Sunday, November 15, 2015

Silver Falls Trail Runs 2015

What a difference a year makes!!

Last year I was up to my eyeballs in grad school.  I hadn't run in months.  I was signed up to do the Silver Falls 7 Mile Trail run and I wasn't ready.....not even slightly.  I went in to that race planning to enjoy the day and not worry about the time.  And I did have a great time.

But that doesn't mean I can't do better.

This year I have been much better about getting my workouts in.  The distances haven't been super long but I have been getting three or four 30 minute workouts during the week and then at least one, sometimes two, long workouts on the weekends.  Not all of the workouts have been running.  I have been swimming at least twice a week and there have been bike rides here and there.  I have lost more weight.  Not a lot but enough that I notice a difference when I run.  I don't feel like I'm fighting my body as much trying to get it to move.

So my goal for this years 7 miler was to kick last years time to the curb.  And maybe stomp on it a few times for good measure.  Here is the results from last years race:

Not too bad for a nice hike at Silver Falls State Park.  Not too great for a run.  But it is where I was at on that day and the win was that I did it at all and I got to have a great day hanging out with my friends.

This year I wanted to get under two hours.  That seemed reasonable.  If I got 1:59 minutes then my average pace would have to be at least 17 minute miles.  I was pretty sure I could get that done.  But in the back of my mind the thought was that maybe I could get an average pace of 16 minute miles.  Anything that was below 16 minute miles would be awesome!

Joe got off work and came home to get me so we could take off for the park.  I was a little nervous but not too bad.  We had fun talking on the drive up and enjoying each other's company.  (At least I did, I hope Joe did too.) :-)

We got to the park and saw our friends Chad and Beth almost right away.  Chad was also doing the 7 miler and Beth was there to cheer everyone on.  Kari had been following us for quite awhile on the main road to the park.  We soon found Wendie, Tony and Trevor and got updates on how the 50k peeps were doing.  It was fun having so many people there participating and spectating that we know!  Makes it like a big party!

One nice thing about getting there only a half hour before start time is that there isn't a lot of time to get cold or nervous.

Soon it was time to line up and get this party started.

We took off and started to make our way up to the Rim Trail.  There was a lot more people than last year and a couple of times we had a bottleneck on the trail where we slowed down to a walk.  But it got better after the first half mile.  I had to walk a little on that hill but as soon as we got where it leveled out I got moving and felt really good.  I had decided not to look at my phone to see my pace and had the volume turned down so I couldn't hear the updates every mile.  I knew I would start obsessing about going faster or get mad if I wasn't doing as well as I thought I should.  I wanted to enjoy the run and have the results and how I felt speak for themselves.

I didn't take as many pictures during the race this year because I was actually racing.  I didn't want to loose my momentum and I didn't want people that I had passed to pass me.  :-)  It is a weird thing to be passing people!
View from behind the North Falls.
It was also very strange being surrounded by people for most of the race.  I'm used to being at the back of the pack where the people are more spread out.  I can usually see people in front of me and hear people behind me but they are always far off so a lot of the time I am very solitary.  Not this year.  I had people right in front of me and right behind me the entire 7 miles.  It was very odd and took some mental adjustments.  I found myself being annoyed by the very loud talkers that were behind me.  Especially since I wasn't listening to music.  It was hard to tune people out.  One girl seemed to be shouting all the time.  Her and her friends would pass me and then stop somewhere to take pictures and then I would pass them.

I had passed the North Falls and came up to the next set of falls that you have to go behind at around mile six.  Right after this is the dreaded stairs.  Last year I had to stop at every single landing and catch my breath.  Then I would slowly trudge up the steps to the next landing.  It was a very slow grind last year and I really expected the same thing this year.

I started up the steps and while I wasn't running, I wasn't going at a snail's pace either.  As a matter of fact I passed about 15 people on my way up.  What?  That felt crazy!  I passed all the ladies in the group that had kept stopping to take pictures and then would pass me again.  They never caught me again.  I would hear them occasionally but kept putting distance between us whenever we came to an incline.  That was fun!

