Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Columbia River Marathon Oregon/Beat the Blerch Marathon Washington 2014

 Double state weekend and getting closer to finishing my 50 States. Had no intentions on finishing them this soon and actually it wasn't really ever a goal until I started doing so many marathons out of town during the winter when I was training for my first 50 miler in April of 2012. I was traveling to run marathons for training because it gets so boring to run all those miles by yourself and when I realized I had like 10 states I thought ok...I'll try to do all 50 states before I turn 50....sounded like a challenging enough goal and that would give me 6 years to do 40 more states! Fast forward to now and not only will I finish all 50 states if all goes as planned at the end of the year the Beat the Blerch marathon marked my 75th lifetime marathon/ultra - number 70 since 3 of the 4 orthopedic doctors told me if I continued to run I would need a new knee in the next 2 years. I love proving people wrong! This was going to be a quick trip since it was just me going, my son is back at college so no travel companion. I landed in Seattle and went ahead and stopped at the packet pickup for Beat The was a 4 hour drive from Seattle to Umatilla Oregon and I had plenty of time to get to that packet pickup. I also didnt want to have to hurry to get back the 4 hour drive after running Oregon on Saturday to make it to packet pick up saturday night. The lines were huge already! It took about 45 min or so and I was already worn out. My flight left columbus ohio at 6am so I was up at 3:45 to get to the airport and get through security. Nothing open for breakfast and the layover in atlanta was only 25 minutes - by the time I got off the plane and had to get the train and get to the other gate I barely had time to grab a bag of chex mix. On the plane I got a package of cookies but I wasnt in the mood for a 700 calorie airplane bagel so I hadnt eaten. Once I got through packet pickup and found they oversold parking so I didnt have a parking pass anymore I was frustrated. I met a lady in line who was doing her first half and she also had her parking pass taken away. They couldnt tell if I had one and the emails went out the night before but my phone wont pull up attachments so there was no way to read if I had one or not and they had no way of knowing...was a little bit of a mess and being so tired and hungry wasn't fun. This lady was great....she was frustrated too but walked me a couple blocks and made me get a sandwich before I headed down the road for a 4 hour drive. I was so thankful for that!! The drive was pretty, I could see Mt Rainier before heading toward Oregon and wow was it gorgeous!! There is just something about the mountains and me.
When I arrived in Oregon I got my packet and headed to the hotel and got checked in, I was 3 hours earlier in time with the time zone change but had been up since 3:45 so I was tired!!! I decided to just drive through taco bell since there really wasnt much at all in this town. The run didnt start until 8am and the weather forecast was suppose to be a hot one.
 I arrived at the start and met a couple marathon maniacs, the race started near the dam in Oregon crossed over and into Washington then back across into Oregon. The first 8-9 miles were mostly road and not a whole lot to look at. When the halfers got off that course we headed on to the Lewis and Clark Commemorative trail which ran along the Columbia River, the view was prettier but the sun was getting super hot and the surface we were now running on was sand!! Ankle sucking sand and almost 90 degrees. It was probably almost till we got to mile 23 that we were on this was an out and back but also switch into a single track larger gravel trail for a couple of miles. Here is where we saw what was called Top Hat Rock....that was cool looking!!!
 I was super glad to finish and met Jamila, I know we had run other events together but we just talked in the passing of each other some on Saturday. When I finish being such a late start race my hotel didn't have any sort of late check out especially that late. The thing was we were in the middle of nowhere....even driving over the 4 hours the day before there were barely any gas station pull offs so I was not looking forward to smelling myself for 4 hours. I decided what the heck, I run into the race host hotel and just ask if there was anyway I could pay them to take a shower, she called someone and they had a room for those that were staying there to shower if they chose, AHHHH that was awesome and when I left I thanked her and gave her a $5.00 tip. Sure there are YMCA's that let you shower but there was no YMCA anywhere around, I have showered at truck stops - but again there was hardly any gas stations on the drive over the day before.
Got into Seattle around 8pm on Saturday night, checked into the hotel and got all my stuff layed out for the next morning run. This event didnt start till 9am. I didnt mind the extra sleep but knew it was suppose to be another hot day.
The event was held in Carnation Washington which is located about 35 miles outside of Seattle. I got to the event and met up with a group of maniacs for a pre race photo and Jamile was there.  We then got talking and remembering several races we had run together and comparing out remaining events for the year so we will be seeing each other quite a bit the rest of
the year.  It was on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail system  and was one of the most beauty course I have ran with lush greenery, nice and shaded for the most part. This run was a blast!!! If you have never read the comic from The Oatmeal you must...this is what the event was created off of.

