I’ve tried to start writing about my latest running event several times, but I keep getting bored with what I say and abandon the effort. Sometimes this also happens to me when I’m talking. This especially occurs when I find myself at a party where I don’t know anybody and can’t think of anything good to say, so I start rambling on about the most boring shit, and all of a sudden I’ll have a moment where I realize that what I’m saying is so painfully inane it’s all I can do to try to find the fastest possible way to end the conversation without just stopping mid-sentence out of my own self-boredom.
I think the problem is that the run I most recently did wasn’t a particularly great one for me, and I much prefer talking about things I’ve done that are great, rather than about the mediocrity that was the Mt. Hood Scramble for me. I’ll talk about it in a second, but first I need to mention something else that has been on my mind lately: the Charley Horse.
Friday morning at about 5AM I had my first charley horse of all time. I used to think I’d had one before – I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with my muscles spasming and tweaking out – but I was so wrong. Pretty much everyone I’ve talked to about this since the event has had one before. I don’t understand how it’s such a common thing yet I’ve made it this long without one, but I’m glad I did. It came on without warning – or at least I missed any potential warning because I was sleeping – and woke me up mid-cramp, before squeezing my right calf muscles into the tightest contraction I’ve ever experienced. Apparently trying to stretch it out just makes it happen again, so all I could do was lie there for another half hour, in astonishment of how such a horrible thing could happen to me while I wasn’t bothering anyone or doing anything dangerous. Horrible things should only happen when you’re bothering someone or doing something dangerous.
My friend Murphy used to get charley horses after soccer, and at the time it was always super funny because he would writhe around and shout profanities at everyone nearby. Now I have a better understanding of what he was going through – sorry about that, Murphy. If anyone else has any experiences or thoughts on charley horses, I’d love to hear about them. I’m really intrigued by this apparently very common yet terrible phenomenon.
Okay, I know you all really want to hear about actual running now, like the title of this blog promises. I really haven’t done much of it lately, but I think what I have done has even been too much. Or at least too soon after my marathon. I definitely shouldn’t have been running this scramble two weeks after a marathon, which I learned when halfway through I could barely run at all anymore because of some stupid tendinitis happening all around my knees.
Pain aside, the run was pretty cool. I didn’t want to go all the way to Mt. Hood by myself so I carpooled with some guys from the Red Lizard running club, which made it a lot better than if I had gone alone. I’ve never gone to a run by myself, and I don’t intend on starting anytime soon. I prefer to go with my parents because they always tell me how great I am, but any friend or acquaintance or three dudes i just met works also. Two of the guys were around my age (I think), and the other one was probably my dad’s age, and acted very dad-like. He offered me an extra jacket a lot, had a band-aid ready for me when I needed one (keep reading to hear more about the band-aid need!) and filled me in on all the Red Lizard stuff they were talking about.
The race start was in a big parking lot just a few miles past government camp, I think the same one that has the shuttle bus to take you to Timberline in the winter. There were tons of dogs hanging out, and when I found out that dogs were allowed to be in the race I felt sad I hadn’t brought Pascal along. He would have been a lot better at this run than I was.
The first three minutes of the race was a shock to the system. I had done my standard routine of warming up as little as possible, and was not at all prepared for the immediate uphill climb in fifty degree weather at altitude. And by uphill climb, I mean that some of us were just barely standing upright for parts – it probably would have been more efficient to scale up on hands and knees. The first stream crossing was just minutes away from the start, and that’s when I really woke up and started feeling good. At that point it became an awesome tromp through trees/brush, over snow, rocks, a bunch more streams… stuff you don’t normally encounter during races.
About halfway through my knees started hurting really badly, and I tried applying my normal logic of running faster as the pain increased (so it will be over sooner, of course), but this method didn’t work this time – the pain was too much. The good part of this race, at least for my situation, was that so much of it was almost impossible to run on that a lot of people were walk/jogging through the terrain anyway, so it’s not like I was dragging behind everyone. It was just really frustrating to feel so amazing in almost every way, but then have those obnoxious points on my knees that hurt so badly. I think I could have done really well had it not been for that. Even more frustrating is that my knees still hurt, and I’m ready for them to feel good again so I can get on with my running. Amplify this frustration even more, because my doctor-for-free is in Prague, not here to fix all my bodily problems.
This is why I kept abandoning my blog updates before – I started out with all the complaining instead of fascinating topics like charley horses, and complaining is boring. I’m done now. After the race there was a barbecue put on by the Red Lizards, and I was lucky enough to get a hot dog out of it, along with other foods that I can’t remember anymore. I also left with an exciting battle wound, that looked a lot more exciting at the time because it kept dripping all over my ankle and looking a lot worse than it actually was. Now it looks like this:
This happened when we had to cross a fifteen foot long log that was about ten feet above the stream below (after the race someone pointed out that you could have just climbed down and walked across the stream, but the log situation was near the end and by this point I was just copying what the people in front of me were doing). I made it all the way across, and just needed one more step before I could hop off the log, and I decided to make that last step go right into a spiky broken off branch coming out of the log, so I got wounded. I spent the rest of the race wondering how many people before me had done the same thing, and what kind of diseases they might have transferred to me through the spiky branch. Plus how cool it was that I suddenly had so many potential blood brothers.