was trying to stick to the outside edges...I'm sure the fast runners went straight through though.

It also didn't take long to get to our first fallen tree.  Or our first hill.

Does the right side look familiar?  Course was a 6.55 mi double loop.

I ran up the first couple hills and after that, I decided to save some of my energy by walking up hills from that point on.

The course description was pretty accurate.  The "terrain" varied from mud to packed wet dirt to sand to mud with standing water.  Also lots of horse poop: smushed and un-smushed.  I actually ran past 2 horses at one point too.  We had to climb over fallen trees (not just step over... I mean pull myself up, sit on the log, and slide off on the other side), duck under fall trees, descend wet rocky steps, and there was a creek crossing.  There were flat stretches and windy sections and some hills.

Mud. Not even bad mud, but this was the closest to the trail entrance by my car and I wasn't going to re-run the course to take photos.  And I didn't want to run the race with a camera on me.

The scenery was varied.  At times you could see the creek to the side.  Other times you were just surrounded by woods.  At one point we ran through an open field, then along some railroad tracks.  We also ran under an overpass (very wet/muddy underneath!)

There were aid stations just before mile 3 (and you passed it a second time at mile ~9.5), after mile 5 (and again around 11.8), and at the end of the first 6.55 mile loop (a.k.a. the finish line, second time around).  These aid stations were way better than regular aid stations though... there were cups of water and lemon lime Gatorade; cookies, pretzel sticks, Twizzlers, and an all-natural "Carb Boom" energy gel that I have not seen before.  I took one home so I could try it at my leisure. 


~mile 2.85: Gatorade + a pretzel stick (~34m)
~mile 5: Water from the aid station right before having my a mint chocolate gu at about 1:07 (5.4 mi). I bumped back the gu since I had gatorade earlier.
~mile 6.55: Gatorade (I saw 1:25 as I ran past the clock) ... 4 minutes later the first place runner passed the finish line!
~mile 9.5: Gatorade + a pretzel stick (~1:58)

After this aid station I ran with the same woman for about half an hour and we chatted.  We talked about other races we've run (she had also run the Rock 'n' Roll Philly half last weekend), upcoming races, our husbands' thoughts on half marathons, and our goals for this trail half. This was her first trail half too.  We said our goals were to: a) finish, b) finish within the 3:30 time limit, and c) not finish last.

This was a great distraction! But as I was preoccupied, I missed when I meant to take my second gu by about 15 minutes and I ended up having it around 2 hours and 24 minutes instead.

~mile 11.8: Gatorade (2:30?)

Throughout the run I drank my entire 20ish ounces of water in my handheld as well.

The last mile and change wasn't pretty.  There was lots of walking, basically from the last aid station til the end.  I ran for little stretches, then walked little stretches.  I felt like one of my legs was cramping up, and I blame it on the last forgotten gu.  Though, you'd think the Gatorade I drank at aid stations would have been enough to get me through.  Who knows.

Also in the last mile, when climbing over 3 trees down all next to each other, I slipped on the third tree and hit my lower right back bone (pelvis?) as my feet slid over the edge.  Then with about .3 miles to go, I mis-stepped while crossing the creek (which I was able to cross without getting wet the first time) leaving one foot totally soaked.

When I finished the loop the first time at about 1:25, I arbitrarily decided I wanted to run the second half in the same time or less.  This was not based on anything and may not have been a reasonable goal.  I came close though, and ran the loop the second time in 1:27.  Total time of 2:52.  120 out of 166 runners.

I was far less muddy at the finish than I expected.  But how do I get so much mud on the inside of my legs?

Finisher's prize was a pint glass...

...but a few minutes later I remembered that we were supposed to get whistles!  I guess they ran out.  I emailed the race director who nicely explained how they don't want to order too much food, prizes, etc. in a small race like this as to not take away from the money to be donated. He said he had ordered more and for me to send him my address in a couple weeks for him to send me one.  I forget that some races are held to actually raise money, not for profit!

Funny thing about that little pick up truck/camper above...

I took this picture of it at my half marathon back in April!  How can you forget a little truck/camper like this with CT plates when you're running in PA.  I checked the license plates from my 2 pictures and it is in fact the same vehicle.

Oh so back to the finish line: They served sausages, potato salad, watermelon, cookies, and various baked goods.  Also, water, and soda.

