Wednesday, August 29, 2012


We will now interrupt the typical running related drivel with a very special announcement:

I got a JOB!!!!!!!

A real, honest-to-goodness teaching position. It's all been a whirlwind. I interviewed Monday morning (of this week) and was working to get my classroom set up yesterday. I think it really didn't set in fully until today when we began inservice planning meetings. Then I got a little overwhelmed by all of it, then I was OK again when my team got together for some planning time. I definitely have a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm looking forward to it.

It's no exaggeration when I say it feels like I've won the lottery. This is for a couple reasons. One, in the area where I live there are literally hundreds of applicants for each teaching position. Being a newly minted certificate holder, I was as shocked as if I hit the powerball combo when I got that phone call. Second, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love and what I believe I am meant to be doing. Having the chance to help these third see their potential and thrive as learners is a gift; I cannot wait to meet them and get started!

Thanks to all my friends and family for supporting me on this odyssey over the past two years. I know at times it seemed a fool's errand, but the investment is already paying dividends. I couldn't have gotten here without your help, and can never truly repay any of it. I'll do my dead-level best to make you proud!

Parting shot of my new classroom, which I haven't gotten around to decorating or setting up yet:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hood to Coast!

This past weekend saw the concluding event of Relay Month with my first running of the Hood to Coast Relay (HTC from now on, K?). It's weird to think of this as my first run of it; I was a team driver for a great women's team a couple years back, so I had the full experience minus the running bit. This year fixed all that...On to the recap:

How HTC works: It works just like Cascade Lakes Relay I wrote about a few weeks ago. 12 runners, two vans, 36 running segments ('legs"), little to no sleep or real food.

I ran legs 3, 15, and 27. Or as I liked to call them Good, bad and worst.

Leg 3 AKA holy crap! I ran 4 miles down the flanks of Mt. Hood, losing 850 or so feet of elevation along the way. I averaged 8 minute miles. Yeah, no one was as surprised about that as me. My first thought? expectations are a little high...Fortunately I was on a team full o' awesome and they knew I was a tubby slow mess and gravity pulled my belly and me down the mountain against my best efforts to be a slowfoot.
Yeah, Baby!

Leg 15 AKA the Reality Check. They say the best runs are the ones where you notice nothing. Yeah. On this run I noticed everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. My feet hurt. My quads were seized into knots  any boy scout or sailor would have been proud to have created. I couldn't get into a groove and I kept thinking "Man, it'd be really nice to just sit down on that guardrail for a couple minutes..." Spoiler alert: I didn't sit down. You know this is true, because if I did I'd probably still be there, unable to move. I gutted it out and finished my 7.25 miles in a 10:30 pace. Not bad considering I really would have been happy to lie down on the road and die at the 3.5 mile mark when I got completely dusted by a 10 year old kid. No lie. it was like I was standing still and he was flying. It really broke my spirit (until later in the relay when I saw him again. He's a junior Olympian. There was a whole team of them. Superfast kiddos that bunch!).
That's about right

Leg 27 AKA OhdearGodmakeitstop! Pace=11:03 minute miles over 5.8 miles. This was the first time I have ever had to stop and tie my shoes on a run. This is no exaggeration. I hate having to futz with my shoelaces and take great pains to ensure we're all set before I head out the door. The shoes I wore on this relay are a mess of a different color and a big part of the reason I feel like I was struggling so much.The longer the race went, the more jacked up my feet were. Needless to say, they're gone now, and won't be worn by me again. I had to walk a ton, my hip was killing me, and to top it off the road was cambered at something like 78 degrees or so. it was like I was running on a wall at times. OK, maybe that was an overstatement, but the camber was enough that It was like trail running on a sidehill. Not fun on 2 hours of sleep and sore legs.

Pretty well says it all

OK, enough of the recap. Relays like this are not really about the running. It's about the people. I had an awesome team to run with. It was all teachers that I know through my wife (and through my student teaching at their school) and their spouses. A guy could not ask for better teammates. It's rare that I can say I was stuck in a vehicle with the same 5 people for 36 hours and never once got annoyed with any of them. I got to say that twice this summer. And mean it.

The big question you always get after a race like this is "are you going to run next year?" Honestly, probably not. HTC is too big. 1000 teams of 12 is a lot of traffic. There are other great relay events out there that I'm interested in so I think I'll explore those. If, by some chance, the same team got together and wanted me to run with them again, then I'd reconsider (but hopefully we'll run together on a different race next year...I hear RAGNAR is pretty cool...).

