Sunday, August 26, 2007

Hood to Coast

If you haven't heard of Hood to Coast, it's the craziest road race in Oregon where 1,000 teams of 12 run a total of 197 miles from Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood to Seaside on the Oregon coast in 24 hrs or so. I ran with the Eugene Running Company team, a group I run with a few times a week. Our van #1 started at Mt. Hood at 445pm on Friday, which put my van starting our legs around 10pm. As the last runner in the rotation, I was running into Portland at 1 a.m. with my headlamp and reflective vest.

Each of my three legs were 5 to 6 miles long with few rolling hills. So, after 24 hrs of no sleep, eating no real meals (consuming cookies, chips, candy, bananas, and lots of water), and running 16 miles or so in a day, I was exhausted. Our team finished in a little over 24 hrs and placed 61 out of 293 in our category, averaging a 7:32 mile.

Two major setbacks: 1. Van 1 drove to the wrong exchange and put us back an hour and causing one of our runners to run two legs in a row. Van 1 simply wasn't having luck this weekend. 2. When they pulled into Seaside, they realized they had some car issues with the '89 Suburban we had borrowed. Diagnosis: leaking break fluid which got onto the back tire and started a fire. This meant we'd had to figure out how to get everyone back to Eugene with one eight passenger van, logistically impossible.

Lucky for me, my mom had come to watch me finish the race so I got a ride home with her and avoided most of the logistical chaos. The team ended up getting the hunk o junk towed to Portland and then rented a car to get everyone else back to Eugene. All in all, everyone arrived home safely and had a great time. I can't wait to do it again next year!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Laughing so hard you're crying

The whole summer had been building to this weekend, the pinnacle of it all, and now it's over. Jessica and Scott's wedding. It was a four days of wedding preparations, celebrations, reuniting, and exhaustion.

Thursday three of the bridesmaids rolled into town to meet the bride to be for lunch and then headed on to the Charm Bracelet Trail around downtown Pendleton. Then, it was on to the Bachelorette for dinner and drinks and then meeting up with the boys for a long night of drinking and dancing.

Friday included decorating the reception hall, the bridal shower at the country club, the rehearsal, the chuck wagon rehearsal dinner, campfire and finally sleep. After sleeping just four hours the past few nights, Friday was truly trying on my patience and energy. When we stepped into the church at 4 pm Friday I was running on adrenaline and was not prepared for what crazy Father Clemens had in store for us (Yes, Kellen Clemens', former UO quarterback, uncle). And I almost lost it right there in the church when he told us that the entire bridal party would be coming up to take communion and those who weren't Catholic had to make a big X with their arms when doing so. You've got to be joking me.

Saturday we woke up @ 6:30am to go on a run with the bride up to the top of this hill as the sun rose. Then on to the hair salon for curls and bobby pins and finally on to the church to get dressed and take pictures. The ceremony started fashionably late and was painfully long. After that we stayed around for another hour finishing pictures and finally arriving at the reception where guests had eaten and were no longer sober. Scott's high school friends did their part to empty the place of alcohol by standing at the bar the entire reception.

So here's where the most fun night of my life started. Around 9pm the bridal party, friends and family gather at the fine dining and drinking establishment called Hamley's where we have a few drinks and most of the guys simply continue to drink themselves into oblivion. By 11pm when a few of the guys get cut off by the bartenders, we move on to The Rainbow Cafe across the street. Just imagine a trashy, redneck bar that serves beer in cans and hard drinks in plastic cups and decorates with Christmas lights all year long. Two highlights: one friend is howling at the moon and the other is collapsing her knees and laughing at everything the male on her arm has to say. Next stop: Crabby's, an even trashier, scary undergrown dance bar where we are clearly the hottest crew in the joint. For the next few hours Jackie and I remain sober and crazy dance with all our drunk friends laughing hysterically about every five minutes at the way Joe is "pop, dropping and locking it" or how Riley managed to keep his ass on the bar stool in his comatose state. Good lord, who knew you could have that much fun with a bunch of drunkies?!

You know you're having fun when you're standing on a street corner in downtown Pendleton, doubled over laughing and crying at the same time, and trying your best not to pee your pants. It was a night I will never forget full of chaos, scandal and hilarity. And I loved every minute of it. Thank God for amazing friends.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Time

A friend of mine (name removed to protect the innocent) seems to think she has all the time in the world to read books, ride her bike, catch up with friends, etc. As happy as I am for her, I have to say that I simply can't find enough of it lately. And that seems to be the way things have been for me the past six months or so since our Marketing Director and my supervisor quit.

After getting nine hours of sleep I still didn't feel rested from the weekend's extravaganza. Then, I was off to an early morning appointment, getting me to work at 9:15am. Shortly after I got an e-mail saying I needed to be in Sprinfield for a press check @ 10am for a calendar we produce. After driving my butt over there and waiting in an empty conference room and trying not to fall asleep for an entire hour, I was fed up. Without any notice from the printer as to the delay in bringing me my said proof, I had to leave because frankly I didn't have the time to sit there and wait any longer. I returned to my office and started answering e-mail upon e-mail I had missed last week and tried to remedy a few dilemmas.

As the day wore on my patience for small annoyances became less and less. To add to the stress I was feeling, it just so happens that the pavers were outside our building all day ripping up and laying down new asphalt in preparation for next summer's Olympic Track and Field Trials. At 4pm my boss calls to say that the street crew says we'll be stuck in the parking lot for hours if we're not out by EXACTLY 5pm. So, I send out a friendly note to our entire building only to find out my boss was exagerating and it would only be 20 minutes that street access would be unavailable. Knowing I won't be leaving by 5pm I make a 10 block circle just to get to the other side of my building and park in the lot that is safe.

