Readers, friends and running enthusiasts I was hoping this blog would be one about the most successful marathons I have ever run. Haha!!! Joke’s on me!! I didn’t even finish it! I am not going to touch much on the race. This blog is going to be mainly on the amazing trip I had down to the Excited States of America with my girlfriend and some of the neat spots you can run on the west coast.
The trip started the morning after the marathon. Let me tell you, it was a tough morning. The day/night before, Kyla and I met up with some of the folks that ran the race including the one and only Wolf (Jeff Costen – Third Canadian!). We had to catch a 7am flight and we didn’t get into the hotel room until 1ish. The most exciting part of the morning was the cab that was going WELL over the speed limit. Bud was driving 155km/h at some points. Luckily we made the flight on time and safely. We landed in Vancouver and relaxed for the day because we were taking off to LA the next day at 7am.
Skip to landing. We got into LA on a sunny day and the temperature was warm. The only thing we planned for the entire trip was our flight and car rental. We lucked into upgrading our car to a Jeep (where we would eat, travel and sleep out of most days of the trip). Then we grabbed supplies at Walmart and hit the road.
It was a dream of Kyla’s to sleep on Malibu beach, so we did it. We went to a road side campsite and set up shop for the evening. We got there at a great time. It allowed me to get a couple miles in on Highway 1. It was something like 92f when I ran so I had the chance to rock a topless run! By the time I finished I got to meet up with Kyla and watch a great sunset on the beach!
Our bodies were still on the EST zone so we smoothly got up with the sun and turned out the lights (literally) when the sun went down. Plus we had no electricity so it made the process pretty easy too. We did have a bit of a learning curb the first day. As we were packing up to travel to Big Sur, Kyla knocked my phone out of the car and the screen shattered. She felt awful. My reaction to situations like that this is that it can be replaced so no big deal. It was wicked traveling and being off the grid!
We drove along the coast taking pictures at All. Of. The. Vista. Points. Our next planned stay was in Big Sur. Driving there is incredible in a lot of ways; beautiful, scary, scenic and many more. I am not a fan of heights so I was damn near pooping myself during drive because Big Sur is described as “greatest meeting of land and water in the world” In layman’s terms, if you take a turn a little too sharp or too wide, ya dead! Lol Luckily we made it to the campsite and didn’t hurt each other on the drive. Folks, call me what you will, but if the speed limit is 20mph I see you’re driving 25, I’ll remind you of the speed limit!
The first thing we did when we got to Big Sur was run. We talked to a fellow runner who was working at the reception desk. She told us a little about herself and her running experiences. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to meet this woman if she hasn’t had her daily run. She said she could “slit a person’s throat if she hasn’t run that day.” I digress. She told us we were at the second mile of the Big Sur Marathon course and to just keep running north on Highway 1. It really is a beautiful place to run!
We woke with the sun and off we went to San Fran. We didn’t really know what to expect so we didn’t really plan much. We got to the big city and tried to find a campsite that was under $125USD, trickier than you’d think. Just a heads up–if you ever want to camp in San Francisco, book ahead. After a failed search at two sites, I pushed to start the run. So, we parked at the beach and I ran though Golden Gale Park. I wasn’t really in the running mood so I didn’t really appreciate it. My knee wasn’t feeling great so I just ran 7min/miles.
After the run we were in need of a campsite and feeling a bit under pressure because the sun was starting to set. I threw a Hail Mary and suggested a hostel. I have stayed in hostels many times but knew Kyla wasn’t keen on the idea. I had to convince her they weren’t all bad and at least we could shower and cook in a kitchen! Yatta yatta… We hosteled it and I learned/taught a lesson on how to play Crazy 8 Countdown!
Run in Red Bluff
The run in Red Bluff was quiet and calming. I ran in a nice area off the Sacramento River. The area was around a campsite with paved walkways called “trails.” It was warm enough to run topless and pretty enough that I should have taken a picture. The area where I ran was in a valley where you can see the mountains on one side and the river on the other. If you are thinking about driving, give in and run it instead. I found that Strava was really helpful to find safe running routes in that area. I figured if the segment wasn’t called “run fast: look out for gun shots” it would be a safe place to run.
The jeep kept on traveling North after the run. We drove to Eureka, California. It is a quiet town off the coast. I can’t go into much detail because we didn’t do much here. One thing I should mention or Kyla will to some of you, that I almost burned myself starting a fire. I’ll give it to you in point form and let you fill in the rest. We had damp logs. Got a bit of gas/fire starter from another camper. “Carefully” placed a match. BOOM.