What a team!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm Ready (Am I really?)!

This weekend is relay number 2 in my Summer Relay Double Slam!

Or as the locals like to call it, The Mother of all Relays (Clearly those people never ran Cascade Lakes. Mother is only half the word to describe that thing. But I love you Cascade Lakes, and I will be back next year). 

Yes; the great white whale that is Hood to Coast is upon us. I have mixed feelings about my readiness for this run; I feel generally fit(ter) and strong(er) as the summer has progressed, which is a great thing. But, my training runs since Cascade Lakes have been less than stellar. My paces have been slower than I wanted and I didn't get in the long runs I was hoping to. I think my longest run in the last 3 weeks was 6.5 miles. My paces were all over as well. i could knock out a 4 miler in the high 8's to very low 9's, but anything longer and I suffered, hanging in the 9:30 to 10+ mpm range. NOT what I was hoping for. 

Of course, I'm feeling pressure (self-induced pressure) because i'm in a van full of fasties. Aside from the guy who had pneumonia for most of the summer (which is a pretty legitimate excuse for running slower) I am the slowest guy in the van. Slower than all the ladies, too, since we're keeping things straight. I know they don't care. We're all friends and they're super supportive; but, it's all in my head that if I hit a rough patch on my longer leg I can shake up the whole team pace, letting a whole bunch of people down. Yes, I am totally neurotic like that.

Here's the good news. I did my last "real" run before the relay this morning, and it was pretty awesome. My favorite structured workout is a progression run, where I try to get faster with each mile split. I have troubles with pacing myself effectively, and it's gotten worse as I've gotten fitter. I have no feel for my pace and have to rely on my watch to give me an idea of how I'm doing (I am getting a little better with attention to it, though). I have had several runs that I started out at what felt like a really (RRREEEEAAALLYY) easy pace, only to look down at mile one to see mid 8's showing in my current pace window. Yeah. That's way too fast of a first mile for this guy and I subsequently flame out in epic fashion. Today, though, I made a plan before I left on my run and, more importantly, I stuck with it. Miles one and two had to be closer to 10 minutes than 9; miles 3 and four needed to be 9:20-9:30's; then, 5 and 6 were to see what I had left in the tank. It wasn't a TRUE progression, and my splits showed it. I was a second or two slower on 2 than 1 and 4 than 3. 5 and 6 were stellar, though and i finished out strong. Plan good. Following plan better (say that in a caveman voice, so you'll know how my brain is processing the thought).
If I can learn to stick to a plan I might actually begin to improve as a runner and, dare I say it, get fast(er). This could bode well for my fall half marathon (or lead to delusional failures of spectacular proportions. You'll have to keep following to see!)...

So how about you? Do you run with a plan or just wing it? what works for you?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Running. And Waiting to Run (Or, Tim's Cascade Lakes Relay Recap)

I could also title this post Best weekend that hurt EVER!!! 

This last weekend was the fifth annual running of the Cascade lakes Relay, and the first running for my team of friends, family, and random dudes we found online so we wouldn't have to run extra legs.

For the uninitiated, these relays are run by teams of 12 runners split into two vans who run in rotation until you get to the finish (216.6 miles in this case). It took our team (Get out of the Van) just shy of 35 hours to complete the race, at an average 9:40 per mile pace. Not bad for running up the mountains of Central Oregon. In the heat. With no sleep for 36 hours. In other words: 216 miles of awesomeness.

I won't go into details about my legs (the relay legs, not my chicken legs), because it was a team experience and  not a solo race for glory. short version: I suffered. It was hot, I didn't sleep, and it showed the most in my last leg. I ran the final leg of the race and next year that leg and I will have a rematch to be sure.

Here's a summary of what at least the runners in my van would say about the race: Everybody ran hard. Everyone suffered at least a little at some point. Everybody (i think) wants to go back and do it again next year. Here are some pictures and my usual snarky commentary:

Bunch of hooligans. We were itchy to get going after a long morning of waiting

This is how I roll

We ran through some beautiful country. Really, who gets to experience this kind of country so intimately?

Running through the woods, under a full moon? Every ounce as awesome as it sounds (also the best leg I ran of the weekend)

My first leg. Check out the heel strike on the 'barefoot runner!' No wonder my hip hurts like a grandma in a thunderstorm. Note: I was not barefoot in this, or any other leg of the race.

Crossing the finish line! 

It was a blast, and I'll probably have more thoughts on it later. It was such a rush and a blur that things just come back to me in pieces.

 Leg 36....I'm comin' for ya. Get ready.