It's now 6:36pm and I know I'll be here longer attempting to finish something just so I feel I've been productive today, but I have to wonder...do I have time to go on a run tonight? Time will only tell.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wedding Season

One thing I've learned this summer is that weddings don't come without a lot of stress, planning and surprise. This weekend I'm in a wedding for a good high school friend who found the man she will spend the rest of her life with at college. Every time we chat there seems to be yet another thing that the priest has demanded or that the cake lady is unable to do. At points it seems like a comedy show. Today for example, Jessica found out that the cake lady no longer knows if she can make a spice cake because Betty Crocker may not have the flavor. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't know of many wedding cakes that are made from boxes.

In the scheme of things I have to keep reminding Jess (and myself) that none of it is really that important. Saturday, August 18 is just one day, but their marriage is forever. This will be my third wedding of the summer and I have to say that with each and every one of them I have been truly amazed at the amount of preparation and time each bride and her family and friends spend on the miniscule details of this one day. It makes me wonder, if we all spent as much time working on a relationship as we spend planning a wedding, how many more successful relationships or marriages would there be in the world?

I truly believe marriage is forever and because of that I am terrified of making any kind of commitment. But for now, I'm just excited to head to Pendleton and let the wedding madness begin. I can't wait to see the high school gang in Eastern Oregon, drinking beer together, and celebrating Jessica and Scott's new journey.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Perfect summer day

Today was a pretty good day. This weekend is the only one this month in which I am actually staying in Eugene. I woke up to the sun shining and went on a ten mile run. I know, I know, that's a long way. I ran down past Autzen Stadium, across the river and through the desolate University of Oregon campus and up some hills and then turned around.

Then, I got home, showered (after waiting a while for my roommate to take his sweet time in the shower) and hauled it down to the Saturday Market to hang out with my good high school friend Joel who was in town for a few hours. Sometimes a good dose of home (or what reminds you of home) is all you need for a delightful afternoon. We wandered around looking at the hippies and arts and crafts, bought some organic produce and chatted.

By this point it was pretty hot so I went over to Laura's apartment for a good dose of pool and tanning time. The apartment "tools" were out in full force throwing their football around, doing cannon balls and having girls lather baby oil on them. Lucky for me, I had a book and tried to remain engrossed in it so as not to stare at the buffoons.

After doing some errands, I came home to work on the scrapbook I'm making for Jessica and Scott's wedding (which by the way I really need to get a move on if I want it to be fairly finished by Wednesday when I leave for the wedding in Pendleton). Then, I went running AGAIN. Yes, I know you're thinking this is a bit exessive and frankly, it is.

But, because I'm running the Hood to Coast relay on August 24-25, I kind of have to be ready to run multiple times in one day. There are twelve people on my team from the Eugene Running Company and we each have three legs of approx 5-6 miles each, which will take us from Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast. I'm pretty stoked for the relay. I have the final leg so I will be bringing the team to the finish line on the beach. In high school I ran the Portland to Coast and I will never forget what a bonding experience that was. You gotta love smelling sweaty teammates for 24hrs and bonding over subjects you wouldn't dare discuss outside this weekend, let alone the minivans.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Red Lights

The last few days I have been running red lights, a lot of them. I usually pack so many things into my schedule that I don't leave time to actually transition from one thing to the next. Well, lately it's been pretty bad (hence the whole running red lights thing).

Yesterday, I realized as I peeled into the 5th St Market parking lot and bumped and older (mid 80s) gray car as I was trying to park that I was simply out of control. I mean really, was that necessary just to try to make it to run club on time? No. Luckily, I didn't leave any damage.

So, I tried to evaluate why I was feeling so out of control and frankly I'm not sure. Am I stressed? Yes, work is a little overwhelming right now and I can't seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But in the scheme of things I think my life has been a lot more crazy and I have managed it better.

I think the good thing that has come out of this is that I realized this morning that I am very lucky to be physically and mentally in good shape and alive at all, especially after driving so offensively the past week. I am going to make the effort every day to honor this life and the opportunities I have been given because really, life isn't all that bad. Eugene is a great community, I love running with great people here, working at the University isn't half bad, and the weather's pretty darn great. Granted, I wouldn't mind having a few more friends my age and a posse to go out with on a random Thurs or Sat night, but other than that I really can't complain.

Perhaps I should enroll in that yoga class I've been wanting to take for so long. But in the mean time, I need to do laundry, go running, start and finish a wedding scrapbook for Jessica, and get ready for the long haul to Pendleton for four days of wedding madness. Yeah, that yoga class is going to be put on hold for a while longer.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

8 a.m.

So, like much of the working world, my hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one hour lunch break. As an employee of an office on a University campus, I have to say that the whole 8 a.m. thing seems a bit rediculous. I mean come on, it's not like we're saving lives or ending world hunger. But alas, those are my hours.

Well, most mornings I arrive by 8:10 or 8:15 a.m. before most of the entire staff and stay until at least 5:30 and sometimes don't take a lunch. However, today my boss was here and decided to ask if I would just like to come in at 8:15 and leave at 5:15. I have to say I'm a little miffed. I mean if you know me, you know I'm a damn hard worker and commit myself 100% to anything I do. I have to say that him calling me out on a mere 15 minutes seems like a bit of a slam, especially when you feel like your time and efforts are already taken for granted. Our office seems to be in a constant state of turmoil and we are down three staff members so I have to say in the scheme of things coming in 15 min late doesn't really seem all that important.

Part of me understands I should be here at 8 a.m. to answer the one phone call that might come in and part of me is just pissed. So, here's to a productive day.