Where’s Waldo 100km and Portland Century – Recaps August 25, 2010Posted by whereschrisscotch in Races/Events - Recaps.
It just felt right. The whole trip to Oregon. Camping on the cliffs filled with old growth behemoths as the sea lions serenading from the Pacific. Getting an out and back training run in on Thursday morning along what is now my favorite 8 mile stretch of trail. Watching the pink and purple hues blanket the horizon as the pack climbed out of the dark of early morning on race day. The spectacular views of the Mt. Bachelor, Sisters and the rest of the Oregon Cascades , time after time. Riding 100 miles through and around Portland getting perspectives of the city and surrounding area I never would have seen otherwise. It was one of the most satisfying “long weekends” I have ever experienced. And the spectacular scenery, invigorating salty ocean air, rugged and diverse landscapes only get credit for a portion of the total experience. Don’t get me wrong, Oregon is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, but the trip was so much more.
I have a longstanding love affair with Oregon, and to be able to combine my efforts for Katelyn in a place I am so fond of, with great people, was very special to me. Again, it was Katelyn’s inspiration that I drew upon over the 62.63 miles of hard, steep, lung burning climbs and fast, twisty, quad punishing descents. It was only 6 few weeks ago that I first ran on a trail – the Afton Trail Run 50km in an effort to stretch my own limits while spreading the word of Katelyn’s story. I felt something brewing at that race, “a spark” that I was curious to learn more about, so I entered The Voyageur 50 Mile and turned that spark into a small flame. Wanting to spread Katelyn’s story, and the life saving work of St. Jude to more people, and yearning to push myself even further into the unknown of trail running and ultra marathons, I registered for Where’s Waldo (and the Portland Century). Again, having no idea if I can run this far – and this time the hills of Afton didn’t scare me, but the Cascades loomed over my head. Leading up to the race I had the now normal pre-race jitters, self-doubts and fears, but I felt armed with the lessons I have learned from previous races. I also had the support of family and friends. Everyone that has been supporting me – through donations, encouraging words, advice on training and running, and by helping with my pup, Cooper, gave me the confidence that I could get through the athletic endeavors of this weekend. More than anything, this sense of community moving toward a goal is what drives me. We are making an impact. It just feels right.
I was fortunate in that I experienced this trip with family, old friends and new ones. Two other runners from Minnesota were signed up for the race, Kami and Helen. I have been lucky enough to run with them and get to know them a bit over the past few weeks, which has paid huge dividends for me. Helen mentioned once that if I was going to continue running ultra’s on the trail, I should think about getting some trail shoes instead of battering my feet to death in my road shoes. Who knew? Not me for sure! Just being on the course with these two very accomplished runners gave me confidence.
It had been too long since my last visit to Oregon and it was so great to be able to spend time with my relatives there. My aunts, uncle and cousins seemingly drop everything when I announce I am coming to town and their generosity and hospitality are endless. Uncle Gary’s presence , knowledge (he is a pretty accomplished athlete) and support at Where’s Waldo were calming and reassuring. The Portland Century wouldn’t have happened without Aunt Leann’s encouragement (or telling me to “man up”) and I am so glad we did this ride. The three of us were joined by my friend Carrie and the 4 of us had a great time. While not a timed event, it was a struggle for me to get through the 100 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing. But the three of them made it fun and the miles melted away. Doing a century ride is not something I ever wanted to do, but part of the point of this campaign is to jump out of the box and rip it to shreds – so I decided to do just that. And I am glad I did as the experience was fantastic. At the end of the race I was greeted by another aunt, Peggy, and her daughter Shanice. They had been assigned the duty of sag wagon in the event I couldn’t finish the ride. They sacrificed their day to be available should the call be made. When we all sat down to enjoy dinner that night to tell stories and laugh about the day, it just felt right.
Thanks to everyone that believed in me in the days leading up to the events. Thanks to Gary, Leann and Carrie (C1) – You all made sacrifices and without each of you this trip wouldn’t have happened, much less been as wonderful as it was. Thanks to Peggy and Shanice for being there should I have needed a helping hand. Thanks to Kami, Carrie(C2) and Helen for always cheerfully putting up with the rookie and all my questions and blunders. And if you ever need a quiche for breakfast, you know who to call – Gary!!