Out of California and into Oregon. We knew the sun and warmth were miles behind us. It was a cold morning in Eureka. We packed up like we always did and left in search of a lunch stop and a spot for me to run. We stopped in Brooking, Oregon. I wouldn’t call this place the number one must see along the coast but it did offer an interesting place to run. What we did find was some wifi and a place to run. I saw there was a hill challenge in this town. I said, “Why not!” So, I found Old Country Rd. Damn, that sucked. Wow! The hill just kept getting steeper and never seemed to end. At one point I was doing some serious self-talk. “This is a mind thing.” “Just do it.” “You’ll sleep better knowing you didn’t quit.” Folks, I pulled out of a marathon a week before this run so I had to finish this hill!
I did it! Kyla had to hear all about it. She must hate hearing about my runs sometimes. I get it!
We took off and I asked, “Where to next?” Without any sign of knowing the significance of the town she said Coos Bay. I was so excited!!
Coos Bay. Running. Pre. Do I need to say more? Kyla didn’t tell me we were going to spend the night in Coos Bay but when she did I got very excited. I knew that was Steve Prefontaine’s home town. It’s a working person’s town with some great ocean views. Once again, we were very lucky to have our campsite viewing Coos Bay. It allowed us to walk the beach and watch the surfers before finishing the last of our food supply at a nice campfire dinner. It was an ideal temperature for sleeping, but, before we went to sleep, we could see clouds rolling in and they looked to be full of precipitation.
Sure enough! We awoke to what might have been the hardest rain I have ever seen, felt, or heard. The rain drops pounded down on the Jeep so hard I thought they were going to dent the roof. We rolled over, looked at each other and said “let’s get going!” Ah…and how could I forget? Kyla’s phone was on our bedside table and took on a boatload of water. Damn, was that going to be two cellphones down on one trip?
Eugene Oregon Run
We took off and headed to Track Town USA, Eugene, Oregon. I was really excited to run on the Pre Trail. It is a trail where some of the best runners have run their workouts. It was amazing; the surface was super soft, the trail was really flat, and, running on a Monday morning while many were at work, made for a very peaceful/quiet session. In the middle of the run it hit me! Damn! I really want to start training again. All of the runs after the marathon up to this point had felt forced. I was just running and not loving it. Running is hard. If you don’t love doing it, the sessions just feel annoying and are unmotivated. I was so motivated on the Pre Trail that I added some strides to the end of the run!
After guzzling some chocolate milk, and munching on a couple bananas, we headed to Portland. I really wanted to try some beer in Portland and Kyla was cool with the idea. She did the research and found a sweet Brewery/Eatery – Duschutes Brewery Public House. The staff is very friendly, the food was tasty and the beer selection was awesome. Overall, I give it a 10. They had an option to create your own flight. It was exactly what I was looking for! After the meal, we went to this larger than life Bookstore, Powell. I’ve never seen a bookstore that huge!
After looking through the books, we took off. Don’t worry, people– Kyla wasn’t drinking. One of us had to be responsible!
Last stop Seattle. I can tell you why people are sleepless in Seattle. It’s because it’s a tough town. On the train ride downtown we saw a pimp dictating where his girl was to get off and work. It was very hard to take in, but what can you do? We saw all the points of interest in the city; Market, first Starbucks (not as impressive as you’d think it should be) and the Space Needle. After seeing all of those things we had to drop the Jeep off. After driving 1800 miles, 28 hours, 4 sleeps in the back of a car, 1 hostel and 1 seedy hotel the JET had landed.
And we bring things back full circle. I didn’t finish the marathon due to a stitch that was a caused by a collection of changeable errors. 1) Don’t vary the diet too far from the training diet. If it had been working in practice why the heck did I change it for the race? 2) Figure the fuel out – my body couldn’t handle 60g of carb +caffeine in the first 5km. I should have aborted that idea. The same concoction at 22km went down the same and had the same result, a stitch. 3) The world doesn’t end if you don’t finish a race. I felt a bit of shame for the first 5mins at the med tent. Then I got over it and realized it was better to head back to port than to keep going out to sea on a sinking ship. 4) Don’t play the role if you can’t handle the part. I honestly felt I was going to run the goal time before I even put my shoes on that morning. I knew the weather wasn’t ideal, but damn it, I was fit and mentally ready to fight. The body, because of my own stupidities, didn’t allow me to get into the battle. I was very humbled by it all and I will approach the next race with humbled eyes. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. One should never approach the marathon with rose-coloured glasses.
Thanks to the Canada Running Series for putting on a top-notch race once again. Alan Brookes, the Canada Running Series Race Director has always been very generous to all of the Canadian athletes as they go for their dreams. The Canadian running scene would not be the same without such well put-together events. Thanks, folks.
Running Room – Guys, it’s going to come together one of these days! Thank you for all of the help with footwear. Also, I rarely put in a plug for particular products but, the new Running Room toques are fire!
Currex Sole – I can’t say enough about the Currex products anytime someone asks. They have been lifesavers (calf, tib post mainly!).
AND thank you for the read!