Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Archive for July 14th, 2008

Heel pain sets me back a few days

Posted by bunchgrasser on July 14, 2008

Well, for the first time in a long while I’ve had to stop running. Some time last week, most likely after that 12 miler – my heel started hurting. At first I thought maybe I’d just bruised it, but on subsequent runs it showed signs of the dreaded plantar fasciitis (PF).

Reading up on PF on the net was somewhat depressing. if I do indeed have PF (I still hold some hope that I don’t), the recovery time could potentially wipe out my plans to run the Portland Marathon. Wait. Take a deep breath. Think positive thoughts. Yes, this is just a temporary setback and in no time at all I’ll be back on the pavement – pain free.

I’m depressed now because I had to miss my Portland Fit 25k benchmark run last Saturday. You know, I really wasn’t a runner when I was younger. I played other sports of course, but just running for the sake of running held no interest for me. Back then, I needed a reason to run – driving for a layup, stealing second base, running from my girlfriend’s dad (jk).

Today things are different. The concept of “Me Time” is much more prominent (and necessary), and running solo miles is just the ticket for that. Just me and the road. Just me and my Ipod. Just me and the…heel pain? Wait – something isn’t right here. All I know is that running used to be something that I forced myself to do. Now it’s something I can’t live without. Running is insidious the way it gets inside of you. Like a parasitic monster that must be fed every couple of days. If you starve the monster – it makes you pay, but I digress.

where was I? Oh yeah, so I’ve got this heel pain and I haven’t done any running for a week. I’m considering going out for a short, light run to gauge my recovery. I know it’s too soon but I just can’t help myself. It’s like pulling on a hangnail – you know it’s going to hurt like hell but you can’t stop yourself. I have to know – is it a heel bruise? Or something worse? Wish me luck…


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2008 Oregon Country Fair

Posted by bunchgrasser on July 14, 2008

On Sunday we joined my Brother-in-law and his family for a day at the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta, Oregon. This was only my second trip to OCF and I had almost forgotten how interesting this annual event is. In it’s 39th year, OCF has certainly grown and evolved, but without losing it’s character and purpose. The organizers, vendors and volunteers do a great job of keeping everyone safe, entertained and happy.

Our decision to arrive at the fair early for the 11:00am opening allowed us to park closer (parking is located in fields adjacent to the wooded fair site and can be a long walk for some arriving later in the day). On this day, with temperatures soaring into the 90’s, it seemed like a wise move. For those that plan to make it a multi-day event, I believe there is camping nearby as well.

The fair is set up mostly in a wooded area in a shape similar to that of a figure eight. Once you move past the entrance you basically meander through a wide trail, lined on each side with hobbitt-like vendor booths hawking everything from “hippy” noodles and vegan burritos to crystals, pottery and elizabethan hats. There is something for everyone here, even if you only require a snow cone heavily laden with Portland Punch.

In addition to the various vendors, there are several performance stages featuring live music and some entertainers simply perform along the trail, where it takes only seconds for an appreciative crowd to form and begin dropping coins and bills into the hat.

Truth be told, this festival is one of the greatest people-watching locations around. In fact, the fair’s attendees are one of it’s greatest attractions. Many come in colorful, garish renaissance costumes. Many of the women go topless (with or without body paint), but it is accepted and seemingly appreciated (especially by us hack photographers).

Among the things you won’t see here are: processed food, soda pop, alcohol, video cameras, corporate sponsorships, tables of factory-made tourist junk, etc. From my observations, most, if not all food is prepared on site and items for sale are handcrafted.

I left the fair in the afternoon, hot & tired – but strangely invigorated. I couldn’t really put my finger on this feeling the last time that I attended. But I think I’ve figured it out – OCF is different because it encourages everyone to be different. To be themselves and express their own brand of creativity without conforming to a societal standard. Case in point, one of the photos in my 2008 OCF Flickr set is of a man wearing nothing but body paint and a small sack around his genitals. I just happened to follow this man through the front entrance and later saw him again inside the fair where I photographed him. Care to guess how that would go over at the Oregon State Fair?

I can’t say whether I’ll attend OCF next year. I haven’t felt the need for an annual visit in the past, but this year I think I realized just how unique this festival really is. Who knows, maybe I’ll be back next year – in body paint!


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