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Month: July 2017

Angels Rest to Devils Rest – Adventure or Torture?

Angels Rest is perched up high in the Gorge. To get there you have to push yourself up 2 miles of steep, rocky, super challenging terrain. This adventure was a run for us, but many others hike. Angels Rest offers a spectacular view and is a great reward after the climb. Devils Rest is a continued accent from Angels Rest but with no view at the top – it’s hell to get there and has no reward, hence its name. The entire run is an adventure but teeters on torture as well.

The idea of this run began as an adventure, but after a half mile of running it quickly began to feel like torture. My last bit of writing was about the rewards of pushing past our comfort zones, so I tried to keep that in my mind as I scrambled over rocks and one foot after the other tried to push up the mountain. It was a struggle. On the other hand, my husband loves trail running. He describes trail running as an adventure and “feeling free.” He looks like he’s gliding over the rocky uphills and eloquently galloping the downhills. Every quarter mile or so, my husband pauses and waits for me to catch up to him. He stands  there with this giant smile on his face and says, “Isn’t this fun? You’re doing great. We’re almost there.”
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I’m a high school running coach, fitness specialist, and I’ve been a runner for more than half of my life; I’ve never needed anyone to really coach me in a workout or race. Yesterday, though, I needed every bit of encouragement from my husband. He’s so happy running trails. The happiest. Meanwhile, I’m cursing under my breathe the entire time.

Having PMA (positive mental attitude) is a way of living that I work on every day. My favorite books are Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, The Energy Bus, Real Love, and The Power of Positive Leadership, but yesterday I struggled to bring the positivity out of me. I didn’t spread the torture I was feeling, but I also wasn’t shining positivity like my husband. I decided to praise the beauty around us and every time we ran down a part of the trail that felt good I made it a point to tell my husband. That little bit of positivity that I put out in the world took the edge off of the physical torture I was feeling. In the past, when I felt physical pain in a workout or race I’d repeat the words “you can do this” so I decided to give it a try. It worked when I needed it during this torturous adventure.
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After six miles of mostly uphills, I ate my date with almond butter. Then we had 2 miles of rolling hills, and ended the run with 2 miles of insane downhill running. I told my husband I’d meet him at the bottom and like a deer he trotted off down the rocky mountain. I tripped without falling a handful of times, but finally made it to THE END. Water, an Orgain and half of a Picky Bar refueled my tired body and sore ego. My husband is really good at trail running. Trail running is really hard for me.

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We hugged, kissed, high-five, fist-bumped and hopped in the car to meet our kiddos and my parents at the Vista House. They had a great time exploring Larch Mountain, blueberry picking, and running around the Vista House while we adventured, borderline-torutured ourselves on a glorious trail run. In the end feeling free on the trail felt good and the thought of it puts a smile on my face. So, go #livefree and #befree among nature!

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Comfort Zones: Step Out, Push Up, Expand Your Reach.

I like comfort. Don’t we all? Some of us like to remain in a constant state of comfort, others like to push the boundaries of our comfort zones, and some like to teeter on the edge of both worlds. I’m one of those people who teeter totters; however, as of late I’ve been stepping out, pushing up, and expanding my reach in running and it feels so good!

I’m one of those who typically has no trouble putting myself in uncomfortable situations. Comfort is nice, but challenges are what change you. I can work through my own discomforts but don’t really want to worry about others, so when other people come into the plan, I tend to be pretty conservative on the comfort scale.

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Unfortunately, this comfort scale carries through to family excursions and travel. Luckily, I am married to a guy who has a great sense of adventure and enjoys pushing beyond his comfort level. Recently, we were discussing the new fad of taking cold showers as a means to make yourself deal with discomfort. My husband said, “I push myself, my mind, and my body every day. My body feels discomfort and I give myself challenges. I don’t need to do it with a cold shower. Cold showers are for people who don’t push themselves in daily life.” Great case and I can agree.

We are both runners, but lately he’s been challenging himself on trails. I’ve had this desire to give trail running a go, but one big thing has held me back – time and kids. When you have kids, time is just short. But lately my husband’s spirit has prevailed and I’ve been stepping way out of my comfort zone.

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I’d tell, not ask, the kids we were going to explore trails, pack fuel, gather gear, bring a book, and get in the car. No questions. No whining.

In our last three excursions there has been no whining and there has only been happy, curious questions. We leave our cozy, Sellwood neighborhood and 45 minutes later find ourselves parking at a trail head in the Gorge. Our first adventure was Larch Mountain.

Larch Mountain is an extinct volcano that has become a beautiful forrest which provides moderate, sometimes difficult, terrain.  My husband and I took turns doing the 6-mile loop down into the crater and back up. It was 2 miles of fun downhills, 2 miles of traversing over challenging rock, and 2 miles of rolling beauty back up to the parking lot. As a typical road runner, escaping the road was a blessing. The nature, peace, and fresh air was sorely needed in my case. My husband has been running a whole lot of trails these last several months, so his opinion of the trail was different than mine. I had to push up hard over the terrain, but his approach was to hike over the difficult terrain. As a road runner and former track runner, all I think of is speed and power. As a trail runner, you hike sometimes and other times you float over the trail. IMG_1235

The four of us benefited from this trail excursion. Our kids did not do the six mile trail that we did, but they did run and explore a quarter mile up to the viewpoint and back down, a couple of times. They read and listened to books out in nature as well. Larch mountain beat my expectations by a mile.

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Usually, I don’t feel the need to fuel during a typical run. However, on this run at mile 3 my body needed something. I ate a date and drank some water which sustained my energy for the rest of the run. Refueling following the run was not something I thought would be necessary, but trail running affects your body quite differently than road running, so I grabbed Picky Bars new flavor Moroccan Your World that had turmeric, cardamom, ginger, and pistachio in it. It was the perfect blend of flavors for post-workout nutrition.

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This run is more proof that getting out of your comfort zone is important for growth. Our whole family explored and had fun, I ran in and up an extinct volcano that made me a bit nervous beforehand, and I pushed my body way passed its comfort zone. The rewards of a run like this are whole body exhaustion, spectacular views, and the healing of nature.

 

What will you do today to step out, push up, and expand your reach?

 

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