This amazingly fun trip to Ashland, Oregon, was made possible by these three awesome guys’ company and my driving (90% of the roundtrip… grrr), The one on the far left is a co-worker I suckered into traveling here to run, by way of Mumbai and Mexico City. Our only group photo in my possession was taken at Puffs :)
Driving!!! Swooped Mr. Mumbai from a Bart station, and we were on the way. Notable stops include:
- a boring rest stop
- an interesting rest stop (with views of a large grassy valley and mountains and a scary rattlesnake alert sign)
- a stop on the gravel shoulder of an off-ramp for Weed, CA for a photo session
- our lovely hotel for the trip (Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites)
- House of Thai for dinner (where a sign to keep children in check was posted near the door and where we were then accordingly accosted by a loud, object-throwing child of a hippie mother)
- Hotel breakfast – so many eggs. they also had a pancake machine. only things that could’ve made it better would’ve been sausage and bacon.
- Ashland’s Shakespeare festival gift shop, where I purchased a decorative rock for my boss lady and a cooling bandana with colorful peace signs on it for SOB
- Ice cream stop
- Hat store, where Mr. Mumbai snagged the last blue cooling bandana available and where the rest of us tried on hats
- Book shop, where the bookshop lady prided herself on being put on the Dept. of Homeland Security watchlist. Her shop’s specialty was banned books. She also had nice antiques in there, like an old wood case phone.
- Rogue Valley Runners running store – Mr Mumbai and I picked up our race shirts, Mr. Locks picked up a nike running shirt and Mr. Fro got a sticker and a patch. Here, I sadly discovered that dropping down to 50K meant I had to buy an SOB mug/stein separate from my race fee, and of course wouldn’t be getting a 50M mug/stein. Mr. Mumbai also tried on some stunning, amber-reflective shades. We all suggested he not buy them.
- We spent what felt like a good hour at Paddington Station, an adorable Ashland shop self-termed an ‘eclectic emporium’. And it most certainly was. I will not post photos of the many cute/clever/intricate/artful items because you just need to go see for yourself.
- Mr. Mumbai calmly refused my desire to explore more eclectic emporium type shops left on the street, and we decided upon our dinner location. We then realized we’d left the car in its spot for too long, and returned to find a ticket on the windshield. It was $11. We paid it with smiles on our faces.
- Pasta PIatti: Mr. Mumbai, fettuccine alfredo. Mr. Locks, polpette, Mr. Fro, clam linguine, me, tortellini.
- Puffs Smoke Shop: fancy Bics, fancy wood-carved lighters, psychedelic mushroom books, papers. Bob Marley poster for Mr. Fro and some new connects in Oregon.
- Early turn-in was prescribed all-around because of the 4:30am wake-up call, but Mr. Locks & Fro ended up with less-than-desired amount of sleep.
- Amazing volunteers. Great organization. Breathtaking views at the start. Saw Mr. Mumbai off with the 50M start, and upon reflection, he is just a solid guy, he never loses his cool or reveals that he is perturbed by anything. I was jittery the whole night before and I wasn’t even trying to tackle the 50M anymore.
- A lot of pacing, some chatting with Mr. Locks & Fro, some petting of dogs, a lot of slathering-on of SPF. Last minute decision to go with just a sports bra and the Salomon Sense hydration vest over it. Might as well list the stuff I used below:
- nike tailwind12 shades / brooks bra / oiselle shorts / balegas / saucony peregrine 4s
- arctic bandana
- Salomon S-lab Sense Set (do not recommend, btw. the soft flasks are fricking impossible to get back into the vest pouches)
- Garmin forerunner 920xt (amazing watch. i am seriously considering getting this and selling off my forerunner 10)
- kinesys spray
- Drink mix: skratch labs (1 packet used), then GU brew rest of the way
- Sugary Fuels: skratch labs chews (1 packet used), Honey Stinger waffle (honey) (3 brought, 0 consumed), raisins
- Savory Fuels: jerky (not bringing again, too salty, didn’t even help with my sausage finger problem), almonds
- Succeed salt caps (didn’t bring, but consumed 3 from various aid stations)
- And then I was off on my 50K!
