Saturday, August 09, 2008

CDR 2008 and Lake Louise

Hoo boy... it's amazing how going on vacation can make a person feel so far behind when they return home. Eric and I have been on the go since we got back late Thursday night - we jumped right into some projects at home. We'll post some pictures when we're done with the current one, but the truth is that we easily have a couple of years worth of upgrades ahead of us. Our house has reached that age where some serious maintenance is required. We'll try hard to fit it into our running schedule!

Mt. Robson on the way north.

Now, on to vacation. Eric and I made it into Grande Cache on Thursday. We explored the town, checked out some race paraphernalia, and planned our schedule for the next day. I went for a run Friday morning - running the perimeter of town, plus a smaller inside loop netted me six miles. Yep, it's a small town. We were walking over to the local coffee shop when we ran into the other Washington runner - Terry. We know him from the Maniacs and from lots of local races. He joined us for coffee, and by the time we were done, I was crewing for him as well as Eric.

After picking up race packets and schmoozing with other runners, we went back to the room to organize. Okay, well, Eric was organizing, I had my feet up and was reading. There was a knock at the door and we opened it to find Sarah and her brother Aaron! Funny how meeting a blogger is like meeting an old friend. Conversation flows like we've known each other for years - which, in a way, we have. Sarah is every bit as delightful and fun as she appears to be in her blog, and hanging out with her for the weekend was a blast! We met up with Terry, Sarah and Aaron again at the pasta dinner, and eventually Leslie found us too. Lots of running and racing discussions at our table.

Sarah and I

Eric and Terry, ready to go.

Terry came knocking at the door early the next morning and we walked over to the race together. I loved the start - a Mountie followed by group of Native drummers and singers led the racers toward the start line. After the national anthem, they were off! Eric and Terry did not want me at the first exchange, so I had six or so hours to kill. I went for another run through town, then drove to the campground to pick Sarah up. She and I did a bit of shopping then had a long and leisurely coffee together, followed by lunch in the car during a rainstorm. I dropped her back at the campground and headed back to the start line to meet the guys at the second exchange (the race includes a huge relay event as well, so the aid stations were the relay exchanges). Leslie wandered in and waited with me - she was crewing for a couple of friends before running leg five of the relay as a substitute runner. The guys came in, picked up some chow and headed back out. I hopped in the car and headed for the next exchange.

Once I got to the exchange I set up chairs, laid out the gear and settled in. Fortunately I brought a poncho with me because it wasn't long till it began to pour. Our chairs were soon soaked through, and my jeans were soaked. I managed to keep the gear dry though. Eric and Terry came in, changed to dry shoes and socks, fueled up again and were off. I now had about seven hours till I would see them again. I am an anxious crew though, so I drove to the next spot, changed out of my wet stuff, ate lunch, took a nap and...still had about five hours to go. Dang! I gave up and went back to town. I threw my jeans in the dryer, grabbed some warm food, refilled the thermoses with hot water and headed back out - having managed to kill an hour. Once I got back to the exchange I set up the chairs again, and laid out the stuff. I'm glad I did, because Terry came running in about an hour and a half sooner than I expected. He had decided he was ready to push it, and Eric wanted to go his own pace, so they had separated. I helped Terry out and told him I'd miss him at the finish. By this time both Leslie and Sarah had arrived - both getting ready to run leg five as subs. I had to admire Sarah - this would be her first trail run as well as her first run in the dark. There was a lot of courage in taking on leg five! Eric came in right on schedule. We decided I'd meet him one more time at the river crossing.

I drove down to the river aid station, broke out my flashlight and tried to read. It was really dark out there, so I was a bit worried about identifying him as he came in. Fortunately, he ran in calling my name, which was good, since he was faster than I expected. We chatted for a minute, I fixed him a cup of tea, and he was off. I headed back to town for the finish.

This is where Sarah and Leslie got to experience an anxious Michelle. First Leslie came in, then soon after, Sarah. Terry found me, he'd been in about an hour, so we went and got some warm stuff from the car for him. Time passed, and Eric wasn't in yet. Based on his pace at the previous station, I started to fret. I kept thinking he should be in. Finally, finally, we saw his lights! His cheering section of Sarah, Aaron, Leslie, Terry and I whooped and hollered, and I rushed over to get a finish shot. Turns out Eric took a 5K detour in the dark, thus coming in later than I expected. Do I know my runner or what? He finished in a spectacular time of 19:31 with a few bonus miles - more bang for the buck!

The Finish!

After we got back to the room, I had a little doctoring to do. Eric had a hot shower and came out shaking - he was crashing. He climbed into bed and I fixed him tea and handed him a V8, then headed to the car for an extra blanket. By the time I was back, he was fine - we think it must have been a blood sugar crash and the V8 fixed him up. Then I had to work on the massive blister on the ball of his foot. We finally turned the lights off at 5am.

