Monday, September 27, 2010

Free Fallin'

For the past month and a half I have been in southern Oregon staying with friends. They live on the outskirts of a small rural town on the banks of a lush creek surrounded by old growth forest. It is other-worldly to me. While I feel most comfortable in high, dry climates, it is nice to live in other ecosystems from time to time. It is also very nice to stay in one place for awhile after moving around frequently for three months.

The creek that runs through their property
While there I helped them out around their homestead. I helped weed a garden that had been neglected for a few months, split firewood, dug trenches, built and cleared trails, harvested massive amounts of cherry tomatoes to be dried, harvested potatoes, cleaned and organized tool sheds, striped a door, housesat and did numerous other chores.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing all these tasks. Physical labor is fun. Especially when the results are so instant and I can check them off a list. Love that. It would be rough to do that strenuous of work all day everyday, but helping out for awhile is cool. Plus hard work is a great compliment to running while training for a race.

There are plenty of unpaved, old logging roads surrounding where I was staying. Most, however, have super grown-over spots that aren’t fun to run through. I picked one 5-ish mile loop to concentrate on and went to town clearing it. In 12 hours over a couple of days I made a lot of progress. Both days the hours flew by as I moved fallen trees and trimmed back branches. I love working on trails. A few weeks later Kali and I built a stretch of trail orchestrated as a birthday present. It was pretty awesome.

After working on the 5-ish mile loop, I ran on it…a lot. It is a wonderful little loop that climbs up steadily half way and descends just as nice. Very runnable. The steepest part is in and out of the driveway. I ran on this most days. When Kali showed up, after I had already been there a couple of weeks, we ran on some other trails. I find it much easier to justify driving to trails, if there is at least two people. Plus Kali just bought a car, so we didn’t have to move Mama. We ran on some incredible trails. Previously, I hadn’t been on too many in southern Oregon. Now that I have a better idea of what is out there, I am really excited to get on as many as possible the rest of the fall.

The part that stands out the most from the last month, as usual, is the food I’ve indulged in. My friends were kind enough to share their bountiful garden harvest with me. It was so nice. I primarily ate vegetables for a month. I strive to always do this, but it is much easier when I can just go pick them before every meal. Everything I made was so colorful and delicious. They grew potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, different kinds of kale, green beans, cucumbers, corn, and ridiculous amounts and different varieties of peppers and tomatoes. I am so grateful for generosity and the perfect fuel for training for these races.
My typical meal
All in all, it was a ideal setting to hang in for six weeks. Everything perfectly complimented my main focus, which was to train for these races I am currently on the road for. Right now I am in Bend, two days into recovering from the first race. This afternoon, after running some errands, I will trek over the Cascades and start making my way north to Orcas Island. Hopefully, I’ll get up a post about this past race very soon.

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