Thursday, November 5, 2015


A couple of weeks ago my husband and I went to Sisters for the weekend with some of our very good friends.  It was an epic weekend of fun and laughter and very much needed as a stress reliever for me.    If you had told me five years ago that I would be excited about spending a weekend with friends knowing that we were going to spend a great deal of time doing some sort of physical activity I would have laughed.  But that is exactly what we were planning and I was excited about it.

Eastern Oregon is beautiful and like most parts of Oregon has lots of places to visit, explore and be active.

We all gathered at the condo in Sisters on Friday evening.  My husband had gone over earlier in the day and did a bike ride from Sisters to the top of the MacKenzie Pass.  He said that it was a slow slog going up but he was much faster on the trip back to town.  Hmmmm, go figure.  :-)

Once everyone was there we headed to dinner and started off the weekend with a great deal of laughter.  Got to love that.

The next morning we got up and were being pretty lazy.  No one really wanted to make a decision about breakfast.  Should we cook at the condo?  Should we go into Sisters to eat?  If we went into Sisters, where should we go?  By about 10:00 we still hadn't made a decision and I was getting hungry so I made the executive decision that we were going to go into Sisters and eat at the Gallery.  Everyone needed to get dressed because we were heading out.  I also didn't have to make any more decisions for the rest of the weekend.  lol  It worked and we headed out to breakfast and got some yummy grub.  Good thing too because while we were at breakfast we made plans for our afternoon activity.

We decided to head to Tumalo Falls that is on the west side of Bend.  It was a bit of a drive but our car is big enough that we could all pile in and go together.  That made for funny conversations and goofiness.

When we got to the trail head there were signs saying that the trail was closed and that in order to get to the falls we would have to take a alternate route that was about 14 miles round trip.  No one wanted to go quite that far.  We decided to go up the trail that was closed and see how far we could get.

At one point early on there was a small creek that we crossed by going over a fallen tree.  That was the only obstacle in the way.  We think there is supposed to be a small walking bridge there but it was removed while they are doing a water works project in the area.  Didn't bother us so we kept going.  Tony had brought his fishing gear and was going to fish while we hiked.  He has been having knee problems and didn't want to make it worse by hiking.  Joe and Josh took off running ahead and Kristy, Wendie and I followed them.
Love these two and their big hearts and beautiful smiles!!
Awesome view!
Selfie time.  :-)
The trail was beautiful and the scenery was amazing.  We stopped a few times to take pictures but we kept a pretty good pace for most of the trail to the falls.  I was pretty excited that I was keeping up with the ladies without too much struggle.  I had to push a little but not so much that I was feeling wiped out quickly.

When we got to the viewing area of the falls we took a break and, of course, took more pictures.
Tumalo Falls 
Me and my guy.  
I think this picture fits #runhappy!
I know I have said this before, and I will keep on saying it, Oregon is an amazing place to live!

We headed back to the car and somehow I ended up in the lead.  I moved right along and it was an odd thing to be at the front of the group instead of the back.  I was trucking along at a pretty good pace and everyone said it was a good pace for them as well.  I worried at first that I was slowing everyone down.  Then I remembered that if they wanted to go faster, they would just pass me.  If they stayed behind me they were good.  I needed to not worry about it.  So I didn't.  I just kept moving along.

I had one small problem.

I was wearing my running tights that say "Fuel My Fire."  They are super comfy and warm without making me super hot (as in temperature) when I run.  I got them at Old Navy last year and I love them.  I knew they were a bit big now but were comfortable to wear and I put on a running skirt over them thinking that would help keep everything in place.

Not so much.

I could feel them slipping and so I was tugging them up every few minutes.  Then I thought I would just let them slide a bit and that they would probably settle above my butt and I could live with that.


lol  They ended up sliding down past my behind.  Literally the only thing keeping them up was the running skirt.

I had to stop and make some adjustments.  Good thing I had compression shorts on too because I had to pull down the running skirt to find the pants and then yank everything back into place.  It was all a bit ridiculous.  I have had problems in the past with running clothes that were too tight and made me feel like a sausage busting out of it's packaging.  This is the first time where the clothes were so big they were literally falling off.  :-)

This is a good problem.  A slightly embarrassing one but since I was with good friends so it was all good.

