Big Update

Hey Everyone,

So it’s been a while since my last post. A lot has been going on.

I’m still currently living with my brother and Courtney. Oracle is still going alright. I’ve settled into the workflow and routine of the job.

So what all has been going on?

Bigfoot

Well back in July, I think, I was browsing Instagram when I noticed a post from Candice Burt and Destination Trail looking for volunteers to help out with the Bigfoot 200. The Bigfoot course goes around Mount St Helens which is just about an hour drive north of Vancouver. I went ahead and emailed to ask if I could help out. I got a pretty quick reply back letting me know I was set to help. I would be course marking.

I wasn’t quite sure what to really expect when it came to marking a 200 mile course. It sure was fun though.

I showed up to the dispersed camp site in Randle, Washington pretty early. While I was hanging out and waiting a green pickup rolls into camp. The folks that got out were our camp cooks for the first weekend. I introduced myself to them and it turns out I knew the fella, Todd, from the Hagg Double race back in March. I met his wife Tonya and their two dogs. Small world. A little while later everyone else rolled into camp.

The next week was a blast. I was course marking all day then hanging out with everyone in the evenings. I met Candice Burt and Riley Smith. Candice needs no intro but Riley is sort of the fella behind the scenes of these 200 mile races. He does a lot of work from course marking to social media to putting up/taking down tents. You name it Riley does it. If you get him in the right mood he’ll tell you all about it. I wound up course marking just shy of 100 miles. I wanted to do 140 but we wound up driving too much. I also had to take a day off to drive everyone around plus I had a down day because of some heat exhaustion. Once the weekend rolled around I departed Randle to head home and I actually wound up getting a speeding ticket at 11:56pm on August 5th…4 minutes before my birthday. So it goes.

The next weekend I wound up going back to Bigfoot to help volunteer for the weekend. I left work from Hillsboro at midnight to get to Marble Mountain at about 2am. When I arrived at Marble it was basically just a sleep deprived Riley doing most the work. I stayed around to help him ou. I stayed up for 34 or so hours after that. I got a few naps here and there but otherwise I was busy. I had to pick up aid station supplies, grab runners and volunteers, grab drop bags, etc. So much driving.

While waiting for 200 mile finishers the crew got pretty bored. We did what we called the Muffin Top Beer Mile. It’s basically a beer mile but you eat a large chocolate Costco muffin as well. It’s not a good idea and nobody should do it. I won if that matters. I don’t think anyone really “won” that.

The experiences of Bigfoot were amazing. The course, the weather, the exercise. Most importantly the people I met were incredible. The volunteers, racers, and employees are some of the best folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of being around.

This experience made me want to do more of this work.

Tahoe

My plan after Bigfoot was to skip Tahoe and help out in Moab. I discovered an itch and wound up requesting the time off for Tahoe. Surprisingly I got the days off. Next thing I knew I was driving down to Tahoe.
I’d never been to Tahoe. It lived up to the hype. The lake is beautiful. The people are welcoming. The traffic is bullshit though. One day Riley and I set off to mark about 18 miles of course on the Cali side of Lake Tahoe. It didn’t happen. First we had to go get a new piece for Riley’s bike. Normally not a big deal but we had to deal with Labor Day traffic. Tahoe City is not designed for that amount of traffic. We spent at least 3 hours in it. We wound up having to hit 2 bike shops and a hardware store to get Riley’s bike seat on properly. We get to the section we need to mark and not even 2 miles into it Riley’s seat is loose. The frustration made us call it a day so we turned around just to sit in traffic again. We got nothing done that day.
Oh, also the first night I was in Tahoe I was kept awake by two campers having relations. I won’t name who it was. They know.
The rest of Tahoe was just a blast. Long hours and a lot of work but the one constant was fun. Like I said about Bigfoot the people are incredible. Steph, Kyla, Riley, Krystal, Candice, Garrett and all the volunteers are just so much fun to be around. I can’t throw enough praise their way.
I managed to catch a bit of a respiratory cold while in Tahoe. It may have been the dust but I feel like it was a cold. This set me back on my running a bit. My Garmin Forerunner 220 also finally died from what I think was water damage. Luckily Candice gifted me her old Garmin Forerunner 910xt which is a pretty decent tracker with a very long battery life. The 910xt also tracks ascent and descent which is something I’ve wanted in a watch for a while.
I managed to meet some pretty awesome runners too. Courtney Dewaulter, Jamil Coury, Sean Nakamura, Tyler Spike, Cameron Hanes, and more. I never imagined I’d get to not only meet some of these people but to sit down and have a beer with ’em was incredible.
Seeing the runners before/during/after 200 miles inspired me.

Moab

Today is Monday. Friday night after work I’ll be leaving for Moab to course mark. I have the following week off. It’s a 1,000 mile drive and I can’t wait. I’ve never been to that part of the country. Garrett is heading the course marking. We are hopefully going to be camping along the course so there will be a lot less driving. This kind of course marking really appeals to me especially in that type of terrain. I’ll be seeing an environment that’s completely foreign to me. I can’t wait.

Slacking

So I missed my designated Sunday post deadlines right out of the gate. I’ve just been super busy with my new job and trying to figure crap out.

I’m currently living in Vancouver, Washington. I basically live in Camas and have to commute to Hillsboro. It’s a 45 minute, 30 mile, commute. It sucks but the job is worth it. I build their servers. It’s a fun job with great coworkers.

My running has been suffering. My weekly mileage has taken a pretty steep dive. The drop off has been because of stress and just time. Vancouver isn’t the greatest place to run but it really isn’t bad. Where I’m at is basically outside of town so getting into the wilderness is a quick drive. I just haven’t had the energy or time.