During the run we had nutella sandwiches, magical grape drink, the Blerch literally chasing you telling you how you really need to take a rest,,,,running is bad for you knees, come sit on the couch over here. Yes there were 2 couches out on the course!!!! Sasquatch was even in the woods!!!
around mile 14 or so Jamile and I would play leap from and at that point I met a younger girl from LA doing her first marathon, she was struggling and was in a walk pace and got listening to Jamile and I talking about what event we had left and discussing how that sand sucked the day before and this girl then became amazed and wanted to hang around and here about our stories and know what she really is capable of doing if she wanted to. Jamile would go on there and there and the younger girl would stay with me....I set my watch to a 3 to 1 run walk ratio and we did that for awhile and then switched on down to a 2 to 1 ....she hung in there and kept thanking me that she would have walked if it wasnt for running into me helping encourage her....this is what it's all about!!! We finally dropped it down to 1:30 to1 and that actually became a perfect pace. I dont recall how many miles were left and I hadnt ordered any HTFU wristbands in forever but I had mine on and at this point I knew she needed this so much more then I did so I took off my Road ID and I told her the story about how I give these out and I can always order more but I felt she really needed this at this time...she was thrilled and yes she totally needed that!!! We got to the finish and I hanging back you run on because this is your first marathon and you dont want me in your finish photo!!! We got to the finish and I grabbed a blueberry muffin and water and she grabbed some cake. She introduced me to her mother and I was just to thrilled for her!!!

I headed back to my hotel room and it was about room had not even been touched??? So I went ahead and showered, grabbed my AX card, room key and $40 cash out of my clutch and headed to the Jaks for an amazing dinner then to the space needle. When I got back to the room I started packing  as I wasnt sure if I was going to drive to Rainier or just check out the market and hang around Seattle, my flight wasnt leaving till 11:55pm but I didnt know if I wanted to drive 2:45 min to the mountain drive around there then drive back 2:45 then sit on the place all night and tomorrow morning and drive home 2 hours after that!!! I got up and the maid service now is knocking on my door at 7:30am?? seriously yesterday you hadnt even been here until sometime after 4:30pm now you are knocking at 7:30am!! I ignored it and headed out around 9ish. I went the to market first and had some great pastries at LaPanier and cheese at Beechers, then watched the fish throwers, saw gum alley and just checked it all out. The flowers were absolutely beautiful but I had nowhere to keep them or enjoy them  After hanging out there for awhile I head to Alki Beach and just walked around the loop there and on the beach for a couple hours, had pizza for lunch and then decided to head back to the market and grab some clam chowder for dinner before heading taking my rental car back and then sit and wait in the airport.
A typical weekend marathon excursion always has some sort of adventure and this one did too!! After finishing a bowl of clam chowder I watched the beautiful sunset from the pier! I sat for over an hour just watching each step.
I think this was my favorite shot when the sailboat was dead center as the sun was getting closer go down.  I headed towards my car but went up the wrong street so decided I still had plenty of time and just walked around some....I had to go to the bathroom and stopped into a restaurant, I totally forgot my phone was in my back pocket and bent over to put the seat cover on pulled down my pants and in the toilet my phone dropped....I grabbed it as fast as possible and it already was down to 20% battery life so I was really nervous...sometimes when you plug in a wet phone it fries them immediately. I dried it off as best I could with my shirt and toilet paper and the hand blower and when I got to the car I went ahead and plugged it in. If would charge some them kick off, I could pull up data. When I arrived at the rental return I turned in my car and got on the shuttle to the airport...once I got inside the airport I got my clutch out of my backpack to get my ID and my ID is not there!! Im in a panic but trying to stay calm....The last time I had it was when I checked into the hotel because I didnt bring it with me to run nor did I have my clutch with me for any other time.  I looked up the phone number and tried to call the hotel - I couldnt hear it ring and it kept saying connecting. I tried several times and once it showed like someone was on the other end but I couldnt hear them. It is 9pm MT and midnight at home and I had to call my mother. I called and of course could not hear her but it looked like she had picked up so I was explaining that I had a little issue and I dropped my phone in the toilet so I cant hear her...if she can hear me I can get data service and to please message me on FB. After telling her on the phone where I stayed and what time I checked in on Saturday night and the details I called back one more time to be sure she answered and I wasnt talking to a machine. Seconds later she was on FB messaging me and getting all the details. The hotel claimed they gave it back to me and they did not have it but their is nowhere that I could have put it? I had a blue dress on without pockets and all I have is a very small clutch that I carry and didnt even have it with me until I left the hotel on Monday morning. I didnt need my ID for anything after I checked into the hotel so therefore I never checked to see if it was there.  At this point I decided it was time to go to security and see what could be done. They said hello how are you and I said actually not too good....then proceeded to explain what had happened. I said I could have my mother go get my passport and fax it to them but they said that wouldnt work. After waiting a little while and speaking with the supervisor letting me know of other types of identification that they could use - turned out if I had prescription medication on me and then my credit cards, insurance cards etc then that would work. I still can't understand why someone making a copy of my passport and faxing it is less creditable then the forms of ID they accepted with no photo? I mean if I was a terrorist wouldn't I most likely knock someone out and steal there bags rather then have someone take the time to put a fake photo on my passport and fax it in? Or create fake photos on my smart phone and different social medial outlets that have my actual name and photo? I'm glad I got through security but it still baffles me what was acceptable.

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