The SOB 50K is the most physically challenging thing I’ve undertaken. I only glanced at the trail map and elevation profile, as it’s always better to not know what to expect and be mentally bogged-down by the knowledge. And it was certainly true in this case. Approximately mile 21-25 were uphill. Almost all uphill, with some extremely short sections of semi-flat. It almost broke me… it was the first time I’d ever felt that extent of emotion during a race. I didn’t even want to cry, but I came so close. During that section, this woman I’d been trading places with (we’d passed each other a few times, sometimes by as much as a half hour or more, it felt like, and we’d also run together for about 30 minutes as well) caught up to me (again) and bounded so far ahead that I couldn’t see her (again). I felt really disappointed in myself… And when I did hobble along, I couldn’t go as well as I could because it felt like a bee had stung me on my left thigh (I found out later that I’d crapped out my IT band a bit, and my knee was starting to give out near the end).
After a lot of suffering, the ground started to mildly level out again, and there were also some descents. That first woman was nowhere in sight, but I’d caught up to another woman. We ran into the last aid station together… and it had the most delicious thing ever! Little cups of Coke. And I hate Coke! :)
I ran out of the last aid station ahead of the other woman, and last her for good. Over the last few miles, I reeled the first woman I mentioned back in, and genuinely told her… see you on the next uphill. But I was much closer to the end than I’d thought. Despite the increasing pain in my left thigh and decreasing ability to bend and rotate my left knee naturally, I pressed on. Running the last uphill was draining, but exhilarating. I kept looking back to make sure I was still beating the two women I’d passed. Just ‘cuz. The finish was super chill… you ran up that hill, you passed a clearing, you passed a long parking lot area where people are camped out, sitting outside RVs and vans and Subarus, looking up from grills and books and beers to cheer, then you ran into the finish area: ‘You are an SOB Finisher!’ banner, a horde of fold-out chairs next to the finishing chute, and tables with race swag behind the finishing chute (photo of trail feet and race swag below).
The only thing I am missing is that SOB mug/stein. I don’t want to buy one. I want the badass 50M one. I am already feenin for next year’s race. Fucking achilles better not mess with me.
Mr. Locks and Mr. Fro had great 15K runs. Locks really enjoyed his accomplishment and wore his finisher medal proudly (and into a pizza place (Martolli’s) later that day). Mr. Mumbai was pulled at about 45K into his 50M for not meeting the time cut-off, but I am still wickedly proud of how far he got. I’m quite sure he’d made it into California (if you look at the course map above. the 50M crosses into California!) by that point. It was his first ever DNF, but it sounds like he wants to come back next year and get it done, for real. I do too.
I finished in 7:49:23. Not nearly good enough to complete the 50M. Much training required in the next year.
- Hotel breakfast. It is amazing how happy breakfast makes Mr. Locks & Fro. We took extra hardboiled eggs for the journey.
- We headed back toward downtown Ashland, and found a lovely little stairway down to a creek. After crossing a wooden bridge, we came upon a nice alley of booths and tables of various artistry. Jewelry, photography, woodcarvings, and the people who’d made the SOB mug/steins were there too.
- Spent a good deal of time at one of the shops there with good beer and food. We also played Cards Against Humanity, and were served brats and pot pies by ‘wenches’ (they go hard with the Shakespeare stuff in Ashland).
- We then left… :( Stopped in Weed, CA for some goodies and gas.
Running in Distrito Federal (Mexico City)
It is pretty unfair that this doesn’t have its own post. I might break this off into an individual post, but I don’t want to do that right now.
Upon arriving at the hotel, I’d received a care package from Mario, who organizes the Mexico City Hash House Harriers (running group with branches around the world in different cities).
The next day, I was out for a run with Mario early in the morning. Saw Bosque Chapultepec and one of its lagos (lakes).
One of the many beautiful pieces along the Paseo de la Reforma.
Second day, the group gathered was a lot larger. Halfway through though, we lost Mario (on bike in the photo) and most of the group returned to the hotel, but three of us (Mr. Mumbai and Mr. Hat and I) decided to press onto the Bosque. We ended up seeing Mario at the entryway! We checked out the Castillo Chapultepec together and split off.
On Sunday (7/19), I ran to the park again because I’d heard that the city closes down the Paseo. It was fantastic. There were volunteers helping close down the streets, and guiding the walkers, bikers, runners, people with strollers, people with inline skates. There was a stage set up at the side of the road complete with loudspeakers, and a dance group teaching a crowd below of toddlers to seniors dance moves to J-Lo’s I’m Into You. There were people giving bike lessons. There were people setting up obstacle courses for roller-bladers. There were people demonstrating capoeira moves. Inside the park, there were people who’d set up lawn chairs near a totem, and also nets on the lawns surrounding it for badminton and volleyball. Near the lake, there were booths lining the walkway with food and trinkets.
If ever you get the chance, go to Ashland and/or Mexico City and go for a run!!