Joe ran ahead of me when we were getting to the end of the run.  I had slowed down quite a bit but was still running and he took these pictures.
Normally I hate pictures of myself when I am running.  All I see is a heavy girl in tight clothes.  But I like these pictures.  I can really see the changes in my body in these.  Yay.

We got done with the run and I did really well overall.  I mean really well.  I am not a fast runner and I'm an even slower trail runner.  We went 5.65 miles and my average pace was 14'28"!  So excited!  I walked most of the uphills.  They were small but frequent.  The trail had small rolling hills that trended up towards the falls.  I was a happy camper!

We headed back to the condo.  We had planned a dinner in and everyone contributed.  Oh my!  The condo smelled so good!  Kristy brought salmon from her Alaska trip last summer.  Josh had made bread.  Wendie had out a great spread of crackers and cheese and cooked up brussel sprouts.  I brought all the fixings for a spinach salad.  We had plenty of food!  It was so good!  We sat around the table like grown ups and had a great time laughing and talking.
The next day the plan was to head out to Redmond and hike/run at Smith Rock.  I had been there last spring with my brother and his family.  We did a short hike along the river.  I was excited about going back and trying some harder trails.

Wendie is getting ready for a marathon in November and Josh and Kristy are getting ready for a 50k. Joe is preparing for a half marathon trail run.  I have my 7 mile trail run coming up so we all had some plan for what we wanted to get out of the activity.  Poor Tony.  Good thing he enjoys fishing.  (Not catching, but fishing.)  :-)  Wendie wanted to get three hours in and Josh had a plan on how to make that work without having to do lots of loops on the same trail.  I didn't want to run three hours and I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up anyway so I told the crew I would be doing my own thing and meet them back at the car.  Tony kept the key fob and I kept the key.  That way if either of us got done first we could get into the car.  We both knew we would be back before the rest.

And on a completely random note...I wanted to be sure key fob was the correct term for the remote to open the car.  So I googled "What is the thing called that you use to automatically open your car?"  This was the first thing on the results page:  "What is the thing you boop to lock your car doors..."  So of course I had to check that one out.  My daughters and I spend a good 10 minutes laughing about the different things people listed in the responses to that question.  My favorite was "A dooter, and the act of using it dooting." Gotta love the Internet!  Maybe it won't be as funny to anyone else but it tickled my funny bone today.  :-) Here's the link if you want to read the thread yourself.

I had planned out my hike on Smith Rock.  I was going to go up Misery Ridge, go down the other side and then hook into the trail that runs along the river and would lead me around Smith Rock back to where I started.  A couple of things about Misery Ridge.  It is a steep uphill climb.  Very steep.  My sister-in-law Teresa lives in Redmond and has done this hike several times.  She told me once that she was frustrated because she had to stop often on the way up to catch her breath.
Holy Cow!!  Seriously.  I can't even tell you how often I had to stop on the way up that trail!  It was very steep.  My legs felt pretty good but I had a bugger of a time catching my breath.  The higher altitude in Eastern Oregon made it hard for me.  So I stopped often and I enjoyed the view.  Strategically stopping so that I would feel like I was going to fall off the side of the rock.  :-)  Later I texted Teresa and told her she NEVER gets to feel bad about stopping often on that climb!  It was hard work!
The long distance crew just before we parted ways.  
There were quite a few people on the trail but everyone was having a good time and enjoying the day.  When I made it to the top I enjoyed the view.  I ventured out near the edge of the rock at the top, which for me is a big deal since I DO NOT like heights.  I looked around for someone to take my picture to prove how close I was to the edge.  Suddenly there was no one around!  Where did everyone go?  lol  I took some selfies and then headed out on the trail to head down the other side.
Lots of up and lots of switchbacks. 
What a view though!

Totally worth the rest breaks to take in the scenery.
Looking at the trail I have just climbed.  
This was ahead of me and it had a Lord of the Rings look to it.  Thought it was cool.  :-)
Yay!  I made it to the top! 
What an amazing view! 
So beautiful!
I actually found this part of the trail more intimidating than going up.  When you are going up the ground is in front of you.  Unless you look out at the view it is easy to not think about how far up you are.  Going down is a whole different situation.  When you are looking down at the ground all the down that is past the trail is right there for you to see.  This does not help when you are already not excited about going down at a dramatic rate that involves injury.  The first few switchbacks going down were very steep and gravely.  There wasn't really much to hold on to or brace myself with so I was taking it slow.  I slid a few times which got the ole heart rate going.  Ugh.  I finally made it down to where it wasn't as steep and I was more comfortable.
View on the back side of Smith Rock! 
View of Monkey Face from the top. 