I had been feeling really solid about my race and this was a huge confidence booster.  There was another small flat-ish section and then I came to the bottom of the South Falls.  This is a beautiful area and I love it but it is also a good climb to get up behind the falls and then more climb to get back up to where the parking lot is.  I knew that if I was going to end the run with a time I would be happy about I would have to not creep up these hills.  I worked at keeping a steady pace.  I wasn't running but I was moving along at a pretty good clip.  I pretended that Kristy and Wendie were just ahead of me and we were just doing one of our weekend hikes.  I just needed to try and keep them close so I could catch up when I started running.  lol  It worked.  :-)
Coming up to the South Falls.

Always have to stop and get a picture behind the South Falls.  :-)  
I got to the top and got some water at the aid station and it was so good.  Now for the last little bit.  The last brutal hill.  Nutcracker Hill.  It's a beast.  It is steep and at the end of a long run seems to last forever.  Then going down the other side is really steep as well so none of it is fast for someone like me.  But I was doing great and felt great so off I went.  Again, I wasn't setting any speed records but I was definitely moving along at a steady clip.  I could hear some of those ladies that I had passed on the stairs behind me and at this point I was not about to let them pass me at the end.  We had less than half a mile to go to the finish.
The last hill.  
When I came off the hill the trail comes out into a grassy area.  I had to run towards a bridge that went across Silver Creek and then I could see the finish.  The ladies running behind me sounded closer so I picked up the pace a little.  (Okay, a lot, I was determined!)

When I crossed the bridge I could hear my husband and friends cheering me on and that was awesome.  I knew I had done better than last year.  I was pretty sure I had beaten the two hour mark.  As I came around the corner and looked at the clock I couldn't believe it!  It said 1:51!!!  What?  I couldn't believe it!  I was looking at about a 20 minute PR at least.

You will never guess what I did next.  Well, if you know me or have been reading my blog for any length of time you will know....I started to cry.  I got my timing chip removed from my shoe, got my fabulous race medal and then got a HUGE hug from my #1 fan.  Best way to end a race!!!!

I kicked last years time to the curb...and stomped on it.

I have to tell you that it felt amazing!!
I did it!!  :-)
Last year I had a fantastic time because I proved to myself that even without training and having to put other things as a higher priority I could still go out and be active, enjoy the day and be proud of myself for being out there.

This year was about working towards a specific goal and managing to make it happen, in spite of stresses and things that made working out a hard choice to make at the end of the long, tiring day.

Here are my official results from this year:

This was an improvement of 19 minutes and 36 seconds from last year!!  Holy Crap Batman!!  Also, I'm usually one of the last or close to last in my age group.  Being in the middle of the pack for my age group was also pretty cool.  I improved my average pace by 2 minutes 47 seconds a mile!  That is pretty stinking good.

It has been a really long time since I've had a race that put that big of a smile on my face.  When I started thinking about it, the last race that I was this excited about was the Thanksgiving Day run almost two years ago.  Right before I started taking medication to help lower my A1C numbers for pre-diabetes.  I've worked through a lot since that race and it hasn't always been pretty.  I'm exceptionally proud of myself for continuing to work towards becoming a healthier me, inside and out.

I know that not every race is going to feel this good.

I have learned to value it even more when they do because of that.

We had planned on hanging out and watch our friends finish their 50k.  We loaded up and headed to the North Falls so we could see them pass one of the aid stations.  I was able to change out of my wet clothes and get warmed up which was wonderful.

Joe and I stood on the trail with Tony and Trevor and cheered people as they ran by and yakked when there was no runners.  It didn't seem to take long before we saw Josh come running up.  He was struggling a bit but he was still moving along well.  Then later we saw Kristy and she looked great.  They are so badass!  I can't even imagine running that far, let alone have a smile on my face when I see my friends.

After Kristy went by we loaded up again and headed to the finish line.  By now the rain that had held off while I was doing the 7 miler was pouring down.  We set up chairs under one of the big tent areas set up by the race people.  It was great, we had an awesome view of the finish line and we were dry.  More cheering and yakking.  The afternoon passed quickly.  Beers for the guys and cider for me didn't hurt any either.  Joe was driving home so I didn't have to worry about that.