Chard is currently staying with my friends Chris and Ashley at their home in Albany. They have a 5 year old son and a newborn daughter. They also have another dog named Tonka who is a lil shit. He keeps trying to fight with Chard. Chard ain’t about that so it’s basically just been Tonka biting and nipping at Chard. Ashley told me it’s getting better though so that’s good. I think, or at least hope, they’re enjoying having a big derpy dog.

Today is Friday. I’ll be going down to Corvallis tomorrow to hangout at the Mac 50k. It should be fun.

Unexpected Changes

It’s a pretty common thing to say life throws events you could never expect your way. The last half year or so that has absolutely rung true for me.

I’ve had to make so many big changes. Not all of them have been great but life goes on.

The latest change is that I’m moving again. I’m currently in Beaverton with a friend of mine and her boyfriend. She was amazing enough to give me a place to crash while I got back on my feet. We were going to be roommates because we all got along pretty well. An added bonus is that it’s only 9 miles from my new job.

Chard ruined it. Well, I ruined it depending on how you look at it.

It all happened on Monday, April 23rd. My first training day at Oracle Hillsboro where I’m on the assembly team. We build Oracle’s servers and cloud machines. Some of these machines sell for over 3 million dollars. It’s an interesting facility and the coworkers are interesting. The weather this week was pretty warm with temps in the high 80s for a few days. I decided I could most likely leave Chard at home without an issue. I was oh so wrong.

I had training from 3:30 pm to 11:30 pm Monday and I left around 2:45. I don’t get very good reception, or really any at all, in Oracle’s building so I didn’t get any of my roommate’s texts or phone calls. Two neighbors called in noise complaints by 3:30 because of Chard’s ridiculous retriever cry. Chard busted out of my bedroom window and ran almost 2 miles down Murray Boulevard trying to find me. He ran all the way back to the apartment and started harassing folks, barking and acting aggressively. My roommate came home to a neighbor cornering him with the window screen that he busted through. She got him back inside. She couldn’t leave him alone again and she had a soccer game. She had to bring him along, leaving him in her car.

So here’s the thing, my roommate’s are only allowed 2 pets and they already have 3(2 dogs 1 cat). Chard and I aren’t on the lease and management didn’t know we were staying here. Now management is aware and they weren’t happy about it. I have to be out by the end of the month.

This means I had to take Chard to work with me the rest of the week. The temperature was 85f+ for 3 straight days. Leaving him in my truck was not only horrible for him but it was embarrassing for me. All my coworkers were aware of it and while they were understanding I could tell I was being judged. My boss was especially great about it. He assured me it was okay and gave me special permission to go check on Chard every half hour. This is another reason Oracle is great. My coworkers really are amazing folks. Thursday was the hottest day of the year so far but my friend Anna rose above and beyond to help out. She took Chard from 3 pm to 7 pm,  taking him to a lake so he could swim around. I can’t thank her enough.

Having to move because management knowing about Chard sucks for a few reasons. My current location is great because it’s only 9 miles from work. It’s a solid running distance so I could run to/from work because they have showers there. The rent was going to be in the $500-$600 range which is very cheap for Beaverton. I also get along great with Maleah and Rowdy, my roommates.

Luckily my brother lives just across the river in Vancouver, Washington and I can crash with him in his house. The downside to this is the much longer commute, 30 miles vs 9 miles. Oddly enough the actual travel time isn’t much different, 30 minutes vs 40 minutes. The extra miles are very annoying. It will wind up costing me a lot more in gas. I can’t really run 30 miles to work either. If I were to take public transit it would be nearly two and a half hours. I can, however, leave Chard at my brother’s while I’m at work.

I’m a bit worried that my truck won’t withstand this commute for all that long. I need new tires. I need to fix the timing and idle. I have to replace a few odds and ends. I need to replace the entire exhaust system but luckily there’s no catalytic converter to replace. I can do all this work myself but the truck is still somewhat a piece of shit.

That’s basically where I stand. The money at Oracle is good so it’s worth the commute. It’s a solid 2-year contract as well. I can take days off easily which will allow Chard and I to go on fun adventures together. I can work towards improving my life for the future.

As for running I really need to step my game up. I haven’t been registering for races. I haven’t been meeting my weekly goals. I have been focusing more on speed though and it’s been paying off. Chard and I are both much faster. I need new shoes though. My current pair of Zealots has over 550 miles on them so they’re well past their expiry date.

I’m aware I missed my Sunday goal of posting an update by a pretty big margin. Oh well.

Have a great weekend everyone. Thank you for reading.

Rogue River Trail

So I’ve been living in Beaverton with my friend and her boyfriend. I’m lucky enough to have her as a pal. I found a job with Oracle doing some decent work and it will allow me to take running vacations. I start on the 23rd, 11 days away.

So next up is the Rogue River Trail. I’ll be using a few of my tax refund dollars to fund this trip; outside of fuel, it shouldn’t be expensive. Food is cheap and I already have the backpack I’ll be using.

So what is the Rogue River trail like? It’s a 40-mile trail that follows the Rogue River in southwest Oregon. The forest service offers a nice little guide, available here. Below is an image of just the trail map that I pulled out of the PDF guide. Also here is the Oregonhikers.org page.

Why is the Rogue River Trail special? It’s a trail that offers incredible riverside views along with minimal elevation gain. That means I can run all 40 miles of it relatively easily with Chard. If I depart early in the morning then time shouldn’t really be an issue. I have a variety of camping options if need be. Depending on the weather swimming is an option just about anywhere.

 

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