Monday, February 18, 2008

Orcas Half-ass

Another spectacular weekend in the woods! We had perfect weather - the sun was out, the sky was clear, the temps were moderate. Although several things went sideways this weekend, the race did not.


The weekend started on Friday with the news that our course was modified due to 18 inches of snow at the peak. We were really bummed - both Eric and I loved last years course and wanted to do it again. Saturday we ran a quick three miles with the run club, then ran another half hour with our runners-in-training, hit coffee and came home to pack. Steve and Bob (his 79 year old Dad) picked us up and then we were off to Seattle to get Margaret. We made it up to Anacortes to catch the ferry we were planning on (always a long shot with traffic). We got to Orcas and drove straight to the little restaurant we found last year. They were closed. Okay, plan B. Walk across the street to check out a couple of other places. We found two open and packed to the gills. We put our name in at both and spent the next hour waiting for a table at one of them. Once we were seated, we were told they were out of several menu items. Apparently Orcas wasn't ready for 200 hungry runners showing up on a Saturday night. In the end we had a lovely dinner, with a bit of side drama between a group of runners and a tense restaurant owner. I'm thinking the owner needs to work on his customer service skills!




I have to tell you that I am so grateful for the alternate route - it was stunningly beautiful and I got to see sections of the island that I've never seen. It was incredible. The run around the lake was familiar from last year, then we headed up the Boundary Trail. We came to a section where the orange ribbons that marked our course took a turn straight up the side of the mountain. Straight up - I am talking about climbing with both hands and feet, climbing, not running, not hiking, but placing one foot, finding a hand hold and climbing. I looked at Margaret and (speaking of the RD) said "now's he's just faking it, this isn't even a trail!" We got partway up and looked up to see the course photographer perched there taking our pictures. We thought we were done, but there was more ahead. Up, up and up. Then, soon enough, it was straight down - running, but no switch backs, feeling slightly out of control. The funny thing is, I couldn't help but climb and run down with a huge grin on my face - it was so much fun!

Margaret and I had determined that time would not be an issue. Once again, we'd enjoy the day, the forest, the scenery and come in when we came in. We stopped several time for pictures (which I'll post in a day or two, in the meantime, check out Eric's pictures) and just to ooh and ahh. I had so many favorite parts I can't even describe them all. A huge cascading waterfall, a series of downed mossy trees over a creek, a large mossy clearing on the Secret Loop, then a spectacular view clear to the Cascades, Bellingham way across the sound, Mt. Baker in the distance and the farmlands of Orcas below. The feeling that if I ran down that grassy, mossy hillside I'd fly right down to the bay. Then back into the deep woods, with the eerie green light filtering through the trees. Coming out below the falls and looking back up at them. Another long climb alongside and above the creek. Back to the lake and suddenly, there was the camp. We were in, time: 5:31, distance: about 15.5 miles, elevation gain, about 3500 feet.

We went into the warm central camp building, where we found a feast - two kinds of homemade vegetarian soup, bread, beer, spiced wine, tea, chocolate chip cookies and lemonade. A bluegrass trio was playing, and tired runners were sprawled across the room. We waited about an hour for Eric and Steve, then another half hour or so for Bob. Eric, Margaret and I headed back to the Inn to shower and change, then we planned to pick up Bob and Steve and figure out dinner.

When we walked into the room, the sinks and tubs had standing water in them. We thought that was strange and let the water out, then Eric headed for one shower and I headed to the other. A few minutes later, we discovered that there was no water. A call to the front desk let us know that the water for the whole resort was off and they didn't know when it would be back on. We had a thin trickle that we could use to kind of wipe the mud and salt off, so we did. We discussed going back to the camp and using the showers there, but felt sure our water would be back on soon. Given our disheveled state, and the wonderful food we'd had at the race, we opted for a dinner of bread, crackers, cheese, apples and wine. We laid around eating and talking till we finally wandered off to bed at 10:00, still with no water. It finally came back on about 2:30, waking us all up as water started trickling out of faucets and filling toilet tanks. I got up at 4:30 and got a wonderful, hot shower before everyone else crawled out at 5:00. We had to get back to camp and pick up Arthur, then be on the 7:00 am ferry.

As I reflect on the weekend, I realize how blessed we are to live in the Pacific Northwest and how blessed we are in our friends and in our local running community. There were certainly glitches in our weekend, and moments of grouchiness, but we pushed through with good humor, lots of teasing and laughs. We made it, and we are all back home now, tired, with wonderful memories and a large dose of serenity and beauty to hold us till the next time.

