Smith Rock Ascent Race Report

With Mommy’s due date nearing and Daddy’s recent kidney removal plan, I felt like I needed a race. Also, it was time for Mommy and Daddy to crew me. After a lot of thinking, I decided to ask Mommy to be my crew leader. I just felt like I have been crewing for her my whole life. She needed to step up.

I just wanted to be comfortable racing so I decided to wear my brown pants and my cotton t-shirt. For shoes, my crew did not let me wear my purple sandals and I did not like this. I felt like purple sandals were the right shoes for me, but my crew had different ideas.

Race registration was great. It went really smoothly. They had IPads at registration, but “Super Why” wasn’t on so I did not see the point. I was doing my warmup with another competitor in the kids climbing area talking strategy and Daddy just showed up with a number. I didn’t want to put holes in my shirt so after I yelled, my crew agreed to put it on my side.

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With the number crisis averted I had to go to the bathroom. I’m not sure if it was the nerves or if I just wanted to check out the bathroom. Bathroom are really cool. They all have sinks! I went with my crew leader. Such an amazing crew leader, she even went in the stall with me.

After the bathroom I really was having second thoughts and I considered not starting. I just wasn’t feeling it. I didn’t want to miss snack time and the car seat was pretty tight on the drive out.

My crew talked me up again and I was ready to go. I just was having trouble with my number though. It was really limiting my hip mobility. I asked my crew to move it to the front of my race kit. They are amazing. Those pins are sharp!

I got a little distracted at the start.
So I was worried I would have to start it the back. So while the race director was giving final instructions I made sure to push my way to the front. I took off quickly, but I wanted to save myself so I dialed back a bit. I knew in my heart the pace was to fast and carnage would ensue.

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On my way to the start!

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In the first 19 feet I was feeling great, but I knew I was going to need help when I got to 55 feet and after about 35 feet of soul searching I ask my crew leader pace me. Those last 35 feet were some of the toughest racing I have done this year and possibly my entire life. I was so happy to have a pacer!

With my pacer I just focused on her and she pulled me through. I just told myself to keep smiling even though I was really really hurting inside!

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So the field really started to spread out quickly! It was like a track meet. There was such solid competition this year. I got to the turn around and the volunteers were AMAZING! I felt such great support! I knew the second half was all down hill so I was super relieved to get to the to the halfway point.

At the turn around I had to stop and check my shoes. They are blue Velcro with polka dots. They have only been on the market for only 25 years. My pacer came through again and made sure the Velcro was solidly in place!

After my brief break, my crew had me in and out, I was feeling awesome again. My pacer was setting a daring pace and I just needed to hold on!

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I totally did! Then after another 46 feet I saw the finish line. I hadn’t felt that happy since breakfast when I got a piece of toast with the crust already cut off.

I got a little off course towards the end, but again my pacer came through. I am telling you she was amazing. She pushed me through, literally!

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After the race festivities were second to none. I received the greatest race medal in the world. I have worn it for three days straight. I was kind of tired after the run. So I just passed out. I was so spent I didn’t even take a bath (we don’t have bubbles anyway).

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After I woke up my crew decided I better get some recovery food in me right away. I must have had a little low blood sugar still because the only thing I wanted was an ice cream cone. My crew even paid for it. So awesome!

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Upon returning my legs felt a little tight so I decided to do an easy spin just to loosen thing up.

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Huge thanks for reading. This was a big PR for me. We had 6 feet of climbing for over 700 feet of running. I think I am going to stick to the shorter stuff for a couple of weeks before ramping up for my next race.

(On a serious note. The Nordell’s are great and we really enjoyed the run last weekend even though we couldn’t race. Special thanks to Todd for putting on another stellar race. See you soon. Stay tune for another blog post. We will be updating in 2015!)

Just Maybe

As many are, I have been shaken by the events a couple time zones away. A place in which I do not come from, have no reference to its location and have never been in contact with any individual from that now hallow ground.

But, I think we create a bond with a place. I think a place as simple as a school means much more. Each of us have walked through the halls, talked with teachers and remembered the times we spent in these buildings. Maybe schools represent a place of trust, maybe caring, or maybe when our greatest treasures get dropped off each morning we feel secure knowing they will be safe and cared for.

Those feeling and beliefs were violated.

I felt many emotions thinking about that far away place. Shock, deep sadness, anger… One emotion I did not feel was surprise.