I should have stretched a lot before grabbing food.  My legs tightened up while I ate and during the awards, I felt kinda stiff already walking back to my car.

Here's a picture of the creek we ran along (from the road).

This is apparently a magical tube that shoots out ducks into the creek.

I found a Dunkin' Donuts on my way back home and picked up an iced coffee.  When I got home I washed all the dirt off my legs then made my first cold water bath because adding ice sounded too scary.  I am proud of submerging my legs for just under 25 minutes!  I tried to distract myself from the cold with reading twitter on my phone, looking a magazine, and thoughts of the hot shower to follow.  Then I put on my calf compression sleeves for the remainder of the day since they may or may not have contributed to my lack of calf soreness after last weekend's half marathon.

If you made it this far and feet are not your thing, you may want to end your reading here.  Otherwise: Monday morning I felt pretty good.  Unfortunately a little puffy blister on my big toe appeared to morph into a blood blister, which I have never had before.  I distinctly remember tripping over a root or rock with my right foot toward the end of my first loop and maybe that's where it came from?  Anyway...the blood blister never popped and now I just have a big dark bruise on my toe.  <Last chance to exit if you are a feet-hater, but I did make the picture small>

When I told my husband that it was my blood blister he responded with, "oh, that's in you?" He had assumed I dripped something dark on myself like grease or chocolate or something.

I'm actually amazed I've lasted through over 3 years of running regularly and over 1 1/2 years of training for half marathons without any blisters or lost toenails.  I'm fascinated yet grossed out by this little development.  It doesn't hurt, but it does make me want to hide my toe in public.

Ok so the Good:
-enjoyed my first real trail race! 
-bug spray was a good idea! field for start/finish was buggy from recent rain
-successful prevention of next day soreness w/ cold water bath + calf compression sleeves
-sweet aid stations
-HR stayed consistent through entire run, no drift at end like last week...was it due to caffeine-free gels? or use of walking up hills? both?
-My stomach was fine with a new gu flavor that I did not try before the race (I know, bad idea!)

The not as Good:
-the blister/bruise
-waiting too long to take 2nd gu
-not stretching immediately after
-leaving ifitness belt at home (why did I really care if it got muddy? I would have preferred to have my gu and car key securely in the belt instead of obsessively checking my water bottle pocket to make sure my car key didn't fall into mud)
-another over-sized race t-shirt!

1. Have you ever run a trail race?
2. Blood blisters?  Black toe nails?  What's your worst race casualty?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sloppy Cuckoo Eve

So I can't remember if I posed this question on blogger or on twitter a while back, but you may or may not recall that I was interested in a nearby trail half marathon this fall...bad news was, it came a week after the Rock n Roll half marathon.

The Rock n Roll half was to be run with the goal of improving my time; the trail half was something I wanted to do just for fun.  Since my goals for the two were very different, I signed up for them both, and that trail half is tomorrow!

It's considered "easy" by trail runner standards so it seemed like a good one to try.  I've heard good things about races put on by this organizer and read a favorable review of last year's race here.

The organizer seems to have a good sense of humor, which you can see from any of their race descriptions.  "There will be rocks, roots, trees to climb over, creek crossings, horse poop, sand & if it rains the week before the race, certainly some mud. So leave your pink Nikes at home, don’t be a girlieman. "

Here are some fun race features (quoted directly from race application):
  • You will be supported by at 5 aid stations (carry a bottle) , including the Oktoberfest aid station (unusual carbs and snacks served by the St. Pauli girls).
  • Post race refreshments will be provided by 2 professional chefs (Thekla Grund, former owner of the Old Brauhaus & Linda Weiss, reason #67 why Oprah’s weight is yo-yoing, I did not make this up). 
  • "Uberhans” might be there also to entertain you with his accordion. 
  •  Not only do you get a tech shirt: "To stay with the cuckoo theme, every finisher will receive a original Black Forest cuckoo whistle as a finisher award."

Definitely the most unique run I've signed up for.

Friday the race director sent out an email that the course had to be changed as there was a lot of erosion on the trail along the creek from Irene and the subsequent heavy rainstorms we have had (including the rain we got this week, straight through this morning).
"The trails were in decent condition yesterday, there are still a bunch of trees down, which you should be able to jump over or go under. It's currently raining here so you should be prepared for some muddy and slippery sections on Sunday... If this is your first trail 1/2 on Sunday, you certainly get your moneys worth. It certainly will be a good challenge.
We have some great german awards on sunday. We will also award best outfit/most muddy runner/ and most blood. We have some great food ready for you on Sunday, you might want to bring a folding chair to hang out a little after the race."
Luckily while rain was in the forecast all weekend, it stopped raining this morning and was dry for the rest of the day.  There's a chance of rain for tomorrow...I'm hoping it holds off a little longer.