27 comments:

robtherunner said...

Sounds like a great weekend and a beautiful course. I'll have to go check out the pictures. Believe me, if I was certain in the ferry situation and had an idea of where I was going I was honestly thinking about driving up there. Sounds like fun was had by all.

Sunshine said...

Your reflections in your last paragraph: YES!!
I do think the times we can stop to take pictures are some of the best. Thanks for yours.. and for the good word pictures, too.

Laura H said...

I'm sitting here with a huge grin on my face reading this! I PROMISE I will get my report out ASAP! I feel like a kid back just back from having too much fun at camp!! Good job out there on the trails and nice recap of the run. I can't wait for the photos - Donn didn't come through on the smaller camera so I told him I'm ordering my own!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

how awesome!!!

mtnrunR said...

sounds like a great run michelle. no wonder so many showed up.

Smithposts said...

Enjoyed reading the post. What a great run and incredible trip!

scott keeps running said...

i wish we had a bit of the pacific northwest over here. i'm tired of the snow. (boo hoo)

with global warming iceland may not be around much longer. 2008 might even be the last year. so don't wait too long.

olga said...

Somebody uses more words than SO:) Good going! Beautiful pictures, and good day for all!

Anne said...

What a pre- and post-race ordeal, with a great run and some beautiful photos wedged in between. I'm glad the change in the course ended up being even better this year.

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Glad it was a beautiful weekend! The photos are fabulous. I hope you survived relatively blister free also. I have some sad news. Paul realized he was registered for a CPR class next weekend so I may be out of the 6 hour run :( We'll see what we can figure out. See ya later!
Jenny

Irene said...

*GASP* What a gorgeous sunset!

It sounds like a wonderful run! Send my hellos to Margaret!

Sarah said...

Despite a few mishaps, sounds like an awesome run and weekend. I love your positive attitude.
: ) It's true, there's always something to be thankful for. Those pics are beautiful!

Elliot said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time on a spectacular course. I'm sorry I missed it!

Cat.

Gotta' Run! said...

Hmmmm, sorry 'bout that - Ell was signed in to his account on my computer. I'm still jealous of your fun time! Thanks for sharing.

Cat.

Mother of Martineau Tribe said...

Sorry to miss it - but it just too cold for the kiddos to camp, maybe next year.

Sunshine said...

I have not seen any discussion on running blogs about running shoes made in China, and am wondering what you all think about that.

Annette said...

What a weekend! I can't imagine not getting a shower after a long run like that - especially with the potential for all that mud.

The course sounds like it was awesome! What fun.

Darrell said...

No hot shower after a long trail run? Wow, you guys are real troopers. Eric's pics are beautiful.

wendy said...

those pictures are amazing!

how are your feet? You guys look like you had an awesome run! Congrats on another dream run.

Makita said...

Congratulations on another wonderful race weekend! I don't know how the 2 of you manage to find so many great races! Fortunately, the glitches happened pre & post race.

I *heart* the PNW as well. :)

Meghan said...

Michelle,

Oh, you've perfectly made me weep in jealousy! Those sunset pictures are outstanding and, wow, what a racing experience.

So glad you all had a great time, despite the problems here and there along the way!

Meghan

runliarun said...

No shower after the race? Yeah, that would have certainly made me grouchy...

Sarah Elaine said...

Lovely photos! They don't show even a hint of grouchiness. :-)

Joe said...

You are driving this Indiana flatlander crazy, Michelle!!! Wow, is that spectacular.

But, wait, have you ever seen CORN FIELDS??????? Now, THAT's scenery!

yes, you are blessed!!!

Robb said...

Excellent! What could be better?

Dori said...

Congratulations on another fine race! It sounds beautiful.

lizzie lee said...

Dear Michelle, I really don't have words to say how much I like to do what you do. I pictured Orcas, the beauty, the whole run, the hiking, the climbing, and the fun. I wonder some times why I don't join you, or why I am afraid of running with others. Loving as much as I love my State of Washington should be enough to do that kind of things. Being in a total agreement on how blessed we are living in the Pacific Northwest I should take more advantage of running in all the places that the PN freely offers to us.

thanks for the post and the pictures.

sincere-lee
lizzie lee