Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Archive for June, 2008

Bunchgrasser’s quote of the day

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 30, 2008

“Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage”

-George Patton

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My Pacific Crest Half Marathon personal results

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 30, 2008

Ok, I’d like to write that I had a fabulous race this past weekend at the Pacific Crest Half Marathon in Sunriver, but that would not be an accurate representation of what actually happened. The truth is that I woke up in my Bend, OR hotel at 5:00am on race morning with stomach cramps and other assorted maladies. My condition unfortunately hadn’t improved much by the time the race started.

Now, I could have made the decision to skip the race, vowing to run another day when I felt better. But that would have been way too smart, beneficial and logical for a guy like me. I do have a history of making poor decisions out of sheer stubbornness. And, naturally I had to complete the race once I started to avoid the dreaded “DNF”.

Anyway, back to the race. As I left the starting area I kept my pace pretty slow. I was feeling pretty tentative and wasn’t sure how things were going to go. In truth, I was just hoping there would be a portable toilet at the 1 mile marker. I’ll spare everyone any further details, but let’s just say that I was well off my normal pace for the entirety of the race. According to my Garmin, I finished with a 2:06:xx. Official results haven’t been posted online as of yet.

I also noticed the effects of the higher elevation. At more than 4000 feet in elevation, Sunriver has thinner air than I’m used to in Portland. It wasn’t a huge difference, but I was huffing & puffing much earlier in the race than I would normally expect. I experimented with slower, deeper breaths which seemed to help.

The course around Sunriver was amazing! In fact, it was hands down my favorite of all the races that I’ve done. The first part of the course meanders through tall pines and juniper providing lots of shade. The ever-present crisp smell of sage jolts the senses. There were people stationed at nearly every cross street cheering everyone on. I even ran by several deer feeding along side the paved trail. The second half of the race takes you out into the sun along the river and near the stables & airport. The views were amazing, but the heat and direct sun were punishing.

The last mile took runners past the Sunriver lodge and then finished in the athlete’s village to the cheers of many. The small towel and water bottle were a nice touch, as was the invitation to duck into a cold shower. I headed straight for the food tent for some nourishment, a t-shirt and my finishers medal.

The organizers and volunteers deserve a huge pat on the back for putting on such a great race. I have nothing negative to say at all. This race is top notch and I truly look forward to coming back next year to redeem myself. In fact, to enjoy this event to the fullest – I’m thinking about renting a house in Sunriver for several days next year.




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Bunchgrasser’s quote of the day

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 27, 2008

“A person is a success if they get up in the morning and gets to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

-Bob Dylan

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My Helvetia Half Marathon personal results

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 25, 2008

First, let me just say a big thank you to the event sponsors and the folks at Run With Paula for putting on a great race! This was my second half marathon, but first time running the Helvetia Half and I thought everyone did a great job. The weather was perfect, the event seemed well organized and it almost made destroying my legs for 13.1 miles fun.

How did I do, you ask? Well, I’m pleased to say that I ran it in 1:56:54, which means I averaged an 8:55/mile pace. I placed 75th out of 145 for my age group (40-44). Now that may not seem too impressive to many runners out there, but I did establish a new PR and I beat my last half marathon time by several minutes. I do like the trend here…

Some observations about the race…

First, I really enjoyed running through the rural setting. Most all of my running (training and races) occurs in an urban setting, so cruising down the 2 lane roads past hay fields, trees & farmers was a refreshing change and I’m already looking forward to running Helvetia next year.

Second, the Jamba Juice smoothies placed into my hands the moment I crossed the finish line were a life saver. Although I wouldn’t recommend sucking down two of them quickly right after running 13 miles (as I did). The cold headache was almost enough to make me pass out.

Third, the water stations and portable toilets were distributed well across the entire course. I did make one pit stop, but I waited until I came to an unoccupied unit so that I could dart in/out quickly. I think I may have set a new speed record – can someone verify that for me?

Finally, I have some constructive suggestions for the organizers for next year. These are not, I repeat, these are not complaints – but merely my opinions on how to improve an already fantastic race.