Tonight we made a veggie pizza on wheat crust.  That, along with some red wine, and an ice cream sundae that we split should have me well-fueled for tomorrow's run.

I am just treating this as a FUN long run.  I have not run a full 13 miles on all (muddy) trail before, and I have no idea how bad the trail will be from the rain, so I have no time goal - just to finish.

I am prepared to get very dirty so I will not be wearing my newest or nicest running stuff (actually, the Smart Wool socks are nice...but I don't run in not-nice socks).  I'll be wearing my running shoes from this spring/summer which, while high in mileage, are still comfortable - but I may need to toss them after.

Hoping to not win an award for the most blood.  And hopefully I will return tomorrow with a snazzy finisher's whistle!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Race Report: #5, Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half

Sunday morning I rolled out of bed at about 6:15.  I tried to wake myself up and get my act together quickly.  Of all things, I nearly forgot my Garmin which I left plugged in over night to be SURE it was 100% charged in the morning.

I was in my car by 6:45 for the 45 minute drive to Philly.  I brought a banana and PBJ on wheat to eat in the car and an extra water bottle in addition to the one I'd be running with.

I allowed 30 minutes for traffic and to find parking/walk to the starting line, assuming I'd find a spot within a mile.  I'm glad I gave myself some extra time because there was some serious back up on the off ramp from the highway.  I took this picture while sitting on the off ramp, waiting to turn:

As I sat in traffic, I put the D-tag timing chip on my shoe, then gradually put on my socks and shoes (I left my apartment in sandals) and stuffed my energy gels into my ifitness pouch and water bottle pocket.  (I used to be more organized the night before...I guess I have stopped freaking out so much now that I know what to expect for these things).  I pulled into a garage at about 7:41am, drove up 5 million floors, pinned on my number and got on my way.

I had a nice 1 mile walk to the starting line which was a good warm up. The temperature was in the mid 50s and it was perfect.

I knew that last year, my corral (17) didn't go until about 20 minutes after the first runners so I wasn't too worried about being in place right at 8:00.  As I got closer to the line up, I heard the announcers release the elites.  It was cool to watch them run by!

I made my way back toward my corral.  I was shocked that with 16,000-ish runners, I managed to run into my TWO coworker friends who were also running.  It was great to see them at the start!

One friend was running with her sister, and the other started off the race with me.  We stuck together for the first several miles before getting separated at a water stop a few miles in.

I found this amongst 4,000-some "lost and found" pictures.  Seriously.

I had a moment of Garmin anger around mile 2 when I realized my Garmin failed me.  And it shouldn't have been a surprise because I had a similar problem on this course last year!

My first mile was a 10:06 pace according to my Garmin which I was fine with.  I then noticed that I had been running around a 9:00 pace for my second mile.  I thought that it felt really easy despite the faster pace, and told myself I should slow down a bit so I didn't die later on.  But then my watch beeped for the 2nd mile and clearly I was no where near the 2 mile marker on the course.

Instead, when I approached the 2 mile marker, my watch read 2.24 miles.  Ack!  I hit the lap button so I could know that at least for the subsequent laps, my pace shouldn't be too far off.  I am aware of things like running the tangent because the course is measured along the shortest possible route, but this was due to satellite interference from tall buildings.

Clearly I did not run in a diagonal across part of City Hall.  
The green is where the actual route was.

Let this be a reminder to not totally rely on your Garmin during races!  From that point on, I also checked the race clock at the mile markers and knew to subtract about 19 minutes since I crossed the start line at about 8:19.  Luckily, my goal pace was around 10 minutes per mile so that makes the math pretty easy to tell if I'm close to goal or not.

Anyway, I realized I was now running slower than I wanted to, but didn't get too worried.  I was happy that my heart rate was staying lower than it had been in any race and I was pretty confident that holding back in the beginning would mean I would be able to finish strong.

After separating from my work friend, the course had moved out of the tall building area and on to Boathouse Row along the river.  I had a couple faster miles. 

