Tuesday, July 23, 2013

50 for 50

I've had some melancholy moments, lately, and thought of things like The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by T.S Eliot.  Lines that I now realize, having loved them for years, I never really understood:

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,   
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—      
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
That is not it, at all.”

I’m going to turn 50 on August 1, 2013.  A few years ago, I read about someone running 70 on their 70th birthday, was obviously blown away, and wondered to my myself, when a good age to start such a thing would be.  50 seemed like as good a place as anywhere to start.  With my superstar road crew unable to drive yet, I’ve had to figure out how to do it unsupported.  My route will go through Independence, out to Buena Vista and over the river on the ferry.  From there, I’ll make my way up the backside of Liberty Hill and then staying on Liberty into Salem.  My only scheduled break will be at Alcyone at mile 35 for some Coke and maybe some turkey and avocado if I think my stomach can handle it.  After that, over the bridge into West Salem and then a very common 15 miles back to Dallas.

I think I have all of the logistics figured out.  The stretch from the ferry to South Salem is probably my biggest concern.  About 12 miles without any obvious opportunities for water.  Some sketchy shoulders and the only significant hill is also in this section.  That 12 mile stretch is also the only part of the entire route I’ve never run on.

I’m not counting on any needing any supplies from anyone, but if you are in the area on the first and want to drive out to check on me, or run any part of it, let me know.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Tough Break

Memorial Day weekend Jeanne injured her ankle.  She stepped in a trench on the side of the house while helping me with the great patio project.  It looked like a sprain and acted like a sprain.  Even her physical therapist boss said it seemed like a bad sprain.  She spent 5 weeks in a boot, granted a pretty active, on her feet, five weeks, but still in a boot, and it wasn’t getting any better.  So, on the Tuesday before Independence Day she had it x-rayed, and on the day after Independence Day, she learned her fate.  Her heel is fractured.  She is on crutches and will see an orthopedist this week and no driving.  So much for her “Independence” Day.

I have decided to postpone the Run Across Oregon.  We pondered and discussed many “what ifs”, but in the end two thoughts confirmed this decision for me:  

The first, it was already a very selfless act on Jeanne’s part to spend her vacation time following me around central Oregon.  She says she loves crewing me on runs like this and I believe her, but I also know there are plenty of other ways she could imagine spending a vacation.  On journey runs we are usually able to sightsee together, go on short hikes, out to dinner etc to make it feel a little more like a vacation, or at least that’s how I justify it my mind. I can’t imagine doing it if she had to suffer through it just to drive my ass to hotels and to start points.  The best part of a crewed journey run is having my best friend with me.

The second reason is pretty selfish, but no less true.  35 miles a day for 8 straight days in very hot conditions is nothing to be taken lightly.  Under perfect conditions, there will be very difficult times, and thoughts of abandoning the run will enter your head.  If I also know that Jeanne is having a difficult time and is suffering, I fear it would just be too easy for me to convince myself to abandon “for her”.

So, that’s it.  I’ll save this journey for next Summer.  Instead, I’ll begin an annual tradition of running my years in miles on my birthday.  I’ve always wondered when an appropriate time to start this would be, and 50 on 50, August 1 seems perfect.  I will also run a Western States qualifier this fall, and start working towards getting back there.  Last year, I didn’t feel the pull very hard, but this year the lure of Western States really started to haunt me again.  I’m about 90% committed to Le Grizz 50 in Montana in October.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Run Across Oregon T Minus 5 Weeks

If there is one thing I’ve learned from running failures is that it is unwise to not plan.  If there is another one thing I have learned it’s that things will never go as planned.  The trick seems to be knowing when to abandon “the plan” and when to stick with it.  This is where having a crew that really understands you is invaluable.  I can be really stubborn, well all of the time, but really when I’m running.  Especially if the task in front of me is intimidating.  This manifest itself in really stupid ways sometimes like thinking I don’t need to eat or drink.  In the early days of Jeanne crewing for me, she just trusted my judgement (after some debate of course).  As we have gotten better at this we are learning to blend my “how I feel” with her pragmatic observation of “how I look”.  I am completely in awe of people that do long multi day runs with no crew.  I would really like to try it someday, to experience how it changes decision making.  

So, we have a plan, a notebook, the Run Across Oregon Notebook.  A black, three ring binder with maps in it so far.  Before we leave, it will have hotel addresses and phone numbers and a food and drink log.  Despite how enamored both of us are with electronic gadgets, this is something that a notebook just feels really comforting.

A 32 mile run with temps in the 80’s on Saturday was a nice mental warm up (some pun intended) for what I can expect in just 32 more days!