 First, please consider replacing the cotton t-shirt with a technical shirt of some kind. The rest of the athletic world has moved away from cotton, so I’m amazed that race organizers still give them out. If cost is the issue then please at least offer both choices to participants. It would be nice to actually use race t-shirts for running rather than stuffing them in a box or sending them to Goodwill.

Second, please reconsider serving tepid hamburgers to race participants that just ran 13 hard miles. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but my system just can’t handle that kind of gut bomb after a long run. Perhaps some kind of pasta and/or vegetable dish would be more universally appealing.

Finally, Ugh – the parking issue after the race. The last thing people will remember about this race is sitting in their hot car for an hour trying to get out of the parking lot. I can assure you that I will find an alternative parking option next year. But I’m guessing some may avoid this race next year because of this reason.

I’d also like to thank the folks at Portland Fit for running a great training program. Although registration is closed for this marathon season, I would highly encourage anyone looking to run a marathon, half marathon, or simply improve their running to sign up for this next season. I’ve really enjoyed the group runs on Saturday mornings and the accountability has truly helped me ratchet up to double digit mile runs and beyond.

What’s next for me? Well – I just registered for the Pacific Crest Half Marathon to be held June 28th in Sunriver, Oregon. I’m looking forward to the flat course, but Sunriver’s higher elevation may have a noticable effect on breathing. Stay tuned for the post race report.



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Bunchgrasser’s quote of the day

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 25, 2008

“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”

-Muhammad Ali

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United Sodium – Hawaii Regionals results

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 25, 2008

Well, the lady warriors are back on the mainland now after 8-9 days in sunny Honolulu for Regionals. Although their 1-2 record wasn’t what they had hoped for, I’m certain the trip was a success in many ways.

Sodium opened with a game against tournament favorites, Cal South Slammers. Sodium fought hard and took the bench with a 1-0 lead at half time, but the Slammers hit the pitch with their game faces on, scoring 5 unanswered goals to hand Sodium their first loss.

Next up was wild card team, Colorado. The Sodium ladies, smelling blood immediately took command of the game, running up a 3-0 lead in the first half with goals from Hannah Lautenbach, Emmy Owens and Bailey Hall. The second half proved to be a bigger challenge for Sodium though as Colorado fought back with 2 consecutive goals to close within range of a tie. The final minutes of the game played out as the Sodium “brick wall” defense all but sealed off Colorado, earning their first win of the tournament.

Sodium’s final game against Utah ended in a 3-1 loss and quashed any hope of moving to the next round. A crushing blow for sure to this team of dedicated athletes. The lady warriors left the field with their heads held high, vowing to be back next year. There were some tears and sad faces as the Sodium team, coaches and supporters left the field. But it was a proud moment for all to reflect upon the entire season and the hard work it took to get there.

As a parent and dedicated fan of Sodium, I’d like to offer my thanks to all of these fine ladies for playing hard and giving it your all, every day on the field. It has been a true pleasure watching, cheering & photographing you all season. You play with your hearts and leave everything on the field – and that is the true beauty of the sport.

Please check the Sodium blog for a more in-depth tournament report.



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Running the Helvetia Half Marathon tomorrow…

Posted by bunchgrasser on June 13, 2008

Well, tomorrow is the big day. I’m willingly going to subject my body to 13.1 miles of pavement pounding abuse by running the Helvetia Half. I had been logging plenty of miles up until June 2nd (both on my own and with my Portland Fit group), when I spent a week in Orlando for work. I planned to run during that week, but the soaring heat (mid 90’s) and my work scheduled ruined that plan.

So, I missed an entire week of running and (unsuccessfully) attempted to catch up this week here at home. Normally tapering is a good thing, but when you do it a week too early – it can be a major problem. I’m always amazed at how quickly your body loses its edge when you back off the miles.

I also took the opportunity to drive the course yesterday. You know, the rolling hills always look so small when your in a car. I suspect those hills between miles 4-7 will feel much larger tomorrow. Well, wish me luck and I’ll post my results soon.



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