I have to admit, it was hard times waking up at 5:30 a.m. to darkness, hard rain and heavy winds. It was SO nasty outside. I looked out the window and mumbled something about being sadistic.
We had breakfast (yogurt, applesauce, juice), a sip of tea and got dressed in our five layers of clothes, donned rain jackets and grabbed a couple "emergency" bananas.
We headed to the MAX around 6:45am. The weather had cleared a little and it was just cold and windy - rain had subsided. None of the ticket machines worked so we hopped on the train ticketless. I'd already checked to see what time the next train was in case we missed the 7:04am - it wasn't until 7:45. There was no way we were getting off at the next station to buy a ticket - we'd risk it until we transferred to the yellow line downtown and explain our case if needed. Not necessary - no ticket check.
Fast forward to the race area - about 8:30 a.m. Weather is holding up nicely. Still windy and cold but no rain, just giant looming clouds. We hit the honey buckets and lined up and tried to stretch. They were releasing in waves so we stayed to the back. There were SO many people - well over a thousand!
Jason was carrying his wallet, car keys, two bananas and other miscellany. Moments before we took off, Jason decided to pound a banana to make some room in his jacket. Two seconds later we were at the start line and 10 seconds later we were released.
Immediately upon making the first turn is the steepest hill EVER. It should have had stairs - it was like a 75 degree angle almost straight up. So we hit this first hill and calves are burning, thighs are screaming, lactic acid is building...and Jason's banana is trying to kill him.
I looked over and Jay wasn't doing so good. That banana was fighting its way back up and the hill was kicking our asses! The look on my dear sweet husband's face was the deciding factor of which "self*" was running today.
*In my last post, I talked about the ego self wanting a good score, the zen self wanting to "smell the moment" and experience this adventure with Jason, survival self saying run for your life, it's cold. I said I would listen to the loudest self - and I did. *
It's funny because the self that screamed was the "partner" self. Not one I had really considered, but after one look at my struggling man and I knew I wouldn't leave his side. Not looking like that - he needed a partner - and that's what we are - so we worked our way up the hill, onto the Fremont bridge.
We were in it together -- like life.
(If you look hard, you can see the people on the bridge above.)
Once we got on the bridge, it was actually incredibly frightening. They only closed one lane of traffic and we were running into oncoming traffic. Huge trucks were screaming past us and we were on the lower level so you couldn't really see the sky. The noise was deafening. We both went inside ourselves and did a crazy sort of walking meditation. I had to block out the noise and Jay had to block out the Hollywood crash scenes going through his head. We both recollected on the bridge collapse scene in The Mothman Prophecies. Something like an 18 wheeler hitting 20 of us and blasting all of us over the rail - truck and all - into the Willamette River. Luckily nothing remotely close to that happened.
(Look how close that truck is!! And it was hauling ASS!)
After that, we were in the Pearl District and Jason was looking good, moving good so we did some running. We played leap frog with a couple ahead of us. We'd overtake them and they'd kick it up and overtake us. We ended up finishing before them though ;-)
After the Pearl, we crossed back over to the East side via Broadway Bridge. Much less scary than the Fremont!
(Doesn't he look like he's having the time of his life?!?)
One hour and 10 minutes from the time we started, we crossed the finish line. Proceeded to have two beers and watch an awesome band playing The Band songs (which seems to be the preferred music of race events). The rains came on hard but we didn't care - we finished! They were serving HUGE sausages on giant buns - but no way. After the banana debacle, we just wanted to get home and make a juice, which we did.
All in all, it was a great day. If nothing else, Jason and I now know that if nuclear destruction begins and we have to flee, we can make it 5 miles in a little over an hour. Very useful information, indeed!
We were pretty sore when we got home but we yoga'd it out and took it easy for the rest of the day. I had a bit of a "down" feeling yesterday. I think crashing from a running high is kind of like crashing from a drug high - it doesn't feel so great and dumps you off lower than you started. I rehydrated, meditated, yoga'd and finally got back to an "even" place by the evening. I thought this was an interesting side effect that I hadn't really heard of - maybe it's just me - not sure.
At the end of the day, we decided Jason will probably mark 8k off his bucket list and let it go at that. I kind of want to do the Mt. Tabor 8k in August. That will, literally, be a walk in the park compared to this concrete jungle bridge maze.
Here's a photo album of pictures from the race. Jason was snapping as he was going. He got almost every turn except that insane hill at the beginning. He was too busy trying to keep that banana in his guts!