The trail I am going down is at the bottom of the picture.  

I just came down this.   
But this is my view as I work my way down.  Wow!
I got to the end of the Misery Ridge trail and could go right or left on the Mesa Verde Trail.  I went right to give myself a little more distance.  This trail met up with the River Trail which worked it's way along the river and around Smith Rock.  It was so beautiful!!  The sky had been overcast when we first got to the park.  By the time I got to the top the clouds were breaking up.  By the time I got on the River Trail the sun was shining over the top of Smith Rock and I got some great pictures.  Also, I saw hardly any other people.  I guess most people stay on the front side of the rock where the parking is or go to the top of Misery Ridge and go back down the way the came.  I enjoyed several miles of alone time in a beautiful part of the world.  I loved it!
Monkey Face on my way down. 
View of Monkey Face from the River Trail. 
I love the reflection in the water in this picture. 
The River Trail was relatively level and I enjoyed being able to start running.  I wasn't going terribly fast but since I had just done a very steep climb and stressful decent I wasn't worried about it.  I had such a kick ass day the day before that anything I did on Sunday was a complete bonus.

I came around the end of the rock and was now on the side where it was busy again.  Smith Rock is very popular with climbers.  There is a spot where lots of people that are just learning go for their first real climbs.  There was a lot of people there.  I couldn't see them from the trail but I could hear this loud babble of voices.  It was kind of cool to hear that noise and know that it was people talking.  I also thought about how fun it was that there were a whole bunch of people that were learning something new and challenging.  Good for them!!

I stopped at the drinking fountain to fill up my water bottle and then headed back to the trail that would get me back to the car.  I was cruising along and watching the other side of the river wondering if I would see the rest of the crew on the last bit of their run.  Sure enough, I saw them.  They saw me at just about the same time because I heard a yell come across the river.  We waved and shouted to each other good job.  They were heading to run up Misery the end of their run!  Ugh.  Better them than me!  I had a hard enough time doing it at the beginning of my run!
The group is on the other side of the river.  
Here they are zoomed in!  So far away and yet so close.  :-)  
Kristy took this picture of me from their side.
Can you see me?
Is this better?  :-)  
I continued on and got to the bottom of the trail that led back up to the car.  I decided to go dunk my feet in the river for a bit since I knew everyone else would still be awhile before they got done.  I took off my shoes and socks and found a good spot to work my way down to the water.  At first I was just in up to my ankles.  Then I decided if the cold water felt good on my feet it would probably feel amazing on my calves too so I went in deeper.  It felt so good.  I just stood there and let the water swirl around me.  There were lots of geese and ducks in the river.  They were not impressed with my presence at all and totally ignored me.  I got to watch them swim around, make noise and even saw a couple of fights between some of the males.

I kept an eye on the Misery Ridge thinking I might be able to see my friends running up the trail.  Joe was wearing his very bright yellow pants which helped me spot him.  I saw him and Josh running up the trail.  I yelled out thinking that the sound might carry and sure enough, Joe heard me.  He couldn't see me though and shouted back asking where I was.  I shouted that I was standing in the river.  He just laughed.  He told me later that he never did spot me.  Wendie and Kristy said that they saw me because they spotted my bright orange sweatshirt sitting on the bank.  :-)

I got out of the river and put back on my shoes and socks and headed up the trail to the car.  The parking lot was packed and there were people everywhere!  As I was getting some things out of the car people kept stopping their cars asking if I was leaving.  I finally got my stuff and went and sat at a picnic table so that people would quit asking me.  Not too long after that Tony came back from his fishing expedition.  Still only fishing, no catching.  We didn't have to wait too long before the rest of the gang showed up.  We spent a bit of time stretching and sharing about our adventures.  There were lots of frustrated people that wanted our parking spot.  We didn't hurry though.  Why should we hurry to end our day because you waited until it was crowded to show up?  We could have had a picnic lunch if we wanted and stayed longer.
Being silly in the car ride back to Sisters.  (I don't see anything inappropriate in this picture, wink wink)
We stopped and got lunch on the way back to the condo.  When we got to the condo we had to wash up the sheets and towels and clean up the place.  Then we just hung out while we waited for things to finish cleaning (there was several loads of laundry to do.)  It was nice to just chill out.

