Longest Run in 2013 & Bridge Moved!

Last Saturday, with a few girlfriends, I tackled 9.5 miles in below freezing temperatures.  The run was on a momentous day – the Sellwood Bridge in Portland was being moved to make way for construction of a new bridge.  We started our run at the park near the base of the bridge to get a glimpse of the beginning of the momentous move.

Ominous foggy morning...
Foggy morning…

We took a peek at the beginning of our run to check progress (very minimal at 8am – we don’t think they had started moving yet), and we were off!  I was a little nervous about doing this run; I have not run more than 8.5 miles in over three years, so in my mind, this was going to be a pretty serious physical challenge. Deciding to brave cold, and numb toes, I wore my Vibram Komodosport LS (now KMD Sport LS) because my experience with them on long runs has been fantastic.  I have felt no knee pain the entire time I have been wearing them, and the only discomfort has been the cold on my feet (which I found through experimentation, I experience the same numbness with a regular shoe if it is very cold out, as well).  My toes were only numb for the first mile this week!  The body sure does know how to adapt.

Along our route on Saturday, we saw some pretty spectacular nature scenes:

Frozen spider web!
Frozen spider web!
Beautiful parks...
Beautiful iced parks…

We entered into some farm country along the last leg of our path before turn around; we saw horses, heard some crows, and to our right we were blessed with a lot of foliage to gaze into (the left was a somewhat busy road).

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Out on the newly paved path to the 4.75mile mark!

At our turn around, we took a little carbohydrate in gel form.  We each had a different variety: Clif Shot, Gu, and Honey Stinger, which we followed with a sip of water and headed back.  The first half of the run felt like quite some distance, probably due to the frequent mild uphills on the “out” portion of our jaunt, which, incidentally made the return “back” much more speedy.

Once we returned to the park, site of the start of our run, and viewing area for the Sellwood Bridge move, the fog had cleared a bit, and there was quite a gathering of folks to watch the momentous move.  We figured they may have moved the bridge 6-12 inches since we left (it was hard to tell a difference at that point).  In the end it was a success!  (You can read about it here or here).

Watching and waiting to see the bridge move.
Watching and waiting to see the bridge move.
A beautiful, crisp morning!
A beautiful, crisp morning!

Post-run, I felt great, and hungry!  We went to The Hazel Room on Hawthorne for brunch.  Great atmosphere, good coffee, fantastic food.  Sunshine was pouring in the window of this little tea-house and it was the perfect place to celebrate a successful 9.5 mile run!

Delicious breakfast of chilli, fried egg, and cornbread at
Delicious breakfast of chilli, fried egg, and cornbread.  Yum!

I am unfortunately missing the long run today with my friends as I am out-of-town on vacation, and coincidentally, came down with a cold as soon as I arrived in (lately not so sunny) California. Sleep, rest, and recuperation are on the menu for me here, but I plan to jump back in the shoes and hit the pavement next weekend.

To the Saturday’s Run group, I hope you all have a great run!  See you next weekend!

with Joy in running,
Alaina

Saturday Run Adventures

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Loved this early kick of motivation from Runnersworld.com

A few years ago, a coworker friend of mine started organizing long runs on Saturdays.  As a somewhat avid runner at that point in time, I joined up and was fairly consistent with my attendance.  On an exceptionally nice day, when I was feeling not as adequate a runner, I joined the Saturday crew for an 8 mile run.  I had fallen off the “runner” wagon, and had not been running as frequently, so by the time we had started our return leg of the out-and-back, I was really hearing my knee pain talk.  My brain was shouting to take it easier, my mind was set on keeping up, and the pain in my knee finally caused a limp I could not control.  I was surprised by a screaming tendon and frustratingly uncontrollable tears and was forced to walk the last 2.5 miles to our starting location, where my friends awaited my return.

Ever since that day, I have been afraid of running more than eight miles.  I let this one event become my crutch, and clung to that experience as if it would not alway haunt me, but that each run exceeding 7.99 miles would undoubtably achieve the same result as that single, excruciating experience.

Then something amazing happened.  After doing a solo experiment of 6.5 miles the last weekend of December, I chose to go for a long run – 8.3 mi with my Saturday Run pals the first weekend of January… and I had no pain.  I was ecstatic!  Not only did my knee not hurt, but I was able to sprint the last couple of blocks.  I have signed myself up as a regular part of the Saturday Run crew again, and after last week’s run of 8.5 mi, tomorrow we’ll conquer 9.5 miles.

Last weekend, the run was so well planned, and the scenery so diverse, it felt much shorter than 8.5miles.  We started in Willamette Park and headed across the Sellwood Bridge (last weekend before they move the bridge).  It was a beautifully foggy day.

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After a short jaunt through the neighborhood we made our second crossing of the bridge, back up to the road and into River View Cemetery.  Up, up, and up the hill we went!

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After cresting the hill, we cheered for each other as we ran through the gate at the top as if we were finishing a race.  Turning back toward the hill, this time pointing downward, we passed the bagpiper who was warming up for a ceremony, and headed back down the hill at a nice clip toward the Park.  The combination of cool foggy air and the ease of downhill running made many a finger turn to ice despite our accelerated pace.  In the end we came around the bend, and it was once again a delight to have finished a long run with a great group of ladies.

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After last week’s run, I know I can make it 9.5 miles tomorrow, but I have to admit, I am a little nervous.
But I think that’s a good thing.  🙂
Happy Running, all you Saturday long run Adventurers!
~Alaina