I don't remember a lot from this part of the course.  I focused on the backs of people around me and occasionally looked at the river.  I remember being behind a woman in a pink tank from Target for quite some time.  I remember being behind a girl who was sweating through her cotton capris in awkward places and I felt embarrassed for her.  A completely barefoot male runner passed me.  I also remember a woman in a running skirt, just a sports, bra, and purple arm warmers.  Here's another noteworthy runner:

I saw this guy several times throughout the race.  I can't imagine running in a face mask!

I had my first gu, a Clif Shot gel in Mocha beginning at about 53 minutes (maybe 5.2ish miles) and ate it slowly over the next several minutes.   I then remember holding on to the empty packet until I approached a garbage can, which may have been approximately a half mile.  I know it's "ok" to litter during a race but it pains me to throw things on the ground.  Even though I know someone will rake it up later.  My heart rate increased a small but noticeable amount after the first gel; I'm thinking maybe I should be using ones without added caffeine?  Or I wasn't hydrating as much as I should have been.  I don't know.

Mile 7 was slower for some reason and I don't remember why.  It also was about .09 off from the mile marker, so I hit 'lap' a second time to even it up.  From that point on though, I didn't need to hit lap again.  My Garmin showed maybe a couple hundredths of a mile extra for every mile ran.  Not enough to hit the lap button. Mile 8 was sub-10:00.  Mile 9 was slower but still close to goal.  Then my paces for Miles 10 until the end were all below a 10:00 minute/mile pace.

I really don't remember much from this side of the river either.  I remember crossing the bridge.  I remember a rock band playing "Wild Thing" and the chorus included bagpipes playing with the guitar & drums.  Pretty unexpected and entertaining.

[picture from their facebook page here]  

From about 1:47 - 1:53 I took my time with my Mint Chocolate gu.  I think it was about 10.6 miles as I opened it.  I cared less about finding a garbage can with this one, and threw it on the ground near a bunch of cups on the ground from a water stop. 

I passed on all the water stations except for at mile 11.6.  I brought my own bottle and was drinking from it.  I started to get low on water toward the end though so I unscrewed my top in preparation, grabbed a cup from a volunteer and dumped it in my bottle - all while still running.  I was quite proud.

At this point I started to calculate a reasonable time goal, knowing 2:10 was not going to happen.  As I hit the 13 mile mark, I thought I might be able to finish in the 2:11s.  I ran really hard from the 13 mile marker, up the slight uphill, straight through to finish.  I remember the gun time was 2:30:41 as I went under so I thought I was in the 2:11s.

I felt pretty good about my run and did not feel like I was going to fall over at the finish line, so that's a plus! But it was so crowded at the finish line...I remember walking into a couple people.  I wish there had been more space to walk/cool down at the end before you were sent through a chute to collect your post-race food.

Here are my official splits from the race website:

I hit the 5k mark at 31:49 (10:14 avg pace)
10k mark at 1:03:59 (10:18 avg pace)
10 mile mark at 1:41:51  (10:11 avg pace)

There were more splits on the site on race day, but they seem to have disappeared.

Here are my Garmin splits:

It was not quite 65 by the time I finished at 10:30.  Perrrrfect!

While I thought I was good for something in the 2:11s, I was off on when I crossed the start line by about 15 seconds.  I thought it was pretty close to 19 minutes, turns out it was ~18 minutes and 45 my official time was actually 2:12:01.

Still a new PR!

Here's my race photo:

That's right.  The entire 13.1 miles, this is my only one! (Besides the one earlier that I found after scouring the lost and found pictures for a couple hours). There are actually 2 still shots from the 2 seconds after this, where I am even more obscured by the man in front of me.  Clearly I should have thought this out as I hurried to the finish line and found a more open spot so my race number would have been visible to the camera.

It was a tough job searching the 4325 "lost and found" pictures to look for a teal tank top.  I managed to nod off somewhere around picture #400 the other night and finally finished my quick scanning last night.

Here are some of the post-race snacks.  The Dole frozen strawberries did not survive long enough for this picture. I also had some Dole Real Fruit bites hidden in my ifitness belt.

 Spoiler alert: the Marathon Snickers bar does not taste like a Snickers bar.

I stuck around for the post-race concert, which featured Bret Michaels.  Better than last year's attraction: a Bon Jovi tribute band (didn't stick around last year).

