Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Archive for September, 2009

Running the 2009 Timberline Half Marathon

Posted by bunchgrasser on September 23, 2009

Mt_Hood_Timothy_ LakeKirsten and I ran the Timberline Half Marathon last Sunday and we both had a blast. It was Kirsten’s first half marathon and my first trail half marathon. The course took us on a beautiful loop around Timothy Lake that was mostly technical single track but opened up to dirt access roads in places. We also ran directly through several of the campgrounds around the lake.

The weather ended up being perfect with blue skies and plenty of sun. Although the majority of the trail was deep in the trees so we stayed pretty cool. Kirsten and I ran together the entire race, except once when we were separated accidently. I stopped to chat with a friend at the first aid station around mile 7 and she went on. The idea was that I would catch up, but she mistakenly followed a couple of ladies down a wrong trail and I ended up passing by her. I ran (really) hard for 2-3 miles and never caught up to her, so I eventually determined that she had to be behind me. I waited at the next aid station and she came cruising in a few minutes later. I was guzzling Powerade and nursing a bee sting. The yellowjackets were numerous and fierce on the trail.

As we neared the finish line we could hear people cheering and the announcer’s PA. Kirsten and I both raced the last 1/4 mile and crossed the finish line strong. I immediately started looking for any kind of food as I was starving. A couple of bags of salty chips and a cereal bar helped. We retrieved our shirts and finishers medals and headed to the car to relax a bit before heading back home.

Kirsten handled her first half marathon very well and I’m so proud of her. Before the race her previous longest run had been only 10 miles – so this race really pushed well beyond that distance. The actual distance of this race was more than 14 miles. It was also a pretty technical trail with lots of rocks, root and hills.

Personally, I loved it and can’t wait to do my next trail race. I’m hoping to do my first ultra in 2010 and this was a good starter. I’ll be looking for a 50k trail race someday soon I hope.


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2009 Pints to Pasta 10k

Posted by bunchgrasser on September 14, 2009

I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to register and run the 2009 Pints to Pasta 10k on Sunday. My wife and daughter were already signed up, and when we picked up their packets I got caught up in the excitement and had to register myself.

I had planned to skip this race because my calf muscle/achilles tendon injury is still not quite healed. However, I’ve done a couple of short test runs this past week and with an easy pace my leg didn’t seem to hurt. I needed a test race to see how my leg would hold up in a competitive situation.

We parked near the Old Spaghetti Factory and took the shuttle (school) bus to the start line at the Adidas HQ on North Greeley. We got there pretty early so we had plenty of time to stretch, use the bathroom and contemplate the race. The first mile was all downhill, and against better judgment I took advantage of the free speed. Over the next 3-4 miles I settled into an easy pace and tried to monitor my left leg for any sign of trouble. Happily, it felt great the entire race. My cardio fitness level however had fallen off dramatically due to not running for almost 2 full months. Needless to say, my pace was not very impressive. I finished in 53:02 (8:32 pace) which put me 49/98 for my age group (366/790 for all men).

My wife and daughter both finished their first 10k race in just over an hour. I think they both enjoyed it and hopefully this is the first of many races that we will run as a family. I’m still working on getting my son to join us.

Big thanks to Dave & Paula Harkin at Portland Running for putting on another great race!

2009 Pints to Pasta 10k Results are posted here.


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I really, really want to run an ultramarathon…

Posted by bunchgrasser on September 9, 2009

I’m giving my wife (and extended family) yet another reason to think this 43 year old desk jockey has lost his mind. Last year, after completing my first (and only) marathon I decided that I really liked running long distances. Never mind that every time I build up my mileage I seem to injure myself. Knee pain, plantar fascitis, achilles tendonosis, sore this and sore that. Whatever. I’m taking it all in stride though because I know getting stronger takes time and patience. Did I mention that I’m very, very persistent?

For many months now I’ve secretly been watching (lurking?) and reading about trailrunning and ultramarathons. I didn’t know much about ultras, so I ordered some books from Amazon.com, I subscribed to a couple of magazines and currently I spend seemingly every spare moment reading any trailrunning or ultra-related blog site. Heck, I feel like I already know elite runners like Scott Jurek, Sean Meissner, Hal Koerner,  yet I’ve never actually met them (yet). They and many others have inspired me in ways I may never fully comprehend.

I have a history of deep-diving into whatever activity occupies my mind at a given time. And yes, my obsession knows very few boundaries.  Not only am I deeply envious of all those who have completed an ultra, but I had my “aha!” moment and realized that ultras are my perfect event. Clearly I’ll never set any speed records running half marathons or marathons. Not to mention I much prefer the natural scenery and mind-enriching trail environment over paved streets any day. The slower pace and focus on simply finishing a challenging ultra course really appeals to me. I’ve also read many times that the close-knit ultra community is like an extended family. Cool… 

Yes, like many before me – I’ve stumbled onto something that I believe will enrich my life in many ways. I sit here in my office chair – dreaming about crossing the finish line of my first ultramarathon. I feel a wave of emotion fill me up just thinking about it. I’m pretty sure I’ll cry like a baby when it happens. Yes, I’m certain of it…

Someday soon…

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