We love guns. Let’s face it. Guns are everywhere. Guns are exciting. They make you feel powerful. I have shot guns a time or two. It is enjoyable. Not sure where the bullets went, definitely not at the intended destination 🙂

I have seen guns in other places as well. In the backpack of a 5th grader as we walked together down the hall. We sat together for a long time that day. I will never forget watching my principal’s hand shake as she attempted to write or sounds of sirens and the relief when the police officer found the other gun hidden in the bushes on the playground.

You never forget the sounds of shots as you walk your class to lunch. We did not stop to look. I was in front of the line and you keep walking and you open the door and you push the kids through. Then you turn and yell at the 6th graders streaming out the doors to go back and they listen. You follow them and they get scared. They start to yell and another teacher blows the whistle she has around her neck. “Get DOWN!” and they listen. You look around and no longer see any children and you lock yourself into a room and wait and listen and hope.

When it is over you are thankful. Thankful only the man outside the fence was hurt and the other man did not get away. You are glad the preschoolers having a Thanksgiving picnic were not hit by a stray and you wonder why they had to see such a sight.

Just maybe I am not alone in these stories from my place of work. These stories which were not in the headlines and only in the local paper mentioning lockdown and guns.

Maybe I am an outlier with these experiences. Maybe they feel distant now that I live so far away. Maybe I write about them now because of that little town which will always grieve. I do not know. But, I admit, I do think about these events frequently as I go through my work day. Working with our greatest treasures and remembering they are the best we have. Our most valuable resource.

Maybe it is just me in hoping that maybe these toys will go away. Just maybe none of this will ever happen again. Just maybe we can throw them all away…

Winter is here…

I guess the proof was the white stuff on the porch. The urge to gather fire wood is a good indication. Four loads gathered to this point.

A bit frustrated about my Mtn. bike. Recently, I/we could not get the rear wheel true. Whenever I put force into the machine the brake would rub. While getting my bike serviced. It was discovered a crack in the drop out. Having a crack in a carbon frame is bad. Sent the frame to Felt for warranty.

This is where it gets good. I was told by the Felt rep that I put my rear wheel on with so much force I cracked the frame. So basically when I was putting on my rear wheel I was slamming the wheel into the frame.

“Okay, your joking right.”

“No, we see this all the time.”

“You think I cracked my frame installing the wheel.”

“Yes.”

“I wish I was strong enough to do that. Does that seem logical to you?”

silence… “We can offer you a replacement frame for $946.00 plus shipping.”

So it looks like my mountain biking days are coming to an end for a while. My bike lasted about one season. Sucks…

On a much brighter note. Really enjoyed the Silver Fall marathon last weekend. Got to duke it out with Meissner. Spent the day with many friends, but the pizza and beer with Sean, Chris, Darla, Ash and Ry Ry once we got home was the highlight.

Can’t let you go without a couple Ryah pictures of course. Not the best quality, but the kid loves to read.

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Racing, Driving and other things

Okay here is the plan:

-Ashley and Ryah go to Corvallis on Wednesday
-Vicki (Grandma) and Ryah drive Ashley to the airport Thursday morning
-Ash flies to Ontario where Wendy gets Ashley and drives to the Cuyamaca 100k-40 miles east of San Diego
-Ryah stays with Vicki in Corvallis
-Josh drives to Corvallis after work on Friday
-Josh and Vicki do the Condor 25k Saturday morning
-Ashley does the Cuyamaca 100k
-Ryah stays at the race start with babysitter provided by race director (how sweet is that!)
-Josh and Vicki finish race
-Josh drives to Portland to pick up Peter (Grandpa) returning from Michigan
-Ashley is still racing
-Ashley finishes race and camps for the night
-Wendy and Ashley drive back to Wendy’s
-Josh drive back to Sisters
-Ryah stays in Corvallis
-Vicki drive to Portland
-Peter spends day with Ryah

You get the idea…

Ashley will get home at some point, but until then it will take three people to replace her and figure out where the baby wipes are!

With a weekend of racing over, it seems all three members of the family are suffering from sore quads. For me, the Condor 25k was the culprit.  The race went off without a hitch in its first year. The Corvallis gang led by Gabs and Clem seem to be making race organization look easy.  I am so thankful for Gabs arranging a babysitter for us so we could all come and participate.  So wonderful!

For Ryah, working on figuring out how to walk in Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.  Lots of practice this weekend.  The first steps are coming soon, but till then I watch her poor quads shake as they get stronger.

Ashley’s quads took a beating at the Cuyamaca 100k.  According to reports, the same great race atmosphere and race organization I experience in Oregon was had at the Cuyamaca 100k . Another exciting first year event!

(For the record those are not her Uggs! I bought her a pair of the same color, but they are the low cut version!)