We slept till 10:30 or so, then walked over to pick up the drop bags. Eric stayed to watch the kids race, while I went back to the room to tackle laundry and clean up. We went to the awards ceremony Monday, where we said our final good-byes to Sarah and Aaron, then we headed down the Icefields Parkway to Lake Louise.

Our three day stay there was wonderful - we went on two beautiful run/hikes, we walked tons, and visited Banff. It was relaxing and fun, and I hope to go again someday. We drove home Thursday - 14 hours on the road (including a stop for dinner and for lunch, and a 40 minute wait at the border). We got in late that night, tired but satisfied with a great trip.

Looking up the Lake.

Hiking at Lake Louise

By the waterfall on the way up.

Looking down on Lake Louise.

Enjoying a rest.

Eric on Little Beehive.

I'll stop here, but will say that it will take me some time to catch up on everyone's blogs. Please be patient with me!

This one's for Sarah. (We're still diehard Starbucks fans!)


Audrey said...

CUTE PICTURES!! Great vacation!!

King Arthur said...

Looks like more fun than I could handle. Congrats to you both!

Sunshine said...

Not enough superlatives to describe your pictures!! Been to Lake Louise.. but didn't see it from that breathtaking angle.
Best wishes to Eric to not have a repeat of the crashing experience.

What a great time for you both!
With your energy, all the catching up will fall into place.
Maybe if you put up a copy of that happy picture of the 2 of you on your refrigerator, you will remember it was worth it!

Wes said...

Eric is just knocking out these long ones now, and you are the best crew chief eva :-)

robtherunner said...

WOW!, is all I can say about the pictures of Lake Louise. I must go next year. I am glad you got to refreshen your crew skills :)

Joe said...

It's been so much fun following this incredible adventure for the two of you, Michelle. Thanks for the pix and the great story.

When I first heard of Eric's 5K "detour in the dark", I figured that had to be stressful for you. Glad you dealt with it OK. And so very glad he came through it OK.

Cherish the memories as you guys attack the endless home maintanice issues!!!

Sarah Elaine said...

Fantastic post, Michelle. When I see photos of this area I live in, it always takes my breath away.

Glad you got in a hike at Lake Louise, too!

You guys rock and I can't wait to see you again. (What's this I read about Rob coming up next year?!)

I am, however, *extremely* devastated by the final parenthetical comment. Sigh... What? You didn't fall in love with Timmy's??? What's with that that, eh?

wendy said...

no wonder eric says you're the #1 crew person out there! =)

pics are amazing, and you're looking pretty slim yourself!

Legs and Wings said...

I love it. Felt, to me, like I was right there with you guys on your excellent adventure! I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves and had time to rest up and enjoy a Tim's.

As much as I like's like drinking 2% milk compared to Starbucks (which I'm brewing at the moment). It's a Canadian thing and I'm glad you sampled it.

Take care and don't fret about the house projects. Honestly, we're never done upgrading are we? Some days we're willing to face it, some days we're not.

Anne said...

Such beautiful shots! I had to chuckle about you arriving to that aid station hours and hours ahead of schedule. That would be me! And I'd be freaking if my husband was so late coming in. Fantastic time by Eric, by the way.

JustRun said...


Okay, now that that's done...

What a cool adventure! And so beautiful!

Jack said...

Wow, sounds like a great time, rain and all. I loved your report and pictures!

p.s. You know you're a running junkie when you write things like "We'll try hard to fit it into our running schedule!" and are talking about home repairs ;-)

olga said...

Michelle, what wonderful, wonderful pictures and great time! Awesome race for Eric at DR! And the mountaiun views are absolutely jaw dropping!

Sarah said...

I'm having a difficult time getting past the awesome pictures and reading your words. Beautiful scenery! Congrats to Eric!

Steve S said...

Wonderful pictures and trip. You should expect us monkeys to explore off course a little, we're free spirits of the jungle. Who is the skinny chick in white? No wonder Eric adores you. ;-)

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Beautiful pics. Awesome place, Paul and I will have to venture there sometime. Glad you had a good time and glad to have you home safe.
Missed you today.:( sorry, resting up!

Meghan said...

Wowowowow on all accounts, the photos, the race, the crewing, the vacation.

I think I'm going to have to sign myself up for this race someday. I can just imagine the look on my mother's face when I tell I've signed up for something call "The Death Race."

Anyways, sooooo glad that the two of you had a wonderful time! Welcome back, and don't worry about us, we'll be here when you're settled.


Try@thlete said...

Great pictures. Glad you had a good time.

Darrell said...

I'm glad you were able to spend a couple of days or R&R after the stressful and nerve filled crewing.

Dori said...

Sounds like a wonderful vacation, Michele. I'm glad Eric was OK; I would have been worried, too.

Anonymous said...

You are the ultimate support crew! What a lady. :) Glad you got some relaxation in there too. Sounds like a good trip all around!