It was pretty short, lasting maybe 45 minutes, until a little after noon.  Then I began my mile walk back to my car.

 I passed this on my way, and thought of Alyssa.

I stopped by Starbucks for a beloved Doubleshot on Ice.  Yes, I put my Starbucks gift card in my ifitness pouch at the start of the race.  I come prepared.  The Starbucks was conveniently located across the street from my parking garage.

That is how much of my sandwich I ate in the car in the morning (I also had a whole banana). 
I can't make myself eat at 6-something AM.  Good thing PBJ is good post-run fuel too... I finished it on the drive home.

Here I am at home.  I look like a turd with my forced smile. 

But I am wearing my medal.  The yellow 64 calorie beer bracelet was a waste.  I'm not a fan of the beer and I didn't even bother seeking out the beer tent after the race.  If I'm going to have a beer at 10:30am, it better be a good one.

Once I got home I cleaned up, put on my Zensah calf compression sleeves, and hung out.  Actually, first I went grocery shopping in my new I run Philadelphia shirt (and my calf sleeves, they were hidden under jeans though).

Then I kicked up my feet.  And let the calf sleeves work their magic for something like 9 hours.

I'm happy to report that my calves were feeling 100% normal the next morning.  Not one little bit sore!  My quads, on the other hand, were really feeling it.  I don't know if I can completely attribute my pain-free calves to the sleeves, but it certainly didn't hurt.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week leading up to the Half

I mentioned that I got in my last long run - 8 miles - on Monday.

Unfortunately from about Tuesday on, I've been congested.  Probably due to breathing dry, shared, airplane air.  Or maybe it's due to the little germ balls I work with.  Regardless, this whole week I've tried to drink extra water, have more OJ, eat extra fruits and veggies, sleep a little more, and I've even thrown in a nap or two.

I woke up early enough to do a quick pace run Thursday morning.  It was humid/foggy.

The run was ok, it was supposed to be 2 pace miles sandwiched between a warm up and cool down.  I got in a 9:48 and a 9:44 (goal was 9:55).  The pace fluctuated quite a bit though over the course of each mile and the pace wasn't as easy-feeling as I hoped, especially when I could only breathe through one nostril or only my mouth at any given time.

I had hoped to get my last other run in before my half marathon Friday morning, but I chose an extra hour and 15 minutes of sleep instead, which I think/hope was the right choice.

My only other physical activity this week was just walking around at work (a fair amount!), dog walking, grocery shopping, cleaning.  Not so impressive.  We'll just say it was an extreme taper.

Luckily as I write this Saturday night, I can breathe again! With very minimal stuffiness.

Today was the expo!

Sorry to say this, but it was a little disappointing compared to last year's.  I'm making this statement solely on the amount of samples and freebies given out.

Here's what I got this year:

  • Cherry Lime Roctane gu and Perform pain relieving gel were in my "swag bag"along with a handful of cards for other races.
 From walking around to the different tables I got:
  • 2 mini Lara bar samples: coconut cream pie and PBJ.
  • Brooks gave out the hat.  They scanned a "ticket" you filled out; some of the possible prizes included a bandana, hat, or t-shirt.
  • Hand sanitizer from Team in Training
  • Nutrilite Endurance cubes (like gu chomps, clif shot bloks)
  • Cascadian Farm mini granola bar
  • 2 mini packs of Sports Beans
  • A bunch of coupons: Snickers Marathon bar, Cytomax, PF changs, Larabar, Cascadian Farm
I did try the watermelon and peach tea gu chomps, and really liked the peach tea flavor so I bought 2 packs.  I also got this Philadelphia shirt from Brooks (this one fits, unlike the dark blue shirt they give to all race participants that only comes in unisex sizes and is still kinda loose...big pet peeve of mine!  There are many thousand runners and they can't get women's sizes??)

Here's the race shirt and swag bag plus a headband (free with my friend's purchase):

Here's what I got at last year's expo.

What kind of take-home goodies were missing this year?
Oikos Greek yogurt, Salonpas patches, Dole fruit chunks, Gu chomps, Clif bar, Sport wash, Cytomax. I can't complain about the ING stress ball...ING is no longer a sponsor of the event.

Anyway, tomorrow's weather is looking fantastic for a half marathon.

2:10 would be fabulous. 
I'd be happy with anything under 2:15 though, which would mean I've made progress since May despite doing all my running outside in the heat of summer. 