For me the Condor 25k went well.  I ran really hard.  This was a difficult race for me to go too.  I was excited to run, but it was a memorial run for my friend and a friend to many of us, Dave Bateham. I have not had many friends die due to my age, I suppose.  I don’t wish it upon anyone to have a memorial run for a friend.

During the week I kept thinking of the great memories I have with Dave in the mix.  I will never forget the year Dave and Erik came to Big Horn.  They drove an insane amount of miles  to pace and crew.

Also, the time we were running around Mt. Hood.  We came to a washout and we all headed down to the river past the trail closed sign.

Got to the river and looked up at a long slope we needed to scramble to continue down the trail.  About a half an hour later I was sitting at the top of the climb waiting for Dars, Ash and a couple of others including Dave to get to the top.  Dave was above Ash and kicked a 16 inch boulder loose and I watched as it bounce down the hill towards Ashley.  Ash saw it coming and pressed her body tight against the slope  and the rock hit above Ash and from my perspective bounce over her body and down to the river.

Yet, my fondest memory with Dave was the last.  At Waldo, right after Ryah was born.  I swear, Dave held Ryah all day and I just remember enjoying his presence and his calm happiness that day.   I enjoyed sitting in the sun with my friend for hours watching people finish.  I was thankful he was there and I was thankful he helped me with my newborn daughter.  I was scared to bring Ryah to the races and didn’t know how she would do.  But, of course, all our friends were there to provide a helping hand.  That is what Dave did.  Be there. Help and stay till the end.

So this Saturday, when I was giving it all I had after aid station #1 I felt an intense wave of emotion come up inside of me and I got a bit teary eyed as I ran.  Then I felt like, possibly, a hand gently pushed me in the back as I raced.

I thought it might be Dave, with me for a moment.  Giving me a helping hand.

I miss my friend.

Waldo Trip!

Another weekend is upon us and I was feeling a twinge of guilt for not updating my blog. Of course it is completely selfish to blog, but whatever. I seem to be liking it.

Last weekend we went to Waldo Lake for a weekend of camping and running. As a bonus we borrowed a buddies paddle boards. This was very enjoyable on the clear waters of Waldo Lake. Chris and I got a little over our heads in the chop on the open water, but were fine.

Other than getting a little lost on my run, I tried to run a loop that was not a loop, (very typical Josh move) It was a great little trip! I also made it back on time from my run.

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The girls demonstrating paddle board prowess!

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Ry Ry wanting to go for a ride.

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Like a PRO!

Camping soothes my soul and brings me to a place of balanced priorities, relaxation and interconnectedness. Thanks for reading.

An Evening Picnic

After work we piled into the car and took a jaunt up to Suttle Lake. It rained ash and burn pine needles most of the day from the Pole Creek Inferno. It felt good to fill my lungs with clean air rather than breathing a campfire.

Met Peter at the lake and Ry Ry fell asleep in the car on the way out so Ash and I took the opportunity to take the scenic 5k run around the lake. (Peter watched Ryah)

I am always struck by the beauty of Suttle Lake when it is still. With just a bit of haze lingering from the fire, the lake looking like a reflecting pool with small ripples where fish were rising. The backdrop for our family picnic could not have been better.

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It turned out to be a very nice evening.

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Pole Creek Week

This fire seems to be taking more and more of my thoughts. I have continued to workout in the smoke. This morning was by far the worse. Driving through town at 8:00 AM I had to use my lights with very poor visibility.

With Ashley in Corvallis I had a big workout weekend with a 20 mile run and 2200 yard swim Saturday. Today, Sunday, I went up to Swampy Snow Park in Bend and put in 4.5 hours on the Mtn bike and finished off the day with an hour run with Winter and Black Butte Porter.

Getting back to the fire. I have stolen some photos of what has been been going on in the neighborhood.

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The amount of smoke is quite amazing!

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Off Three Creeks Road. This bike ride won’t be the same for a long time. Enjoyed skiing up this way too. It is seeing some changes.

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It looks like a movie to me.

I was thinking about the fire today and I think what amazes me is how powerless it makes me feel. I struggle with the fires power and how is seems so violent and destructive. I realize it is a part of the natural process (sort of, not sure it is suppose to make trees explode), but in some ways I feel sad because of the beauty lost and the enjoyment I had in this area. I really enjoyed a backroad mountain bike ride which now goes through the heart of the fire. I actually did the ride with Cotner the day before the fire started.

What will be will be and positive will come from this too! Acceptance of things out of my control are not always easy.