Soon we saw Josh coming across the bridge but it was quite a bit sooner than we had expected him so Joe and Tony had both stepped away and had to come running back to cheer him across the finish.  Kristy was only about 10 minutes behind him and she totally crushed her time from last year!!  AWESOME!!
Tony, Joe and Josh
Pote rocked the 50k!!  Love this lady!!
We hung out for quite awhile with everyone after Josh and Kristy finished and watched more of the 50k runners finish.  It is so cool watching people do something that hard and finish with a smile on their face.  :-)

Joe and I headed home with Josh in tow.  We dropped him off in Stayton where Wendie was waiting to meet us and then we went home.  I had chicken in the crock pot for enchiladas.  I got the chicken shredded and put in tortillas.  Yummy!  That was the best dinner after a long fun day!

The next day we got up so Joe could have his turn.  He was doing the half marathon along with Josh and Wendie.  They were going to ride with us and they brought Kristy along so she could spectate with me.  :-)

Back to Silver Creek Falls we went.  Another beautiful day in the northwest.  A little bit of fog, a little bit of rain and a lot of fall color.

The half marathon started in two waves.  We had friends in the first wave and got to see them start off.  Fifteen minutes later it was time for the second wave to start and Kristy and I cheered our peeps on as they started.

Joe wasn't sure if he was going to be able to do the whole race because his hip has been bothering him.  He was going to get started and see how it went.  If he pulled out we could get him at the North Falls.  We thought that was about mile 8 so we stayed in the car for awhile before heading down.  It didn't take long before we saw people that we had seen after both the guys at the three mile mark.  Oops.  Turns out it was mile 6.  Joe and Josh were long gone.  I figured that Joe must have been feeling okay because otherwise he would have just waited for us to show up if he had decided to stop.

We did get to see Wendie though.  She was struggling with some IT pain but in her usual badass way she was powering through.  It's not like she had run a 7 miler the day before or anything.  :-)

Kristy and I headed back to the finish and set up chairs under a tree by the finish.  We got to see more of our friends finish and it wasn't long before Josh got done and then not long after that came Joe.  Wendie wasn't too much longer after that!  Wow!  So cool to see my hubby and friends working hard and kicking ass.

We got a chance to talk to Gary who runs the organization that puts on the Silver Falls Trail Runs.  It's called Run Wild Adventures.  They do many races all year long, mostly in the fall, winter and spring.  Here's their website if you want to check it out:  He is a great guy and his whole family helps out putting all the races together.  His wife always has a smile on her face and I see her everywhere doing everything with their little boy following along behind.  Gary's parents always are happy to see us.  His mom especially always makes me feel like a rock star and gives me big hugs and tells me she is so proud of me for doing these races.  Can't get much better than that.  She wasn't at the races this weekend but Gary assured me she will be at Shellburg Falls.  I just might have to get two hugs to make up for the one I missed this weekend.  :-)
Gary let us get a selfie with him.  :-)
After a few beers and some hot soup the race peeps changed their clothes to get warmed up and then we loaded up and headed for home.  There was much laughing and giving of shit on the drive home.  Never boring hanging out with this crew.

At home I made up hamburgers and Wendie made some guacamole.  We had a great afternoon hanging out and relaxing after all the hard work of the weekend. And yes, there was more laughter.  My favorite part!!

I've had a lot of discouragement along the way the last couple of years.  But I kept plugging away and working at what I could, when I could.  Sometimes it wasn't much, most of the time it wasn't easy but I didn't give up.  I'm very proud of that.

Now on to the next thing.  Shellburg Falls is in a month.  I have my first Olympic triathlon on the calendar in July.  I will officially sign up next month.  (Gulp!)  It's good to have things that are coming soon to keep my going and to have big goals in the future to scare the crap out of myself.  lol

If things are going the way you want, or you are seeing the progress you think you should don't give up!  It may feel like you are running in place and going nowhere fast but you ARE getting somewhere, even if it's a bit at a time.  That's better than nothing!!  Hang in there! You aren't alone!  You got this.  Maybe not today, or tomorrow or even this year.  But if you keep at it the benefits will start to become more and more apparent!!  Believe me, I know!!

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!!