Wish me luck! And good luck to anyone else racing this weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Whirlwind West Coast Weekend

Thanks for your feedback on my last long run in my last post.

I stuck with the 8 miles (instead of 10) for my last long run, which I was able to squeeze in Monday night...after a long day.  My Monday involved sleeping on a 5ish hour flight from San Francisco, landing in Philadelphia at 7am, freshening up in the airport bathroom, then driving straight to work.  After work we picked up our pup from our friends' house, had a snack, unpacked, then headed out on my run.

I ran 8 miles at a 10:43 average pace.  It felt comfortable and my heart rate was insanely low for that pace.  I attribute it to temps in the 70s and running in the dark.

Back to my weekend.
It was awesome! We spent Friday morning through Sunday night in Oregon for a friend's wedding.

Aside from some delayed flight drama getting off the East Coast Thursday night, it was great.  We found out Thursday afternoon that our flight that evening was delayed... due to severe thunderstorms and flooding that morning?  Kinda B.S. if you ask me.  Despite our flight being delayed by 3 hours, we still needed to arrive at the airport 2 hours before our original flight time.  Yep, that's 5 hours of airport fun.

The highlight there was watching some pilots take photos of themselves playing in the Aviation Play Station.

Anyway.  After an unnecessarily long and painful phone call with the airline that afternoon we were able to reschedule that night's connecting flight that we were now going to miss because of the delay.  We got one for the crack of dawn the next morning, still getting us to Oregon by 8am.  This also meant calling the hotel to change our reservation from 3 nights to 2.  I had the pleasure of having my first nap/sleep in an airport!

Spending 1am - 6am in the San Francisco airport was thrilling.  I did appreciate my early morning coffee and chocolate croissant from Boudin.

After an uneventful 6:30am flight and arriving to the hotel, we found our friends who saved us mini boxes of cereal from breakfast.  One of our friends was about to go for a run, so Dan and I dropped our stuff in our room, changed, and found the running path.

We ran 5.6 miles along the Willamette River.  The hotel was conveniently located right on the river near tons of running/biking paths, including the Alton Baker park which is home to Pre's Trail.

Next we grabbed lunch then prepared for an all-afternoon float down the McKenzie River.  It was unseasonably warm in Oregon...highs in the 90s.  So it was perfect for a float.  The water was quite cold though!  It was an ordeal blowing up all the tubes...there were 28 of us.  Other important preparations included divvying up the cases of quality beer including Keystone Light, PBR, and Coors Light into a dozen or so mesh bags to be tied to several of the tubes.

I wish we bought a waterproof disposable camera because it was so beautiful!  I will have to settle for finding some pictures online:

I like mountains.

We used floats that look exactly like these (and this might even be the place we got in the water):

Our float took about 4 hours including a long pit stop at Shotgun Island.

Saturday night the bride and groom hosted a cocktail/ hors d'oeuvres party.  Unfortunately we were pooped since we had been up all day so we didn't stay that long, then we walked 2.5 miles back to our hotel.

Saturday we went to an Oregon Ducks game!  Those are some serious football fans.  It was fun being a football game with such a big fan base especially since my college had no big sports.

We only stayed for the first half, at which point the score was 34 Oregon - 0 Nevada, before we walked about 2.5 miles back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

This is like a huge fenced in bike parking lot.  This picture is only a small fraction of the bikes people rode to the game.  I was impressed with how many people rode their bikes and by how bike-friendly Eugene is.

Eugene has bike lanes!  REAL bike lanes, not a shoulder on the side of the road.

The bike lane is not just used by tight-shorts-wearing cyclists, people with big ol' baskets on the front of their bike and swoopy handles use the lane too.

The wedding and reception were outside and the grounds were beautiful!  And they had cupcakes for their wedding cake.

cinnamon cupcake.

Sunday morning I squeezed in a 3 mile run before breakfast.  I enjoyed running along the river and the path has frequent mile markers and signs pointing you to other nearby attractions.

 I like mountains

After breakfast we walked around Eugene for a while before we had to go to the airport.

 Can you find a doughnut on the menu with a dirty name?

 I made a friend at the doughnut shop.

At the airport. Did I mention that I like mountains.?

The End.

PS: After my 10+ day absence from blogging, I may wow you with a second post within the next 24 hours.
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