Yes. Yes I am.
If I ended this post with that statement I would disappoint a great many of you. Truthfully I sum up the weekend with the title of this post and be satisfied. Like after Thanksgiving dinner. But there is a story to tell. I have been overwhelmed by how many of you have come along for the ride, even those of you who ran in Boston on Monday. Even in my darkest moment my thoughts to many of you individually. Thank you for running with me in spirit.
*WARNING* This will be a detailed report. Everything will be included. *WARNING*
Thursday morning the family broke habit and stopped for breakfast on the way school - me, Andria and the kids. I really wanted to spend a moment with them before heading off on my adventure. It was nice seeing them off to school with Andria for a change. The trip to Charleston was uneventful, save for the stop for a sandwich for hitting the airport. That morning I received a tee shirt via FedEx and immediately put it on. When we walked in the restaurant I caught a dude in a silent chuckle and remembered the shirt. It became the mantra for the weekend.
It was a long haul to Portland via Houston, TX. One highlight was meeting a guy on the flight to Houston that once met Dean Karnazes and his parents at an event. Finally limited into the hotel at 1am PT. That would be 4am for my East Coast body clock.
Friday was a whirlwind. Debbie texted a time and location to meet up for the ride to Port Gamble. I had time to kill and set out to acquaint myself with Portland. Voodoo Doughnuts - yes, the "magic" is in the hole. Hobos - hat is sadder than a homeless dog? Not a stray dog, but rather a dog belonging to a homeless person. Seems so much more disheartening. Rain - lots of rain.
Debbie found me at the Washington Park station and off we went to Trader Joe's for last minute provisions. Then back to Washington Park for a 4 mile hike on muddy trails (with only one pair of jeans I wore that mud home to South Carolina). From there Debbie's husband joined us for the ride out to Terri's house. Terri agreed (for no other apparent reason than her love for Debbie) to drive Debbie, Jodi and myself to Port Gamble and work as our crew and backup pacer. Debbie and I both planned to go the full 100 miles, Jodi jumped up to the 100mi only three days prior to leaving for the race.
Due to Friday afternoon traffic we left Portland 90 minutes late. Terri's sweet new car was already on its way to being trashed. And it was overstuffed. Debbie and I shared the backseat. However we could only see each other if we leaned into the front headrests. Overstuffed.
Jodi reserved a hotel room (villas were not available. something about a tiger or cougar) and we settled in after a quick stop for sushi and a beer.
Saturday morning we were awake early and hit the Twitter pretty quickly. We were at most 15 minutes away and quickly set out. Camp still had to be set up.
Start/finish area. Vrrrry wet.
Yes, a bear does shit in the woods. Unless it wanders into camp.
Found high ground on the moor. Surrounded by swamp on all sides.
The hill which runners approach the finish line is behind the truck at the right.
The finish line.
After setting up the camp, with the help of Dre, Debbie's Canadian friend, we ambled to camp HQ for pre-race instructions. Fifty-five runners were there for 50mi, 100k or 100mi. Race rules allowed entrants to drop back to a shorter distance if necessary (foreshadowing). At eight o'clock the starter lady shouted something and we were off.
The course is a 12.5 mile loop. It is a combination of gravel service road and single track trail. Port Gamble in on the Puget Sound west of Seattle, WA. And it was all wet. Rain had fallen for two weeks solidly. Slop awaited us.
Coming soon - Chapter Two/Chasing the Lumberjack...