It was a fabulous weekend.  Lots of laughter, lots of adventures and lots of great memories.  Just what this girl needed!!
Love these people and so glad they are in my life!
My left knee started hurting on the drive home.  I didn't think too much of it at the time.  But it didn't go away and actually started to get worse.  This had me worried because I am getting close to my 7 mile trail run at Silver Falls.  After my great run at Tumalo Falls I was thinking this Silver Falls was going to go really well.

After a few days of it hurting in general and hurting worse I started icing it and taking some Advil to reduce some swelling that I had noticed on the back side of my knee.  That helped a lot but I was still getting twinges, especially when I ran.  The first mile or so hurt and then it eased off and was tolerable.

Last Saturday I had a massage scheduled.  Wendie texted me early in the week reminding me and letting me know that I could do a 90 minute massage since I was the first one of the day.  She could just come in a little earlier.  I later in the week I told her I would do it!  The last few times I have been in I have had really tight hamstrings and back.  Makes sense with all the swimming and biking I have been doing on top of the running.  But it is hard to work those really hard knots out in an hour when there are so many.  I figured 90 minutes might give us more time to get all of the kinks out instead of just the really tough ones.  That was a good call.

Wendie did a deep tissue massage that kicked my ass.  It hurt so good!  She found knots I didn't even know I had.  She then informed me I had to go out and do a workout.  Not just a walk the dog kind of activity but a really good workout.   She also said that I would be sore for a day or two but then I would really feel the difference.

I had to bring Meighan into Corvallis to hang out with a friend for Halloween around 2:00 pm.  I decided to drop her off and head out for a trail run with Bailey.  I went for a run up to the top of Dimple Hill and back on the main road.  Not super long or technical but it was a nice climb up and a fun run down.  We were supposed to get a serious rain that afternoon/evening much to the chagrin of all the trick-or-treaters.  I was trying to see if I could get done before the rain hit.

I saw several people on the route and enjoyed saying hi and letting Bailey greet new dog friends.  I met two ladies that are sisters and they had their son/nephew along.  He was about four years old.  They also had two dogs that enjoyed a romp with Bailey while we chit chatted.  They had lived in Idaho and just moved to the area.  They asked all kinds of questions about places to hike, if the trails were dog friendly and other things about living in the area and the Willamette Valley.  It was fun to share all the fun things about living here with them.  I also told them to head to Peak Sports to pick up the trail book called Corvallis Trails: Exploring the Heart of the Valley by Margie C. Powell.  It's a great book that shows the trail routes and tells the elevation, length of the hike and how hard it is.  Welcome to the Valley ladies!  I hope you love it here!
This is the badge I earned for my run on Halloween. :-)  
I didn't set any records for speed but I moved along pretty good and ended up with a decent pace when it was all said and done.  My knee didn't really hurt much, had the occasional twinge now and then, but overall I was good.  Sunday we were busy and I wasn't feeling too bad.

Monday was great.  I felt good all around.  When I got home from work I headed to my swim.  The lesson was really hard.  But later I realized it was hard because I was working hard not because I was struggling with parts and pieces that were hurting on top of everything else.  Yay!

Tuesday I went for a 30 minute run with my friend Heather.  She ran with me last week too.  This was a short run to just keep the legs moving a bit before the trail run on Saturday.  The bonus was that it was my birthday.  It was fun to get to spend time with a friend and get some exercise as well.  Not what I might have picked as something I was excited about getting to do a few years ago.  But I have learned a few things along the way on my journey.  :-)
Badge I earned for running on my birthday.  I'm on a roll.  :-)
Having friend time AND exercising.  WIN/WIN!  
Birthday bonus of a beautiful sky after we got done with our run.  
My 45th year on this planet was a pretty epic year.  Did a lot of really amazing things, learned a lot more about myself and what I can do and embraced the challenge of my health in a more positive way.

I can't wait to do my first race of my 46th year and see what the rest of this year brings.  I'm ready for new goals, the uncomfortableness that comes with learning new things and getting out of my comfort zone and for many, many more adventures!!

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