Friday, August 30, 2013

Hood to Coast 2013

This past weekend I participated for my 5th year in the Mother of All Relays: Hood to Coast.  I just love this weekend of running and I look forward to it every year.  Sadly, the team that we've had for the past two years was not accepted again this year (I was depressed for several weeks when I received that rejection letter last fall), but thankfully I was able to join my friend Scott's team.
A couple of months ago I decided to sign myself up for Leg 9 (the second hardest leg in the race) because I figured I would probably be in the best running shape of my life this year.  Well, it turns out that getting back into training mode after my marathon in April was more difficult than I expected and I wasn't quite up for such a difficult HTC leg.  So I handed Leg 9 off to Drew, who joined the team a bit last minute.  Thanks, Drew!  I took Leg 8 (the second easiest leg in the race) and felt pretty good about the low mileage I had to run in the relay.
My first leg was an easy 4.55 miles east of Portland through Sandy, OR on Friday afternoon.  I was able to keep a nice 8 min/mile pace - I think I was just excited that the race weekend was finally underway!  I ran my second leg a little after 1:00am and it was rated "very hard".  It was 5.75 miles uphill on a gravel road.  So not only were my calves working extra hard because I was running on my toes uphill, but my quads were quite tight due to lack of traction on the gravel road.  I have no idea what my pace was on that leg (I think I was a bit too delirious to keep track of time at that hour), but I'm sure it was a bit slower than the first leg.  As soon as I got back into the van and changed into clean clothes, I passed out and actually slept for a good 4.5 hours.  I ran my final leg around 9am on Saturday.  It was a medium-difficulty 4.09 miles in the rolling hills of the Oregon Coastal range and I was able to keep right under an 8.5 min/mile pace to finish up.  Overall, I felt pretty good about my legs and wasn't even too sore at the end!
I was in Van 2 which somehow ended up being me and 5 dudes.  I knew three of the guys (one of them being Drew, one who was a former coworker, and the other is a former coworker's husband) and I got to know the other two pretty well by the end of our 30 hours in a van together.  My coworker Bill let us borrow his awesome 1989 StarCraft van that had a queen-size bed in the back (hence the good sleep I got on Friday night).  There's not much privacy when you're stuck in a van with five other people for two days - any modesty you started out with quickly goes out the window.  Going into the weekend, I figured there would be lots of potty humor and talk about sports in a van with a bunch of dudes.  I was right.
But it was an amazingly fun weekend as always and everyone on the team ran well and had a great time.  Fingers crossed for being accepted for a team again next year!
Van 2: Scott, Drew, Mary, Scotty, Charlie, Ryan

handoff to Drew after my first run

Drew staying hydrated and loving the port-a-potties

Scotty/Scott handoff

final leg - ready to be done!

sweet bed in the back of the van

there were several Texas teams participating in the relay
apparently our van messes with Texas

Monday, August 12, 2013

Parents in Portland 2013

Last weekend my parents came to Portland for the 5th, maybe 6th time (I've started to lose count which is a good thing).  It was such a wonderful weekend.  Since they've been here so many times now, we've done pretty much all of the toursity stuff, so this time we were able to just hang out and enjoy spending time with people.
Right after I picked them up from the airport on Friday, we drove out to wine country where we met up with my friend Valerie.  We had a quick picnic lunch at The Allison Inn (absolutely gorgeous) before heading to our first wine tasting appointment at Natalie's Estate.  The owner, Boyd who is friends with Valerie, poured us wonderful wines and told us all about the harvest and the history of the winery.  It was so fun and insightful to have him there talking with us about his wines.  We then went to our next appointment at Raptor Ridge where Kevin, the assistant winemaker and also Valerie's friend, gave us a tour of the facility where they were actually finishing bottling that day.  Robby surprised us by showing up early and meeting us at Raptor Ridge.  We were all able to sit outside and enjoy great conversation.  We ended back at The Allison Inn for more hanging out and chatting in their beautiful gardens.

at Natalie's Estate with Boyd the winemaker

the group with an amazing background at Raptor Ridge
a little behind the scenes tour
My parents and I headed back to SE Portland where we stopped at the food carts by my house for a fun casual dinner.  We pulled up and my dad said, "is this place safe?" to which I replied, "don't be frightened by the hipsters with their skinny jeans and mustaches. The worst they could do is force you to drink super strong coffee or make you sign a petition."  Then my parents were able to see the house I recently moved into.

Saturday morning we wandered around the Portland Farmer's Market, one of my parents favorite things to do in Portland.  Drew met up with us there and we all enjoyed breakfast on the grass.

enjoying the beautiful/odd didgeridoo performance

we loaded up on fresh produce 
Saturday afternoon, there just happened to be a Baylor "send off party" for Portland students headed to Baylor this year.  It was great for my parents to meet some of the people in our rather large Baylor network up here, and it was nice for parents of incoming students to meet a real (somewhat normal) Waco family.
We spent Saturday evening enjoying an outdoor symphony concert with my good friend Megan at my favorite Portland park, Laurelhurst Park.  It was such a wonderful way to spend a nice summer evening.  The music was great and watching kids dancing to Mozart in the grass was quite entertaining.  After the concert we went to our favorite dessert spot, Papa Hydens.  It is one of the few things that my parents (mainly my dad) want to do every time they come visit.
we were enjoying our decadent desserts so much that we forgot to take a picture with them
Sunday morning, we went to church with the Schoberts who went to my parent's church when they lived in Waco.  The Schoberts have become good friends of mine since they moved to Portland two years ago.  And their little guy, Trey, is my NW nephew (and a NW niece will be here soon!).  After church, we went had brunch at Byways Cafe.  It was great for the Schoberts and my parents to catch up.
I am so thankful to have a little bit of Waco in Portland

sleepy little guy
Sunday afternoon, we took advantage of the nice weather and went for a bike ride.  My parents are pretty legit now that they've biked around SE Portland.  They biked next to cars, stayed in the green bike lanes (for the most part), and survived (barely).
we found some wild blackberries along the way

just a few legit Portland cyclists
Sunday evening, we headed over to the Moores house for a family dinner.  Fr Ganz was able to join us and even offered a Sunday service.  It was a wonderfully meaningful time.  Not only because Fr Ganz was leading us through thought-provoking devotion of scripture and liturgical readings, but because my parents were able to experience this amazing man who is such an important piece of my life up here.  We then all enjoyed dinner on the back patio and had wonderful conversation.  This was definitely my favorite time of the whole weekend.
family pic - we failed to get a picture before Fr Ganz left
Overall, this was a great weekend in Portland with my parents.  We didn't do a ton of stuff - it was mostly just hanging out.  But that's what made it so great!  They were able to meet my friends and experience the incredible community that I am surrounded by up here.  As I was taking them to the airport on Monday morning to catch a flight back to Texas, my dad said, "this was the best trip we've had up here."  When I asked him why, he said because it was all about the relationships.  Thanks for coming to visit, Mom and Dad, and thanks for wanting to invest in me and my community even though you live so far away!